Wednesday, May 9, 2012

From Hoppies to Cape Girardeau

  I mentioned in a comment in my last post that once we got anchored in the Meramec River last night I dropped the dinghy and Rosie and I took a ride upstream for a few miles. The river was up only due to the Mississippi backing it up, so shallow water was sure to sneak up on us and I didn't want to push my luck; it has been 14 years since I had transited that section of the river and my memory isn't that good.
  When we returned, we enjoyed a great dinner of country style pork spareribs made to perfection by Rosie in the convection/microwave along with one of my favorites, macaroni and cheese. This was not a night for rabbit food.
  We watched a little T.V. after reprogramming it for signals. This is necessary at every new anchorage, but it only takes a couple of minutes and we get over 20 channels with our converter box setup, thanks to a tip years ago from our friend Mike Vitale.
  We slept a whole lot better than the night before as there was little wind, but Rosie kept seeing the motion detector light come on and thought it was burglars. I knew the door was locked and I slept like a rock. I have plans for anyone trying to break in while I'm present.
  Up at 6:30 and weighing anchor, we called Fern at Hoppies at 7 A.M. and had our fuel topped off and still was pulling out of Hoppies by 7:30, even after hearing Fern's story about the new dike just downstream from the floating barge which is called Hoppies Marina that is causing silt to lower water levels at the docks. Not good for a marina business. Our 19 gallon top off meant over 3 miles per gallon with the strong Mississippi current pushing us along. We also got a water tank fill up; never pass up fuel or water on a trip like ours.
  The weather was beautiful today, but is was a bit windy. Luckily, for the most part the wind was at our back, blowing with the current, so the water was like a billiard table until an upriver bound tow bucked us around. We didn't encounter one tow going downriver and the only other boat we saw was a fishing boat up in a slough that we passed.

  This is a bad photo of a bad place, the Illinois State Penitentiary at Menard. Rosie said the buildings looked "neat". I didn't like anything about the place, and no, I haven't been inside.
  We were enjoying our ride and about mid-day we passed an empty tow going upstream and he was cooking along. The Beatles were playing Yellow Submarine, and just as the ship's bell in the song rings, we bumped over a big towboat wake and rang our own ships bell at the same moment as the one in the song, I kid you not. I thought for a second that my stereo quality just improved dramatically for no reason until I realized it was our bell. No other towboat wake caused our ship's bell to ring at any other time during the day. This is a sign of some sort, but I don't know what.

  Traveling at 12 miles per hour doesn't get you far, but it does save money. We have more time than money, so nine hours after leaving Hoppies we passed Cape Girardeau, about 90 miles downriver. It's a pretty town, but you can't see much because a big flood wall guards most of it. We passed under the big suspension bridge linking Illinois with Missouri and soon found the LIttle River Diversion Channel, billed as a good place to stay the night.
  The entrance to the channel was chock full of logs and debris. Big logs. I decided to check out the bottom end of Marquette Island just across from the Diversion Channel, but didn't like the exposure we would have, so I returned to the channel and made a run for the junk blocking the entrance and pushed through it, hoping the depth was adequate. We left the chocolate Mississippi behind and drifted into some very clear backed up Diversion Channel water and did the advised thing and dropped two hooks; our regular bow anchor and a stern Danforth.

  This is the view from our bow. It looks much like our view last night on the Meramec River, but it's much narrower here.

  I took this shot before setting the stern anchor, looking back at the channel of the Mississippi. There's no one else in here and it's nice and quiet.
  Rosie made some sausage that our friend Steve Huebner from up on the Alton Pool gave us. Steve may cringe at our choice of leftover macaroni as a side dish, but we're living on the boat with limited refrigerator space; we'll make use of stuff we have leftover, as I've indicated in a previous post.
  Tonight we're celebrating our anniversary. We count from the time we met as far as years go, it's 36 and counting, but May 9th is the day we got married. Both times. I didn't want to ever forget the date.
  We have a big day ahead of us on Thursday. We're still over 100 miles to Kentucky Lake, and have three locks on the Ohio River, plus one to get into the lake itself. I don't know if we'll get to Kentucky Lake tomorrow or not, but we're already expected on Saturday by a few friends that think we may want to party some. I think we can make it by Saturday, and I've already given notice: Now that we're retired and have started a new phase of our lives, I'm not holding back anymore. We're gonna party like there's no tomorrow.


  1. Cyndi & JimMay 9, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    GOGOGO! You are living your bucket list. Be safe have fun live long. Cynthia & Jim