‘North of Highway 8’ is a phrase used to describe the portion of Wisconsin North of U.S. Highway 8… and it doesn’t necessarily have the most awesome connotations. It is very rural and the locals seem to be pretty uneducated, a little slow or partly crazy. People in this region have a higher propensity for intercourse with dead deer, marrying their 2nd cousins and trash art on their front lawns. Places, people and events contribute to the around awesomeness that sets apart and distinguishes ‘North of Highway 8’.
Upon acceptance of our application to to live north of highway 8 Dale and I will become part of the fabric of this community ‘North of Highway 8’.
How it came to be
Never in a million years would I have ever imagined I would be living in single wide in retirement and liking it! But here we are living in a single wide in a 55 plus trailer park ‘North of Highway 8’.
Last September (2020) we were up visiting Dale’s good friend Dan Heller. As we were sitting in Dan’s yard enjoying an awesome view of Balsam Lake he mentioned the lady next door, at the mailbox that morning, told him she was going to sell her place. Dale finished his cold beverage, walked over, knocked on the door and bought the place. We left on our Platinum Loop a month later.
Our abode sat empty for a year waiting for us to complete the Loop. Dan kept a watchful eye over it for us. Thanks Dan.
For those of you who might think Dale’s purchase was strange, it was. We had just bought a condo in Cape Canaveral less than a month ago. (That’s a Florida Man story for another day.) And it wasn’t. A little impulsive maybe. Dale’s parents Mil and Anita, had a trailer on the south of this this same park for many wonderful years. Buying the trailer house ensured we had had a place to live when we returned from ‘The Loop’, other than imposing ourselves upon our daughter Emily. We have been living in Emily’s basement off and on for the past 4-5 years when we are in Minnesota. I’m sure it really sucks to be young and single and having your parents staying at your house. Thank you ever so much Emily for allowing us to stay there. Now and then we HAD to get off the boat.
Destination Arrived Mississippi River Statute Mile 830
Along the Way
All good things must come to an end. Today we sold yes dear to Paul and Micki. If you had been paying attention to foreshadowing in the last two blogs you would have noticed ‘yes dear = Freedom‘. Paul and Micki are going to rechristen yes dear… to Freedom. I know she is going to competent boaters and wonderful people who will enjoy her as much as we did.
Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has past will never pass by again. Enjoy every moment of your life.
Destination Arrived Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 0 Remaining number of Locks: 0
Along the Way
At work (It’s great to be retired).
LOL. The section of the Mississippi River from Treasure Island to the Twin Cities is called Asshole Alley because there are so many inconsiderate large boats hauling all out between the two spots. Being a Tuesday and all, luckily we didn’t encounter any.
Lock 2 – mile 815, Hastings, MN. The final lock of our adventure. One last time we needed to drop anchor and wait. Scheduled repair was being perform on the lock. We had to wait 30 minutes for the next opening. No problem. It was another ‘Top 10 Weather Day’ and the company was great (Paul and Micki).
The gates on this lock are different from the roller gates on the southern locks. Opportunist pelicans congregated near them
Mississippi River Pool 2
The skeleton of a keyboard is in the trees. Paul and Micki said it’s been there for about 20 years. They keep watching it fall apart.
Woo Woo! Twin Cities Marina ahead!
Our kids where there to greet us. I was so excited to see our granddaughter Quinlyn that she was the only one I took a picture of. I got to hold her first 🙂
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 32 Remaining number of Locks: 1
Along the Way
First order of the day was to swap out the props.
OMG. The underside of yes dear… was green with grass! All of it courtesy of this marina.
Woo Woo! We had friends join us for the remainder of the trip to the Twin Cities. Both Micki and Paul are experienced boaters. We put them to work….. It felt like we were rich and had deck hands.
The Coast Guard reminds me of squirrels. They store their caches in locations where they can later retrieve them.
Lake Pepin. It was a ‘Top 10 Weather Day’.
In the Winona legend, the daughter of Dakota Sioux chief Red Wing (for whom the nearby town of Red Wing, Minnesota is named) jumped from this cliff after her lover, a member of the rival Chippewa tribe, was killed by Dakota warriors under orders from Red Wing. (This story sounds a whole lot like the story of Lovers’ Leap in Hannibal MO http://yesdear.life/wp-admin/post.php?post=27720)
God Bless America. In the fall of 1938, as fascism and war threatened Europe, Irving Berlin decided to write a peace song. He recalled an unpublished version of a song that he had set aside in a trunk, took it out and shaped it into a ‘second’ national anthem. God Bless America was notably recorded by Kate Smith, becoming her signature song.
Lock 3 – mile 797, Welch/Red Wing, MN
This land was made for you and me!
“This Land Is Your Land” is one of the United States’ most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by American folk singer Woody Guthrie in 1940 in critical response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”. Guthrie was tired of hearing Kate Smith sing “God Bless America” on the radio in the late 1930s.
The Mississippi River is the second longest river in North America, flowing 2,350 miles from its source at Lake Itasca through the center of the continental United States to the Gulf of Mexico. The Missouri River, a tributary of the Mississippi River, is about 100 miles longer.
Drolleries and Yuks
What do you say to comfort a friend who’s struggling with grammar? ~ There, their, they’re.
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 70 Remaining number of Locks: 2
Along the Way
We just can’t seem to get way from BUGS!!!
The boat lift at the Wabasha City Marina wasn’t large enough to pull out yes dear… so we can switch out the props. We needed to move to Parkside Marina on the north end of Wabasha.
Dale opened the lift door to the cockpit storage/genny compartment door to pull something out. Ugh! It was lined with mayfly carcasses. There is no escaping these bugs.
Parkside Marina is really green with lots of bottom weeds too. The water is low and it has been hot. Prime weather for growing weeds.
Bald eagles have a wingspan of 5 to 8 feet long and a body that ranges from 2 feet to just over 3 feet long.
The female bald eagles are larger than the males. On average, male bald eagles weigh 25 percent less than females. Females weigh around 13 pounds, while the males weigh around 9 pounds.
Bald eagles live around 20 to 30 years old in the wild. Captive individuals have been known to live longer, with one eagle almost reaching the age of 50.
Bald eagle pairs typically bond for life around 4 or 5 years of age.
Bald eagles build the largest nest of any North American bird. Nests have been found that are as deep as 13 feet and up to 8 feet wide. Some bald eagle’s nests can weigh as much as 2000 pounds!
Once an egg hatches, the baby eagle will be confined to the nest anywhere between 8 to 14 weeks before fledging (taking their first flight).
Once they can fly, the parents will continue bringing the juveniles food and providing protection for another six weeks! During this time, they continue to develop their flying and hunting skills before heading off on their own.
Bald eagles can fly as high as 10,000 feet.
While on the hunt for prey, eagles can dive up to 100 miles per hour. But in regular flight, they can travel about 30 miles per hour.
Bald have two centers of focus. This gives them the ability to see forward and to the side simultaneously.
Bald eagles can swim, sort of. Eagles have hollow bones and fluffy down, so they can float pretty well.
We didn’t see ANY eagles around Wabasha.
Drolleries and Yuks
What do you call an eagle that plays the piano? Talon-ted!
Locks (6): Lock 8 – mile 679, Genoa, WI Lock 7 – mile 703, La Crescent, MN and Onalaska, WI Lock 6 – mile 714, Trempealeau, WI Lock 5A – mile 728, Fountain City, WI and Goodview, MN Lock 5 – mile 738, Minnesota City, MN Lock 4 – mile 753, Alma, WI
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 71 Remaining number of Locks: 2
Along the Way
We picked the world’s worst anchorage last night. We knew there would be trains. (Along the rivers there always are.) We hadn’t expected them blowing their horn for EVERY little road they crossed. We also hadn’t expected the factory whistles and other industrial noises all night. (For the record, we couldn’t see the factory from the river.)
We’d been feeling pretty smug about no bugs for the past couple of of days. Then this happened. Last night we were inundated again by mayflies. Our nice clean boat 🙁
At least we weren’t inundated with other pesky little bugs.
Sunrise was about 5:30am this morning. It was 61 degrees. Days are noticeably longer, earlier mornings later nights. We are further up north than we’ve been for a long time.
There must have been a bass fishing contest today. Bass boats were as plentiful as mayflies before we got underway.
It started as another bleak day and was pretty much a bleak day all day. The scenery was phenomenal. It looks a whole lot like the upper Hudson River valley.
Lock 8 – mile 679, Genoa, WI
Sand dredge islands. The dredgers need someplace to put the sand. There are a fair amount of them and they are huge. This is the only area on our entire trip where we see this singular formation.
Lock 7 – mile 703, La Crescent, MN and Onalaska, WI
Lock 7 was another lock we got to sit and enjoy the view for an hour until the southbound barge pushed out. There were 6 rec boats waiting go up and another 7 at the top waiting to go down. We had to tie up, rather than float through, because there were other boats in the lock with us. Locks are a lot faster if you can float through.
It lightly rained off and on throughout the day.
Lock 6 – mile 714, Trempealeau, WI
Trempealeau was celebrating Catfish Days. The lock was open for visitors to explore. There were a lot of visitors exploring.
The day warmed up but it never got sunny. Leave it to Minnesotans to still get out and enjoy the water and sand.
Winona area eventing. A day on the water is an event for people in Minnesota, and I suppose Wisconsin too. It seems they have the ability to enjoyed more than anywhere else. Probably because they don’t take it for granted like the Florida people do.
I canawanagetthere. Lock 5A – mile 728, Fountain City, WI and Goodview, MN is the forth lock of the day.
Our timing has not been good today. We had another wait at Lock 5A for another tow.
Thankfully the Lockmaster lifted the rec vessels through the lock before he took the waiting tow. I suppose he just wanted us out of the way.
An enormous Corp of Engineers tow passed us headed down river lugging a little bit of everything. It included two large tow boats (on pushing, one being lugged), an extra large dredging barge, crew cabin/office barge, land equipment/earth movers, at least four small tow boats, and several crew runabout boats in tow.
A second Corp of Engineers tow followed it from a distance of the time it takes to raise and lower a lock. It carried dredging pipes and other pieces of equipment.
Oopsies. I hate oopsies. I accidently bumped a button on my camera.
I canawanagetthere. Lock 5 – mile 738, Minnesota City, MN is the fifth lock of the day. It sure is pretty around here even on cloudy days.
I really canawanagetthere. Lock 4 – mile 753, Alma, WI is the sixth lock of the day. Our personal best was 7 locks in on day. That happened twice while we were on the Erie Canal.
🙁 We hit a submerged object. A wreck your day kind of object. yes dear… has a small shimmy so we will have to swap out her props:(
Locks (3): Lock 11 – mile 583, Dubuque, IA Lock 10 – mile 615, Guttenberg, IA Lock 9 – mile 648, Lynxville, WI and Harpers Ferry, IA
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 168 Remaining number of Locks: 8
Along the Way
Entered Wisconsin just before we reached Lock 11 – mile 583, Dubuque, IA
We had plenty of time to look at Lock 11. The lock had just started moving a southbound tow into it. Two hour wait.
We are in the Driftless Area. Rugged rock bluffs and huge hill on both sides the Mississippi River. The upper Mississippi River is a great place to end our great run.
It was a gray day. It was time to try a different lens. Here’s to hoping things look cheerier.
Things do look brighter!
We got to spend a little over an hour looking at Lock 10 – mile 615, Guttenberg, IA while we waited for a tow to pass. Fortunately it was a small one 2×3 barges. It could all fit in the lock at one time.
Our turn. The lockmaster squeezed us through while a barge was disassembling for passage.
By the time we got to Lock 9 – mile 648, Lynxville, WI and Harpers Ferry, IA the sun was going down but the sky was brightening up.
There were quite a few people camping along this stretch of the river.
The Driftless Area is a region in southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and the extreme northwestern corner of Illinois, of the American Midwest. The region’s distinctive terrain is due to its having been bypassed by the last continental glacier. The term “driftless” indicates a lack of glacial drift, the deposits of silt, gravel, and rock that retreating glaciers leave behind. It is characterized by steep, forested ridges, deeply carved river valleys, and karst geology characterized by spring-fed waterfalls and cold-water trout streams.
Drolleries and Yuks
What do you call an unpredictable camera? ~A loose Canon.
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 250 Remaining number of Locks: 11
Along the Way
It’s been really hot. One day for fun we walked around the freezer section at HyVee because we just wanted to be cold. Unfortunately HyVee had really thermal freezer doors so we had to settle for the cold meat and dairy sections. I purchase a bottle of water and slammed it down. Instant brain freeze!
It was so warm in the beginning of the week the potable drinking water on yes dear… was warm to the taste. Having air conditioning on the yes dear… has been a blessing.
Dubuque is a pretty river town.
It has an old history of painting on the sides of building. Sold signage is visible on many buildings.
Dubuque also has a modern history of painting on the sides of building. The downtown area is filled with murals. Below are just a couple of them
The walk took me past Bimbo Bakeries. Bimbo Bakeries USA is part of Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company. Some of their brands include Sara Lee®, Entenmann’s®, Brownberry® Bread, Thomas’® English muffins and bagels. We can smell the freshly baked bread from the marina.
All of the above pictures were take on my cell phone when I walked to HyVee for groceries. Thursday morning. My camera was still on break.
The Twilight departs for 1 and 2 day cruises.
A brain freeze is actually called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgi.
Muffins spelled backwards is exactly what you get.
Locks (3): Lock 14 – mile 493, LeClaire, IA Lock 13 – mile 522, above Fulton, IL and Clinton, IA Lock 12 – mile 557, Bellevue, IA
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 250 Remaining number of Locks: 11
Happy 4th of JulyObserved
I observed the holiday.
I’m feeling guilty about taking blog days off. The river run between Davenport(yesterday) and Dubuque(today) is pretty and I should have taken pictures. You’ll have to run it for yourself sometime, I guess.
By the way….. I will probably be taking Tuesday, July 6 – Thursday, July 8 off. We are going to hang out here in Dubuque for a couple of days.
Americans Will Enjoy 150 Million Hot Dogs During the 4th According to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (NHDSC), Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th holiday. This is part of an estimated 7 billion that are expected to be eaten during the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Americans consume about 150 million hot dogs while celebrating Independence Day. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, that amount of dogs can stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times.
The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 white guys with an average age of 44 wearing wigs, tights, heals and rouge.
Locks (4): Lock 18 – mile 410, Gladstone, IL and Burlington, IA Lock 17 – mile 347, New Boston, IL Lock 16 – mile 457, Muscatine, IA Lock 15 – mile 483, Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA
Destination Mississippi River Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 332 Remaining number of Locks: 14
Happy 4th of July
I took the holiday off.
The Declare Independence wasn’t signed on the 4th of July 1776 The official Declare Independence vote actually took place two days before on July 2 and the “Declaration” was published in papers on July 4. Only two men Signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Charles Thompson and the infamous John. The other 54 delegates signed over the course of the next month.
The Declaration of Independence was written on a laptop … Okay, not a modern laptop, but still. Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a writing desk that could fit over one’s lap. This device was referred to at the time as a “laptop.”
Three presidents have died, and one was born in the Forth of July. Thomas Jefferson, 82, and John Adams, 90, both died on July 4, 1826 within five hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. James Monroe, the nation’s fifth president, died just a few years later on July 4, 1831.
The country’s 30th Commander-in-Chief, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.
Drolleries and Yuks
Why doesn’t fire get to enjoy a day off on the Fourth of July? ~ Because fire works.
What did the little firecracker say to the bigger firecracker? ~“Hi, Pop.”
How did one flag greet another flag? ~It waved.
How come there aren’t any knock-knock jokes about America? ~Because freedom rings.
What did the colonists wear to the Boston Tea Party? ~Tea-shirts.
What do you call an American revolutionary who draws cartoons? ~A Yankee Doodler.
Which colonists told the most jokes? ~Punsylvanians!
Locks (3): Lock 21 – mile 32,5 Quincy, IL Lock 20 – mile 343, Canton, MO Lock 19 – mile 364, Keokuk, IA
Destination Mississippi River Pool 2 Statute Mile 830 Remaining Statute Miles: 428 Remaining number of Locks: 18
Along the Way
Looking back at Lock 22 – mile 301, Saverton MO
The Lover’s Leap story goes … It was given this name about 1840, by some genius who applied to it the scene of the oft repeated story of the Indian Maiden who dashed herself down from a rock precipice rather than wed a warrior she did not love. Since the whole story is an invention of a romanticist, the Indian maiden could have really married the “buck” selected for her by her father, and is indifferent about the matter altogether.
Triple Crown (TC; a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern), is a bi-modal transport network servicing the eastern part of the United States. It uses a hybrid technology combining specifically designed trailers with rail bogies (called RoadRailers) to form trains. The trailers also have truck wheels. The load units (trailers) are not transferred from road to rail (and vice-versa) like a usual train. Instead, the load units (trailers) are simply assembled in rail convoys at the origin and disassembled into truck trailers at the destination.
Inside the levee.
Outside the levee
Lock 21 – mile 32,5 Quincy, IL. Most of the locks on the Upper Mississippi River follow a similar design. They have an iconic set of 4 large pillars near the center of the lock.
The buoys have take a beating this year. So many are missing and so many are out of places.
Lock 20 – mile 343, Canton, MO
Many of the towns along the Mississippi River through Missouri, Illinois and Iowa remind me of ‘Steampunk Cities’.
Lock 19 – mile 364, Keokuk, IA
Construction of the privately built Keokuk dam began in 1910, and was completed in 1913. The movable portion of the dam is 4,620 feet long with 119 separate 30 feet rectangular, steel-skin plated, sliding gates. The gates are either installed or removed and river flow is controlled by the number of gates installed. They are removed by a gantry crane that travels on the service bridge above the dam. At the time it was completed it was second in length only to the Aswan Low Dam on the Nile River.
Barge exiting the lock
Stupid little boat! The tow captain was most unhappy with the stupid little boat. The little boat sat right in front of the barge to watch it come out of the lock. The tow captain knew the little boat was there but the little boat was too close to the tow for the captain to be able to see him.
After the tow’s initial 1 prolonged blast warning I am leaving the lock the little boat did not move out of the way. The tow captain had to issue two different sets of 5 short blasts (danger!!!) before the little boat finally moved. Stupid little boat!
Keokuk Lock. I like this lock. It’s interesting.
Fort Madison IA
Evening settling in
When we stopped to drop anchor we were inundated with thousands of small, < 2 inch long white mayflies. It looked like it was snowing.
Thankfully mayflies flew off about 30 minutes after landing.
Happy 3rd of July fire works. We were on the wrong side the island for the big show.
Drolleries and Yuks
Why are frogs so happy? ~They eat whatever bugs them.
Ewh. What happened last night?????? A mayfly hatch. I had to sweep them off to pull lines. There’s going to be a lot of fat baby birds around here.
Morning flag check.
Good to go. We started heading for Minnesota at exactly 6:02pm. We left the marina running 10 knots at 1200 rpms. yes dear… was surfing down the Illinois River towards the Mississippi River on the current.
Once we rounded Illinois River – Mississippi River confluence we ground down to 5.4 knots at 1600 rpms. It’s going to be a slow ride back to Minnesota.
Lock 25 – mile 241, Winfield, MO. The lock lift is only 1 foot today from all the rain. Normally it’s ~15 foot lift.
The Mississippi River is exceptionally muddy. Silt from wave splash was settling on yes dear’s… swim deck. I’ve never seen that before.
There are a lot of wing dams on the Mississippi River to help direct the water. Some are U shaped and others are simple line dams.
We chased this tow up the river.
One great thing about traveling the Mississippi River is that statue miles are clearly marked on both the charts and corresponding daymarks.
Lock 24 – mile 273, Clarksville, MO. The lock lift was only 6 feet today from all the rain. Normally it’s ~15 foot lift.
Lock 22 – mile 301, Saverton MO (no Lock 23). This was a little high, but close to normal lift.
The lock master said we could float through and didn’t need to tie off. Raising and lowering locks create strong currents in the chamber. We still fender one side incase we need to catch a wall.
Unfortunately they let Saverton’s village idiot in the lock with us. He positioned directly on our port side, the side that I had fendered. Dale pulled forward. He pulled forward. Dale pulled forward. He pulled forward. I politely asked him to move either in front of us or behind us. He might be a good fisherman. That’s all I going to say.
I was looking at the logs when I took the above picture. You can tell the water has recently been high. What caught my eye was all the lines with hand holds, safety lines in case anyone fell in or was swept in.
Shortly after we cross the lock we dropped anchor for the night.
The Ascent. Lock 25 – mile 241, Winfield, MO to Lock 2 – mile 815, Hastings, MN
Drolleries and Yuks
When does it rain money? -When there is ‘change’ in the weather.
I thought I’d check in. We are still waiting out the weather and the river. The forecast for today was this.
The past couple of days have been altering every other hour between severe thunderstorms and 98 degrees heat with high humidity. Today was cooler, but still a lot of rain. We’ve been spending a lot of time on the yes dear…
Yesterday the log count was 3-5 logs bigger than I am moving past yes dear… per minute on the Illinois River. Today it’s about 1 log per minute. The water level has dropped considerably, but it is still high.
We’ve got a great view of Grafton’s US flag and the Mississippi Palisades from yes dear’s… mid deck. I check it every morning and several times a day when I do the log count.
Grafton Harbor Marina has ‘free boat detailing’. The rain has scrubbed yes dear’s… exterior. The fish are eating the moss or whatever off her bottom and the grackles and sparrows have picked all the bugs and spiders off her.
There’s a grackle nest just off yes dear’s… sun roof aft corner. One of the grackle parents is really wary about us being here. The other one doesn’t care. Besides watching logs all day, I’ve been watching the birds. Oh, yah. We also did laundry today too.
The log count is still around one log per minute.
3:00pm grackle check
It took about 15 minutes for the grackle to build up the nerve to go feed the babies.
The weather and water will be good enough for us to leave tomorrow morning. But we are not. Grafton Harbor Marina has a Looper Special that if you stay three nights you get two nights free. We are staying for both our free nights and will be leaving Friday morning, July 2.
I’ve said this before, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Weather Service is a boater’s friend. Not only does NOAA provide a weather service it also provides a river watch service. River observations and forecasts.
The Illinois River, where we were last week before the rain, is still having hard time with flooding. Below is a NOAA River Chart for the Starved Rock Lock in the Illinois River. (Glad we aren’t there now.)
This is a NOAA River Chart for the Quincy IL lock on the Mississippi River. We are heading this direction.
Drolleries and Yuks
How do you make holy water? ~You boil the hell out of it.
I bet everyone up river is thankful for their dikes. The water keeps rising. The water level in the marina is noticeably higher than it was yesterday morning. Nineteen feet in the past two days. It’s apparent in the height of the dock poles and the angle of the floating dock ramps.
We watched a continuous onslaught of trees making their way down the river ALL DAY.
The locks and dams must be a mess with all this junk. Locks close down if water is too high. Grafton Harbor Marina has temporarily stopped renting their rental boats. They don’t want them damaged in all the debris.
We also watch the Grafton IL/St. Charles MO Ferry fight the current in and out.
Weather altered between extreme hot and muggy and rumbling, heavy thunderstorms through out the day.
Changing Colors. During a break in the weather we mounted our just delivered, Platinum Loop burgee. The Platinum burgee my only be flown by Loopers who have completed the Loop 2 or more times.
Per Kimberly Russo, Director of America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association (AGALC) “This is an unusual year due to COVID. Not many boats began the Loop last year, so we’ve had very few completions reported this year. In most years, about 500 boats show that they’re in progress in our database. In the last “normal” year (2019), we had 162 new Gold Loopers and 14 new Platinum. Total Gold through 2020 is 1817. Total platinum through 2020 is just under 100.”
There are more people that climb Mount Everest each year than complete the Loop. Approximately 800 people attempt to climb Mount Everest annually.
The sun stayed out so we wandered out
Vince the Pirate had to leave to go back to Seneca 🙁 But of course it had to start raining AGAIN as we headed out to use the marina courtesy car.
It quit by the time we got to the Alton Amtrak station.
We already miss you. But I must say it is a whole lot quieter without your “Tweety Bird” phone chirping all the time.
It’s raining again. Alot. Maybe it’s a good thing we live on a boat.
We are currently under a river flood warning here in Grafton until Wednesday afternoon. The water is expected to crest near 25 feet. Rainfall heavier than forecast could cause river levels to rise even higher than predicted.
More thunderstorms are forecasted for all day tomorrow. The weather outlook for the week is not promising. We are going to sit tight here in Grafton until the water and weather settle down. Most-likely I will not create another blog entry until we are on the move again.
We anchored last night in 7 feet of water, but pulled anchor this morning at over 9 feet of water. The river rose 2 feet overnight. Over four inches of rain fell yesterday. One inch fell within 20 minutes.
The anchor rode needed to be cleared. It had collected an eagle’s nest worth of logs and branches. It was not an easy job.
As we sipped our morning coffee we noticed a pontoon floating down river that was tied to another pontoon, that was floating down river.
We issued a sécurité on channel 16, pulled anchor and went over to investigate. By this time the pontoons were in the middle of the channel. One pontoon was flipped over. No one was on board the second pontoon and the motor was tilted up (not in use). There was too much current and too much debris for us to do anything to salvage the good pontoon or get them both out of the middle of the channel.
A northbound barge was about 2 miles away heard the sécurité and thanked us for the heads up.
We are a blood thirsty lot. We stayed around long enough to see if the barge would hit the pontoons as it came up the channel. We are pirates.
The tow captain reported the pontoons to the Coast Guard. Take a look at this! The tow’s name is Paul Tobin. It’s from the great state of West Virginia.
We continued down river. It felt like we were playing ‘Frogger’ on the river as we dodged logs.
To “cross our wake” means that we have officially finished the Great Loop. Today we crossed our wake for the second time. We are now Platinum Loopers!
Too early for supper we headed back to yes dear….
The Grafton IL/St. Charles MO Ferry was having a nasty time trying to dock/undock. The current was extreme fast and strong.
Partying with the Pirate. It was time to explore Grafton.
As we walked past the first place we heard the band announce ” I don’t play no Miley Cyrus. No Taylor Swift either.” They went on break so we continued on.
We had to stop at the wood store. It’s too interesting to pass by.
One stop shop.
Our destination was the Bloody Bucket Saloon.
Two years ago we were here with Vince the Pirate when he was the first patron to autograph the newly sided men’s room walls.
Yes, I was in the men’s room watching him do it.
Vince the Pirate called for another celebratory drink. Rumple Minze. It tastes like Christmas and warms your cockles of the heart.
A couple of of the many eclectic things in the Bloody Bucket Saloon.
It had rained like crazy again while we were in the bar. When the rain was over we headed back to yes dear …
There were a few pictures from today I wasn’t sure I should share in the blog or keep them for blackmail.
This wasn’t the end of the night. I just quit taking pictures. What happens in Grafton stays in Grafton ….
We ‘crossed our wake’ stats:
Trip start: 9-OCT-20 St Paul MN to Grafton IL Nights in a marina: 1 Nights on the hook: 9
Loop started: 19-OCT-20 Grafton IL Loop ended: 26-JUN-21 Grafton IL Total Days on Loop: 251 Nights in a marina: 176 Nights on free docks: 24 Nights on the hook: 51
Total Days on Trip: 261
in·cor·ri·gi·ble adjective (of a person or their tendencies) not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed.
Warm the cock·les of of my heart idiom To gratify; to make someone feel good. This term comes from the Latin for the heart’s ventricles, cochleas cordis, and has been used figuratively since the late seventeenth century. “This contrivance of his did inwardly rejoice the cockles of his heart,” wrote John Eachard (Observations upon the Answer to Contempt of Clergy, 1671).
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain
Locks (2): Mile 157.6, Peoria Lock & Dam Mile 80.2, La Grange Lock & Dam
Along the Way
Boat on the run! Peoria is bracing for floods with 4-6 inches of rain expected by Monday, four days from now. We took off at first light to get south of it. The rain started last night.
New bridge going in next to the old bridge. They built a temporary bridge for the crane so it could bridge the new bridge.
Mile 157.6, Peoria Lock
There are levees along most of todays run.
We are world tourists. We we’re in Havana today. Earlier this month we were in Peru, Frankfort, Rome and Troy.
Dang there were barges in the La Grange Lock with the more barges and the tow down below. It was wait……
With large barge tows and large locks the tow will break apart it’s tow into smaller section and run them up the lock separately. The first set comes up without the tow boat. The barges get pulled out of the lock by a cleat on a rail when they get to the top.
The La Grange Lock dog is a local dog that comes down to the lock pretty much every day and hangs out with the workers.
The La Grange Lock had a lot of work done to it during last year the 2020 Illinois Waterway shutdown. All new cement and new doors.
Blades. The tow boat had to really stretch its neck to see over its load. The barge needs less than 3 feet of water bottom clearance.
Rain started. We obviously didn’t out run it. If a boat can’t take water it shouldn’t be a boat
(The All Terrain Armored Transport, or AT-AT walker, is a four-legged transport and combat vehicle used by the Imperial ground forces.)
Lucky for us the rain was soon over.
Boat on the run! It looked like it was coming our way again.
The ‘better weather ahead’ didn’t last for long. The rain came. It was like driving your boat through a car wash. At times we couldn’t see the bow on yes dear… or the sides of the river. Micro bursts of wind pummeled us. Vinnie the Pirate took the helm and followed the charted red line. Dale and I stood vigilance, one on each side of him watching for logs and other debris between the lightening flashes. An orange bolt traveled down the river at us. Dale and I ducked waiting for the sound of it hitting the boat, blinded as it flashed through the helm. Thunder rumbled. Vinnie the Pirate just kept following the charted red line.
Lightning flashed non-stop. It was too dark for my camera to take pictures until the storm began to lighten up.
We were NOT night running. It was about 6:30PM.
When it was all over it was still hot and humid.
Levees protect land that is normally dry but that may be flooded when rain or melting snow raises the water level in a body of water, such as a river. Dikes protect land that would naturally be underwater most of the time. Levees and dikes look alike, and sometimes the terms levee and dike are used interchangeably.
Drolleries and Yuks
If lightning strikes an orchestra, who is most likely to get hit? ~The conductor.
Why does lightning strike a tree before a person? ~Because it takes the path of leaf resistance.
What do you call a cow struck by lightning? ~Ground beef.
Did you know that when lightnings strikes a church, insurance companies refuse to pay? Reason: Act of God, in other words, deliberate destruction by owner.
Locks (2): Mile 244.6, Marseilles Lock Mile 231.0, Starved Rock Lock & Dam
Along the Way
An armada of vessels from Mariners Marina is leaving today for a weekend in Peoria. We joined the fleet. The group assembled for coffee at 5:30 AM. Butch called the Peoria lock master and he told us to wait for an hour before we headed down. There were a couple tow boats and barges already in the queue.
We were off. yes dear… and four other boats. We picked up a pirate. Vince the Pirate is on board and riding with us to Grafton. Welcome aboard maty!
Marseilles Lock. Our first and last lock of the day and we had a green permission light to enter. The Lock Master personally greeted Butch over VHF. Butch had worked on the lock for 6 months when it was down for repair last year.
Out and on our way
Starved Rock Lock
Illinois Valley Yacht (IVY) Club
We checked out Rizzi’s, a local Italian eatery. Great food!
There are various local legends about how Starved Rock got its name. The most popular is a tale of revenge for the assassination of Ottawa leader Pontiac, who was killed in Cahokia on April 20, 1769, by an Illinois Confederation warrior. According to the legend, the Ottawa, along with their allies the Potawatomi, avenged Pontiac’s death by attacking a band of Illiniwek along the Illinois River. The Illiniwek climbed to the butte to seek refuge, but their pursuers besieged the rock until the tribe starved to death, thereby giving the place the name “Starved Rock”. Apart from oral history, there is no historical evidence that the siege happened.
Drolleries and Yuks
Why are claustrophobics so creative? ~ Because they are always thinking outside of the box
We called Brandon Road Lock before we left the Joliet’s Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall. The lock said all is clear. Come on down.
The Mc Donough Str Bridge (16.5 ft) was really tight. Dale aimed between the low support beams to make it through. It would have been bye bye bimini if his aim was off.
Check out the guy in orange sitting on the back of the barge. After every couple of scoops he checked the markings on the barge to see how low it was sitting in the water.
This is our 3rd run on this section of the Illinois Water.
Brandon Road Lock
We got to meet the Colonel at Brandon Road Lock.
Colonel Sattinger is the only military office supporting Illinois Waterway, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, about 900 people. He’s the guy who was in charge of the extensive lock repair closures last year, 2020.
I told the Colonel a joke so he told me a joke.
Do you know why Airborne training is only 3 weeks long? Week 1 – separate men from boys Week 2 – separate out the idiots Week 3 – let the idiots jump
Always progress new bridge
The Dresden Lock is 600 ft x110 ft with a lift ~22 ft. It takes 66,000 cubic feet of water (493,714 gallons of water) per foot of lift.
Auto pilot is a great.
Woo Woo! Mariners Marina!
Oopsies. I forgot to take pictures of our friends.
Illinois Waterway from Chicago to the Mississippi River. 8 locks
Why isn’t phonetic spelled that way?
Furthermore, Colonel is pronounced ˈkərnl. It took me a couple of tries to spell it correctly because I kept trying to put an ‘r’ in it.
Locks (2): Mile 327.4, Chicago Harbor Lock Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam
Along the Way
Water Warriors! We were on our way a few minutes before 5:00AM
The sun rose at exactly 5:15am right on the nose as predicted. The sunrise got prettier as the sun climbed. So did its reflection on the city. I’d said my goodbye so the camera stayed at my side while my coffee and I quietly enjoyed it.
When I stood to pour my second cup of coffee I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take a picture. The reflections continued to grow until it was too bright to even look at the city without burning my eyes
On to Chicago!
Lake Michigan took its last licks at us as we headed into the Chicago Harbor. It just had to hit is hard on the beam one last time for measure.
Chicago Water Cribs. The water cribs are structures built to house and protect offshore water intakes used to supply the City of Chicago with drinking water from Lake Michigan. Water is collected and transported through tunnels to pumping stations located onshore, then to water purification plants Jardine Water Purification Plant (the world’s largest) and the Sawyer Water Purification Plant (operating since 1947). The water is treated and pumped to all parts of the city as well as 118 suburbs.
The city has had nine permanent cribs of which six are still standing and two are in active use.
Sailing ships upon the seas
Chicago. The breakwater wall surrounding the Chicago Harbor is surprisingly low! I bet waves just pound over it on windy days.
The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893) was actually moved and altered in the early 20th century. The breakwater was extended in 1918, so the city relocated the lighthouse relocated to new southern tip.
Water Warriors! It was too early in the afternoon to call it a day so we headed into the Chicago Harbor Lock.
Out of the lock and into the city.
We are still checking clearances. The game’s changed a little bit. The dinghy boom and the radar are back up so we need to account for the additional height. Only one bridge will have to open for us (fingers crossed). We’d rather not wait for bridges to open if we can squeak through. Going down the Erie Canal with so many low clearances numbed the terror out of passing under low clearance bridges. Current water level is always a wild card so we had to proceed with caution.
Two of the many tour boats of many styles.
Heading out of Chicago
The river quickly became more industrial with a few small marinas tucked in.
Water Warriors! The feared, stationary CSX Chessie Railroad Bridge. If a boat can’t clear this 17 foot clearance bridge they need to turn around, go back through the city and take the Cal-Sag Waterway to continue south to the Mississippi. Besides backtracking, the Cal-Sag Waterway (41.9 miles) route is longer than the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (15.2) route.
Not any Erier than the Erie.
The Erie Canal didn’t look like this. Interesting repair work.
The confluence of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (left)and the Cal-Sag Waterway (right).
Electronic fish net to prevent Asia carp from spreading into the Great Lakes.
Lots of dust in the air from heavy machinery working.
Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam
Water Warriors! A couple of close call bridges in Joliet IL
We tied off for the night on Joliet’s Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall. The police station is directly across from the park and Harrah’s just up river.
The Chicago River is the only river in the world that permanently flows backwards. It flows away from Lake Michigan, which supplies the city’s drinking water. This was done around the turn of the 20th century to stop contamination from the river into the lake. Every year, the city dyes the river green for St. Patrick’s Day.
Drolleries and Yuks
What kind of plants goes in the bathroom? ~Toilet trees
I love Milwaukee. The city is filled with museums, art galleries and public art installations.
At 10am the large white wings situated atop the Milwaukee Art Museum slowly open. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, and contains sensors that will automatically close up if winds reach 23 mph or higher. The wind was over 23 mph today. (Good call by us to stay in port and not travel on Lake Michigan today.)
When the wings are open, as they were yesterday, it reminds me of the Oculus in NYC.
The weather beacon shaped as a natural gas flame was added to the top of the Wisconsin Gas Building in 1956. It indicates the weather forecast by its color and flicker.
We took the River Walk to see the Fonz.
The Pabst Theater, built in 1895,it is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the United States.
From 1850 to 1870 there was a trend to clad some commercial buildings in cast iron panels. The panels were durable and fire-resistant, and they could be applied to a structure without having skilled stonemasons on site. Milwaukee’s Iron Block building (1860) is one such example. The Iron Block building was initially called the Excelsior Block bluilding.
The Chamber of Commerce Building (aka. Mackie Building) housed Milwaukee’s Grain Exchange Room (1879)
There are beautiful contemporary building in Milwaukee too. I didn’t find them as interesting as the old stuff.
Milwaukee Public Market
I’d like to come back to explore Milwaukee’s museums and galleries.
The Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) collection contains nearly 25,000 works of art, making it one of the largest museums in the world.
The Milwaukee Public Museum is home to the world’s largest dinosaur head. A 9-foot-by-8-foot Torosaurus cranium, along with a partial skeleton, is on display there.
Drolleries and Yuks
What do you call a person from Wisconsin who always has alot to say? ~A Milwaukee-Talkie