10-17-09 Bay Hill Marina and dinner w/friends

Betsy speaks – We spent the day at Bay Hill Marina near Athens, Alabama. Waking up this morning it was very cold outside, but nothing seems to stop the fishermen here. I looked out to see a bass boat right in the marina basin, with two guys bundled up on board fishing. Seeing these boats on the open water they seem like they are flying. Taking a closer look at this one right next to us I could see why they go so fast. This small boat has a 250 horse motor on the back! I asked the guy how fast it went and he said 81 MPH!

It was cold all day, so we just stayed on the boat and read and relaxed. This afternoon the marina was setting up for a wedding reception on one of the several barges that make up the perimeter of this marina. Since it is so cold, they had to put up plastic all the way around, as well as several huge heaters. Tonight as I write this the party is still going strong at 11:30 and we are docked right next to it. Here’s a picture of the barge, as they were putting up the decorations on the inside which you really can’t see very well.

Tonight we had a real treat. Many towns have “marina hosts” that are members of the AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Assoc). These hosts may be past or future loopers or just people that dream of doing it. They offer their cars, local knowledge, just anything you might need as you pass through their town. Rick and I may be “hosts” for loopers that come through our area once we arrive home. As soon as we arrived here yesterday we were introduced to Jim and Sue Starke who completed the loop several years ago. Originally from Ohio, they fell in love with this area as they looped through and eventually purchased a small patio home here. While looping they met our friends Gayle and Al on “Falcor” who are presently on their 3rd time around. So when we pulled in yesterday they were visiting with “Falcor” and immediately came over and introduced themselves to us and offered to help us in any way possible while we are here. We all got together on “Falcor” last night for docktails and Sue and Jim invited us along with Gayle and Al to come to their house for dinner tonight. It was the first time Rick and I have been in a real home since we left ours on May 18th. Sue and Jim fixed a wonderful dinner of fried fish.

Next week Sue and Jim plan to get on their boat and travel with Gayle and Al on down to Florida. They live on their boat about 8 months out of the year and spend about 4 months in the home they bought here. It was a fun evening and wonderful to have a home cooked meal after all these months!

Tomorrow morning we’re all getting together for breakfast here at the marina, and then Rick and I will head back to Florence for a few days.

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