Sunday night after we completed the blog, at about 10:15, we heard the first commercial barges headed to the lock. Not sure, because of the darkness, but we think they were loaded with coal. Some people that work at the lock told the first lock through was actually at 6:30 Sunday night but it was a COE tug moving some of the construction barges. The first barges we could actually see and know for sure was at 6:00 am Monday morning and it was another tug pushing coal down river. All day Monday the COE tug was moving/removing the huge 500 ton hoist that was used to install the new gates. They were using a huge crane that looked more like a big drag line with a hook rather than a bucket. It was quite interesting to see how they were doing such heavy duty work on the water and watching them swing these huge parts of the bajillion dollar hoist out over the river. BTW, we were told project of replacing the gates cost us tax payers a mere 16 million dollars. More coal barges were pushed down stream and through the lock throughout the day.
The rest of Monday, when we weren’t watching the guys work on the dam, we cooked a wonderful breakfast, walked about 7.5 miles, and did some accounting. We also transplanted some succulents that are traveling with us. We hope our brown thumbs don’t get the best of them. We just had a good day.
Today, we went into town to meet with a realtor and a rental manager as we continue to move forward on Mama Ruby’s estate. When we returned the COE was still hard at work removing cranes from the construction site. The huge drag line looking crane was down on a barge and they were taking down another. The site looks totally different tonight than yesterday. Most things are now loaded on barges and ready to take back down the river to the COE district headquarters in Mobile. We will see what pictures we can get to tomorrow.
It was another beautiful morning at the campground. We, of course, started the day with a 3.5 mile exercise walk. It was cooler when we started this morning but by the time we returned to Fred about 55 minutes later, it was hot. We were back at Fred in time to grab the computer and watch the live stream of our church service at Lester Memorial. It was another very good service with the youth that are headed off to college this week helping with the praise band today. It was also sort of cool to sit outside looking at the river and watching the service. Wouldn’t want to to that every week but it was fun today.
We were looking forward to the resumption of river traffic tonight at 6:00 pm and returned from our afternoon walk just in time to watch. There was noise and some action. They removed a crane today and moved another. At 6:00 a Corp tug pulled into place behind one of the work barges beside the lock. After about 30 minutes of sitting there, the tug backed off and moved over like he was going into the lock and pulled up behind another work barge. And that’s where the action stopped. It’s now 8:48 pm and they have all the lights on at the lock lighting up the world and nothing has moved. Can’t find a navigation bulletin from the Corp indicating another delay but there’s no traffic tonight.
The campground is really quiet tonight. All the weekenders have left and we have the bottom loop by the water to ourselves.
Friday was a rainy day. Rain during the night which made for great sleeping and then again in the afternoon. We spent most of the day trying to win the war of the ants. One of the “joys” of camping this time of year is that at times most campgrounds have some ants. We have never had ants in Fred 2. However just before going to bed last night we found ants around our sink. Terro is absolutely the best product we have ever found for ants and we never travel without it. It’s a borax product that the ants take back to the nest and it kills the queen and all the ants in the nest. For a day or so it looks like it is making the ant problem worse, but then suddenly they are all gone. By morning things were looking better, then mid-morning we found more ants by the refrigerator. So more treatment was needed. Fortunately the Terro does work and by the end of the day the ants were gone.
There were still no barges on the river Friday, but we finally found out why. Max found a navigation bulletin that was actually released August 3rd, that stated that resumption of river traffic is postponed until 6:00 pm August 12. At least we can stop watching and listening for the horns at the locks. But we will be watching Sunday evening. That was about it for Friday except for getting out and enjoying the wonderful park and getting our exercise.
Saturday was a dry, sunny, beautiful day. We were up early and on the road back to Blount County. We picked up breakfast before hitting the interstate and stopped at our local produce stand on the way into Oneonta. We got more local corn, peaches, tomatoes and watermelon. Last week’s was great so we expect to enjoy this as well. We then went to visit with the Aunts. Jean and Helen both were about the same. Both said they had a good week. Helen went to Bible study while we were there and said it was great even though she couldn’t remember what they studied. We went to the mountain and collected everyone’s mail and checked the houses. We returned to Oneonta and visited a while longer before getting us some late lunch and then heading back to Tuscaloosa. Always thankful for our safe travel days. We topped off another good day with root beer floats for supper. Great way to end our day. We plan to watch the YouTube stream of services at Lester Memorial tomorrow. Hope you are all praying for all the services tomorrow.
No barges again today. But we did get the storms. It sounded like lightning struck somewhere close by this afternoon. The campground lost power for a few minutes twice after close strikes. You couldn’t see across the river or the dam it was raining so hard. On the plus side, the temperature dropped to 72 for a short while. Incredibly cool for August in Alabama. It’s actually quite nice out this evening and we are sitting out on our deck looking over the river working on this blog entry. Hopefully our ThermaCell will keep the mosquitoes at bay.
We were able to get both our morning and afternoon walks in today. We have been blessed the last several weeks to be able get more exercise and we can both tell we are feeling and sleeping better than we were for a while. Otherwise, we did some more estate work, and paid bills for Helen and Jean. We also ate breakfast and our late lunch (grilled again) on our patio. We also met some folks that came in last night and visited with them a while, of course sharing the NOMADS story. Sure enjoying Deerlick Creek COE campground. Enjoying it so much we decided to extend our stay. We will go back to Blount County this weekend but it’s not much further from the campground than Mama Ruby’s house and it’s so nice here.