Our start Thursday morning was beautiful leaving Grafton Marina. Finally after 6 days waiting for the debris to clear we took off. Now Dorothy and I have experienced some ugly weather on Lake Michigan, but I was not looking forward to 6 knots of current pushing us down the river. Kind of like skiing downhill with out knowing how to stop (for those of you who have skied with me before). The short leg to Alton, IL ended up fairly uneventful. We docked and found our way to Fast Eddies Bon Air, established as a local tap for Anheuser Busch in 1921. Just a great place to visit and good bar food too.
Local trivia note:
The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA) (born 6:30 a.m. at Alton, Illinois, USA on 22 February 1918), who when last measured on 27 June 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall. One of his size 37 shoes is in the bar.
Today October 19th we left Alton on our way to an Iconic Looper stop south of St Louis called Hoppies Marina. Here is how the day started,
Am I the first Looper to enter a lock backwards?
This morning Dorothy and I approached Lock 26 on the Upper Mississippi River with “ALMOST THERE” The high water was quite turbulent and there was debris (tree trunks) across the entrance. As I slowed to try and pick my way through, we were spun around. I really didn’t want to spin the boat back around in the middle of the debris pile so Dorothy moved the bigger pieces out of the way with a boat hook and I backed in. After I cleared the gates and in calmer water I was able to spin back towards downriver. Never touched a wall.
The Lock master hadn’t seen anyone do that maneuver before and they thought maybe I was showing off for their boss who was visiting. We all had a great laugh and I started their day on a fun note. I found out later at Hoppies the lock master talked about us to other loopers going through later in the day.
Dorothy and I are in the history books at least at Lock 26. I wish there was video to share.
Following another boat into Lock 26. The Tow and Barges are heading into the left chamber and pleasure craft use the right chamber.
So we Made it through the first video game level, “DON’T TOUCH the LOCK WALLS” Just like in video games once you get comfortable with a level, its time to level up. NEXT LEVEL, the Game for the next several hours was “DODGE A TREE” all while traveling at 15 miles an hour, our normal speed plus the river current. Made it. Next Level, PORT of ST LOUIS, one of the busiest ports on the Mississippi. Tows and Barges moving in every direction. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! We made it through without much deviation down the main channel. Past the Arch and beyond.
Local Triva Note: A third of America’s grain moves on the Mississippi River through St Louis.
I have friend who asked for a picture of a tree floating down the river. So I started taking photos of the larger ones. Every time I started to send him the photo a bigger one would appear. Here is a picture of the best so far, for perspective its at least 50 feet long above the water.
Dugout Canoe size? Maybe
And finally the prize for surviving the Game today:
“Levee High Apple Pie” from The Blue Owl Cafe in Kimmswick,MO. FANTASTIC!!!!