As we continue to move further into the deep south, Stel and I find that we are no longer the minorities with southern accents. We can finally refer to our northern based friends as the ones that talk a little funny. I have enlightened many of the northern loopers with the definitions of “y’all” (2 to 4 people) and “all y’all” (5 or more) to get them ready for their entry into the wonderful southern legs of the trip. I have happily spent a great deal of time convincing them that “grits”, properly pronounced gri-yets, should become a regular part of their diet, whether ordering breakfast, lunch or dinner….and should never be ordered without a tall glass of sweeeeet ice tea. It will be a hard sell, but maybe by the time they pass the coast of South Carolina in the spring, they will have adapted to some of the ways of life unique to the deep south.

Stel and I have spent the last 10 days cruising down beautiful Kentucky Lake and into the Tennessee River. Kentucky Lake is one of the largest man-made bodies of water in the world. It covers 160,000 acres, has 2,380 miles of shoreline and even though the southern half looks more like a river, the lake is technically 240 miles long. On the east side of the lake is the “The Land Between the Lakes”, officially designated a National Recreation Area by John F. Kennedy is 1963. We discovered some beautiful bays in this wilderness area and enjoyed some quiet, moon-lit nights at anchor as we made our way south. This area is one of our country’s bass fishing hot spots, so there were high powered bass boats blowing past us all day long. Sharing the waterways with bass boat traffic was a pure pleasure compared to all the tow boats that we had been dealing with during the prior weeks. As a matter of information for my fishing buddies back home, I was no threat to the bass population in the area, but was able to catch a few lumbering catfish with a high degree of fishing finesse…hotdog on a bare hook!

We have decided to take a long side trip up the Tennessee River to one of our favorite cities, Chattanooga. Our daughter, Katie, went to college in that area and we fell in love with it. It will add another 500 miles to our trip, but we may never have another opportunity to see this part of the country by water. We will be meeting some friends there, and they will hopefully be enjoying the peak of the fall colors with us as we cruise through what is known as the “Grand Canyon of the Tennessee.”