A Day on the winding Cumberland River

Its amazing how each river has a distinct personality. The might Mississippi, The industrial Ohio, and now the winding picturesque Cumberland River.

The entrance is marked by two large aging bollards, then winds up stream to get gradually narrower.

Enjoyed the serene beauty until its time to pass a barge on a bend.

Barge Traffic

What can you say when the message comes over the radio from a boat up ahead ” I lit up like a  cartoon skeleton , I was so close to that barge”

Or Colleen takes the helm, as the oncoming barge said pass on the ones.   Only he decides to pull a U-turn right in front of us after he let the first 5 boats go past him!    I guess he needed to park on the opposite side of the river just at that moment.

The river is so winding, and narrow, its difficult to plan for a nice straight area to meet those tows; luckily they aren’t huge at this point.

Rock Pits

The next interesting sight , especially for the guys, is the rock mining pit.

Note the size of the red pickup compared to the dump truck.

The workers on the barge were measuring the load, and telling the truck to dump just a little more rock. click on the photos, they should enlarge.

Further up , the rock was being ground and loaded:

Barkley Lock and Dam Background Info:

Many of the dams along the Cumberland River create large reservoirs or lakes.  Our destination is lake Barkley; created by the Barkley Dam.   Lake Barkley is 134 miles long with a shoreline measuring 1004 miles.

Barkley Lock  will provide a 57 foot lift from the river to the lake beyond it.  this dam was completed in 1966.    this lock on the Cumberland along with the lock on the Tennessee river, created the two large lakes and the “Land between the Lakes”  which divides the two lakes. for more info see this website:   http://www.kentuckytourism.com/land-between-the-lakes/2419/


The Barkley Dam was built to control flooding and to harness Hydro electric Power.   The neighboring Kentucky dam is about 70 years old – completed in 1944.   A few years after the Tennessee Valley Authority TVA was established, a devastating flood hit the area in 1937.  The dam would control this flooding, and also provide the hydro power.   Once the Kentucky dam was built, many of the area residents had to be relocated;  later, to make way for the lake created when building the Barkley dam,  two cities were actually relocated – Eddyville and  Kuttawa.  Also highways and railroad were re-routed around the lake and dam when construction began in 1959, to be finished 5 years later.

The two lakes are about 50 miles long parallel with each other – creating a large resort and nature area for tourism.     We have been told there are hundreds of bays and fingers for anchoring!   Our first stop will be the Green Turtle Bay Marina .


After a very short wait for out turn, we entered the lock and tied up to the floating bollards on either side.  Prepared to lift up to 57 feet.


An interesting side note- Colleen tied up to the bollard, and noticed a couple Minnesota Union stickers on them- Proudly made in Minnesota!


The fenders took a beating on this lock;    scummy and scraped most of the way up.  We tried to fend off the wall , but not much luck.

Filled quickly, and off we go; just around the bend to our destination by noon.

We planned to stay a few days, but were lured into a week when we learned it is stay 5 get 2 nights free.    Plus a Looper Dinner invitation for next Thursday night sealed the deal.   This along with the fact that a few in our group needed a few repairs and services.     We are happy to oblige- GTB amenities include a beach, bar, swim pool, service center, store and more.  They also offer a golf cart for getting around or courtesy cars.        Yeah!


About mnsailors

Our blog will highlight our travels along America's Great Loop. We sold our sailboat on Lake Superior for a Trawler to do America's Great Loop in 2016.
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