Mississippi River to Ohio River to Cumberland River

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.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? This is a cave painting that you see from the water, going in to Alton.  I hope you can make it out, cause it is fascinating.

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.

Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 001 Charlie, Theresa, Tom, Melesia and Hank at Mac’s

??????????????????????????????????????????????????? Theresa and Melesia

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.

????????????????Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 003 sunset in Alton

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.

??????????????????????????????? passed this statue of Our Lady of the Rivers which the people of this town erected after the floods.

?????????????????????????????????????? One of the 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.

Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 024

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.

?????????????????????????????? There were old houses here that we toured.

???????????????????Another carving out of a tree.  They make apple butter here and that is what this is depicting.

Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 025 Dad and I were walking by this beautiful yard surrounded by this stone that looked like coral.  In the background there is a stone fireplace that is magnificent.

Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 026  Mangosjourney Alton to Ohio River Sept 16 027

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.

?????????????????? Tom, Fern and Hank


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.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Tom, Ria, Donna, Terry, Hank and John on board His Idea

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.

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 012We were underway at sunrise again knowing we had two locks to transit on the Ohio River.  Luckily, we got thru both locks relatively quickly.

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 016 We had been told the locks were a nightmare.  Backed up 50 boats deep.  Not so.

???????????????????????????? Another flock of white pelicans.  They are so beautiful.

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 004 A wall painting along the coast of Cape Giraldo

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 005 I thought it was neat the way they loaded barges.  One end seems to be sinking under the weight.

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 006 Journey at anchor.

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.

???????????????????????????????????????? Mango loves going ashore to run on the beach

???????????????????????????????  Tom getting Mango back in to the dingy

???????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????  Sunset at Cumberland Towhead

 The following morning we made our last push on the Cumberland River, thru the Barkley Lock and Dam to the Green Turtle Bay Resort. 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? The junction of the Cumberland River and the Ohio River

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 022 I don’t know if you can see that there is a heron in the water next to the Bald Eagle.  I think he is scared to move!!

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 024 Cows taking a cool break in the water

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 029 This is His Idea in the Barkley Lock in front of us.  Our boats look like toys in this giant lock.

???????????????????????????????????????  These two Nimbles, Wanderer and Irish Wake are in the lock with us.

???????????????????? Heron looking over the lock

????????????????????????? light house coming in to Green Turtle Bay

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 034

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.

????????????????????????? Docktails the first night in GTB

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 037 Hank and one of his girlfriends

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? This was in front of a boutique in Grand Rivers.  We ate at Patty’s next door, but I thought this was so cute.  Marshall, would you like one of these to cut our grass, instead of that old green one?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Went to Patty’s to eat the second night with other Loopers.

Mangosjourney Miss to Cumberland Sept 22 039 Tom had the two inch pork chop!!  

Last night we had a Low Country Boil, sponsored  by the local yacht club with about 30 loopers participating. 

??????????????????????? Hank with his plate full at Low Country Boil

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Arch, Donna, Tom, Jay, Sharon, and Hank at Low Country Boil

Tom surprised me with a massage at the resort spa.  It was so sweet of him.  Dad decided to get one too.  

??????????????????????????? Dad waiting for his massage.

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.


2 thoughts on “Mississippi River to Ohio River to Cumberland River

  1. Hey Tom, enjoying following your blog. Hope to meet with Ted and Trish Mead this week to look at their boat. Understand you know them from Oriental. Looking forward to more postings and pix.

    Mike Sheehy
    Lake Champlain VT

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