19-OCT-2020 Monday – Harbor, Grafton IL (IL WW mile 0) to Hoppies Marina, Imperial, MO (~UMR mile 159) 51.7 nautical miles (~59.6 statute miles)
Elevation: 317 feet
Total Elevation Change: 96 feet
Mile 200.8, Mel Price Lock and Dam 26
Mile 185.0, Chain of Rocks Canal and Lock 27
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.
There is a definite need for Hoppies to continue to operate. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to support them getting their marina and fuel stop fully functional. https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-save-hoppies
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.