Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Grafton Illinois to Green Turtle Bay in Kentucky

We left Grafton around 8:00 am on Wednesday, 9/17 with three other boats.  After traveling about fifteen miles we came to the Melvin Price Lock.  The locks on these rivers are huge.  We locked through with no problem and were speeding down the Mississippi with a 4 to 5 knot current and tons of wood debris, sometimes including whole trees.  We arrived at our first and only stop that has a dock and power, called Hoppies.  The docks are actually four or five barges tied together.  Hoppies is owned by Hoppie himself and his wife, Fern.  Hoppie just had his 78th birthday and Fern pretty much runs the place.  Every day Fern gives a 4:30 pm informational get together about anchorages, areas to be careful, and any other topics about the river.  We did learn quite a bit and I took several notes.  The Mississippi River is nothing to take lightly.  I have never been on a river with so much force, muddy water, and not to mention the wing dams, chevron dams, and missing channel markers wiped out because of the flood stage and debris.  The other thing is it at times looks like it's boiling with whirlpools.  I've never seen anything like it before.   Mark Twain said, "The Mississippi River is too thick to drink and too thin to plough".  The next three stops will be anchorages and one lock wall we can tie up to for the night.  We left Hoppie's the next day around 10:00 for an easy day to the Kaskaskia River Lock wall.  Only us and Attitude Changer spent the night at the wall.  A couple other boats came in later but they weren't loopers.  Left the next morning for our next anchorage at diversion channel which is a small cut off the Mississippi.  Attitude Changer side tied to us and we had four other looper boats come in a few hours later; Navigator, Average Looper, Serinity, and Summerland.  Everyone came over to our boat and the drink served was Dirty Pirates.  After everyone left we had a nice peaceful night.  Next morning all six boats left for the Ohio River.  Everyone was excited to get off the Mississippi and be on the Ohio.   Once we turned on to the Ohio the water was clean and we were going against the current.  The anchorage, recommended by Fern, was right on the Ohio River but off the channel.  We rocked a little when a tow went by but it was good holding and close to the shore to take Chloe by dinghy.  We all left at 7:00 am the next morning, 9/21, for a very long day of 70 miles and two locks to go through.  All I can say is it was a real challenge, because before we arrived at the anchorage on the Ohio, my lower helm steering seals blew and hydraulic fluid was all over and I had to steer the boat with the throttles.   If you have been following our blog you probably remember this happened on the upper helm while in Canada.  Luckily I learned from that and had an extra seal kit in stock.  So I used the throttles all 70 miles to steer to our destination of Green Turtle Bay.  There are two ways you can go, one is the Tennessee River and the other is 20 miles more on the Cumberland River.  When we called the lock at the Tennessee they said we could be there for several hours before we could go through so we all decided to go the Cumberland.  The Cumberland was a small river and basically no barge traffic.  After eleven hours we all finally got here at Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, KY.  YEAH!!!!!

Going by St. Louis, they have no marinas!
Docked at Hoppie's
This is Mader holding the docks
Panacea at Hoppie's 
Debris floating down river 
Here's Fern giving her briefing
The muddy Mississippi
Cape Girardeau, MO
Rush Limbaugh grew up here

Going by more debris 

Anchorage at Diversion Channel
Going by casino at Metropolis, Illinois
Green Turtle Bay

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