We've been lost in cell hell for the past few days. You never realize how much you depend on technology until you can't get it. Let me bring you up to speed on our adventure.
It started out quite undramatically on the first day. We awoke Saturday to dense fog in Knoxville. We were so eager to begin our journey but had to wait until the fog lifted, which happened around 0930.
|The view outside the marina the|
morning of our departure.
Now, here's one of those life lessons. We've had some battery issues. It's too lengthy (and boring) to get into but our new diesel mechanic decided we needed only two batteries per engine to start those big Detroit Diesel 8-71s. We ran test after test. We took the boat out. We started it in the slip. We did everything imaginable. Here's the lesson. As we were switching over to the two-batteries-per engine scenario, the mechanic used a battery from the generator that we're not using right now. That's another long story from Ft. Pierce last year when a pump was replaced but was missing a part. Anyway, I made the call of using the old generator battery with three new ones. Bad call. Yes, I was trying to save money but it ended up creating a mess.
I had to go out and buy the fourth battery anyway and by the time I got it hooked up and got the boat running it was noon. A far cry from the COD (crack of dawn) we had planned. Despite our late departure, we made good time. We were cruising at about 11 knots (13 mph). That may sound like a snail's pace but for a lumbering, old cruiser like this one it's a great speed. We docked at sundown and had logged 100 miles.
We found ourselves in a place called Ten Mile, TN. Quite frankly, I'd never heard of it but the place was hopping. They told us there'd be live entertainment. It was a guy with a guitar. Was he good? I couldn't tell you. My ears were bleeding. I swear to you Led Zeppelin was louder in concert. We had to move outside where it was a little quieter. The burgers were good and we were exhausted so we hit the hay.
Sunday morning we awoke with a renewed vigor. That intensity quickly evaporated when neither engine would start. I quickly surmised it was the batteries. Again. Why were they dead? Had they not been recharged by the alternator? I had no idea. All I knew was we had to get those batteries charged because we were burning daylight.
Fortunately, as were we fueling up, the guy helping us said they had a jumper pack in the office. I needed a charger and not a jumper pack but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I called my diesel mechanic to make sure I didn't blow anything up and he instructed me to disconnect the lead that connected the positive from one battery to the negative of the other. I turned the jumper pack on each battery for about 10 minutes. It worked. The engines started and we were on our way. There was just one problem. This battery situation was only going to persist unless we did something about it.
|The Tennessee River just|
outside of Chattanooga.
We had thought about stopping in Chattanooga but, believe it or not, transient options are very limited. We decided to press forward to Hales Bar, a marina I was familiar with from the last trip, and stop for the night. Speaking of stopping for the night, I need to do just that. It's late and we have an early start tomorrow morning. I'll catch you up on the next entry. Wish us luck on those batteries!
|Two of the Valentine boys at sunset.|