Every time I hear this song, Mississippi roll along; Until the end of time…..Mississippi -Pussycat
September 08, 2012
After fueling up in Port Charles (which is in Missouri where the fuel is 20c cheaper per gallon, than it is in Illinois) we headed to our slip in Grafton.
|The white cliffs of Grafton|
The docks were buzzing with the annual “Party on the River”. There were boats and people and pirates and music and pork roasts and beer tents. The town certainly lives up to its name as the “Key West of the Mississippi”
|The Gypsea Rose - a pirate ship in Grafton|
We were met by Henning from SV Flying Free and after we took care of some housekeeping we were able to spend a lovely evening with them and SV Teasa and MV Next to me. I think between Henning and I we have the perfect recipe for Mia Tais.J
|Me, Henning, Catheryn, Bob and Daniel|
Pulled Pork on a bun for everyone
September 09, 2012
Because we had a long day ahead of us we got up early and headed out down the Upper Mississippi with MV Next to me passing us early on in the game.
Just as we had the big arch of St Louis in sight we hit a snag. The coast guard came on and announced that a body/ person was spotted in the water just a mile ahead of where we were. The coast guard immediately closed the river to all traffic while searching for the person. We were stuck in the river with no place to go and a current dragging us along at, at least 3mph.
|Famous St Louis Arch|
Catheryn on MV Next to me contacted a barge nearby and asked him if we could tie off to him while we waited. We were there for over an hour while the river remained closed. We weren’t allowed to get off our boats so the very helpful young men who work on the barge took our lines from us and secured us to the barge.
We were very lucky that the barge allowed us to tie off to him. They used to help pleasure boaters out all the time but not so much anymore, there has been too many case of litigation against tow operators who had helped a boater out just to get sued afterwards for scratching or leaving a mark on the pleasure boat. So one can understand their reluctance to help out, but this guy was very nice and he got some chocolates from us as a thank you.
Eventually they opened the river again and we continued onto Hoppies. (No, I don’t know what happened re the person in the water, we were later told it was either a jumper or a dumper); apparently it happens a lot in St Louis, which is kinda scary and sad at the same time. Unlike Chicago and its gorgeous waterfront, St Louis doesn’t even have a marina. The waterfront looks run down, very industrial and a little shady.
Since we started talking about doing the loop we have been looking forward to going to Hoppies and meeting Fern. All the Loopers know this stop is an absolute highlight on the trip!!We had heard so much about the place and the people and everything was exactly as we have read about. AT LAST we were there!! Fern is still very agile for her age and was there to catch a line and tie us off. She gave her daily update on the river, warning us about turbulences and telling us about anchorages. We were very lucky that we arrived on a special night, but I am sworn to secrecy about it, just to say we had a wonderful time and met some lovely local people.
|Gary waited years to meet her; famous Fern , Hoppies Marina|
|Gary and Hoppie|
|Hoppies Marina Mississippi|
Hoppies is the last fuel stop for 280 miles so it is not only a necessary stop for some boaters but also a traditional stop for Loopers who get to meet Fern and her family and get updates on the Mississippi. Unfortunately, Hoppies has been in trouble since the US Army Corp of Engineers built a dyke in front of their marina. The dyke is causing a lot of silt to form in and shallow Hoppies. Fern doubt whether they will still be there next year, unless something is done about the silting in of their area. That would be an awful shame!!
It had been a long day. Tired and very happy with ourselves we settled in for the night. Tomorrow night we hope to stay at Kaskaskia lock. Wow, can’t believe where we are and all the things we are seeing and experiencing. We are so lucky!!!!
|The muddy Mississippi|
Sept 10, 2012
|Early morning leaving Kaskasia Lock wall for a 12 hour trip|
There were many barges on the river today, huge things, the size of buildings coming up towards you. Gary is a great captain and it is very important to talk to the tow operators and ask them on which side they would want you to pass them. The thing is, many of these tow boat operators are from the deep south and one cannot understand a word they say!!!
|Near the Trail of Tears National Park|
Kaskaskia lock is the final stop before we attack the 100++ mile trip to take us to the Ohio River and onto the Cumberland. It will be another long day but with the current pushing us an extra 3.5-4 mph we should get it done in about 11 hours.
Sept 11, 2012
Three months ago on June 11th we started the Loop in Trenton, and we have seen so much and done so much already , we can’t wait for the next 3 month and then the 3 after that and so on…..
|This is how fast the river is flowing, usually we do 7 mph |
but with this current we were pushing around 12mph
But today was a hard day on the Mississippi. We started at 0600 and finished the 117 miles from Kaskaskia lock-wall to the junction of the Ohio. It is a long way and even though the current gave us an extra push, sometime we went as fast as 13 mph, it was still 12 long hours on the river.
We encountered numerous barges and tows and with the twist and turns of the river it took some great boat handling at times to get us through the prop washes of those powerful tows.
The big old muddy river has been very good to us. I have swam in every body of water that we have travelled through but I am going to give this river a miss (ha-ha no pun intended) Unlike the Illinois, we didn’t see any of the usual seagulls, jumping carp , eagles or even pelicans while we travelled today.
|Sunset where the ohio meets the Mississippi|
The first anchorage we tried to stop at was DRY, so we continued to Angelo Towhead where we were desperate to find a spot to stay for the night. The first attempt our anchor wouldn’t catch, something we never have had problems with in the past. We had to venture into the little stream around large and ominous looking deadheads to find a spot to drop the hook. Fortunately the current is holding us straight and we are down for the night. Very tired, but happy and ready for the next leg of the journey, up the Ohio to the Cumberland River.
To be continued…………………………………….