Easing down the Mississippi…

On Sunday we set out with Native Son and turned south toward home. There is a bit of finesse to traveling the section of the Mississippi that we must cover. This is due to a near total lack of facilities for private boats past a certain point and the fuel burn involved over this distance. So for these reasons our progress may seem slow or even nonsensical because you might think we could move faster and cover more distance each day. But to do so might cost fuel we cannot replace and could leave us in a place where there is no anchorage due to low water. Now there is plenty of water in the river for boats to move but as it drops it leaves good anchorages on the sides with sandbars that cannot be crossed to get into them.

So here was the plan when we started. Day one to Alton, day two to Hoppies where we take on the last available fuel, day three to a side channel at Kaskaskia where you can hopefully tie up to a lock wall and then day four is 117.3 miles to the Ohio River plus we have to find an anchorage or keep going until we do.

All this is now changing as all plans do when things go wrong. The prop repair on Native Son may not have been successful. They have a vibration now on the other side. A phone call to Port Charles and they assured Rich that they would make it right so on Monday morning they headed back upriver 20 miles to try it again. We have remained in place in Alton and Jan did laundry while I washed the boat which was filthy. By lunchtime we had gotten word that Native Son would be back here by late afternoon.

Now you would think this would only push our plan back by one day but that is not how it works. You see our next stop is Hoppies and it is only a couple of old barges tied up on the river with limited space. So when we gave up our reserved space for tonight we lost our place and there is no more available until Wednesday or Thursday unless someone else cancels. And by Thursday heavy rains are expected and they can produce flooding. It’s confusing I know, but the Admiral is on top of it and we will move ASAP.

Now as I write this Native Son is still in Port Charles for the night. They got their prop back and started back here when an engine overheated and shut down. We are certainly familiar with that and knew it was likely an impeller. This forced them to turn back again to Port Charles where they will repair and stay the night. Then back to us on Tuesday and we will then sit here until we can get a space at Hoppies.

Meanwhile we are going to have to entertain ourselves in Alton for a day or two. There is a casino within sight and they have a free shuttle from the marina. It is the ARGOSY and has full gaming facilities. Perhaps I can win just enough to pay for this trip. I do not wish to be greedy.

Bucket list: When Jan was a child she used to try and pull a RR spike out of the tracks and was for some reason fascinated with them. She never succeeded until now. On our first night of crossing the tracks we found an old rusted and corroded spike that she did not want. But tonight we found one that looks as if it was never even hit by a hammer. So we added it to Cbay’s treasure trove.

Tomorrow I will give you the Lincoln-Douglas Debate tour of Alton. This is where the last one took place.