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     Tuesday, September 7, 2010
    6:45 a.m.       Depart Grafton Harbor/Grafton, IL
    12:45 p.m.      Arrive Hoppies Marina/Kimmswick, MO
    Distance travelled:  58 miles
    Weather:  L=68, H=78; sunny, then front moved through but we stayed ahead of it

    Tellico Lady and Here & Now arrived at the first lock, Melvin Price and entered the smaller chamber immediately.  We were joined by another looper boat, Hallelujah with Barb & Dave aboard, who just departed from Alton Marina above the lock.  When we got to the second lock, Chain of Rocks, we were incredibly lucky.  The smaller chamber was closed for repairs so only the main chamber was available and as we have mentioned, towboats are given preference at the locks.  We managed to arrive there just before 2 large upbound tows and 2 large downbound tows.  Had we arrived 5 minutes later we would have had about a 6-hour wait. Today was our first day on the mighty Mississippi River. We had a 4-knot current in our favor so we really moved down the river at about 12.5 mph (usually we do 8.5 mph).  There was a tremendous amount of barge  traffic in the St. Louis, MO area.  There was also a lot of debris in the water.  So, we were dodging debris and tows and dealing with swift current for most of today's travel - one of those intense days with strict attention paid to the waterway.  We were looking forward to our stop at Hoppies Marina.  This marina is a series of approximately 4 old barges at the side of the river and you tie your boat to these.  The marina is owned by Charles and Fern Hopkins who are a delight and do all they can to accommodate boaters.  Charles (Hoppie) and his father were lamplighterson the river before the advent of powered lights.  It is said that Hoppie may be the last surviving lamplighter.  Everyday around 4:30 Fern holds an informational session for loopers.  She provides information on the river conditions, locks, marinas, anchorages, and any other peculiarities regarding the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  She is a wealth of knowledge and her reputation precedes her as all loopers know about Fern and look forward to meeting her.

    There is some interesting topography along the edge of the Mississippi River, as you can see in this photo.

    Like everything else about the river, the locks are huge.

    Even the Casino boats are huge on this river.

    It is a real pity that Saint Louis does not have a cruiser friendly dock.  Nice to take a picture, but it would be more fun to visit.

    This picture gives you an idea of how busy the river is with tow traffic.  They are everytwhere on the river and they are huge like everything else.

    Hoppies marina made of a series of barges is a very welcome (and only choice) respite on the river.  Fern gives a Looper briefing under their lounge area (canopy on the barge) and gives very good advice on where to anchor, what to watch out for, and so on.  Loopers do well to heed her advice.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010
    6:50 a.m.       Depart Hoppies Marina/Kimmswick, MO
    3:35 p.m.       Arrive anchorage at Little Diversion Channel/Cape Girardeau, MO
    Distance travelled:  111 miles
    Weather:  L=63, H=78; sunny with a few clouds

    So far we have been one step ahead of tropical storm Hermine.  As we travel south on the Mississippi, the state of Missouri is to our starboard and the state of Illinois is to port.  Some areas of the river have underwater weirs, particularly on the narrow bends, and when we would pass over these areas we would experience increased turbulence and get swirled about.  The current continues to be strong and at one point we were going 13.7 mph.  This actually worked in our favor as today we travelled many miles and we were able to do it more quickly than if we had been going our normal 8.5 mph. We have seen pockets of industry along the Mississippi.  There continued to be a lot of tow/barge traffic again today.  Tellico Lady, Here & Now, and Hallelujah travelled together again today.  We arrived at our anchorage which was a narrow diversion canal which was very quiet and pleasant.

    This tow was 5 wide by 6 long, and is not the largest that you may encounter.  Note that in this case there is two tow boats in tandem pushing this huge cargo.

    Here is another interesting geography highlight, this Tower Rock stands out on the shoreline.

    Note that Cape Girardeau  has decorated their protective river wall with murals.  We anchored just downstream of this at the Little River Diversion channel.  Again, one of very few choices on the river.

    And here it is, the Little River Diversion Channel, loolin back out of it towards the Mississippi River from our peaceful anchorage.  When you enter here, you do so by passing it then approaching from downstream in  a real "wing low" crab angle, thanks to the river speed.

    Speaking of speed, have a look at the MPH readout on this photo.  Our normally 8.2 mph speed is rather enhanced by the addition of the Mississippi river current.  You do the math, and the answer is "wow".

     There is a another chunk of the Mississippi to do, but since we did it and part of the Ohio river,
    I will put all that on the Ohio River page.  See you there.


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