We departed Grafton to go to Alton, 15 miles away. Nice short day! I like this. We are not used to going only 15 miles in 5 days. I like having a few days rest.
Lots of fun Loopers were there and the harbor hosts, Robert and Patty, gave a wonderful lecture on going down the Mississippi. They also told us about this great place to eat, Mac’s. Theresa and Charlie Westgate came out to meet us that night and we went to Mac’s for dinner. It was so great seeing Theresa and meeting Charlie.
I miss my friends from Iceland. We seem to be scattered across the States. We had a great time reminiscing about old times and talking about new times. I wish we lived closer.
We stayed at Alton a few days and Dad and I went to the riverboat casino, Argosy. I put my first dollar in and won $91.50. Those that know me, know I stopped there. Bird in hand kind of thing. Dad, on the other hand, played on for a couple of hours and came away with a deficit. This was a pretty cool casino as it was non-smoking. That is one thing I don’t like about casinos and I didn’t really want to go, but when we walked in and there was no smoking, I really enjoyed it.
We left Alton for the world renown Hoppies. OK maybe it is not WORLD renown, but it is Looper renown. We had to go thru our 119th and 120th locks.
We passed St. Louis and saw the beautiful Gateway Arch.
Tom was amazed at the current pushing him an additional 5 miles per hour. The water was very turbulent and seemed to boiling. This is the fastest we will cruise anywhere. Our normal 9 mile per hour cruise was now 14 to 15 mph. We could actually pass a bicycle! The barge traffic was phenomenal. Tom was pretty comfortable with all the traffic, but it made me nervous. Tom taught me how to talk to the tugs and how to pass commercial shipping. There were tugs pushing 30 barges at one time!!! Six across and five deep. WILD!! And he wondered why I was nervous when he passed them. When we got to Hoppies, we ate at the Blue Owl restaurant. It was fabulous.
This is a TINY little town and we thought we were going to a little diner. We walked in to town and this place had a line waiting outside!! It was a very big restaurant and it was packed. They were famous for their desserts and now we know why. They were delightful.
Hoppies, established in 1940, isthe only place to tie up and take on fuel in over 200 miles on the Mississippi River. It consists of three 100 foot barges, and is run by an 86 year old woman named Fern. Fern is a gold mine of information concerning the transit to the Ohio River.
She took an instant liking to my Dad. She drove him up to the Blue Owl in her golf cart and left Tom and I to walk. Imagine that!!
Tom was concerned about anchoring in the Mississippi River because of the possibility of a runaway barge. We broke our trip up in to two segments. The first night, a forty mile run, to the Kaskaskia River we tied up to a lock. Two other boats, His Idea and Meridian, joined us. We had docktails aboard Meridian and had fun visiting.
The next morning we got up before sunrise, for a 118 mile run to the Angelo Towhead. We anchored in the Mississippi River, behind a sandbar. We were tossed around all night due to head barge traffic. There was a paper mill close by and the smell was incredible. I hardly slept that night.
As we entered our anchorage at the Cumberland Towhead we thought we were in a National Geographic magazine. It was so beautiful. There were cicadas chirping and a herd of deer on the bank. There was a great heron in a tree on the other bank. We anchored in about 15 feet of water and were safe from barge traffic. I called my sister, Jean, to make her jealous. It worked.
The following morning we made our last push on the Cumberland River, thru the Barkley Lock and Dam to the Green Turtle Bay Resort.
We are about half way complete on our loop and we will rest and relax for the next week here. This is a transition point for most loopers as this resort caters to our group.
Last night we had a Low Country Boil, sponsored by the local yacht club with about 30 loopers participating.
Tom surprised me with a massage at the resort spa. It was so sweet of him. Dad decided to get one too.
Loopers are coming and going every day. Most of whom we have met some time in the past few months. The goal for most loopers is to meet in October at JoeWheelerState Park for the bi-annual rendezvous. Since we are only 250 miles from the rendezvous, we will spend the next few weeks going short distances and anchoring. We hope our next half of this loop is as wonderful as this past half. We have enjoyed it so much, thus far.