Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

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.

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