Impressions of Dog River

I don’t really have as many profound thoughts as I thought that I would want to share on this blog, so I will do the one thing that might be of lasting value–document my trip. I will write about what I see and the places that I go. I have seen a side of the US that I hadn’t before experienced on the lakes and rivers that I traveled since leaving Dunkirk, NY three months ago.

Dog River marks my return to salt water after about 1,900 miles of fresh water travel on the Great Lakes and the rivers that bisect the continental US. There are a few marinas here in Dog River, not far from the southern end of the Tenn-Tom/Black Warrior waterway. I needed a break here to catch up on all the work that needed to be done on the boat–work that has been accumulating for the last 1,000 miles.

I am staying at Dog River Marina because it is where Ted from the Manatee has been coming for many years, so I went with the recommendation.  I have Cavendysh tied up alongside the Manatee.  She is used to this arrangement by now, as she was towed this way for about 900 miles down the rivers from St. Louis to here.  On Thanksgiving day we had some bad weather that caused a lot of damage to both boats, so my boat was really looking forward to some R & R–Repair and Refurbishment.

There is a West Marine outlet right here in Dog River Marina, which has been very convenient for buying the supplies that I needed to repair gouges in my hull, a crushed genoa car, and a broken bilge pump.  Tom Dabney, of Dabney Sailmakers, Inc., made me a new port sidestay to replace the one that was crushed in the Thanksgiving Day collision.  Dabney Sailmakers is located only a couple of miles from the marina.  I don’t always find sailmakers in the places that I stop, so having Dabney Sailmakers so close to the marina is a great convenience.  Tom also supplied me with some new tell-tales for my mainsail and beeswax, thread, and needles for my repair kit.

Outside of the convenience for getting things done on the boat, there isn’t much to see or do around here.  A car is necessary to visit town or to run errands like doing food shopping, so it is fortunate that a courtesy car is provided by the marina.  The airport is a 35 minute drive away from the marina.  The good food stores are about a 10 minutes away.  I haven’t visited downtown Mobile because it is so far away.  There are suppliers for just about anything in between  Dog River, which is south of the city, and the city itself, so it isn’t necessary to go downtown.  I haven’t really had the desire to go downtown because when the weather has been nice I have had work to do on the boat, and when the weather has been unpleasant I haven’t wanted to go anywhere.

The weather has been colder than I had hoped, with about 10 freezing mornings since I have been here.  That isn’t anything unusual, though.  It is winter, after all.   I had enough good weather to remove and re-bed the port, forward porthole, which was the leakiest one on the boat.  It was a big project because it had been bedded in polyurethane, which has a tenacious grip and has a big flange, which means that there is a lot of surface area for the glue to hold on.  I eventually managed to remove it using Life-Caulk’s “Release!” solvent, which did a good job of loosening the grip of the adhesive sealant.  I worked the porthole loose over a half-day using wedges and solvent.  It took another day to clean it up and another half of a day to test fit it and bed it.

The river where the marinas are located reminds me a bit of the marshes of Georgia.  The most part of the river is muddy and shallow and bordered by marshes.  The scenery is monotonous, a panorama of green and brown.  That isn’t to say that it is boring, though. There are numerous pelicans, night herons, herons, egrets, and of course seagulls to hold my interest.  The grey trees are festooned with spanish moss.  There are boats coming and going, providing an occasional change in scenery and the possibility of new people to meet.

At the dock at Dog River
At the dock at Dog River


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