Cumberland Towhead Anchorage

Not a bad run today. Mississippi was really busy thru the night last night so we got a relatively early start.
Lots and lots of tows on the Ohio for the first 6 or 7 mile. Just everywhere along the banks and anchored in the river. The Ohio is a river with the channel much wider than the Mississippi. Not sure why.
We are going upstream on the Ohio River where yesterday we were making 11 and 12 mph today we made around 7.3 mph to the first lock. Water is better controlled between the locks so we then were at about 8.3 mph.
We passed a site where the Corp is building a new dam that will replace to existing ones on the Ohio. Massive job that had been underway about 10 years and still years away from finishing.
We anchored out at the Cumberland River Towhead which is a pretty nice spot. Lots of the little asian carp jumping in the water tonight.
The weather today was chillier than yesterday and we only had the sun for about 1/2 the day. Chance of rain and thunderstorms tonight then clearing tomorrow. Supposed to be in the 70’s tomorrow and 80’s on Saturday. Maybe we have caught the warm weather.

Angelo Towhead Anchorage

Long run today for 102 miles form last night’s anchorage to tonights. We are at the meeting of what the Corp calls the upper Mississippi and the lower Mississippi and the Ohio River. A tremendous amount of tows in this area because they are staging them to their destinations.
The one picture with the boat and the bridge in it has me standing on the Illinois side of the Mississippi and Missouri is on the other side of the bridge. What you see on the horizon is Kentucky with all the barges lined against shore.
The river gives a nice boost because we normally travel at 8.2 to 8.4 mph but with the river current today we were anywhere from 10.6 to 13.1 mph. See the picture with the current around the buoy.
The day was sunny all day long with no clouds in the sky but the temps only got to the low 60’s.
We move on to the Ohio River tomorrow for 2 locks and 60 miles.
I have included a picture of the wing dams the Corp has constructed all along the river to help direct the flow into the channel and scour the channel so they do not have to dredge as often.
Candy also tends to sleep a lot. Besides the corner of the back seat she was chasing the sun around because she likes to sleep in the sun and it kept changing as the river wound around through the countryside.

Rockwood Island

Nice sunny day but I do not think it reached the 70 degrees they were predicting. Good run to an anchorage at Rockwood Island. We are here with 3 other boats all of whom were at Hoppies last night.
This anchorage is 102.4 mile north of the Ohio River where we will anchor tomorrow night. No more marinas until we get to Kentucky Lake and Green Turtle Bay.
Uneventful today except the tows seem to be getting bigger. We have seen them 5 wide by 6 long so we are taking great care to stay out of their way.
I did some rearranging in the dinghy and provide carpet landing spots for Candy and that appears to have solved the problem so far. She had this big sand island to herself.

Grafton to Hoppie's Marine Service

What a great day. Started 45 minutes late as we waited for the sun to warm the air enough to get rid of the steam on the river. You could not see, I guess you could call it river fog. We passed a paddle wheeler that Lenore saw late yesterday. The walls on the Illinois side of the Mississippi look like they are worn limestone. Pretty dramatic and very interesting.
Went thru 2 locks between Alton Illinois and St. Louis. Great look at downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch. Lenore and I visited the Arch back in 1969 when we were in school at Lawrence Tech. Little different perspective this time. No place to stop on the river.
Just a tremendous amount of tows and traffic on the river. Lots of tows with most 3 wide by 5 long (each barge is 35′ x 100′) but we have seen a 7 long tow. River is low, probably 3′ down at St. Louis.
Hoppies is a marina like no other. They have about 6 barges on the side of the river and you get to tie up to the barges and you can buy fuel if you need it. There is shore power for the boats. There is no fuel stops for the next 300 miles until we get to Kentucky Lake. Hoppie’s is run by Fern and her husband Hoppie. Next year will be their 40th year of running the place themselves. Hoppies Marina has been here and run by the Hoppie family since 1934. Fern conducts a briefing with the boaters about 5:00. She covers where the safe anchorages are because there are no marinas for the next 300 miles. She also talks about safety and how to deal with the tows. She is full of good tips and this is the local knowledge that we really need. Meeting lasted probably an hour.
Tomorrow is an anchor out day and it could be long depending on the anchorages that Fern gave us.

Grafton, IL

Well we made it to the end of the Illinois River and looked out at the Mississippi. The picture with the Looper Flag if for Jane, it is the bow cam she wanted on the boat. I think she wanted a video camera.
That picture shows the Mississippi from about 2 miles away as we are approaching. We are staying at Grafton Harbor which is really nice and at Mile 0 of the Illinois River.
Took a nice picture of a pirate ship that stopped in the harbor for fuel and another picture looking down the Mississippi from the cockpit of our boat.
Day was sunny but cool. Maybe it got to the mid 50’s. It is going to warm some this week and we will pick up a few more degrees each day as we go south.
By the way, we got Candy watered as soon as we tied up at the fuel dock. She went 18 hours between waterings. We need to work on the anchoring out procedures.

Buckhorn Island

120 miles from Havana to Grafton where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi. Tall Timbers Marina is the last bonified marina, there is no place to stay. Under most circumstances that is not a problem except for the cold weather Illinois is having. We got a tip from Bob the owner of Tall Timbers where to anchor because he had several months ago. Well we were turning up mud so we moved on to two more locations before we found one near Buckhorn Island. We anchored about 5:00 and I took Candy into the island and she was watered. We went back later after her dinner and for the last walk of the night and she did not want to get back in the dinghy. Needless to say I finally coaxed her in. Well the temp went down to 35 and we did not run the genny during the night so it was pretty cold in the morning inside the boat. After I got everything started up again in the morning I waited for 1st light to take Candy out but she refused to go. I could not get her out of the cockpit onto the swim platform so I packed the dinghy up and we prepared for departure. The scenery is great. Pretty much all trees and flood levees with a small town every once amd a while. If there is a bridge for cars and trucks, there is a town on one side or the other.
Sorry about the lack of pictures but we have not got into the habit yet of grabbing the camera as the first reaction to something.

Havana, IL

We traveled thru downtown Peoria IL. The river has been reasonably busy with twns and devekopment up to now. Not packed but generally some developemnt. After Peoria that changes. It is like the river they forgot to devekop with only the little towns that in most places you cannot see.
We stopped at the Tall Timbers Marina on 10-05-12 because it was blowing and intermittent rain. One place on the river it started to rain and there were a few ice pellets mixed in for good measure.
Nice small marina and the last marina before the Mississippi River, 120 miles. 6 or so transient slips and the rest are for the seasonal boaters. The entrance was about 30′ bank to bank with 4 1/2 feet of water. Everything floats and the owner designed it to be fully functional during a flood, including be able to pump gas.
When we were backing into the slip space there were all these little fish that were jumping and the owner said they were aisan carp.
Awoke to 33 degree temps with frost on the docks. Candy and I went for our walk and on returning Candy had a problem with the frost when she tried to jump on the boat and she ended up swimming behind the boat until I fished her out. We dried her out pretty quick and the cockpit heater helped.
Notice the ice on the puddles in the red canvas.

Peoria, IL (IVY Club)

Day started wonderfully with sunshine and quickly warmed into the 70’s.
We left Starved Rock Marina at 8:25 and we were thru the first lock by 9:10. Fastest locking we have has so far. When we reached the lock they were up and had just cleared several barges from the lock so we got into the lock and locked down and the tow with his remaining barges were waiting to enter to go up and re-assemble the large tow.
The river is quite deserted but we did see probably 5 boats with fisherman. The sun was around to about 1:00 and then it clouded over and we had some rain for maybe 1/2 hour.
Lenore commented that she was disappointed that we had not seen any asian carp yet. Well about 1/2 hour later I heard a noise from the stern and it turned out an asian carp had jumped into the dingy and was flopping around. I fished him out with a landing net and put him back in the river. He did get the inside of the dinghy all bloody for the 2 or 3 minutes he was in there.
Lots of nice autumn color coming out along the river as you can see in the photo. This is not everywhere but some spots are really great.
We arrived in Peoria at the IVY Club (Illinois Valley Yacht Club). We were able to get all tied up, Candy fed and walked before the thunderstorms moved in. The temps were already into the low 50’s by the time we docked.
We need to get further south as soon as possible!

Ottawa IL

It was misting lightly this morning so we did not get started as soon as we could have. The river was quiet with no other loopers or recreational boaters around and not a lot of tows. The weather today was on and off mist and the temperatures were about 70 and very little wind for a change.
The Tows are large freight hauling boats that push barges. The picture is at the Dresden Street Lock with a 3 wide by 3 long. On the Illinois River they can be as 3 wide x 5 long because with the push boat they take up the whole lock.
We did not travel as far as we wanted to go because as we were passing Ottowa IL we came up behind a Tow and I asked the Tow if he was on his way to Starved Rock Lock to lock thru. He answered that he was and we decided that would be at least an hour delay if not longer becasue he has precedence in the locking priorities.
We decided to stop at Starved Rock Marina just southwest of Ottawa IL. Nice quite marina so it looks like another quite night.
Also posted a picture of some of the “waterside residential” we saw and Lenore saw a convention of snowy egrets.

Chicago Starting South

Wind, wind wind everywhere. We started from the marina this morning and the wind was blowing out of the northeast and the waves were at least 4′. We only needed to go 3.5 miles to the Chicago River but it was pretty lumpy. The wind continued to howl while we were waiting for the locks at Lockport and Brandon Road but we beat sunset at Three Rivers Marina. Marina is pretty rural with the first main road 5 miles and the closest town 9 miles. The people are great and we were really tired from about 9.5 hours on the boat.
The Downtown Chicago part was really great to be boating thru a major downtown with all the skyscrapers on either side of the river. Lenore did get some nice photos.
One of the photos is from dinner last night at LaFontinella. The sunset is from today at Three Rivers after we were tied up.