Solo To Nashville TN

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At 6 or 7 MPH nothing happens quickly but the day moves on trouble free as I make my way south.  There is a decent amount of barge traffic but nothing that causes any concern or delay.  This is the mission for which I configured and built Seaquinn. On long hauls like this it is both comfortable and convenient. With the autopilot engaged I can get up an move around the saloon, prepare lunch or retrieve a drink from the refrigerator all while maintaining watch through the overkill of glass. The propane heater warms cool mornings while the sounds from the humming Honda O/B are isolated, allowing me to listen to music or audio books. Life on the river is good! 

I make Clarksville on schedule pulling alongside the dock as darkness falls. I walk up and have dinner at an O’Charley’s and then stroll on down to Harbor Freight and pickup a couple small items to add to my arsenal. The evening is cool but my jacket keeps me comfortable. 

Returning to the boat I decide to check the propane tanks and to my dismay I note the one tank is almost empty. The second 20 lb. tank is full but I honestly don’t know how long it will last.  During the summer when using just the refrigeration our usage is low but now because of the falling nighttime temperatures I am running the heater a good amount each day. Even with a CO2 alarm installed I do not run it while sleeping but do fire it up first thing in the morning and often use it in the evening until I retreat to the berth. So the question is – will the single tank last the next five or more days?  

Odds are it will make it but then again as I have gotten older I really dislike being cold. Thinking about the problem I remember on my walk I noticed a quick mart type gas station a little more than a ¼ mile away.  Often they have a propane tank exchange service although I usually try to avoid them, as the price is often double that of having the tank refilled. Also, the tanks come with only 15 lbs. of gas rather than the normal 20 lbs.  Still I decide to wimp out and see if I can get another tank.

Carrying the empty back to the station wouldn’t be too bad but hauling a full tank back by hand would be much more of a chore. I decide to rig up a crude rope harness I can put over my shoulder to help carry the weight.  I attach the empty and head out towards the station hoping they have the exchanges and am pleased when I see they do.  It was a hassle lugging the full tank back but this is just the first of the prices I will pay for my somewhat lean preplanning. 

The next morning I am once again off before daylight. Today I need to make 62 miles to reach Nashville but my progress will be delayed by Cheatham Lock which is situated about 22 miles upstream. A long delay there would postpone my Nashville arrival until the next day but with a little luck I’ll make the Big River Grille for an evening meal. 

Today the wind is a little brisk but the ride in Seaquinn is still very comfortable.  As I approach the lock a few darker clouds begin to roll in – nothing worrisome but something to watch.  I call for the lock and am told as soon as it is emptied I can enter.  I allow the boat to drift while I prepare the fenders and rig the line needed to secure it in the chamber. Actually this is my first lockage in Seaquinn. I have done it a hundred times in Therapy and obviously the procedure is somewhat the same.  Still, this is a much larger boat and much more susceptible to wind drift.  I will just need to pay attention and anticipate any problems. 

When entering the lock I had decided I did not want to catch the floating pins on the starboard side as it was heavily shaded and would be cooler (there was a little sun peeking through from time to time). But I am alone I prefer to approach the pin on my starboard. That side allows me to stay at the wheel while catching the bollard and not try to jump across the cabin to the opposite doorway at the last moment. This means I will enter the lock and hold to the starboard side of the chamber and then make a sweeping 180-degree turn to line up on the right side.  The lock is 110ft wide so even with Seaquinn’s 29 feet of length this shouldn’t be much of a problem.