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Ocmulgee river from Juliette to Macon, Georgia

March 21, 2012

Starting at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Twelve years ago I launched my canoe in the Ocmulgee river at Juliette dam and paddled down nearly to Macon (rhymes with bacon).  My late father, wife, children, and a family friend Lesley came too. A great paddle.

Fannie Flagg’s lesbian novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was filmed in Juliette.

Juliette bridge crosses the river just upstream of the dam


Here’s the present Whistle Stop Cafe and other pictures of the dam


These pictures of Juliette and the old disused mill are from before Hollywood came to visit.


We launched from just below the dam on the left bank.


After the first few rapids (shoals) below the dam, the river was easy and in less than an hour we’d found an island to camp on for the night.


We lay awake in our tents and listened to the coal trains inch past.

Next day we paddled on.  Turtles plopped off their warm stones into the water as we rounded every bend.  We didn’t see any alligators.

On the right bank we passed the water abstraction station for the the nearby Robert Scherer power plant.

This is allegedly the largest single point source for CO2 in the United States.  But it also produces 32 megawatts of power for nearby Atlanta. It’s situated a few miles from the river on the artificial Lake Juliette created by damning a small tributary Rum Creek, and topped up with water from the Ocmulgee.

Island – pass either side

Dames Ferry – Highway 18 bridge

Shoals below


Rum creek joins right.

We landed here at Pope’s Ferry.  A good access point.


The total distance was no more than 10 or 12 miles.  Wobbles on some of the shoals, but no-one fell in.

Jim Thornton

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