It’s a cold morning. Not even the turtles were out.
We decided to hang around another day.
Along the Way
It never hurts to pick up a few more groceries. We bought this..
Not this …….
As long as we were in town we decided to stay for lunch at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement. It was a 45 minute wait so we walked around.
You can tell a slow day when I post meal pictures.
My pork chop was awesome but I was too full for dessert.
Loopers! First contact! We helped Lucky Dog into the slip. Everyone stood around to way hi then we all went our separate ways. Too cold and too rainy. Antares Star is from Hudson, WI. Both Lucky Dog and Antares Star are staying here for five days. Us? We are heading south.
The heck with the cold and drizzle…..
We ventured out to the Thirsty Turtle for a night cap.
For the Foodies
• Kentucky Fried Chicken really does come from Kentucky too! The first KFC, owned and operated by the real Colonel Sanders, is still running in Corbin, Kentucky. • Kentucky legend says that the very first cheeseburger was served at Kaolin’s restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky in 1934. (But a restaurant in Denver patented it a year later.) • Beer cheese dip is a culinary delight that originated in Clark County, Kentucky. It was first served in the 1940s at a restaurant called Johnny Allman’s. • Bibb lettuce was first cultivated in Kentucky by Jack Bibb in the late 19th century. It is also called limestone lettuce, from the limestone in the Kentucky soil where it was first grown. • Bourbon whiskey is named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first made in the late 18th century.
and then there’s mint julips, bourbon balls, derby pie, hot brown, burgoo and so much more.
The state drink is milk and the state fruit is black berries.
States (1): Kentucky First time we’ve been surrounded by one state, western Kentucky.
Looping a second time is like rereading a good book. There are parts of it you remember and parts you don’t. The exciting thing about Looping the second time is that the author has ripped out a few pages and inserted new.
Along the Way
Leaving Paducah up the Tennessee River. We decided to take the path less traveled by Loopers. Almost all Loopers avoid the section of the Tennessee River we ran today. They travel the longer, farther up the Ohio River to the Cumberland River, Barkley Lock and into Lake Barkley route. We did that last time.
This Tennessee River to Kentucky Lake section is heavily commercial and known to be very busy with heavy barge traffic. We didn’t encounter any all day.
The first bridge is I-24, the second is US 62 and then the Kentucky Lock and Dam.
Setting the anchor to wait it out. We got here at 10:30am and the lock was closed till 1:00pm, a 2.5 hour wait. We had hoped to be through the lock before the rain came. We weren’t.
1:00pm. The Kentucky Lock is a massive lock with a 57 foot lift. It was constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is the longest dam in the TVA system at 8,422 feet. We only lifted 0 feet today as the Kentucky Lake level is lowered each Fall to prepare for heavy Winter/Spring precipitation and run off.
We could have continued on south but we wanted to go overnight at Green Turtle Bay Marina on Lake Barkley.
Green Turtle Bay
It’s in the details. The above picture might not mean a lot to non-boaters but look at the lines/ropes laid out along the port edge of the dock. This dock is staged and ready to catch and secure boats. Fuel docks like this and a great dock hand make it a breeze to come in and fuel. First class. BTW Our slip is on the other side of the red and white American Tug.
We got settled just before the rain.
Being a Gold Looper is nothing here. There’s a Platinum Looper three doors down but no one is there. If you really zoom in to the lower right in the picture above you can see a Platinum Looper burgee.
Ride Round the Rivers
The green is our current route through this area. We took the blue section last year.
The Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area is between the Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
Drolleries and Yuks
Why are school lunches so much better in Kentucky? They are thoroughbred.
Why did Kentucky’s Murray State University disband its water polo team? All the horses drowned.
Sécurité. Sécurité. Over the VHF radio we were informed that barges were grounded on the Upper Mississippi River between miles 20 to 25. All vessels were requested to stay clear unless they are part of the clearing effort. Glad we passed through that section yesterday. (See the ox bows in yesterday’s blog.) I imagine its a horrendous back up and mess.
Along the Way
Tearing down the moorings. How did they get the the equipment on top? This will keep them busy for a while. There is about 10 moorings. We’ve heard they tear them down to a certain level then blow them up with dynamite.
Where do old barges go to die? Run them up the ramp and rip them apart.
I’ll be dammed. Old Lock and Dam 52.
Paducah City Marina, Paducah, KY
We both bushed our teeth, put on deodorant and changed our clothes before hitting the town.
Paducah Dike Gate and Wall – Entrance to the city from the marina
National Quilt Museum
It’s not what you’d expect. It’s more like an art museum.
People who create miniatures are crazy. There is just as much effort in a miniature as there is in a full sized quilt!!!!
Human Rights Stories in Fabric
Me, I’m still a sucker for the more traditional quilts and some of the artsy.
(Dale actually did to the quilt museum with me:-)
Along the dike walls
Outside the dike walls walking back to the marina. The tops of the dock poles are in the back ground. A Paducah resident told me they have had to close the dike doors in the spring for the last 5 years.
Look how high the floating dock scrape line goes up the dock pole. Dale is the itty bitty green thing in the lower left corner of the picture. He’s 6 feet tall.
Yup. It’s still Illinois across the river. (We take a hard right turn into Kentucky tomorrow.)
The Coast Guard came in.
The guy I was speaking with said there are over 600 buoys on the section of the Ohio River this boat supports. They lost 85% last winter because the water was so high. Barges don’t see them because under water and just run them down.
Sécurité – preface to a navigation safety message such as an approaching storm, a navigation light failure, a submerged log in a harbor entrance, military gunnery practice in the area or grounded barges blocking the channel.
Pan-Pan – preface to an international navigation urgency message that does not pose an immediate danger to anyone’s life or to the vessel itself such as a fouled propeller, engine failure or out of fuel; man overboard recovery; or medical assistance needed.
Mayday – preface to an international navigation distress message. It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency.
To this day, Kentucky’s governors must swear an oath before taking office that they have never fought a duel with deadly weapons.
Locks (1) Ohio River Mile 962.6, Olmstead Lock & Dam (New lock that replaced Lock 52 and 53)
States (3) Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky
Here comes the sun.
Along the Way
We needed to run with radar for a while this morning.
The fog cleared to a beautiful sunny day. Time to put on our shorts and sandals.
Another boat load of rocks
I wonder how much a boat load of rocks is worth and how much the load weighs. The center barges are ridding low, a full 12 feet of barge in the water. Good thing it’s a calm day. The two outer barges are filled with crushed rocks and the center two are filled with chunks. It’s interesting to see the crushed rocks only come up to the sides of the barge where as the chucks are mounded.
We ticked in at 12.0 kts going through the ox bows. With the water so low all the water drops into the deeper central channel.
You really hate to meet barges and tows on ox bows. We always seem to. I’m sure he appreciated us waiting it while he turned the corner.
Coming into the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River
UMR Mile 0 is at Cairo, IL where the Mississippi River meets the Ohio River mile 981. The corner has turned for both weather and river.
The ‘hard water’ of the Ohio River brought us screeching to a halt. The impact of the Ohio River’s current dropped our speed to 6.1 kts, almost cutting our Mississippi River speed in half.
Tow delivery. It looks like a delivery of a brand new tow boat. The one in front still has coverings on its stacks.
There is a huge fleeting area that goes on for about 5 miles just after you round the corner in to the Ohio River. It must be quite the logistics software program to keep track of all of these barges.
One noticeable thing about the Ohio River was something that wasn’t noticeable. Wing dams and sand bars are actually under water. On the downside there are more logs in the water.
Omstead Lock did a really good job reminding us where a pleasure craft fits in the vessel priority hierarchy. Military craft have first priority, followed by commercial passenger vessels, commercial tows, commercial fishing vessels, and finally pleasure craft. We waited about 2.5 hours for a lift.
Too late to make it to Paducah, KY. Another night on the hook. Pull over and drop and anchor.
Weird Kentucky Laws
It is illegal for a woman to appear in a bathing suit on a highway unless she is a)escorted by at least two police officers, b)armed with a club, c)or lighter than 90 pounds or more than 200 pounds.
It is illegal to remarry the same man four times.
Throwing eggs at a public speaker could result in up to one year in prison.
At least once a year, you must shower in Kentucky.
One may not dye a duckling blue and offer it for sale unless more than six are for sale at once.
It is illegal to fish with a bow and arrow in Kentucky.
In Fort Thomas – Dogs may not molest cars.
In Owensboro – One may not receive anal sex.
In Owensboro – A woman may not buy a hat without her husband’s permission.
We rocked and rolled all night long from the constant onslaught of tows passing by. I have no reason to complain about this. We knew this would be the case as Hoppies Marina has no protection around it.
Dale kept saying “Come on Mary. It’s time to get up. It’s not as cold as yesterday.” Yeah, maybe two degrees. I’m not going to fall for that one again soon.
All was forgiven when Dale served me a warm breakfast on the helm. Home fries, omelet with salsa, fresh tomatoes and toast.
Along the Way
No locks today. All we have to do is just go down the river, about 100 miles of it.
Selma Hall MO – A limestone castle with a four-story gun tower used during the Civil War sits among 2,300 wooded acres on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The 18-room castle is said to be a replica of a castle on Lake Como in Italy. Most locals still call it Kennett’s castle for the wealthy family who built it more than 160 years ago.
Huge mining operation. Pulling out rock and sending it out.
It is kind of eerie looking at all the wing dams above water. The Core of Engineers has really put a significant effort into managing the Mississippi River.
Crazy turbulence. The auto pilot had its work cut out today keeping us on path. We twisted our way through multiple stretches of the river. On several occasions the turbulence spun us at least 90 degrees.
It started raining heavily mid-day. We moved to the lower helm.
What looms ahead
Home Sweet Home tonight is in Little Diversion River. We ended up anchoring right inside the mouth of the river as it quickly became too shallow to navigate further upstream. Two years ago we were here with seven other Looper boats. The water was at the tree lines.
Illinois is a long long long long state. To be exact, it’s 581 Mississippi River statue miles along the western Illinois border. We then turn up the Ohio River at Cairo and follow Illinois’ riverbanks for another 58 miles to the Cumberland River in Kentucky. By tomorrow night we will have traveled 639 Illinois border river miles.
River Rats 106 – Wing Dams
The Mississippi River has thousands of wing dams, manmade rockpiles extending out into the river from the shoreline, deflecting the current to the main navigation channel. These historical structures were built with federal funds under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some 1,900 wing dams and closing dams, both known as “river training structures” by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, were built as part of the first attempts to control the depth of the Mississippi River and maintain a navigation channel.
Locks (2) Mile 200.8, Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 Mile 185.0, Chain of Rocks Canal and Lock 27
States (2) Illinois, Missouri
39 degrees this morning. It was the kind of morning you tuck your shirt in your underwear and pull your socks over the bottom of your jeans.
Shriveled balls from the cold.
7:00am. Good bye Grafton. Game on. We are now Looping.
Along the Way
These massive cliffs were gleaming in the bright sunshine yesterday.
Too bad the sun is not out. It should be out. It’s 8:00 am.
Scalloped cliffs. I can understand why so many people were standing inline yesterday for river excursion tour tickets.
Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine
Alton Argosy Casino. I hope it looks better from the dock side.
Topping off at Alton Marina, the last fuel stop till Paducha, KY, about 250 statue miles and a 3 day anchor out run.
The floating swimming pools has been drained for the winter.
Looking back at Alton Marina
Mel Price Lock and Dam 26
Mel Price greet us with lock. A cacophony of metal on metal squealing floating bollards, sounding like the percussion section of a junior high orchestra warming up.
Mike’s Inc. He fixes the big stuff. He had 2 tows on dry docks.
Chemical barge. Thank goodness we haven’t encountered any of these at the locks yet. They take a looooooooong time to clear.
Mighty MO confluence with the Mississippi River.
Half a mile down from the confluence is the entry to the Chain of Rocks Canal and Lock 27. Lock 27 is the last and southmost lock on the Mississippi River. There is no dam. It’s a bypass for a rocky section of river.
Passing City of Caseville on ‘two bells’ in the Chain of Rocks Canal. Fingerling Asian Carp were jumping along the side of yes dear…
Chain of Rocks Lock 27. We are entering the small ships locks on the right. The up river gate has been submerged for us to pass over. You can see the gate in lock on the left.
The Chain of Rocks Lock and Dam 27 was also not without music. It was much more melodic sounding like timpani, kettle drums.
St Louis, MO
Happy at Hoppies
Hoppies Marina is legendary, nostalgic stop on the Loop that has been in operation since 1934. It’s a no frills operation.
Tragedy struck Hoppies in 2018 when their gas barge and another sank, just before Dale and I started our first Loop. Tragedy struck yet again in Feburary 2019 when 2 additional barges sank. They are now down to very limited docking for transit boaters, no fuel options. Hoppies Marina is the knowledge of the river and everyone knows if they stop here they will obtain all the information they could possibly need or want.
The current water is 47 feet down from picture on Google Maps taken two years ago.
We are here on the worst day ever. It’s the worst weather of our trip (COLD and rainy) and the worst day of the week for the little community of Kimmswick. ALL of Kimmswick is closed on Mondays. Bummer. The Blue Owl Restaurant is closed so I won’t get a slice of the famous Levee Hight Apple Pie I’ve been dreaming of.
On the bright side Hoppies had electricity (no other amenities). Dale watched football and I ran the heater.
We now have bragging rights for staying here.
River Rats 105 – Two Bells
One Bell/One Whistle (one short blast ) – I’m going to pass you on my right (starboard). Two Bells/Two Whistle (two short blast) – I’m going pass you on my left (port). One Prolonged Blast – I’m leaving a dock or departing my slip. Three Short Blasts – I’m backing up Five Short Blasts – WTF or Danger.
What is America’s Great Loop?
There are different sounds for various movements on the water. Here’s the short explanation for a few common sounds:
The Great Loop is a 6,000+ mile continuous waterway that that includes part of the Atlantic, Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America’s heartland. Loopers (recreational mariners) can enter the loop at any point at anytime. Most Loopers take a year, following the seasons, to circumnavigate it; Fall the west side, Winter the south, Spring the East and Summer the north.
We entered the Loop at Grafton, IL and will complete it there.
What’s the plan?
A few people have asked us “What’s the plan?” Our immediate plan is to get to Key West by December 15. We have reservations at Stock Island Marina for a month and then at John Pennenkamp State Park for two weeks. After that we are not sure. Dale says the Bahamas.
Half the fun on Sunday is looking for the Vikings Game
First thing on today’s agenda was to install the new VHF radio Calvin, one of the houseboat guys, kindly picked up for us yesterday when he was in St Charles, MO.
Jeff helped us test the new radio out once Dale installed it.
The radio worked on first try. Dang, you are good Dale.
Half the fun on Sunday is looking for the Vikings Game
The first stop didn’t have the Vikings game. We still stayed for a beer and an hors devours because they tried so hard to find it on their cable TV.
Probably the most unhealthy green beans I’ve ever eaten, but they were good. A side benefit of sitting at the bar is that if the bartender accidently pours the wrong beer she gives it to a patron. Dale scored a beer.
Socially distanced slot machines at the bar. Clear plastic partitions between the stools.
We wandered on in search of the Vikings game.
None of these places looked like they would have the Vikings game.
We never found the Vikings game but my FitBit was happy.
Planning for out next Loop.
River Rats 104 – At the Helm
‘True compass’ autopilot, depth finder, docking gloves, magnetic compass
Coffee and the radar controls
Now a new VHF radio! It’s about half the size of the old one.
And then there’s the gages like fuel gage, temperature gage, rpm tachometer, volt meter and oil pressure.
A “seaman’s eye” is one of the best navigational tools. We anchored where the depth marker is on the below chart. Chart read 0-1 feet and the depth finder briefly read 577 feet. The water depth was really about 8 feet.
It was a great little anchorage to escape the wind.
Along the Way
These would be normal houses in any Minnesota neighbor IF they didn’t have the legs.
Land owners. Not quite like cabins on one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
Fruitl, IL Golden Eagle Ferry. It carries a maximum of 15 cars, 3×5. Ferries are still used in places where bridges are needed and local traffic is not busy enough to cost justify it.
WOO WOO!! Grafton IL! This is where we enter America’s Great Loop.
Looking at the day use marina from our end cap dock slip. This marina is hopping stop.
It takes a lot of wind to fly this flag. It’s 21 mph again today.
OMG. They beat us here. How did that happen???
First on the agenda after checking in was clean the boat. Dale swabbed the decks and I worked on the inside and bright work.
Long walk to our slip at the waaaaaay end.
Saturday night in Grafton IL
The Loading Dock Bar. This bar would have been a ‘COVID-19 super spreader’ if not for the 21 mph wind. There was a huge wedding reception going on, about 5 bachelorette parties and 2 or 3 birthday parties.
‘The Yacht Rockers’ band was awesome.
Definitely a younger person’s bar judging by the green drinks.
We love this town. Adding it to the ‘Best of the Best’ List.
Drolleries and Yuks
A weasel walks into a bar. The bartenders says “Wow! I’ve never served a weasel. What can I get you?” “Pop,” goes the weasel.
Locks (2) Lock 22 – mile 301, Saverton MO (no Lock 23) Lock 24 – mile 273, Clarksville, MO
States (2) Illinois, Missouri
Hannibal, MO The Land of Mark Twain
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do that by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain
Along the Way
You always hear about someone going down the River in a pontoon….
Like minded individuals. They’ve got motorcycles. We’ve got scooters. We are both heading south.
Look who just showed up for Lock 22 as the doors were closing.
As we free floated through the lock we got to chat with them a little bit. Jeff and Calvin are from Colorado and left from Hudson, WI. They planned go all the way to New Orleans but are now thinking about stopping at Alton as they feel the Lower Mississippi River will be too much for their 1000 pounds of motorcycle and ?? pounds of lumber on their pontoon. It’s not even a tri-toon.
Having fun. Sun is warm, engines purring as they should, we’ve even got a gentle tail wind.
Twin River Marina fuel stop. Yeah! We made it and still have just under half a tank. Thanks Clay Stark Logan for the recommendation to stop here. You were right. Great marina and really friendly people.
Threading the needle. Helper tow on the left assisting the primary tow on the right through the swing bridge.
So close but so far away
We won’t make it to the Loop at Grafton today. ☹ A two hour wait for a tug to clear at Lock 24. There is lots of tow traffic especially now that the Illinois Waterway has reopened after being closed all summer. We can hear them calling the Locks jockeying for queue position. Great time to do the morning dishes and put air in a couple of fenders.
We set a short picnic scope (3:1) on the anchor while we waited it out. The below picture illustrates exactly why you need to be careful when you set a short anchor scope. We dragged about 140 feet due to the wind. (We could have reset it but were too lazy)
River Rats 103 – Locks and Dams
If your are going to travel on major rivers in a boat you need to know how to lock through a dam. Most locks have two chambers, the main chamber and a smaller auxiliary chamber. Their ends are always painted bright yellow, making it easy to see which side the river the lock is on from a distance.
If you don’t have a VHF radio to hail the lock, usually channel 14, you can pull the chain to let them know you need passage. Thank goodness for our hand held VHF radio.
There is a traffic light at the entrance to the lock. You need a green light for permission to enter the lock.
Locks with short lifts/drops use lines to secure vessels. Floating bollards are needed in locks with longer lifts/drops as they lift/drop with the water level.
Sometimes Lock Masters offer the option to free float and not tie off. Our preference is to tie off.
Leaving the lock. Lock door open to the up river side. The Lock Master will blow a horn for permission to exit the lock.
A helper tow is at the ready if a tow needs assistance getting in or out of the lock due to high winds or other issues.
As for the the dam part….
Up river view
The dam gates on the right and left are submersible Tainter gates which are used to control water flow. The ones in the center are non-submersible roller gates used to both control control the flow of water and manage erosion damage.
LOL Many of the locks on the Upper Mississippi River resemble the Corp of Engineers flag.
Drolleries and Yuks
What did the fish say when he ran into a wall? Dam!
A cold day on the water is better than a good day at work
Locks (3) Mississippi River Lock 19 – mile 364, Keokuk, IA Mississippi River Lock 20 – mile 343, Canton, MI Mississippi River Lock 21 – mile 32,5 Quincy, IL
States (3) Iowa, Illinois, Missouri
Anchor pulled and were on our way at 7am for an early start. We really wanted to put miles on today. The Fort Madison Swing Bridge that was closed for high winds had reopened.
Along the Way
Our timing for the Fort Madison Swing Bridge was off. Trains were crossing from both directions at the same time.
Vehicles crossing on the top level have to stop to pay a toll at a booth in the center of the swing.
We hailed the bridge tender for a swing. He would neither reply to our hailing or open the bridge. One of those kinda guys…… After about 15 minutes later another train came through. 15 minutes later, another one. And then another one. And then another one. And then another one…….
The bridge appeared to be stuck. There were a bunch of guys standing around looking at something and pounding on it.
Every time another train came through the workers scrambled to clear the bridge.
We tried calling the local Coast Guard number to get the status on the bridge. No one answered any of the multiple times we tried calling. It was nearly impossible to find but, Dale finally found the Fort Madison non-emergency police phone number. The police connected us with the bridge. Apparently, the microphone on our helm VHF radio quit working. We were not transmitting. Ugh! It was ok yesterday. Fortunately, the lower helm VHF is working and our hand-held is too.
After two and a half hours we were on our way again just before 10am. So much for our early start.
When we check fuel this morning the tank was about 5/8 full. The next place we can get diesel is either the Keokuk Yacht Club 20 miles away or Two Rivers is at 283 approx 120 miles.
Keokuk is on the Mississippi River at the very southeastern edge of Iowa.
Lock 19 at Keokuk – 38 foot drop
For the most part the Mississippi River in areas we’ve traveled the past two days is not very scenic and frankly uninteresting, unless of course you like trains, tows and barges.
Houses between the levee and the river.
There is a large fleeting area in Quincy, IL
Hannibal, MO Railroad Lift Bridge. The train rails to the bridge come straight out of a tunnel. Rails also run north south along the river.
You’re getting south if you’re in Hannibal, MO. To me Hannibal is in the south. It’s still cold.
Leeve 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. Dike 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.
River Rat 102 – Nuns and Cans
Aids to Navigation System(ATONS) are buoys and other markers that guide vessels along waterways.
Locks (3) Mississippi River Lock 16 – mile 457, Muscatine, IA Mississippi River Lock 17 – mile 347, New Boston, IL Mississippi River 18 – mile 410, Gladstone, IL and Burlington, IA
States (2) Iowa, Illinois
There’s a slight chance of snow in the Quad Cities cities for tomorrow. The anchor was pulled and we were putting water behind us before 7:00 am. Sunrise was 7:14am.
HUGE industrial section on the Iowa side just south of I-280. Trains, trucks and tows coming and going.
Tow and Barge Servicing
Poor planning. He should have moved his boat before the water dropped.
Coast Guard vessel checking on and replacing nun and can buoys.
Muscatine, IA – part of the Quad Cities
Unloading coal. The scoop shovels drops it in the funnel looking then and the conveyor belt moves it up the hill.
Ugly town. Not your quaint little river town like in Minnesota. Check out the giant cement slabs on the bank. Wonder how he got them in there and where did he get them?
Pretty significant Core of Engineers dredging at statute mile 389.
Here’s an odd one
Blow the man down
Wind predicted for today was 20 mph from the South with gusts to 40. We’d have stayed put any other day. It was so gusty almost knocked me down and nearly blew my glasses off my face a couple of times while we were locking.
There were 2-3 foot ways for most of the day with a couple of nearly 4s tossed in.
We would have continued further for another hour or so but the Coast Guard closed the Fort Madison Drawbridge to all river navigation due to high winds. It’s a 13 foot bridge. We need it to swing.
We are 140 nautical miles (168 statue miles) from the Illinois River Confluence where we will pick up America’s Great Loop at Grafton, IL. To date we’ve traveled 386.7 nautical miles (445 statue miles).
My FitBit step count is embarrassing. I’m used to getting around 10k steps a day. It’s hard to get steps in when we are anchoring out and non-stop traveling. It’s too cold to swim. Dale’s using the free weights. I’m still thinking about using them. I’ll start tomorrow.
On the bright side both Dale and I are sleeping well from the invigorating fresh air.
The Mississippi River System is the 3rd largest river system on the world. It flows 2,348 miles from Lake Itasca, MN to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. It is divided into two sections: the Upper Mississippi River and the Lower Mississippi River. The navigable section of the Upper Mississippi River flows from Minneapolis, MN to the confluence of the Ohio River at Cairo, IL (statute mile ).
In the 1920s, the Corp of Engineers began building a series of locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River to better serve navigation over the 420 foot elevation drop between the first lock to the last lock. The Lower Mississippi River, starting at Ohio River at Cairo, IL free flows 954 feet to the Gulf of Mexico. There are no locks or dams on it.
Blow the man down Blow the Man Down is an English sea shanty. The lyric “Blow the man down” most likely refers to a common mishap at sea during the age of sail wherein a strong, sudden gale catches a ship with its topsails fully set – the force of the wind, depending upon the load and balance of the ship’s cargo, can actually “blow the man down”, or blow the man-o’-war down into the water, partially capsizing it.
A sea shanty is a work song closely connected to a form of work, either sung while conducting a task or a song linked to a task which might be a connected narrative, description, or protest song.
Locks (3) Mississippi River Lock 13 – mile 522, above Fulton, IL and Clinton, IA Mississippi River Lock 14 – mile 493, LeClaire, IA Mississippi River Lock 15 – mile 483, Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA
States (2) Iowa, Illinois
Sometime during the night the wind died down and we awoke to beautiful calm, but nippy morning.
How did I miss it? Yesterday was Columbus Day (I prefer Indigenous People Day) and also known as Thanksgiving by our Canadian friends. Happy Thanksgiving Canada!
Better Days Ahead
Beautiful sun rise but it was a tough morning. We awoke to a train and ate the last 2 pieces of the crack bread
Today was brutal. Straight into the sun all day long. All the wind blowing south yesterday turned around and blew north today. We had 2-3 foot wave coming at us for part of the day. The combination of wind and waves was strong enough to send spray into the upper helm. It’s a stinking river! Not a lake! Where did these waves come from! Dale got cranky. He hates the wind.
Mary got cranky. The last sound of the day was a train.
Along the Way
End of summer for acres of aquatic plants (water lilies?) at season end near Gomers Lake statue mile 527.
Now that the weekend is over we’ve pretty much had the river to ourselves except for the commercial traffic.
Judging from the houses along the river, Pool 13 must flood frequently. They are all on stilts.
Camanche, IA river scaping
Parts of today’s section of the Mississippi River was industrial. Too uninteresting for pictures. I did take one…
They are building a new bridge Moline, IA. They were working on the first span in 2019 when we came through http://yesdear.life/?p=13668 Wonder if they are working today due to the high winds.
Locks (2) Mississippi River Lock 11 – mile 583, Dubuque, IA Mississippi River Lock 12 – mile 557, Bellevue, IA
States (3) Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois
Today was one of those lay around in bed days. Rain. At least the outside the boat is getting washed. If it was a touch warmer I’d be out there with boat soap and a brush.
At 8:30am I listened to the 4th train within 20 minutes. I only know this because I was making coffee and breakfast at the time. I should have counted all of the ones that woke me up last night.
As far as trains go size doesn’t matter. The all blow their horns as they rumble thunder past. It must drive these people crazy!!!!!!!
About 10:30am we pulled anchor. Enough of sitting around!
Along the Way
Over taking the Mississippi Princess, real paddle wheel propulsion. She’s a privately owned boat.
We used all our locking skills today at Lock 11 in Dubuque IA.
The Lock Master said the wind was at 25 mph sustaining with gust up to 35 mph. He judged the wave height at the lock entrance at 2.5 to 3 feet. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, the lock’s working tug was in the lock with us. Rather than tying the tug to the wall like we do, the tug pushed its front into the wall and left its transmissions in forward gear. This add more churn and additional turbulence to our entry and descent.
Dale called the Port of Dubuque Marina a week ago and was told water level at the flood gate was one to two feet. Today when Dale called they said it was about 7 feet at gate.
We are getting to the end of the bluff country.
There are lots of barges along the shoreline. I can’t quite figure out how they are secured.
We free floated through Lock 12. Both Dale and I dislike free floating and prefer being tied off. The lock didn’t give us a choice. I think we either interrupted supper or a card game. I fendered both sides of the boat just incase they were also going to drop the water fast. There was also enough wind to really keep us on our toes.
New construction in Bellevue. It will be interesting to see how it turns out on our return trip.
But of course! Minutes after we set anchor the first of many trains rolled by.
Drolleries and Yuks
Why does the Mississippi River flow south out of Minnesota? Because Iowa sucks!
Why does all the corn in Nebraska lean east? Because Iowa sucks!
(Sorry Iowa. I know this isn’t true. I just had to do.)
What does IOWA stand for? IDIOTS OUT WALKING AROUND I OWE THE WORLD AND APPOLOGY
How do you know it’s Prom season in Iowa? There are 10 tractors in every McDonalds parking lot
Did you hear about the Iowa farmer who only wore one boot in the winter? He heard there was a 50% chance of snow!
Locks (3) Mississippi River Lock 8 – mile 679, Genoa, WI Mississippi River Lock 9 – mile 648, Lynxville, WI and Harpers Ferry, IA Mississippi River Lock 10 – mile 615, Guttenberg, IA
States (3) – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa
We’re quickly settling into nomadic boat life. We got up at 7:30am, which is a good two hours earlier than we are used to getting up. It’s 44 degrees. Even with my shoes and socks on my feet are cold! We need to head south.
Along the Way
Not quite Florida standards but pretty good for Minnesota. Some developer must have bought this sand dredge island for a good price then had a hay day building and selling houses and docks.
If you’re a deck hand you gotta wash the boat. I’M NOT A DECK HAND! (The outside of yes dear… really needs a good cleaning. It’s too cold today.)
We are getting to be regular river rats; passing barges in narrow bends, locking, anchoring out between wing dams. We also understand the deep southern drawls on the tow captains.
One thing nice about low water levels is that there hasn’t been any logs or sticks in the river to avoid. The river’s been pretty clean.
The houseboat is probably a rental from Lansing, IA. We witnessed another houseboat take quite a beating up river trying to catch lines in a lock. Bet that was a rental too.
Check out these patio decks on rails.
Isle of Capri Marina
Iowa. The Land of Riverside Grain Elevators
And an old mine of some kind. I wonder how long this has been around.
Caseville, WI was supposed to have three free 50 foot courtesy transient slips per our charts and books. We ran pretty late into the dark to score a free dock.
No such luck. It didn’t. We suspect they had already been pulled for winter.
It was pretty dark once we settled on an anchorage. We had to rely heavily on our Navionics charts.
Literally a wing dam
River Rat 101
Wing Dam A manmade barrier that extends partway into the water to deflect current. Wing dams force water into the faster moving main channel, reducing the rate of sediment accumulation as well as reducing water current and erosion.
Locks (5) Mississippi River Lock 4 – mile 753, Alma, WI Mississippi River Lock 5 – mile 738, Minnesota City, MN Mississippi River Lock 5A – mile 728, Fountain City, WI and Goodview, MN Mississippi River Lock 6 – mile 714, Trempealeau, WI Mississippi River Lock 7 – mile 703, La Crescent, MN and Onalaska, WI
States (2) – Minnesota, Wisconsin
Early morning traffic. There must be a bass tournament.
I slept at Slipperys.
Alma Lock 4 Waiting for Tow to ClearLock 4
Along the Way
Father Marquette, a French-America Jesuit explorer. He was the first to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.
Vestiges of Summer
Sunglasses required. The weather was amazingly clear. The day felt like we were passing through pages in a travel magazine. Peak fall colors.
All of these beautiful little town would be cool to live in except for the fact a train rumbles through them a dozen times a day. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every train I saw I’d be up at least a dollar.
The only way you can truly see the river is to be in a boat on the river. The Driftless area in southwestern Minnesota and southeastern Wisconsin which the Mississippi River flows through is as remarkable in its own way as the Hudson River in New York, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Pictures do not do it justice.
Imagine it at the end of the last Ice Age. The Mississippi River must have been a mighty river. Taking pictures of it is kinda like taking pictures of the Grand Canyon. It is impossible to understand the scale and impact from simple pictures.
Trempealeau is part of the ‘Driftless Area’ and one of my favorite areas on the Upper Mississippi River.
There was an enormous flock of cormorants circling and landing in the trees. I bet it totaled over 500 birds. I think it’s pretty amazing how they can wrap their little we feet around tree branches and hang on.
Good Night Anchor was dropped between two wing dams off Taylor Island in La Crosse, WI.
The Driftless Area
The Driftless area is an area (as in Wisconsin and parts of Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa) that is free from glacial drift. It was surrounded by glaciers during the Pleistocene, last glacial period and yet remained untouched by passing glaciers. The area has deep cut river valleys, such as the Kickapoo, and rugged rock bluffs near La Crosse indicating lack of glacial drift
The ‘Driftless area’ includes the incised Paleozoic Plateau of southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. The region includes elevations ranging from 603 to 1,719 feet at Blue Mound State Park and covers an area of 24,000 square miles
Floccinaucinihilipilification The Minnesota Art Museum in Winona, MN has a Picasso. (Also a Kandinsky, Renoir, and Van Goph)
Locks – Total Elevation Change 21 feet Mississippi River Lock 2 – mile 815, Hastings, MN Mississippi River Lock 3 – mile 797, Welch/Red Wing, MN
That ship has sailed! We left at first light. Not really. We were off after taking care of a few incidentals. First needed to dump the full recycle bin and full compacted bin that we forgot to last night. And we needed to make a pot coffee before we pulled the power cord.
It’s as pretty here in Minnesota, south of the Twin Cities, as other places on the Loop. The Grey Cloud area on the river is gorgeous, especially now in the Fall. I didn’t get a pictures of around there as it was still a little dark.
The GODs (Guys on Docks) warned us to keep mid channel. A bunch of the GODs with their boats and wifes took an overnight run to Treasure Island Casino out last week. We’d have gone too but had other commitments. A couple of them ran aground running near the bouys. Mid channel logged at 7.4 feet.
First lock out of the way. Lock 2, just outside of Hastings, MN.
Oh Look! It’s Steady Eddie!
It was serendipity running into our good friends Ed and Karen on Steady Eddie in Prescott, WI. They were on their way to Red Wing for the weekend.
Ed and Karen stopped in for a short visit while we were on the fuel dock. Then on to Red Wing
Guess where we are
Onto Lake Pepin
We called Slipperys in Wabasha, MN and asked if we could spend the night on their dock. WOO WOO. They said sure even though the sign said NO OVERNIGHT DOCKING.
Serendipity! HAHA! Look who showed up! Mark and Nancy have reservations at the St James Hotel in Red Wing……. for next weekend not this one. Oopsies. We invited them for the night since they were in the area and had no place to stay.
7-OCT-2020 Wednesday, Emily’s House in Roseville, MN (Dog sitting)
But first we had to play
The water in Pool 2 between the Upper and Lower St Anthony Falls Locks has been lowered to inspect the infrastructure and the Stone Arch Bridge. The last time it was lowered for inspection was in 2008. Daryl, our good friend and Emily’s neighbor, joined us to check it out. Lucky Mary! Two muses!
Not water under the bridge
Time to leave …
Minneapolis and St Paul have to be the most beautiful river cities we have seen in all our travels.
Divide and Conquer
Happenings in the marina
Miss Behaven was pulled
Saint Anthony Falls was the only natural major waterfall on the Upper Mississippi River.
The natural falls were replaced by a concrete overflow spillway after it partially collapsed in 1869. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, a series of locks and dams was constructed to extend navigation to points upstream.
Geologists say that the falls first appeared roughly 12,000 years ago about 10 miles downstream at the confluence of the glacial River Warren (at present-day Ft. Snelling). Estimates are that the falls were about 180 feet high when the River Warren Falls receded past the confluence of the Mississippi River and the glacial River Warren. Over the succeeding 10,000 years, the falls moved upstream to its present location. The water churning at the bottom of the falls ate away at the soft sandstone, eventually breaking off the hard limestone cap in chunks as the falls receded. From its origins near Fort Snelling, St. Anthony Falls relocated upstream at a rate of about 4 feet per year until it reached its present location in the early 19th century. (Thanks Wiki)
6-OCT-2020 Tuesday, Emily’s House in Roseville, MN (Dog sitting)
Our departure plans have been constantly rearranging for that passed month. Yesterday, Monday, about 1:00pm things came together and we decided to leave this coming Friday. So much to do and so little time.
Mission for the day was provisioning non-perishables, canned goods, freezer items and paper products. About $400 dollars later after a Costco run, we returned to yes dear…
We always unpack the items and toss the boxes. Boxes take up a lot of room on a boat.
So what did we buy… canned tomatoes of all kinds, beans of all kinds, baking staples and spices, cereal, nuts, snacks, pasta, several kinds of rice, salsa, chips ….
Ya just hate to work too hard on the first planning day.
10-Marzo-2020, Martes. Cancun, Yucatán to Florida, USA.
It’s been bien. But all good things must come to an end.
While packing an interloper planned to stow away. Dale flicked it across the room where it landed on it’s back and proceeded to sing the ‘La Cucaracha’ until we left our room.
To the airport
Woo Woo! We are back in the USA. Thanks Perky and Bruce for picking us up!
I think I’m going on a hiatus for a while, maybe posting every couple of weeks. Just don’t know…
Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)
Cancun’s airport is the second busiest in Mexico (only
Mexico City’s airport is busier) and it has the most international traffic of
any airport in Latin America. Each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers
visit Cancun. Cancun alone generates 1/3 of Mexico’s tourism revenue. The
country’s total tourism revenue was $22.51 billion USD in 2018.
>> We didn’t see one leave blower the entire time we were in Mexico.