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Month: September 2018

A Nickle Back

A Nickle Back

September 30, 2018 Sunday  Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN mile 158.5       0 nautical miles   Why move if life is good?

35°23’07.5″N 88°00’20.7″W
35.385425, -88.005738
Elevation: 364 feet  **up 5 feet from yesterday due to the water being released from Pickwick Dam

Today’s entry actually starts last night, past the posting of yesterday’s blog and past Looper midnight (9:00pm). Just as we were getting ready to go to bed the mid-ship bilge pump kicked on. Dale looked at Mary and casually says ‘The boat is sinking’. Of course this sent her into panic attack even though the slow leak we’ve been watching wasn’t any worse than it has been for the past week.  The class in Marine Mechanics 101 followed. Dale with his injured arm coached Mary as she worked on the leak.

Waffles for Sunday morning breakfast! The Looper boat SELAH invited BLUE GOOSE and us over for breakfast. What a treat!

Water is up 5 feet from yesterday due to water being released from Pickwick Dam. During the night the water swished and swirled around the marina rearranging the hippos and alligators (dead trees and logs). The little stagnant pockets in the corners of the marina have all been refreshed and look appealing. Lots of turtles crawled on logs to check out the rearranged digs.

The NICKELs came BACK to visit! We’ve been friends for 30+ years. Ray and Judy drove down from Nashville. We sat on the marina patio and watched the Tennessee Titans beat the Eagles. Other Loopers slowly congregated for docktails around us. There is an old Girl Scout song about friendship ‘Make new friends but keep the old. Some are silver but the others gold’ . Ray and Judy are definitely gold! We truly treasure our new Looper friends too.
HA. A couple of Loopers who had met Ray earlier compared him to a bad penny that keeps showing up. Really it’s getting a nickel back.

At the end of the evening we visited with the marina office manager Sonja and the marina owner Gene. Sonja makes us laugh and Gene is the epitome of a Southern gentleman. Do we really have to eventually leave? I’m thinking we should check out annual rates.


Clifton Marina TN Uber – Across the water alley looks close  but it is a bit of a walk to get there from our dock. Tim has it figured out. He jumps in his pontoon and putters over. Thanks Tim for the ride! New friends and old. Left to right clockwise  Susan, Judy, Tim at the helm, Ray and Mike.
Clifton Marina, TN – Watching the Titans win with Ray and Judy Nickle. The Bears won too.  Lovely Amy from the marina office came out side, set up the fan and turned it on us. Love you Amy!
Clifton Marina, TN – Neighbors. Lumberjack Mike and his wife Susan have the awesome BIG house boat on the left side of yes dear. Water Uber Tim and his lovely wife are in the houseboat two to the right of us, past Trump 2020. You can see Tim on the upper deck of his boat. I love this marina.
Mary’s Marine Mechanics 101 – Leaking drive shaft packing box. The drive shaft packing case is the place where drive shaft goes through the boat to the outside propeller. Material is stuffed around the drive shaft and squeezed together in a packing box, making it water tight. Ours wasn’t and had a steady stream dribbling out of it causing the bilge pumps to engage about every 3 hours. The dribble was caused by normal wear and tear of the boat. Normal vibration over the course of the last 1500 nautical miles on the Loop caused the packing to loosen. Mary had to squeeze in and tighten both nuts. It’s important to keep the same amount of torque on each nut so that the surface plate is flat. If you tighten one nut more than the other nut it can result in a bigger leak. It’s also important to not tighten it too tight. A slow drip is needed to help lubricate the shaft when the engines are running.
Sonja makes us laugh
What kind of flowers are these? Amy from the marina said ‘Easter Lilly’s’ but I know she is pulling my leg.
Water and Wooly

Water and Wooly

September 29, 2018 Saturday  Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN mile 158.5       0 nautical miles

35°23’07.5″N 88°00’20.7″W
35.385425, -88.005738
Elevation: 359 feet

Lock people have nothing to do with dam people and dam people do what they damn will please. I was surprised to see Looper boats BLUE GOOSE and SELAH still in the marina when I got up at 9:00 am this morning. Pickwick Lock just upstream, the direction Loopers are heading, opened 6 flood gates making the current horrendous. BLUE GOOSE and SELAH decided to wait a couple days till it settles. Through out the day 5 more Looper boats came in to wait the water out.

Two factors are combining to make the current on the Tennessee River especially strong now:  recent heavy rains in the Valley and the beginning of the seasonal drawdown of the lake elevations from Summer to Winter pool. For Winter the Pickwick Lock drops the Tennessee River down from the normal 414 feet elevation to the Winter elevation of 408 feet in preparation for rains.  Both the Pickwick and Kentucky dams are discharging 100,000 cubic-feet/second by spilling at the gates and running most of the generators.  We’ve heard discharging < 40,000 cubic-feet/second and all the generators running is ideal for approaching Pickwick Lock.

One piece of the local color is Tim aka ‘Wooly’. (Make sure you see his picture is below). Dale’s has sat in the marina restaurant almost long enough and jawed almost long enough to become part of the local color himself.

We walked to downtown Clifton, 1 mile way, in the afternoon to get a little exercise. After walking down the middle of the road to get there we sat a on a Main Street bench for half an hour or more and counted cars… four.

Dale has been talking to the locals about a good marine mechanic in the area.  Yes Dear has a vibration on the port side and a small leak in the packing on the  starboard shaft. Nothing serious, but they need to be looked at. The owner of the marina had to go out today and rescue one of the recommended marine mechanics today because he ran out of gas. Guess Dale won’t be calling him.

We are planning on staying here to at least Tuesday so the pinched nerve in Dale’s neck has time to get better.


Clifton Marina, TN – BLUE GOOSE and SELAH early morning. Loopers and locals congregated under the patio roof all day to pass time jawing. A beautiful day on the river.  5 more Looper boats were parked in front by night fall.
Clifton Marina, TN – Tim ‘Wooly’ and Amy (who runs the marina) – Waxing Wooly. A few years back Tim was working out side his boat with his shirt off. A friend of his who was a NASCAR driver started heckling him about his hairy body and threatened to have him waxed. Tim jokingly said sure for $5,000 to charity. Much to his dismay one of the tracks where his friend was racing immediately raised $1,500, slapped it down and said you’re on! The day of the event several hundred people gathered to see him waxed by 5 beauticians. Waxing didn’t work because he was too darned hairy. The beauticians took him into a room and Nair’d him. (Nair is a hair removal product). Tim returned in full glory while an Elvis impersonator performed an American Trilogy. The remaining hair on his back proudly displayed an America flag! Tim raised over $5,300 for St Jude Hospital.
Some days are more fun than others

Some days are more fun than others

September 28, 2018 Friday  Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN mile 158.5       0 nautical miles  95 statue miles

35°23’07.5″N 88°00’20.7″W
35.385425, -88.005738
Elevation: 359 feet

We originally were thinking about staying in the Clifton Marina for 2 days.  Looks like we are going stay here for a couple more. Dale has slightly pulled muscle in his chest from pulling up the anchor a couple of days ago. Coddling it while we cleaned the boat caused a new pain to manifest as a pinched nerve in his neck and arm. Thank goodness the marina has a courtesy car. Dale felt so crappy this morning I drove him to the doctor.  He got a shot in each check (a cortisone and an anti-inflammatory) and 3 prescriptions.  He feels a lot better already, but still needs to lay low for a couple days.

Shortly after we got back into the marina the fellow Loopers BLUE GOOSE, who we met earlier, and SELAH pulled into the transient dock for the night. It was fun catching up with them.


Clifton Marina, TN backwater – There is always a little backwater in every marina.  Every since the guy in Birdsong Marina told me about water moccasins snakes I’ve been watching out for them.  I’m a little on edge for alligators but we are still too far north …. I think.    (Neither is in this picture)
Clifton Marina, TN – The trouble with river marinas.  All kinds of gunk from the river washes into them.  This is a picture of a full sized tree. Glad it isn’t behind our boat.
America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

September 27, 2018 Thursday  Birdsong Creek, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River mile 103.5 Camden,  TN   to Clifton Marina, Clifton, TN mile 158.5       50.3 nautical miles

35°23’07.5″N 88°00’20.7″W
35.385425, -88.005738
Elevation: 359 feet

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea

I think Katharine Lee Bates missed a verse when she wrote America the Beautiful.  The verse about how beautiful the Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River is, is missing. (Then again she had been dead for 20+ years before the Tennessee Valley Authority built the dam.)

The Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River stretch of the Loop has been beautiful despite the past few rainy days. (Yes, it did rain again today but we did the sun at sunset.) Most of where we traveled is not even viewable by road, only by water. I feel very fortunate to have been able to travel this waterway.

We are starting to see a hint of color change in the trees.


Interstate US40 TN Tennessee River mile 117 – end of Kentucky Lake.
Tennessee River – south of Interstate US40 TN – pelicans.  You might not really be able to see much from this picture unless you really blow it up.  There are a LOT of pelicans migrating.  I’m reasonably sure I’m under-exaggerating when I say we saw 8-10 flocks with over 100 birds.  Each of the flocks were kettling in the thermals and other smaller flocks and single pelicans would come from all around making the flock larger and larger.
Tennessee River – Depth Finder – As wide as the river is there was a surprising amount of turbulence from time to time.  The turbulence is caused by a very undulating river bed bottom.  The undulations in the river bottom ranged from 10-20 feet in height.
Tennessee River – bluffs
Tennessee River – houses
Decaturville, TN
Mermaid Marina, Lagoon Lane, Decaturville, TN
We saw the Ginger G again and talked to them on VHS. They are from St Louis and heading to the Keys.
Ginger G – The guy is sitting in his hammock chair in the front of the boat. They even have a white cockatoo on board. I could see it through the window with my binoculars.
Clifton Marina TN mile 158.5 – Sunset. SUNset.   Do you like the reflection of the beer signs in the water?
Are we still having fun?

Are we still having fun?

September 26, 2018 Wednesday  Birdsong Creek, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River mile 103.5 Camden,  TN       0 nautical miles    0 statute miles

35°58’15.5″N 88°02’54.5″W
35.970980, -88.048482
Elevation: 359 feet

Judy asked us yesterday when she picked up Ray ‘Are you still having fun?’ The answer is definitively yes! There are both new adventures and new problems every day. We enjoy actively working at living; always alert for air and water conditions, actively planning and contingency planning, figuring out the next anchorage, the next grocery stop ……

The problems are simply that. Problems. Part of actively living.

Today was sort of a nothing day. We decided to stay at Birdsong Marina for another day and work around the boat. The place is starting to grow on us.  The Birdsong Marina employees are really friendly.

It has been great having people on traveling with us, but today it was nice just being the two of us.


Birdsong Marina fish cleaning station.  You put the guts in at the top and then spray them down the chute with a hose.
Birdsong Marina circus tent. Mary finally got enough courage to look inside it. It’s filled with junk.
Birdsong Marina shop. The Birdsong Marina shop is atop a sunken barge.  I doubt they have used it in years. It too appears to be filled to the brim with junk. The sunken river boat is on the left.
Birdsong Marina duck blind. On a pontoon and has an overhang to hide the boat used to move it.

Yes, it rained again today.  The sun will come out Tomorrow! Tomorrow! Tomorrow!

O Solo Mio

O Solo Mio

September 25, 2018 Tuesday  Birdsong Creek, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River mile 103.5 Camden,  TN   0 nautical miles   44+ statue miles (2 trips to towns)

35°58’15.5″N 88°02’54.5″
35.970980, -88.048482
Elevation: 359 feet

No surprise it rained again today!   After a leisurely cup of coffee we borrowed the marina car and went to Camden, TN for breakfast and groceries. I was surprised to find riding in a car nerve racking. I think it’s because it’s been about 2 months since I have traveled over 18 mph. Dale actually parked funny in one parking slots because he was subconsciously calculation wind, drift and pivot point.

Judy, Ray’s wife, came to pick him up shortly after we returned to the boat from our errands. Quick hugs in pouring rain and then they were off. If the weather was nicer they would have stuck around longer … bummer. Ray, you’ve been a great deck hand! Judy, I’d have loved to have visited with you longer. Next time!

O solo mio.  Back to just Dale and Mary.  Maybe I should say ‘solo noi due’, just the two of us.

The Bird Song Marina had an electrician stop by to take a look at power issues from yesterday. Dale helped him. They got everything going except the AC on our boat. Dale suspects the marina circuits are old/weak and trip too easily when the boat AC draws current.  Guess we will find out if it’s really the boat that has issues when we stop at the next marina.


Who’s in for supper? Sliced pork fat and jowl back. (Never saw this at Cub grocery in MN)
Birdsong Marina Tennessee River mile 103.5 – Rain
Birdsong Marina Tennessee River mile 103.5 – Dale working with Christopher the electrician

We did get some sun late in the day

Birdsong Marina Tennessee River mile 103.5 – This duck blind has it’s own slip on the dock.
Birdsong Marina Tennessee River mile 103.5 – Sunken houseboat at end of dock. It’s been there for a couple of years. You can still see the ladder and the top.
Wash Rinse Repeat

Wash Rinse Repeat

September 24, 2018 Monday    White Oak Bay, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River, mile 81.5, TN to Birdsong Creek, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River mile 103.5, TN 23 nautical miles

35°58’15.5″N 88°02’54.5″W
35.970980, -88.048482
Elevation: 359 feet

Awake from the anchor out in White Oak Bay, Dale was up early and saw an amazing thing. A fish jumped and suddenly the entire bay was filled with jumping fish that were not Asian carp. A few minutes later it happened again.  He was so amazed he had Ray and Mary go sit out side with him in hopes to see it again.  After several cups of coffee, toast and great conversation watching the straight down rain, it didn’t happen again. Consolation Prize: A rooster started to crow and crowed for about 30 minutes.

We are all catching up on our reading. Ray: Sue Grafton ‘Y is for Yesterday’; Mary: Frederik Bachman ‘Us Against You’; Dale: National Geographic.

It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining (Wash Rinse Repeat) …. Just like yesterday it was rainy, hazy and gray.

It did get interesting once we started to pull into Birdsong Creek mile 103.5 and heading to the marina.

White Oak Bay where we anchored out

White Oak Bay, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River, mile 81.5, TN – The chicken farmer in on the hill in the bay we anchored in.
White Oak Bay, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River, mile 81.5, TN – looking out of the bay we anchored in

Putting Ray to the Test – Final Exam on his last full day

Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Putting Ray to the test
Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – entrance – Pulling into Birdsong Creek and heading to the marina. Ray needs to squeeze between the green and the red.  Ray had to demonstrate his utmost navigation skills to maneuver through the 2.5 mile windy, twisty, narrow channel. It would have been a challenge for a Master Mariner. Proud to say he passed his ‘yes dear’ piloting class.
Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – previous resident dashing out as we are going in (they left and we got their transient slip). Note the Harley on the back deck. There was a suit of mail on the bow.

Birdsong Creek Marina.

This place is a hoot.  The dock hand put us in golf cart and took us on a tour of the place. The marina office had a sign stating ‘No Smoking’.  I’m guessing it meant no smoking for the patrons because it smelled so smoky in there I could hardly breathe.

Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – Neighbors
Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – Neighbors
Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – Fresh water pearl farm.  Birdsong Creek has the only fresh water pearl farm in the United States.  The fresh water pearl is the state gem of Tennessee. We met the John diver who maintains the pearl farm. They had great little museum here but it burnt down last year.   Sunday Morning Show with Charles Osgood did a segment on this about 15 years ago. The PBS Discovery Channel will be here to film later this week. There is a viewing area on the left side the picture ’cause the mussels (not oysters) are interesting to watch????
Bird Song Marina – electrical debugging team. We couldn’t get electrical power on the boat. Dale ended up debugging the entire marina for them. They said they would call an electrician tomorrow, but I doubt it.  Ray, Dale, John the pearl diver, Bob the owner, Skip the harbor master
Kentucky Lake – Tennessee River – Bird Song Marina mile 103.5 – sunset – Ray and Dale tossing a line. Ray caught a gar.
It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining

It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining

September 23, 2018 Sunday    Green Turtle Bay Marina, Grand Rivers, KY  to   White Oak Bay, Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River, mile 81.5, TN   54 nautical miles

36°15’46.8″N 87°55’05.6″W
36.262993, -87.918220
Elevation: 358

Leaving Green Turtle Bay in Lake Barkley (Cumberland River) we took the 1.5 mile long Barkley Canal west to Kentucky Lake (Tennessee River).  Both large reservoir lakes run north/south. The area of land between these two reservoirs is named The Land Between The Lakes. Imagine that.

Lakes are a bit more boring than rivers.  No dodge a log or dodge a barge.  Mary had really looked forward to traveling on the Kentucky River. It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t RAINING.  The shoreline and small islands are dramatic.

Green Turtle Bay Marina where we stay

There are Green Turtles in Green Turtle Bay!  Feeding frenzy.  The little store sells turtle pellets for $1.00 a bag. I bought a bag. It was fun to see them dash over. It was interesting to see them surface from the bottom.  I’d either see a big air bubble or a swirl of water, then a turtle surfaced much like a submarine.
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – We are at the end of the left dock. It is not an illusion that the dock roof gets higher and higher and the dock slips get longer and longer.
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – looking down the dock

Tales from the Loop… Several boats leaving from Alton Marina on the Mississippi River had their strainers clog up with mud and had to be towed to safety and a service marina.  I think we will check our strainers before we take off again. Dale definitely has a full time job keeping the boat functioning. Yesterday he was tinkering with a soft O ring that was leaking oil. Each day there is something new to look at.

Strainer cleaning – Not too bad. About 2 inches of crud at the bottom. Mostly May flies. Wait!!?! May flies the end of September?

On Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake. yes dear to infinity and beyond! 166 degrees True – Autopilot is a wonderful thing to have. Land Between the Lakes is on the left.
Kentucky Lake – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – All the little bays
Kentucky Lake – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – All the little islands.
Kentucky Lake – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – All the little islands.
Kentucky Lake – Rain kept us in the lower helm again today
Kentucky Lake mile 60.3 – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining –  Welcome to Tennessee! Kentucky/Tennessee border on the west side the river. Kentucky/Tennessee border on the east side the river was a couple of miles up back. 
Kentucky Lake – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – bay, one of many
Kentucky Lake – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – day mark on stilts
Kentucky Lake mile 78.2 – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – mile 78.2 – Louisville & Nashville RR Bridge with span removed. Abandoned dock in back.
Kentucky Lake mile 78.2 – It would have been beautiful if it wasn’t raining – abandoned dock for the Old Danville Grain Elevator

White Oak Bay anchorage

We anchored in White Oak Bay. Depth on the charts read 11 feet. Depth on the depth finder read 4.2 feet. Our draft is 4 feet. When we kicked into reverse to set the anchor the depth changed to 0 feet!!!! Mud bottom …..   It should be interesting pulling anchor tomorrow.

The Guacamole Makers Ray and Dale
Mary BBQing. Blacked chicken and asparagus

Back to Green Turtle Bay Dock Life (I took a lot of pictures and didn’t want to bore you so I put them on the bottom… if you get to here)

Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – life on the dock – look at the BBQ grill. There is a wide screen TV outside of this picture to the right.
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – life on the dock
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – life on the dock
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – Look at the houseboat behind the first boat.  Completely fills the picture. yes dear at end of dock past house boat.
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – Houseboat 80 feet, 3 levels. Could be yours for $500,000 (less than I expected having looked at the prices of motor yachts).
Haven’t had this problem before … coffee getting cold

Haven’t had this problem before … coffee getting cold

September 22, 2018, Saturday    Paducah, KY  to Green Turtle Bay Marina, Grand Rivers, KY    40.9 nautical miles

37°00’25.3″N 88°13’22.0″W
37.007028, -88.222772
Elevation: 352 feet

Tales from the Loop… Yesterday RECESS, who we were traveling with, had had enough of anchoring on the river so they decided to run it to Green Turtle Bay on the Cumberland River. I can understand why RECESS was tired of being on the river. The last night we anchored with them a sizeable flotsam log got tangled in their anchor chain.  Rick had to drop his dingy and go cut the log off. (We only had to work it out of the mud.) Unfortunately when RECESS got up to Barkley Lock & Dam, first Lock on the Cumberland River, he had to hang on the lock wall for about 10+ hours because the lock was offline. He finally got to Green Turtle Marina at 8:00 PM and had to dock in the dark. About 10 people met them with flashlights to help him in.

Haven’t had this problem before…With navigation lights on and light rain yes dear left the Paducah Dock with SPIRITUS and CHANGE OF PACE having heard the Barkley Lock & Dam was again operational. About 1/3 of the way learned ‘operational’ meant ‘running on auxiliary power’. They hoped to be able to keep it operational and we should check back when we got closer. Guess it breaks down a lot. Wonder what their annual budget is for duct tape?  We kept cruising forward at our exhilarating 5 knts.

Haven’t had this problem before…The weather changed to cold and rainy. In the upper helm coffee was getting cold before we could finish it. We all went downstairs to use the lower helm so we could enjoy a warm cup of Folgers.

Haven’t had this problem before…What actually drove us to the lower helm was the heavy rain.

Cumberland River heavy rain
Cumberland River heavy rain – Ha! I caught the splash from the leak in our bimini (canvas top over upper helm)
Dale had to put on his rain suit and clear the sunscreen from the windshield and lower the bikes and lines so we could see.  This was the first time we ever used the lower helm. We had always talked about trying it and never had. Jinx. Earlier this week we talked about trying out the lower helm when we got on the Kentucky Lake, a big open body of water, so we were ready when we got to the Gulf.
Cumberland River – trifecta – heavy rain, ox bow turn and barge

Pictures …

Ohio River mile 930 – Dredging in the middle of the channel.  Pretty sizable dredge!
Ohio River mile 930 – Dredge support team
Cumberland River mile 1 – I think this is supposed to be up and down not diagonal. You can still see the Ohio River in the background. We had just crossed into the Cumberland River.
Smithland, KY – My Old Kentucky Home
This section of the Cumberland River had a lot of commercial barges, especially barges being filled with rocks. It sounded like thunder every time a dump trunk dumped a load of rocks from the platform above into a barge below. I opted to take this picture to share what the other parts of the river looked like so you didn’t need to look at crushed rocks.


Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – 57′ lift – to the West
Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – 57′ lift – to the East
Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – 57′ lift – SPIRITUS
Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – 57′ lift – CHANGE OF PACE  (and Dale’s finger on left)
Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – Ray and Mary at double decker bollard. Decisions. Decisions.  Which one should we hook to?  We took the upper one.
Barkley Lock & Dam Cumberland River mile 30.6 – Lake Barkley
Mile 31.7, Green Turtle Bay Marina – yes dear is a baby boat on end cap on a dock for 60-70 foot house boats. The house boat on the left is for sale for $500K


Dinner with friends in the local restaurant and docktails on our boat past looper midnight (9:00pm). RECESS and BLUE GOOSE. Haven’t had this problem before…Both Dale and Ray managed to spill a glass of water on Rick (RECESS) before our meal even came.

Paducah’d at Paducah

Paducah’d at Paducah

September 21, 2018, Friday    Bean Branch Creek, Kevil, KY  to Paducah, KY   17.2 nautical miles

37°05’35.3″N 88°35’52.9″W
37.093130, -88.598022
Elevation: 304 feet  (up river 14 feet)

OK, I’m back to the spiders topic again…… I vacuum up as many spiders as I can EVERY day and was sure after 50+ days I had gotten all the big ones. Wrong. Found this beauty today. I’m sure in its pulled in form it was over 2 inches long.  I actually think this kind of spider looks pretty cool. The round ugly fat ones I really hate. I sucked him up any way.
Ohio River mile 944 rail roadroad bridge. I love you cloud! At least we had 1 today.
Ohio River mile 943 Fort Massac Illinois side. Ray was stationed here in his youth when Lewis & Clark came by. He used to load muskets.
Smile Ray! I’m taking your picture.     Another problem with anchoring out. Last shower for any of us was four days ago, Monday, 17-Sep-18. It’s been REALLY HOT and HUMID. We do have both a shower and potable water on the boat but we are conserving it for other uses like cooking, dishes, making ice cubes and brushing our teeth. The Ohio River is too ugly to swim in. We try to sit as far from each other in the boat as possible and not down wind. (Actually no one really stinks yet but we all look like we do.)
Paducah, KY city dock. New this year.
Paducah, KY city dock

Immediate task on hand was to shower then paint the town!

Paducah, KY Lewis & Clark with Native guides Quilt museum.   (We skipped it because we had been there before. Awesome place. Go there if you get to Paducah!)
Paducah, KY downtown

After a bite to eat the 3 of us took a Lyft to go grocery shopping. New experience.  None of us had ever taken a Lyft it before. We had to first down load the app.  Getting to a liquor store, our next stop, was interesting to say the least. The first one we went to was a pull-up window with bullet proof glass.  We drove by. The second was permanently closed. The Lyft driver suggested we go to the one she likes rather than us keeping pulling names out of Google. Good idea. It worked (too well).

Paducah’d at Paducah.  Provisions were low and we know we be traveling through dry counties in Kentucky and Tennessee. Hope this holds us til Nashville.
On the hook AGAIN with Dale and Ray (and a geography lesson)

On the hook AGAIN with Dale and Ray (and a geography lesson)

September 20, 2018, Thursday    Little Diversion River, Cape Girardeau, MO  to   Bean Branch Creek, Kevil, KY 72.5 nautical miles

37°12’19.1″N 88°53’12.8″W
37.205314, -88.886881
Elevation: 290 Feet

There are 2 things about boating that scare the bejeezes out of me: docking and anchoring. Happy to report anchoring last night was a breeze. Anchor held and equally important is came up with no problem. Must have been a sand bottom. I had anticipated mud and logs.

We had hoped to make it to Paducah, KY today so we were off the Ohio River and could provision. A rise in water level and current as a result of Hurricane Florence is anticipated in the next couple of days. We couldn’t get reservations in the marina so we are on the hook for another night.

Geography Lesson

Today we started above the ‘i’ in Missouri and ended the day under the capital ‘O’ in Ohio River (kinda close to Monkeys Eyebrow, KY)

Geography Lesson
   Mississippi River to Ohio River    <Today>
   Ohio River to Cumberland River  <Tomorrow>
   Cumberland River till we 1) drop off Ray and 2) decide to turn around (Nashville?)  <TBD>
   Cumberland River to Tennessee River south to the Tenn-Tom Canal

River Stats
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal: 24 statue miles
Illinois Waterway:
– Calumet Sag Channel and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal: 30 statue miles
– Illinois River: 273.0 statue miles
Mississippi River: 218 statue miles
Ohio River: 89.9 statue miles

Mississippi River – Ohio River Confluence 360 degree view

Mississippi River mile 0 – Last look at the Mississippi River from the rear view mirror
Bridges spans the Mississippi River and the Ohio River
Ohio River mile 981.0 – First look at the Ohio River up river. Who would have thunk it?  The Ohio River is wider than the Mississippi River at the junction!
Mississippi River south of the confluence – ByeBye

Ohio River!!!!
We dropped about 4-6 kts turning the corner. We lost the Mississippi River 2-3 kts current push and then headed up the Ohio River against a 2-3 kts current.

Ohio River mile 981.0. There is a huge barge fleeting area on both sides the Ohio that extends up river for several miles. Many barges tied to the shore and moored in the river. Lots of tows working in all direction.
Ohio River – River Boat. Mary at helm
Ohio River – River Boat – small barge
Ohio River – River Boat. None of us were bright enough to get the name of the boat.
Lock and Dam 53 and “New Lock” under construction mile 964.8 Lock on LDB (left descending bank) building materials in RDB (right descending bank)
We had to wait to be escorted by a guide boat. Guide boat on right, towboat and barge, Recess then us.
Lock and Dam 53 and “New Lock” mile 964.8 – First lock on the Ohio. It is a wicket dam. The dam wickets were lowered making it possible to cross over the dam without going through the lock. These are the new wickets being constructed.

Settled in for the night. On the hook AGAIN with Dale and Ray.

The generator ran all last night and will again tonight so we can have air conditioning.  It 95 degrees and HUMID.

Ohio River mile 953.5 – Bean Branch Creek near Monkeys Eyebrow, KY – Settled in for the night. Out of the channel but in the great wide open. Here’s to hoping we  are still here tomorrow morning.
A Little Diversion

A Little Diversion

September 19, 2018 Wednesday  Kaskaskia Lock, Modoc, IL to Little Diversion River, near Cape Girardeau, MO   61.3 nautical miles

37°14’58.0″N 89°31′ 06.8″E
37.249429, -89.518566
Elevation: 314 feet – dropped 46 feet elevation. No lock. Guess that explains the turbulence

Today is ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’
What is a Pirate’s favorite restaurant?   Arrrrrrrby’s

Cloudy and windy BUT NOT HOT. Traveled with Recess to the next anchorage.

Kaskaskia Lock where we spent the night

Mile 117.5, Kaskaskia Lock – Early morning barge pushing though on the lock side of jetty.  Front
Kaskaskia Lock mile 117.5 – early morning barge – looking up the lock – Back
Kaskaskia Lock mile 117.5 – Looking down the jetty – dam on left, lock on right

Down the river a ways

Mile 109.9, Chester, Illinois, where Popeye was born!
Mississippi River SM84-SM83  -Mile 84.0 –  83.0. Very turbulent area due to the bend and weir dams. First time I’ve see turbulence marked on a chart.  I personally think the entire the river should be cross hashed
Mile 80.9 Pipeline Bridge
Mile 80.9 Carni camping between gigs. You can see the amusements on the right.
Mississippi River – biggest barge we’ve seen yet. 4×6  (24). Then again it is a big river

Down for the night

Mile 48.8 Little Diversion River, near Cape Girardeau, MO – On the hook for the night. Change of Pace, TxAu, Jubilant, Spiritus and Bucket List to the east
Mile 48.8 Little Diversion River, near Cape Girardeau, MO – On the hook for the night. Recess and Meridian.
Spirit of St Louis and Legendary Loopers

Spirit of St Louis and Legendary Loopers

September 18, 2018,  Tuesday   Alton Marina, Alton, IL  to Kaskaskia Lock,  IL 75.5 nautical miles

37°59’01.5″N 89°56’42.5″W
37.983746, -89.945131
Elevation: 360 feet      No Internet or phone service

All before noon

Left Alton Marina with 5 other Loopers. Spiritus, Bucket List, Jubilant, Change of Pace, TxAu (Texas Gold).

Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 (2 chambers) mile 200.8 – Sure speeds up traffic with 2 lock chambers

Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 mile 200.8 – 6 of us this time.
Mel Price Lock and Dam mile 200.8 – Mary tying off to bollard
Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 – Bollard – Mary typically loops the forward mid line and the aft mid line.
Leaving Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 – Following the pack out
Mel Price Lock and Dam 26 mile200.8 – upstream view – Sure speeds up traffic with 2 chambers –  We can down the little one on the right
Missouri River meets the Mississippi River mile 195.3
Chain of Rocks Lock and Dam 27 – canal entrance
Dikes along Chain of Rocks Lock and Dam 27 mile 185.0  The canal was about 5 miles long*** Last lock we take on the Mississippi River *** WOO WOO ***
Chain of Rocks Lock and Dam 27 mile 185.0 – Closing the gate. It looked like a submarine rising
St Louis, MO – immediately out of the lock. New tour boat headed to Chicago
First glimpse of St. Louis mile 183.5. Lots of turbulence in this area and LOTS of logs in the water. We played serious dodge a LOG for about 5 miles. It got better but never good.
St Louis, MO turbulent water and the calm line
St Louis, MO Gateway to the West and bridges
St Louis, MO bridges and yes dear. Thanks to Spiritus for taking our picture. The captain of the Spiritus is the legendary Eddie from “Eddie’s Weather Wag”. He interprets the weather conditions from several sources specific only to the upper, eastern Gulf of Mexico for the Carrabelle, FL to Tarpon Springs, FL approximately 150 mile crossing, 18 – 20 hour trip, and recommends “Go” or “Don’t go”.
Yes Dear in the Gateway to the West. We all took turns posing in front of the Arch. Thanks to Spiritus for taking our picture.
St Louis, MO Gateway to the West and Capital Building
St Louis, MO staging and traffic – St. Louis mile 180.0 – Tows and barges can come at you from any direction at any time. They do a lot of barge staging south of the Arch
Hoppies Marine Services mile 158.5 – Remember the iconic “Last Gas” signs you’d see at service stations in the desert Southwest? Hoppies is literally the “Last Gas” for 250 miles. It is two rusty barges (used to be four but 2 just sank last week) tied to the shore with a fuel station on the middle barge. We didn’t have the luck to get a reservation, but we did stop for gas.
Hoppies – getting gas

****** NOON ******

Downriver all afternoon.… Barges were traveling faster than us in the current.

Barges loaded to the water line – almost NO freeboard

Mile 117.5, Kaskaskia Lock – Dockmaster gave us permission to tie up to damn side of the lock jetty for the night.  Two other Looper boats, Meridian and Recess, were already tied up there. They immediately invited us for docktails at 5:00.

Dang has it been hot

Dang has it been hot

September 17, 2018,  Monday   Alton Marina, Alton, IL    >.1  nautical miles   ? statue miles (grocery store shuttle)

38°53’02.5″N 90°10’34.1″W
38.884013, -90.176138
Elevation: 417 feet

Much needed down day, boat cleaning and check book balancing. It’s hard to keep up on the paperwork when we are traveling. No internet during the day and tired at night.

DANG HAS IT BEEN HOT. Today the heat index was over 100 degrees. Days have been running 85-100 degrees and about 70-80% humidity. I’ve asked several people if this is unusually hot.  The pat answer is “Welcome to the South”.

Local grocery store sent a shuttle to pick us up to buy groceries. Nice little store but I really missed the big grocery stores I’m used to. (Don’t have, buy something similar or don’t buy something similar. )

Alton Marina

Alton, IL, Alton Marina – Look at the dock posts. Looks like they get a lot of water here in spring.
Alton, IL, Alton Marina and Clark Bridge – The Clark Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Mississippi River between West Alton, Missouri and Alton, Illinois.  The bridge is sometimes referred to as the Super Bridge. Its construction was featured in a NOVA documentary entitled Super Bridge, which highlighted the challenges of building the bridge, especially during the Great Flood of 1993. The Clark Bridge was the first in the United States in which “such a light steel-framed cable-stayed design was combined with a cable saddle type of pylon.
Alton, IL, Alton Marina – We were in an uncovered slip yesterday and moved our boat about 100 feet to be under a covered slip today.  It must be 15 degrees cooler being in the shade.

Docktails and then Supper

Tough decision for Ray. Docktails or Bears Game on TV.

Alton, IL, Alton Marina – First Docktails Party with other Loopers
Alton, IL, Alton Marina – Supper. Just the 3 of us Ray, Dale and Mary. Grilled New York steak, summer squash with dill and parm cheese, rosemary potatoes.
Alton, IL, Alton Marina


Kerry Carlson sent in this contribution

Thanks Kerry! I’ll be careful when we hit the salt water.
Rolling on the river. The Mississippi River!

Rolling on the river. The Mississippi River!

September 16, 2018, Sunday   Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL  to  Alton Marina, Alton, IL    55.7 nautical miles

38°53’03.2″N 90°10’37.6″W
38.884224, -90.177102
Elevation: 417 feet       (4 feet lower elevation than yesterday – 0 locks)

Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL – We awoke to a beautiful morning from a great night’s sleep. I’m always delighted when I find myself in the same location as I went to bed (anchor held).
We are seeing more and more stilt houses along the river.  There is a green can buoy on the right side the tree.
Almost every navigation buoy has something hitched to it. Many of them have trees snagged on them all the rain in the past few weeks. Like yesterday were also a LOT of displace buoys having been dragged out of the channel by barges.  We probably see 10-20 monarch butterflies and hour as this area is part of their migration path. We also see an occasional Asian carp.
The Illinois River, particularly the west side, became more hillary (bluffs)
Kempsville, IL Ferry mile 32.1
Mississippi River and Illinois River confluence – Our first look at the Mississippi River!!! Tip of north most island and north side of Illinois River.
Grafton, IL Illinois River mile 0
Illinois River and Mississippi River confluence.  Illinois River mile 0 and Mississippi River mile 217.9.

******** On the Mississippi River ***********

Mississippi River bluffs – Navigator Ray and Skipper Dale.We picked up 2-3 kts from current once we hit the Mississippi.
Grafton, IL Mississippi River bluff south of Illinois river confluence


Alton, IL  –  It is like every day is Saturday but we just discovered today is Sunday!!!! Foot ball is on!   Vikings tied Packers. I’d have preferred to see Vikings win.
It’s hot here! 100 degrees.

Just Do It Aquaman!

Just Do It Aquaman!

September 15, 2018, Saturday   Tall Timbers Marina, Havana, IL to Buckhorn Island, Montezuma Township, IL (on the hook)   65.5 nautical miles    1 lock

39°30’02.3″N 90°35’22.5″W
39.500630, -90.589583
Elevation: 423 feet  down 10 feet.     Lock was only about 2 feet. Rest of the 8 feet was down hill river.

Just Do It Aquaman!
Nice jugs Mary

Late night visitor We had been warned about tieing up at public docks as many boats had been boarded and raided during the night. Thought we’d be safe at a private marina ……….

Late night visitor – raccoon we think
Tall Timbers Marina, Havana, IL

Miles to make traveling at 8.5 kts, 8:00 AM departure, through the wilderness of Illinois, Land of Abe and Barack. Not a lot going on through this stretch.

Mile 117 Just how flat it is – power lines reflecting in the water. Way in the distance you can barely see tops of trees.

Legs. White socks? Oh!!! Nice tan Ray.
Just Do it!       Judy, I will make him wear a life jacket on the bow next time,
Hammock is out

River Living

Rivers End Boat Club mile 97.5. Looks like a drive up at certain times of the year. Catch the truck and trailer in the lower right of the picture. We watched the guy back his boat in and take off, just leaving his truck there probably with keys in ignition.
River Living – stilts

I decided earlier today I was done taking pictures of barges.  But I needed to take one more.

Ray head to head with is first barge!
Dredging the channel to make it deeper.
What is this ? Rapunzel’s tower or Game of Thrones armament?

Must have seen 3 dozen or more eagles! Wabasha, MN I think they have you beat.  It’s hard to believe this peaceful lazy stretch of the river is connected to the heave commercial traffic up river. I swear we saw over 100 monarch butterflies (10-15 per hour. This their migration path)

La Grange Lock & Dam mile 80.2 – The Last Lock in our Illinois Waterway and River  -Training Course till the Mississippi River! First time we free floated through the drop as we were the only boat in the lock.

The La Grange Lock & Dam is a wicket dam. Wickets are raised to dam the river and provide sufficient depths for navigation. During high water the wickets are lowered to the bottom of the river to allow the traffic to pass over them without having to lock through.


Just Do It and Aquaman making supper

Sweet Ray

Ray is sweet, svelt and compactive,
Flies and spiders find him attractive.
Dale and I’ve never been bit
Flies and spiders find Sweet Ray find him a hit.

3+ hour wait

3+ hour wait

September 14, 2018, Friday  IVY Marina, Peoria, IL  to Tall Timbers Marina,Havana, IL      44.4 nautical miles    1 lock  (3+ hour wait for 7 feet)

With 30 Looper boats behind us on we were sent on the run by the marina. The IVY Marina was booked solid for tonight and we were asked to leave as soon as possible.  Dale quickly swapped out the fuel filter and we were on our way. The fuel filter god was in our favor. Port engine purred.

Peoria, IL

Peoria, IL
Peoria, IL Obama and Lincoln statues

Peoria & Pekin Union Railroad Drawbridge mile 160.6 stopped us in our wake. Posted height was 19.8 feet.  We called for clearance check. 15.0 feet. Glad we asked. We waited about 20 minutes for a coal train and another 10 because the bridge tender forgot to lift the bridge. It was close quarters waiting with a barge less than 50 yards behind.  <you don’t get pictures of everything>

Peoria, IL Lock & Dam mile 157.6 stopped us in our wake for 3 hours while they squeaked a chemical barge up the 7 foot high lock.   (3+ hour wait for 7 feet)

Peoria IL Lock and Damn – The stupid chemical barge causing the 3+ hours wait is coming out

We turned up our turbos to a whopping 12 kts to ensure we got to our marina before dark as there were no safe anchorages or marina for a boat our size on this stretch.

Ray at the helm.

This section of the river was narrow and there was plenty of barge traffic. Several buoys had obviously been snagged and dragged by the barges so they couldn’t be relied on for navigation.

We picked our way through dodging alligators and hippos (slang for logs and trees floating in the water way). Occasionally we had moments of the great wide open.

We saw lots of wild life (herons, eagles, bobcat, pelicans) and asian carp

Passing on the 2 (closely)

Passing on the 2
Passing on the 2 – Running the gauntlet.  Squint. We needed to pass between the green can and the front of the barge. I could have reached out and touched the barge!!!!!
Passing on the 2 – Just a little bit of churn.

Other pics

Docked for Lunch
I have no idea of what’s going on
Railroad bridge. I just liked the view while I was sitting in the back of the boat gathering my blog notes.


Today lesson:  Polishing fuel
Dale says don’t worry about the fuel filters. It is a common issue and it’s only one tank, the port, we are having issues with it. The 3-4 foot waves all the day long coming across the Great Lake churned up all the ugly crud on the bottom of the tank.

In a diesel there different kinds of crud. The fuel additives take care of the bacteria crud and water in the fuel, and fuel filters take care of some of the other crud which looks like coffee grounds. A diesel does not use all the fuel that goes into the engine like a gas engine does. The not used fuel that gets recycled back into the tank is considered ‘polished’ as it has already been run through the fuel filter once. This means that the more we run the engine the clear the fuel will become.  Eventually the tanks will get completely polished (unless we get a load of bad fuel).  I still worry.



September 13, 2018, Thursday   Mariners Village, Seneca, IL  to IVY Yacht Club, Peoria, IL  ~87 nautical miles   2 locks (44 feet) perfect timing no wait!

40°44’57.1″N 89°33’24.6″W
40.749180, -89.556836
Elevation: 440 feet

We set out with a stowaway around 7:30 AM

Seneca, IL Stowaway!! Tam the Tour Guide

Marseilles Lock and Dam 244.6

Marseilles Lock and Dam mile 244.6 – looking down river to it. Timing was perfect. Barge was leaving as we were approaching.
Marseilles, IL Marseilles Lock and Dam – mile 244.6 – Start of the morning and top ‘o the lock. Mary and the stowaway Tam.
Marseilles Lock and Dam mile 244.6 – Ray at the ready for the descent
Marseilles Lock and Dam mile 244.6 lock opening – OMG surprise ! We had to work our way around the the barge on its starboard side to get out of the lock.

Al Capone used to hang out in this area of river

Buffalo Rock

Starved Rock Lock and Dam mile 231.0

Starved Rock – waiting to enter lock
Starved Rock Lock and Dam mile 231.0. 13 is a lucky number 13 looper boats in the lock on the 13th.
Starved Rock, IL Starved Rock Lock and Dam mile 231.0 through salon window. Exciting eh?


Main span of this bridge was take down in August.  Just finishing up the work

Tearing down the old bridge. About 2 miles down from here the group of us met two barges heading up stream in hair pin S-curves. Following their guidance we all set tail back to this bridge, a wider section of the river, so they could safely pass.


Tam at the helm. Ray at ready.
Not only is Tam a great deck hand, helmsman and tour guide. She is a great cook! Thanks for bringing the chicken caprese salad for lunch.
Islands in the stream. Tam told me the name but I forgot the name. Pretty picture though.
just liked the view ….

The port fuel filter clogged around 4:30 PM so we ran on the starboard engine only until we got the marina. For those of you reading the blog regularly, yes this is the same engine we had to swap the fuel filter on earlier this trip.

Pelicans. Lots of them.

We made it to IVY Marina and Tam’s friend came to pick her up. 🙁    Who knows. We might see her for the Norfolk to New York run.

Poem from Tam the Tour Guide Carlsen
From the docks through the locks the current takes us down,
From one to another, little river towns.
New friends new adventures O’er water on wind,
Safe travels Yes Dear ’til we meet again.



September 12, 2018, Wednesday   Mariners Village, Seneca IL   0 nautical miles   7+ statue miles

41°18’00.4″N 88°37’05.2″W
41.300111, -88.618108
Elevation: 484 feet

Tobin Factor. All the excitement of the big balls was deflated this morning.  The 18 inch round fender had a hole in the seam and had deflated.  Spring Brook Marina, who we bought it from, came over to our dock to make an exchange so we didn’t have to bike over. Thanks for the great customer service!
The 21 inch round fender needed a little more air so we took it inside to further inflate. We could barely get it through the door to take back outside.
Note to self: Watch your weight. At least I know what my max size can be.

Whew.  The last of our expected deliveries arrived today. Shout outs to Sharon and Holly at from the Seneca Post Office for watching out for our items and helping ensure we got them. Mary and Dale resembled a shark feeding frenzy going through the box of mail that had been forwarded.

I had a mule. Her name was Sal. 15 miles on the I&M Canal (Erie Canal). We rode bicycles along the old Illinois and Michigan(I&M) Canal from Seneca towards Marseilles. The I&M Canal, opened in 1848, connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. In Illinois, it ran 96 miles from the Chicago River in Bridgeport, Chicago to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru. Just like on the Erie Canal, mules were used to move the barges and other nautical vessels down the canal.

Droning – Seneca, IL Mariners Marina

Seneca, IL Mariners Marina – Drone – yes dear is in the lower right corner back side the dock. Gray dingy on top.
Seneca, IL Mariners Marina – Drone – yes dear is in the lower right corner back side the dock. Gray dingy on top.
Seneca, IL Mariners Marina – Drone – Vinny’s boat is the first boat in the lower left corner.
Seneca, IL Mariners Marina – Drone – Looking back at you.


New Fenders

New fenders. Spring Brook Marina did not have another new 18 inch ball fender but the did have a used one. They exchanged the defective fender for the used 18 inch ball and two new, very nice cylindrical fenders. I am certain we got the better side of the deal. BTW, we got rid of the really ugly purple ones we were using. (HaHa Michael.  We put 2 of them on them on the back of your boat.)

I&M Canal Trail

Seneca, IL I&M Canal. The I&M ceased transportation operations with the completion of the Illinois Waterway in 1933. It is now overgrown with natural grasses and plants. Ditch on  the right side of the picture.
Seneca, IL I&M Canal is on left side the picture. Path goes through woodlands.
Seneca, IL I&M Canal is on right side the picture. Path goes through farm lands and along the water way.   Soon to be harvest time!

Note to self: Do not put lotion on face for sun burn too early in the day or bugs will stick to your face for the rest of the day.


Big Balls

Big Balls

September 11, 2018, Tuesday   Mariners Village, Seneca IL       0 nautical miles  ~ 7.0 statute miles

41°18’00.4″N 88°37’05.2″W
41.300111, -88.618108
Elevation: 484 feet

Nothing like big balls. After a leisurely morning on the dock drinking coffee with Kerry and Ray we went in search for big balls on our bicycles.  We found some across the river at Springbrook Marina. The same marina we stayed at the first night we were in the area.

Ray had not been on a bicycle for 27 years.  As they say it’s just like riding a bike. You should have see us old farts slipstream drafting down the roads in Seneca and over the bridge. I’ll tell you, Lance Armstong had nothing over us. (I tried to take a picture but almost fell off my bike doing so. You don’t get one. HA.)

Thanks Amazon for getting our packages as promised to us today as promised. There was a little confusion over the mailing address. No problem. We rode our bikes to the the post office to pick them up.(1.3 miles)

Tam the tour guide stopped by to check on us late afternoon. So we had a sangria.  We have just about talked into riding with us to Peoria and having someone pick her up at the end of the day. (hour by car). Fingers crossed.

Big Balls  OK. Are you wondering what we bought? We bought 2 round type fenders(bumpers) for the boat; one 18 inch and one 21 inch, back and bow respectively. They supposedly are better at holding the boat in position on a dock and in a lock as they don’t roll like the cylindrical ones do.  Guess we will find out.

Big Balls