The mighty Mississippi

This week began with relaxation.  Grafton Harbor Marina was a wonderful place, run by wonderful people.  Jan and Joe made sure we had everything we wanted, including a courtesy car; the facilities included a swimming pool, and downtown was about 2 minutes away.  We ate catfish for the first time, and actually enjoyed it.

Our new tiller arrived at Grafton, along with a much better pair of binoculars, and a new impeller for our raw water pump.  I don’t need it yet, but feel sure I will before these rivers are finished, there is so much sediment in them.  The tiller installed at Drummond was great to get us going, but was not the proper tiller for the boat, so my auto pilot wouldn’t fit without lifting the cushions, and my arm has been getting sore from reaching (poor me!!).  The new tiller is the proper one, came finished, and is working like a charm.   Our old 7 X 35 binoculars were great for around home, but it was getting hard to read numbers off buoys and see things further away, so we ordered a good set with a built in light, compass, and rangefinder.

Our first night on the Mississippi was spent at Hoppies, a barge on the side of the river where most recreation boats stop.  There is no protection from the wakes of the barges and tows, so we rocked all night, but at least were safe.  Fern (the crusty lady who runs the place) held a Skippers meeting (she does this every night) to review the charts and stops further down the Mississippi.  The river changes almost daily with the currents, and she stays abreast of the changes, and updates the boaters.  What a useful service.  We topped our fuel tanks here, we will now have no place to get fuel for about 250 miles, and close to 100 miles of that will be upstream, and so it will be close.  We went 270 miles downstream (from 3 Rivers) to Grafton without stopping for fuel as a test, and had 15 gallons to spare, an all downstream trip.  The Ohio River, the Cumberland River, and the first part of the Tennessee River will all be going against us, so I expect the gas mileage will not be as good, however the Mississippi has a 3 – 4 knot current with us, so perhaps we will gain it there.  We will see.  We passed through Chester, Illinois, the home of Popeye!  I wanted to dock and go through the city, surely there is a visitor center there, but alas, there were no docks or anchorages to stop.  So I will not be able to sing “I yam what I yam” with Popeye himself.

We anchored the second night, behind Rockwood Island.  It was at a bend on the River, behind a weir, which is just a rock wall just below the waters surface.  Had it not been for a large dredge that worked all night, and a small motor boat that went right beside us and threw a huge wake all night, it would have been a nice night.  As it was, we were on edge for most of the evening.  The next night we anchored in Little Diversion Channel, the first place we have found that is actually off the river, so no current, no towboat wake, just a quiet night.  Mary Beth and I have survived over 30 years of marriage.  We have survived raising 3 independent children, we have survived being in business together for 12 years, we have survived me quitting my job and completely switching careers, and we have survived her retiring and living together in a big truck for over a year.  I am not sure we are going to survive anchoring on the Mississippi in a 3 – 4 knot current.  One more night may be the breaking point.  I guess we’ll see.

A lot of the rivers edge on the Miss appears to be sand.  Beautiful beaches that apparently the world has not yet discovered when they do, the commercial aspect of the river will go, and it will become cottage and tourist country.  Of course, they will have to do something about the horribly polluted water, but I suspect importing Zebra Mussels will clean it up fast, once they stop the pollution from entering.

I can’t say enough about these huge barges and tows.  These guys are the true professionals on the water, truckers of the river.  They move grain south, and coal north.  They have to pull over to the bank and wait in a small channel when another tow is headed downstream, there is not room enough for both in some turns (pleasure craft fend for themselves, but if you call the tow on the correct channel, and let them know exactly where you are from the correct chart, they will give directions where to be).

Our last night on the Mississippi was spent in a small anchorage just off the river called Angelo Towhead.  It’s at mile 1.5 where the Ohio joins the Mississippi.  So we made it!  We will be entering the Ohio River this morning and heading upstream (red buoys on right again).  This will probably be the only time we will ever be on the Mississippi River in our lives, and I am sure there are better places on this river to be a tourist.  We saw none of the old Paddlewheelers refurbished and moving, no tourist attractions at all, and this river must be full of them.  When I again get internet, and time, I am going to do a little research on where the interesting parts of the Mississippi River are, who knows, maybe we’ll want to see that part of the river if there ever is a next time 😉

Oh yes, we did survive the anchoring, and are still speaking to each other.

Another successful week.

Love to all,

Joe & Mary Beth Amelia
S/V “Pot ‘O’ Gold” getting close to the famous “Green Turtle Bay” marina

Private note to Sally:  we stayed at Little Diversion Channel, with 5 other boats, not one Asian Carp.  There are none.  It’s a hoax 😉

One Response to “The mighty Mississippi”

  1. Sally Says:

    Sorry about those carp!! You didn’t miss much-they are REALLY ugly and one almost took my head off as we were taking the dog to shore in the dinghy! Glad you’re off the Mississippi-we were so relieved when we reached the Ohio and it was all great from there.

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