Check Engine Light, No Service and Fog

“My times are in your hand . . .” (Psalm 31:15 ESV)


The Intuition Diaries

(This series is a continuing travelogue that I post from time to time, whenever we take our boat out for an adventure.)


October 22, 2018

Wartrace Creek anchorage


Taking some time out to breathe, relax and rest from our regular routine, we call this vacation. Taking some time to remember, marvel and muse on how we made it this far, we call this celebration. Taking some time to read words, take notes and notice patterns in nature, I call this paying attention.

October is the month that we agreed to have and to hold, to love and to cherish until death do us part, a mere thirty-two years ago. It’s often a time for vacation, celebration and paying attention. One of my favorite parts of traveling on the Intuition has to be all the intentions I dream up while I’m packing clothes, food, books, art supplies, my camera and laptop.

I tell myself that I will make some progress on my elusive novel. I bring two or three types of journals. One for writing, one for art, and a little one to take ashore for note taking or sketches. I haul more books than I’ll ever have time to read; I call them the stowaways. (I’ll post them later in the trip.) I pack more clothes than I’ll ever wear, but I don’t regret bringing my winter coat, hat and gloves. It does get chilly in the evenings and early morning. And I love planning our menu.

Tonight Les grilled us chicken and broccoli, while I cooked fried apples on the galley stovetop.


We spent the day exploring the upper reaches of the Cumberland. We didn’t make it all the way to Selina, TN, where the river begins. The water levels were down, and the spot we planned to let the dog off to stretch her legs was too shallow for us to dock, so we decided to turn around heading back toward the Wildwood Resort and Marina, where we put in yesterday. We knew we could dock there.

Instead, we stopped here at Wartrace Creek inlet. We slowed the engine down and checked depths to make sure we could reach the dock without the boat getting stuck. Once settled, Les walked the dog. And I found a little beach. I stuck my toes in the cold sand, while the sun warmed my face.


It was a good first day out on the river.

October 23, 2018

Defeated Creek Marina

We started the day out with our regular routine of feeding the dog, eating breakfast, and having our coffee, all in the cloak of a deep fog. When I fed the dog on the back deck, I looked up and thought a wall had been added. I could almost touch the fog. By nine o’clock, we had taken the dog to shore for her pit stop and the fog had lifted in the secluded inlet. I asked Les, if he thought the fog was still thick on the river. He didn’t know, we’d just see as we got closer to the river.

Each time we take off on one of our adventures, we wonder what unexpected happenings we might experience. It could be leaving the boat key at home or having a campfire on an island by ourselves, while we watch the sun set. We have both the best of times and some trying times, too. Just before we left on this trip, we had weathered an emergency trip to the ER for my mom, whose blood pressure had mysteriously spiked, even though she’s never had an experience like that before. The doctor ruled out anything scary, and asked her to follow-up with her doctor. Next day, she was back to normal, so we packed our boat, and wisely spent an extra night at home to avoid sleeping in freezing temps with no heat.

We woke up before dawn and started our drive to the Cumberland River. About halfway to our destination, the check engine light came on. UH OH! We grumbled a little and prayed a little. We found an O’Reilly Auto Parts store open on a Sunday morning, and they used a diagnostic tool to check out what the light was indicating. Would it be engine trouble or something less daunting, like it just went on and needed to be reset? Thankfully, it was the latter. We made it to our destination by early afternoon, and the rest of the day with putting the boat in the water went seamlessly. We stayed at the Wildwood Resort and Marina in Granville, TN. It has a marina, cabins, airstream campers to rent, a nice restaurant and primitive, yet hot showers.

The river view at Wildwood Resort and Marina

Our first two days on the river, we had little to no internet service. This time of year the sun sets early. After dinner, we would look at each other, thinking what now. No Netflix or YouTube for me, no internet surfing for Les. The first night we went to bed at 7:30pm. The second night, we did something we hadn’t done for years. We read a book together. Les read the first couple chapters of Paul Souder’s adventure of taking the ultimate polar bear photos, in his book, Arctic Solitaire. We laughed out loud, and I remembered how much I enjoy Les’ reading voice. Hopefully tonight, even though we have internet service, I will read him a couple more chapters.

It’s nice to have no service once in awhile.

Before I close out this entry, I wanted to tell you what I learned about fog today. I asked Les what causes fog, and he said it had to do with the water temperature being warmer than the air temperature and the dew point, or something like that. When we made our way out of the Wartrace Creek, the fog obscured our visibility out on the river. So much so, that Les asked me to be the lookout, while he monitored the chart plotter and radar and drove the boat. I was to report if I saw any big logs or debris or john boats out fishing to keep us from running in to said list. I was impressed by the fact that Les plots our course in good weather, so that if needed we could retrace our path, which we did need today. He also informed me that he would begin beeping our horn every two minutes. That was to inform other boaters that we were out there in the fog.

I kept my watch, noticing a fallen leaf, some bubbles from a fish, but no logs or debris. I did notice a john boat along the shore, and pointed it out to Les. He said that I noticed it before the radar. I felt kind of important in that moment.

I kept trying to think of a life metaphor, but then I’d be jarred from my musings by the horn. I had already forgot that he was going to sound the horn every two minutes.

Trusting that goodness and mercy will follow us, whether the check engine light comes on, or there is no service or a deep fog obscures the path for a while that was a good enough lesson for our second day on the river.

(By the way, what’s up with Tennessee naming places: Wartrace and Defeated? Seems a little dreary to this ever, optimistic soul.)







5 thoughts on “Check Engine Light, No Service and Fog

  1. I liked this art but am having trouble figuring out how to comment on the blog! These boating adventures sound wonderful! Gail

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Kel: It’s nice to read of your boating adventures again. The names Tennessee chooses might stem from the Civil War activity. I will ask my son about this. He is a Civil War buff. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

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