June 18, 2016 (by Jimmy)
During the weeks of Go-Live, the stress levels go way up. Angela knew this, so she planned a little get away one day when I had the morning off. It was a free trip around Pickwick Lake provided by the State Park Service, and it started at 9:00 a.m. and lasted about an hour.
I arrived about 5 minutes early and saw the pontoon boat pulling up to the dock. A park ranger tied up the boat and introduced herself as Brittany. She took my name and I got on the boat.
There were two other groups: one with three adults and one young daughter (I’d say about 4 yrs. old) and another was a mom and dad and a young son (about 7 yrs. old). So all told there were about 9 people on the boat. The temperature was mid 70’s; it was a great day for a trip around the lake.
The first area of interest was the lock and dam that created the lake and allowed boats to be raised to the lake level or lowered to the Tennessee River level. Across this Lock and Dam is the Estes Kefauver Bridge.
Estes Kefauver was the Vice-Presidential running mate to Adlai Stevenson in their failed 1956 run against Dwight D Eisenhower. I just like to say his name. I’d like a foot-long Kefauver with mustard and relish, please. Anyway, it’s a pretty bridge, and I never was able to see the lock until this boat trip.
Once past the lock and dam, we arrived at the other side of the lake. Along this stretch of the lake is a large cliff where a number of beautiful houses have been built.
Once past the houses our guide said that there was an egret nest, and if we were lucky, we could see the mom and two babies. We were lucky.
They came out waved to the boat, gave us a feathers up, and wished us a good trip.
After the egret nest, we came upon a campground. This is a primitive campground (mostly for tent campers). A few small pull behind RV’s were there, but the road to get to this camp is very narrow and curvy, so a large fifth-wheel like ours or a class A would not make it. Angela and I had driven to this campground some months ago.
We then motored back across the lake and were heading toward the dock. Suddenly, the guide turned the boat towards the shore. She said if you look closely, you can see an Eagle in the trees. She tried to get as close as she could, so we could get a picture. Like I said, we were lucky this day.
It was hard to see him even up close, but she spotted him quite a way out in the lake. Park Ranger Brittany has got skills. After the eagle sighting, we headed back toward the dock. It was such a beautiful day and the people were really enjoying the lake.
It was a nice hour and cost a phone call to reserve a seat on the boat. Park Ranger Brittany was very nice and made the trip enjoyable. I did give her the info on Estes Kefauver so she could use it on future tours.
Angela is a wonderful wife. She thinks about what would make me happy or calm me down or destress me and then plans something like this. Normally, we would have done this together, but she had something that morning, but she knew I needed to take a boat ride. It was the perfect thing. If you’re ever near the Pickwick area, check it out.
Until later… later…