Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Alton Marina, Alton, IL to Hoppies Marina, Kimmswick, MO– October 2, 2013

We had rain overnight and a couple of additional showers early this morning. Later in the day the sky partially cleared and the temps went into the mid 80’s.  It was pretty warm.

We left with 2 other boats this morning, Once Upon A Time and Terrapin.  Terrapin is from Petoskey and they are on the Loop.  We delayed our start to coordinate with the lock which was only 1 1/2 miles downstream from the Alton Marina. The lock has 2 chambers and we used the auxiliary chamber.  We were able to drive right in as they opened the doors as we approached.

Not many tows on the river and we heard that is because of dredging being done in the St Louis area. For the 2nd lock, Chain of Rocks Lock, we arrived at the entrance channel. The channel is unusual for the Mississippi locks because the rapids area on the river is fairly long.  The entrance channel is about 8 miles long.  Lots of barges and tows on the channel but we did not need to wait to long for the lock.  This lock is the last lock on the Mississippi before the Gulf of Mexico.  The river just flows free the rest of the way south.

After we left the lock and you immediately start to enter the St Louis area.  We passed several bridges and a dredging operation.  There are barges and tows all over the place and we were probably 10 miles south of St Louis before the tows and barges along the bank started to thin out.

Because of the current on the river we got a good boost in ground speed.  Normally we might travel 8.5 mph but today we were between 11.5 and 12.4 mph. This will allow us to make some good distances in the next couple of days.

We arrived at Hoppies and each boat took its turn coming into the dock to be tied up.  Hoppies does the tying because they have a system that allows the boat to move when the wakes from the tows come in from the river. 4 boat total here tonight and 3 of them are from Michigan.  The boat that was here already was Lindy from Grand Haven.

Fern held her meeting late in the day and we spent some time getting updated on her woes with the Army Corp of Engineers.  They built a wing dam just downstream from the marina about 4 years ago and now the shore side has silted in and Hoppies has lost 1/2 of it dockage. The Corp has listened to her but with deaf ears so she is moving higher in the chain of command with her complaints because they could be driven out of business.

The river info part of the meeting was as good as last year.  Everything she said last year was spot on when we arrived at the locations so I really paid close attention this year.  They had a large flood in late June and the flood waters stayed around until late July so a lot of things have changed. I hope her information is as accurate this year.

Good sign with the rainbow tonight because the forecast is for thunderstorms for the next 2 days and we will be anchoring out for the next 3 nights.  That covers the 300 miles to Green Turtle Bay.