Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Aug 26, 2019 Monday Rip Rap Landing State Fish and Waterfowl Management Area – Mile 265, Belleview, Illinois  to Goose Island – Mile 318, Marblehead, Illinois  53 nautical miles.

39°49’49.2″N 91°24’22.5″W
39.830322, -91.406239
Elevation: 469 ft               Locks: 2  Ascent: 33 feet
Lock 24, Clarksville, MO
Lock 22, Saverton MO (no Lock 23)
Remaining Statue Miles: 361

Along the Way

Hope.

We zig zagged off and on up the Missouri / Illinois shoreline following the main channel. There is nothing straight about this river. When we told people were heading up the Mississippi River the response was always the same. OMG you are going to have current!  Yes, we do have current. It’s no worse that upriver current on the Hudson, the Potomac, the St Lawrence and intercoastal currents. The engines are set at 1500 rpms, their sweet spot, and we travel between 5.5 and 6.4 knots. In open water this we would be traveling a little over 8 knots.

Lock 24 at Clarksville, MO – We had a 1.5 hour wait for a tow for a 3×5 tow clear first.

Hello MidWest! Louisianna MO mile 282
Lock 22 navigation track. We had our choice to tie off or float. We chose float. The lock master open all the valves, turbulent water gushed in. We were popped like a cork on a champagne bottle to the upper water level faster than any elevators I’ve been in. It took quite a bit of skill not to collide with the lock walls with all the swirling water.

Hannibal, MO – the childhood home of Mark Twain

No sunshine again today. At least it didn’t rain, alot.

Neighbors

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Samuel Clemens first signed his writing with the name Mark Twain in February 1863, as a newspaper reporter in Nevada. “Mark Twain” (meaning “Mark number two”) was a Mississippi River term: the second mark on the line that measured depth signified two fathoms, or twelve feet—safe depth for the steamboat.

The average depth of the Mississippi River between Saint Paul and Saint Louis is between 9 and 12 feet (mark twain) deep.

Nauti Words

Off and On
Meaning: At some times or occasionally.
Origin: Old naval expression meaning close to the shore by sailing off and on or away from and towards the shore in a zig zag pattern. Zig Zag is also a Nauti Word.

No room to swing a cat
Meaning: indicates a crowded or packed surroundings
Origin: During the whipping punishment using the “cat o’ nine tails,” all hands were called on deck to witness. With a full crew, the deck could be so crowded that the cat o’ nine tails was difficult to use without hitting other crew members. In other words, there was “no room to swing a cat.”

As long as I’m the topic of cats, here’s a couple more ….

Letting the Cat out of the bag
Meaning: Someone has said something that was not to be said or revealed a secret
Origin: This term comes from the old naval punishment of being whipped with a “cat o’ nine tails.” The whip was kept in a leather bag and when the sailors “let the Cat out of the bag” they had usually done something that would result in punishment.

Combing the cat
Meaning: Looking for trouble
Origin: When flogging a seaman, “combing the cat” meant to run fingers through the cat-o’-nine-tails after each stroke to separate the strands in preparation for the next stroke.

Drolleries and Yuks

A blind man walks into a bar, grabs his seeing eye dog by the tail and starts swinging him around.
The bartender yells “Hey! What are you doing?????”
Blind man replies “Just looking around”.

MN We are coming your way! (north on Mississippi)

MN We are coming your way! (north on Mississippi)

Aug 25, 2019 Sunday Grafton Harbour, Mile 0, Grafton, IL  to  Rip Rap Landing State Fish and Waterfowl Management Area – Mile 265, Belleview, IL
48.5 nautical miles.

39°19’02.5″N 90°47’50.9″W
39.317349, -90.797464
Elevation: 436 ft               Locks: 1  Ascent: 23 feet
Lock 25, Winfield, MO
Remaining Statue Miles: 565

Along the Way

Good thing it wasn’t sunny this morning or Dale wouldn’t have gotten Mary to head north. The cliffs were calling.

Around the dredger then heading north

We entered the Mississippi River at statute mile 218. Twin Cities Marina, our intended port, is at statute mile 830

Quick stop for fuel on the Missouri side before we headed north.
The blonde in front is a dog. For real.
Wing dams on the Mississippi.
A wing dam or wing dike is a man made barrier that, unlike a conventional dam, only extends partway into a river. These structures force water into a fast-moving center channel which reduces the rate of sediment accumulation, while slowing water flow near the riverbanks.
The Mississippi River in North America has literally thousands of wing dams. Many of them are not visible above the waterline.

Rain Rain go away! Come again some other day! We’ve had a lot of these lately.

Lock 25. Our first north bound lock on the Mississippi River.

Southbound American Duchess and northbound tow. The American Duchess is about as wide as a boat can be and still make it through the locks.

The American Duchess luxury paddleboat. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gretchenkelly/2019/04/30/riverboat-redux-on-the-american-duchess/#669926c35940

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Dead Soldier: An expression used for an empty bottle of wine, spirit or beer. Originally the expression was “dead Marine.” In the late 1700 Duke of Clarence ordered the steward to remove the “dead marines” to make room for new bottles. When asked why he call them “dead marines ” he replied with tact and characteristic grace, “I call them marines because they are good fellows who have done their duty and are ready to do it again.” 

The Duke of Clarence became William IV (William Henry; 21 August 1765 – 20 June 1837), King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover and ruled from 26 June 1830 until his death in 1837.

The Duke of Clarence title became extinct when The Duke of Clarence became king, merging the title with the Crown.

Drolleries and Yuks

What do you call a psychic little person who has escaped from prison?
     A small medium at large.

Grafton, Key West of the MidWest

Grafton, Key West of the MidWest

Aug 24, 2019 Saturday Grafton Harbour, Mile 46 Grafton, IL  0 nautical miles.

38°58’05.3″N 90°26’18.4″W
38.968136, -90.438446
Elevation: 413 ft               Locks: 0  Descent: 0 feet

Along the Way

I could tell by the cut of the Hatteras’ jib as it settled on the dock that we were in for a heck of a night. Vinnie, the Pirate was in town with friends Keith and Dave. AND I forgot to take a picture of the boat!

Grafton is called the ‘Key West of the MidWest’ and we needed to discover why. The town was hopping as it’s a popular tourist destination for boats, cars, motorcycles and party buses.

First stop was the 3 Chute. Not sure why it was called the 3 Chute as it had four levels snaking up the hillside. It was filled with old boating, fishing, other chandlery items and a few mildly inappropriate mannequins.

The Bloody Bucket Saloon was pretty dismal when we entered it, just a couple of guys sitting a table.

I’m pretty certain it can be an extremely lively place. If you eat the worm in the bottom of the tequila bottle you get to right you write your name on the ceiling with are red star beside side it. What an excellent idea! Drunks on 10 foot ladders. You can see there is ceiling for expansion.
About 3 minutes into our adult beverages 33 women exited their bachelorette party bus and sashayed into the Bloody Bucket Saloon.
The couple of guys at the table sprung into action, strongly resembling sharks in a fishbowl. Shameless, shameless. LOL.
Next stop Abigal’s for the worlds best pretzel. They are flash fried the make the outside crispy. The chef let me watch him. I think I’m going to have a booth at the MN State Fair next year and sell these pretzels and beaver tails.

HA! What ever happens in Grafton stays in Grafton, the Key West of the MidWest.

Good Night

The Hatteras

Floccinaucinihilipilification

Blood is thicker than water: A well known saying meaning that family relationships are more important than all other relationships. It was originally attributed to an U.S. Navy commodore Josiah Tattnail who used the expression when justifying his intervention in the British attack on the Peiho forts in June 1859 during the second China war.

Nauti Words

Cut of one’s jib

Meaning: general appearance or personality; style
Origin: The jib of a sailing ship is a triangular sail set between the fore-topmast head and the jib boom. In the 17th century the shape of the jib sail often identified a vessel’s nationality, and hence whether it was hostile or friendly.

Chandlery

Meaning: boat supply store
Origin: A maker and seller of candles was known as a chandler and the place where candles were made and sold was a chandlery. Boats at that time consumed large amounts of candles on a voyage. To replace those consumed, the captain would have to visit the local chandlery while in port. Chandlers would often stock other nautical goods, such as rope, leather and tar.

Tiding Over

Tiding Over

Aug 23, 2019 Friday Grafton Harbour, Mile 46 Grafton, IL  0 nautical miles.

38°58’05.3″N 90°26’18.4″W
38.968136, -90.438446
Elevation: 413 ft               Locks: 0  Descent: 0 feet

Along the Way

Grafton Marina is one busy marina. So is the Mississippi River. In this picture there is a ferry, a dredger, a river boat and a bunch of small boats.

There are 3 “must dos” in Grafton, shop at Harrisons Gift’s and Knotty By Nature and get a giant pretzel at Abigal’s. We hit the trifecta. The pretzel was soo good it was demolished before a picture could be taken.

Vinnie, the Pirate will be sailing in on the next tide. Since the marina didn’t cost an arm and a leg to stay at we booked another night.

Disambiguation

Cost an arm and a leg

Meaning: extremely expensive
Origin: The story goes that this phrase originated from 18th-century paintings, as famous people like George Washington would have their portraits done without certain limbs showing. Having limbs showing is said to have cost more.

Drolleries and Yuks

Did you hear about the two people who stole a calendar?
They each got six months.

Illinois River Mile 0

Illinois River Mile 0

Aug 22, 2019 Thursday Buckhorn Island, Mile 46, Montezuma Township, IL to Grafton Harbour, Mile 0 Grafton, IL  46.0 nautical miles.

38°58’05.3″N 90°26’18.4″W
38.968136, -90.438446
Elevation: 413 ft               Locks: 0  Descent: 11 feet

Along the Way

Getting ready to pull anchor. This is the anchorage where Dale pulled a rib muscle last year. Two fingers on his left hand are still a bit numb.
Coming into Grafton. Our marina is on the left.
Down river is the Mississippi. The cliffs are calling…….
The section of the Illinois River we have been on for the past 3 days is hard running, no cutesy little towns, no marinas and no internet, just submerged logs/debris in the river. It’s nice to be at the rivers end – mile 0.

Mary got a dressing down from this little duck because she would feed it or give it any attention.

Nauti Words

Dressing down

Meaning: Scold or reprimand
Origin: When sails became old and sere and no longer windproof, they were dressed down: taken down and re-dressed with oil and wax, to make them hold the wind again. A sailor who was dressed down was thus treated in a way which would dramatically improve his effectiveness.

Drolleries and Yuks

Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock knock joke?
     He won the “no-bell” prize.

Learning to be a bird

Learning to be a bird

Aug 21, 2019 Wednesday Quiver Island mile 123, Havana Township, IL  to Buckhorn Island, Mile 46, Montezuma Township, IL 69.0 nautical miles.

39°30’04.9″N 90°35’21.0″W
39.501359, -90.589168
Elevation: 424 ft               Locks: 1  Descent: 5 feet

Along the Way

We went to bed at Looper midnight 9:00 PM and woke up at 11:45 PM, 1:45 AM, 2:24 AM, 3:35 AM, 4:45 AM 5:45 AM. After a miserable night’s sleep (hot and muggy) we arose at 6:15 AM for the fleet’s planned departure at 6:30 AM. Deep six that idea.

The fog was too thick to venture out. Our buddy boats were ghost ships.
At 7:30 AM we ventured out only to be deep sixed again at the first bend. The fog was too dense to continue. If you can hear the barges clanging around and can’t seem them it’s a reasonable idea to back track and get out of there.

8:30 AM we were underway again we were careening down the river like a banana boat, picking up .3 to .8 kts of current.

Young eagles down out of the trees with parents teaching them to fly and fish.

This section of the river would give Wabasha MN a run for their money. SEA GLASS said they counted 97 eagles today.

There were several families of young herons. Five young herons in this family. Mom was trying to get them to move down river, swooping back and encouraging them to fly. Herding chickens might have been easier for her.

There were also several families of young turkey vultures – not picture worthy.

Rear view look at our last lock on the Illinois! Mile 80.2, La Grange Lock & Dam This lock too is in significant need of repair. It only has one valve working out of ?? and the walls are crumbling.

Neighbors

Buckhorn Island. SEA GLASS, MISS ADVENTURE and HOOT OWL

Nauti Words

Deep Six

Meaning: getting rid of something
Origin: A fathom, the unit of measurement for the depth of the sea, is 6 feet. Sailors used the term to refer to throwing something overboard (“deep sixing”).

On a banana boat

Meaning: Mary’s preferred meaning is a go fast boat. (There are a lot of derogatory meanings out there too 🙁
Origin: Banana boat was a term, a descriptive nickname, given to fast ships also called banana carriers engaged in the banana trade designed to transport easily spoiled bananas rapidly from tropical growing areas to northern markets that often carried passengers as well as fruit. ~Prior to the early 20th century when refrigerated boats came into existence.

Drolleries and Yuks

How does a rabbi make his coffee?
     Hebrews it.

Seas the Day

Seas the Day

Aug 20, 2019 Tuesday Peoria Municipal Dock, Peoria, IL    to Quiver Island mile 123, Havana Township, IL  43.0 nautical miles.

40°18’48.2″N 90°03’56.6″W
40.313388, -90.065731
Elevation: 429 ft               Locks: 1  Descent: 10 feet

Seize the day. A storm (actually 2), a lift bridge, a lock, a barge, a mid-run fuel filter change, a swimming raccoon, a flying carp, an overnight anchorage, a beer on the back deck, a biting fly.

Along the Way

With an eye on the weather we adjusted the dock lines and fender positions to ride out the storm.

We successfully avoided Davy Jones locker for another day!

Leveraging the quantity of 4 (MISS ADVENTURE, SEA GLASS, HOOT OWL and YES DEAR). Once the storm was over we headed to Peoria Lock. When we got there the lock master initially said it would be 4-5 hours and even then he couldn’t guarantee he could get us through. Two of us dropped anchor above the Peoria dam adjacent to the lock and two of us dropped anchor a bit further back among the anchored barges to wait it out. Fifteen minutes later we were invited into the lock after the upstream barge pulled out. I’m guessing the lock master wasn’t happy where we anchored, even if we were out of the channel. We were just more clutter for the barges to be concerned about.

Past floods levels at Peoria Lock

Neighbors

We anchored in the channel to an abandoned coal shipping facility. Real dark, real calm and real quiet (except for the dang cicadas, toads and frogs).

Nauti Words

Keep an eye out (on the weather)

Meaning: watch out for trouble
Origin: This expression comes from the importance of a sailing crew staying alert and looking for potential trouble such as approaching bad weather.ot

Weather the storm/Ride the storm out

Meaning: reach the end of a very difficult situation without too much harm or damage
Origin: references to vessels and their ability handle strong winds and storm.

Davy Jones Locker

Meaning: evil spirit of the sea
Origin: Seamen’s slang for the bottom of the sea. This expression is believed to be from the story that Davy Jones was the owner of a sixteenth-century London pub where unwary sailors were drugged and put in lockers and then awoke aboard ship to find they had been ‘recruited’ into working on a ship.

Disambiguation

carpe diem – seize the day

Drolleries and Yuks

Why can’t dinosaurs talk?
     Because they’re dead.

Going down river

Going down river

Aug 19, 2019 Monday South Shore Boat Club, Peru, IL to Peoria Municipal Dock, Peoria, IL    52.9 nautical miles.

40°41’18.8″N 89°35’13.7″W
40.688555, -89.587137
Elevation: 439 ft               Locks: 0  Descent: 10 feet

Along the Way

This section of the river is about 5-6 feet below normal pool levels.

Heavy barge staging for Starved Rock Lock continued south for about ~20 miles. There were significantly more waterway markers than on the charts. I suspect it has to do with the water being lower than normal, the channel is narrower. A narrower channel definition also enables more barge storage along the sides.

Eagles hanging along the shoreline (four young brown ones and a baldie)
A gargantuan squadrons of pelican. Harbingers of Fall.
A group of pelicans has many collective nouns, including a “brief”, “pod”, “pouch”, “scoop”, and “squadron” of pelicans.

Spirit of Peoria on a 3 day overnight run to Starved Rock. Spirit of Peoria is the only paddlewheel in the USA that still offers overnight excursions

Less fortunate vessels.

Peoria Municipal Dock
Every Chicagoan knows that Peoria is 165 miles out of Chicago and every Peorian knows St. Louis is 168 miles away from St. Louis.

There’s nothing happening in this area of Peoria later afternoon/early evening. It’s really quiet except for all the screaming cicadas.

In search of supper we stopped at ‘Martinis’, nearest establishment. That’s it. Martinis and mixed drinks, wine and beer. NO FOOD. Mary did manage to win enough on the slot machines to pay for our drinks.

Rather than going back and scrapping the bottom of the barrel on the boat for supper we wandered on for about 5 blocks.

God Bless America (and Mary) by Seward Johnson sewardjohnsonatelier.org at the River Front Museum
Seward Johnson is the same artist that created the ‘Unconditional Surrender’ (WWII Soldier Kissing Nurse) statue we saw in Sarasota, Florida December 8, 2018 http://yesdear.life/?p=4125 !
Saved! We found an OPEN, cute little Irish pub.

Floccinaucinihilipilification

We all know the origin story of penicillin—it was found on a moldy orange. Well, guess where that orange was purchased from? That’s right, a grocery store in Peoria. Talk about humble beginnings!

Nauti Words

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Meaning: to use the worst people or things because that is all that is available
Origin: When food supplies ran low, only what was on the very bottom of the barrel remained. The ship’s cook literally scraped the bottom of the food barrel. The meal resulted in a little desired serving.

Drolleries and Yuks

Why can’t a nose be 12 inches long?
     Because then it’d be a foot.

Pushing Barges and Dancing in the Dark

Pushing Barges and Dancing in the Dark

Aug 18, 2019 Sunday Mariners Marina, Seneca, IL  to South Shore Boat Club, Peru, IL   26.7 nautical miles.

41°19’13.0″N 89°08’01.6″W
41.320275, -89.133784
Elevation: 449 ft               Locks: 2  Descent: 36 feet

There might be one or two people feeling groggy or under the weather this morning from the ‘Rock the Dock’ party. What a great party it was! Dale and Mary behaved knowing they were heading downstream today.

Dale called the lock at 3:00 AM to see if we could lock through at 5:00 AM. They said our best chance of getting through was between 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM as they are pushing the huge back log of barges through as quickly as they can.
Back to bed.

Along the Way

Pushing barges through the under-repair Marseilles and Starved Rock Locks. The most efficient way to run high volumes of tow traffic through these locks is to first run tows in one direction for ~6 hours then run then run the tow traffic in the other direct for the next ~6 hours. With this approach it prevents obstructive build up in front to the lock doors allowing the traffic to move more efficiently, in a planed manner. The lock can also turn the water around quicker for the next passage.

Pleasure boats have the lowest priority. Lock masters have been letting pleasure boats through the locks twice a day, at most and sometimes only once. Occasionally, they might slip a pleasure boat through with a three-barge tow only if it is not a chemical tow. One of our Looper friends waited 10 hours at the lock before they were locked through. Shake of the dice.

Guess it’s time for us to go…. Weekend is over and everyone is going home.

3:00 PM Dale called the lockmaster again and we headed out. Kerry C blessed us as we left ‘May the Lock Gods be with you!’

And they were. We locked through Marseilles around 5:00 PM as projected and Starved Rock around 7:30 PM. All I can say is timing is that everything!

Leaving the marina. We just barged right in with them.
It’s incredible how many barges and tows are anchored along the river edge, occupying all the viable spaces.

Leaving Starved Rock Lock around 8:00 PM. Dancing in the dark… it just kept getting darker.

Thank goodness for radar. Barges anchored along the shore line.

Dale piloted and Mary ran shotgun with the 1000-lumens spotlight. You know how you hate bugs at night when they splat against your windshield? It’s worse on a boat because there is no windshield. Bug splat in the nose, ears and eyes.

Whew. We finally made it to the South Shore Boat Club about 9:15 PM. Asian carp were jumping all around the boat in the moonlight as we backed into the slip. Members from the club came down to help us dock. We went up to the bar to settle our $30 marina fees (and stayed for a beer and great conversation). The South Shore Boat Club was a great little stop.

Nauti Words

Feeling Groggy

Meaning:   feeling drunk, tipsy, weak or dazed
Origin: In 1740, British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was “Old Grogram” for the cloak of grogram which he wore) ordered that the sailors’ daily ration of rum be diluted with water. The drink was common aboard ships due to the fact that the drinking water aboard ships often got pretty slimy and disgusting. Thus, a little rum was mixed in to kill the putrid flavour (and hopefully the alcohol would kill some of the bacteria). The men called the mixture “grog”. A sailor who drank too much grog was “groggy”.

Under the weather

Meaning: Feel unwell
Origin:  Keeping watch onboard sailing ships was a boring and tedious job, but the worst watch station was on the “weather” (windward) side of the bow. The sailor who was assigned to this station was subject to the constant pitching and rolling of the ship. By the end of his watch, he would be soaked from the waves crashing over the bow. A sailor who was assigned to this unpleasant duty was said to be “under the weather.”

Sometimes, these men fell ill and died as a result of the assignment, which is why today “under the weather” is used to refer to someone suffering from an illness. A related theory claims that ill sailors were sent below deck (or “under the weather”) if they were feeling sick.

Drolleries and Yuks

What’s the most terrifying word in nuclear physics?
     “Oops!”

A whale of time

A whale of time

Aug 16, 2019 Saturday Mariners Marina, Seneca, IL    0 nautical miles.

41°18’01.9″N 88°37’07.5″W
41.300516, -88.618754
Elevation: 485 feet              Locks: 0  Descent: 0 feet

Along the Way

Vince went the whole nine yards on the ‘Rock the Dock’ party starting with a foam pool party, DJ/Karaoke, pig roast to the Righteous Hillbillies live band rocking down night.

Moonshine Ice luge. Vinnie testing it out. (condensation on my camera lens 🙁
Mid-afternoon
One last picture, John, Jill (Ray N’s daughter) and Dale

Nauti Words

A whale of a good time

Meaning: enjoying themselves very much
Origin: The blue whale being the biggest creature on earth, a “whale of” anything is “a large amount of” it. As well as “whale of a time” people used to say “a whale of a lot” and “a whale of a job”. It’s US slang from around late 1800’s

Whole nine yards

Meaning:  everything or all encompassing.
Origin: The expression comes from the old square-rigged sailing vessels that had three masts with three yards of sails on each.  The whole nine yards meant all sails were up.

Drolleries and Yuks

How do you throw a space party?
     You planet.