|9/20-24 Grafton, ILL to , Kimmswick, MO
Many loopers were congragating in Grafton to prepare for the looooong trek down the Miss River. Grafton & Alton are the last marinas for 300 miles, or several days of anchoring & no services. Also, Miss L carries just enough gas to make the trip to the next marina, so we will have to arrange for a truck to meet us at the river to fill us up along the way. Everyone says this works pretty well. Alton & Grafton were neat little towns with both marinas first class. Alton had a hot tub that probably holds 20. Along with Cindy & Dan we used it that cool nite. We had great tours of town, shopped, .... Ate at famous Tony's steak place in Alton - not worth it - steaks were not good. After prepartions, we headed out to traverse a couple of barge locks (both went well, but Sue is still nervous in them) to St. Louis where we discussed tieing to a barge. Upon arriving, we still had a couple of hours, so we decided to make it a long day and bypass St. Louis to make a barge south in Kimmswick, MO called Hoppies. Kimmswick was nearly a ghost town and in the early 1970's a rich lady starting buying up old buildings and restoring them. The result is a quanit town that she eventually sold many buildings to small business folks for shops.... They have made gret progress - it's neat to see things like this in many small towns we have been in. Stayed an extra day at Hoppies due to tornadoes, hail... Glad we did, but we had to leave as Hoppies was expecting a large boat to dock there. N38.21.372, W90.21.660.
We have now been as far north, east & west as we will be on this trip. Only Southernmost point to go. Called good friend Neil who found out how we can vote absentee ballot. Several of us boaters were discussing politics, & John decided we had to vote to counter their socialistic ways - LOL. The barges are MUCH larger on the Miss. We hear of them toting as many as 74, but the largest we passed were 35, however, that totals 1/4 mile long. They are most helpful in guiding us past. Somtimes they have to beach them
9/23-25 Hoppies to Anchorage, ILL
Weather was fair, albeit not great for continuing down the Miss. Mauch trash (limbs, logs) brushed our boat all night, & one hung up under us. We got it loose for leaving, but John jockied the motors to double check for snags. If we just put it in gear, then cluck, & damage, & being so far from any help, we'd be toast. Hoppie gave us some much needed advice on how to debark, as the current was so swift, that it just would have carried us down river sideways, & we could have lost control. We watched one boat do this, & they almost lost it. We made the Kaskaskia River about 40 miles from here in great time as the current pushed us along at a very fast pace. 150 miles gone, & 50 to go on the Miss & another 80 or so up stream on Ohio & Tenn Rivers. Several boaters decided to stop here, so we all got together for cocktail hour & hit the hay early, as we were beat. The next day found us finishing the Miss River, & up the Ohio. Our speed was cut in half as the Ohio was raging. We even saw a refridgerator floating by along with many huge trees, stumps. Had to keep a careful watch.
9/24-26/06 Anchor to Anchor on Ohio
After dodging the logs & sucking up fuel, we made anchor across from a lock that was under construction. We squeezed in several boats into an area that normally would not be a good anchorage, but since the water was up, we made it, rafting to conserve room. We were just barely off the river, but enough so that the current was not a problem for the nite, so we did not have to worry about dragging anchors, just trees. The girls got in dingy & made fools of themselves running up & down the river, laughing while us men tended to more important things, like ensuring our boats stayed put. John fished some, but no luck. One of the guys at the lock saw us, contacted us on radio to make sure we were ok for the nite - the locks are generally very nice & helpful. They do not like the 9/11 security measures that are in place, as they are mostly bogus. One of the loopers snagged an errant buoy, so had to drop anchor in the middle of the river. A tow dragged him over to shore. Since we were 2 days from the nearest marina, they had to stay put for 2 days until a tow got to them. Then the tow broke down, so another 2 days before they got towed. We have not seen them yet, but hear that they are still safe. We checked on them when we passed to make sure they had water...Several of us hit logs, etc, so some of us are getting our boats hauled to double check damage. We get hauled Friday. N37.10.677, W89.03.481. We see many butterflies, eagles, Osprey, Heron, and turtles. Beautiful