Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homecoming Day Sept. 7th

Autumn Is Back Home (Meow!)
Happy Nana and Pop
We did it! Our arrival into Evansville was on Saturday Sept. 7th at noon. What a great welcoming party! As we turned the bend and headed into the marina we saw several family and friends awaiting our arrival along with a camera crew from the Evansville Courier and Press. The loop now finished  will find us looking for another adventure in the  future.  Life, you should seize the moments and enjoy it to the fullest. We have been blessed with good family, friends and health. Time to find our land legs and take care of business.

Rounding the Bend Into Evansville

Great Guys

Happy Mom

The Home Team!  Many Thanks!
Happy Nana


Boating Friends (Thanks Bill)


Mariah Is Back Home (Purrr!)

Good Friends

Family and Friends

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Crossing Our Wake

On Tuesday morning September 3, 2013 we woke up at ( 3:30 am)  to a big surprise on the Paducah waterfront.  Pulling up not far behind us and dropping their loading ramp was the Mississippi Queen paddleboat. It was staying for a 24 hour visit.  After taking pictures it was time to depart for the moment we have long planned for, the crossing of our wake! As the view came into sight we could clearly see where the Cumberland took off to the right and the Ohio continued on upstream to the left.  Crossing your wake means you have made it back to the spot that the loop began and you have closed the loop. So on Tuesday morning September 3, 2013 at 10:07 am we closed our loop.  Quite a moment for Captain and First Mate!  From here we made out way to Golconda marina to let friends and family know that our plans are to be back at Inland Marina on Saturday September 7 at noon on the gas dock.Golconda was our first marina back in March and they did remember us. This is a very friendly marina and close enough to a small town with all the basics. The totals are in: We have traveled 5,521.7 miles on our loop. The total to get us back to homeport puts us at 5,657.7. Quite a trip since the average time is about one year and we made it in under six months! OH, the sights we have seen, and the friends we have made can never be take away. If you have been following our blog I hope you have learned a little about the Great Loop and this trip of a lifetime. This is my last blog until our homecoming.  At least I hope someone missed us. We have lots of hugs and thank yous to all who have supported our trip.

Crossing Our Wake
Cumberland to the right and Ohio to the left
Tuesday September 3, 2913 10:07

Mississippi Queen at Paducah   
Mississippi Queen

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back on the Ohio River and Paducah

Yesterday we finished the upper Mississippi and turned down the Ohio River to start the last leg of our journey home. The Ohio River current is against us for this last leg of the journey as we knew it would be.  We have slowed down from 11 miles an hour to stepping up the rpm and still only getting about 6 and half miles an hour.  The left  turn down the Ohio at Cairo brought on barges, barges and more barges.  We got to take a look at the construction still under way on the new Olmsted Lock at mile 964.8 scheduled to open sometimes in 2013.  We then went over the wicket at Dam 53 which was a first for this trip and then came to Lock and Dam 52.  The small chamber for pleasure craft is closed and so we had to wait in line with the barges for the large lock here.  Wait we did! It was 4 hours later that we were taken through. We were only 4 miles from our evening stop in Paducah and then came the wait.  We left the lock at 10:30 pm.  We were not going to travel at night on this trip but we had no other choice but to complete the last 4 miles in the dark. Just one more challenge for the captain.  He loves a challenge he says. We have spent Labor Day here in Paducah tied to a courtesy dock. Most stores were closed but there was a large parade and music and food all day in the town parking lot. NOW FOR THE BIG NEWS!! WE WILL CROSS OUR WAKE SOMETIME TOMORROW AFTERNOON!!!!! WOW! Record time! We will have finished the loop in under six months and on average people usually take a year. At this time we plan to finish heading up the Ohio retracing some miles to reach home.  Our plan at this time looks like we will be home at noon on Saturday! If you are around we would like to see you at Inland Marina where our boat stays.

Mile 981 Where the Mississippi
Meets the Ohio River
Lock 53 Over the Top

The New Olmstead Lock
Under Construction


Paducah Riverfront Mural Wall


You Know You Are Close to Home
When There Are Tractors in a Parade
Labor Day Parade Paducah
MY Therapy at the Courtesy Dock
in Paducah

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Traveling Down the Mississippi

We should finish the Mississippi tomorrow.  I thought I would share several pictures we have taken along the way. For the most part it is a long desolate stretch except for St. Louis.


Hoppies Marina

Plenty of Barges

Friday, August 30, 2013

St.Louis to Hoppies

Thursday August 29th we traveled on down the mighty Mississippi. To our starboard side St. Louis came looming into view with the Arch of St. Louis.  What a sight from the river! This of course was a slow down photo opportunity.  Seeing the Statue of Liberty was certainly a major highlight but the Arch was way up there on the scale bringing memories of the past when Mike went to school there and all the trips we have taken to this fun city, not to mention we were not far from home at this point at all! Afternoon brought us to the famous Hoppies on the river which is nothing but a long barge wall off  to the side of the river.  This is the last stop for fuel and water for a LONG stretch. The famous elderly lady here named Fern makes sure you know all you need about the upcoming stretch of the Mississippi.  She is truly a seasoned river woman. The weather is HOT! HOT! we miss the cool of  Canada and the lake.  How nice to come back to the tri-state with near record highs.  The next two to three nights will have to be on lock walls or anchorage.  There will not be another marina for us until Galconda.

St. Louis Coming Into View

Yes We Were There.
Our Point of View From My Therapy

Eads Bridge Crossing the Mississippi at St. Louis

The Arch at St. Louis 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grafton and Starting the Mississippi

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent at Grafton Harbor preparing for the trip down the Mississippi where we filled with diesel, put up the mast, did laundry, borrowed the car for a grocery run,  found a beauty shop, and decided it was time to wash the boat. We left out at dawn this morning not only because of the distance today but we have two locks and the temp is to reach 97 today.  We will be at the famous Hoppies this evening which is the last place to get fuel for the next 107 miles and the only marina for the next 228 miles. Our trip began this morning with a beautiful sunrise as we passed by the cliffs of Palisades. Palisades I found out is French origin and means cliff of white rocks. They made for a beautiful start to the day. We then entered the upper Mississippi River at mile 218 where we will travel to mile 0 and once again be on the Ohio River for our last leg of the loop to home. At mile 217.9 we crossed the junction of the Illinois River and the Mississippi.  Mile 212 brought the statue of Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine into view.  She was built in 1951 after the disastrous flood just stopped short of flooding the village of Portage des Sioux.  We have gone through one lock already today and at mile 195.3 we will meet the junction of the Missouri River and the Mississippi.  The adventure continues.

View From Grafton Marina

Leaving Grafton at First Light

Grafton Palisades  
Our Lady of the Rivers

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Peoria to Willow Island

As we continue down the Illinois we have been anchoring, checking out small towns, and concluding the eight locks of the Illinois River. After and enjoyable evening at Peoria we traveled on to Quiver Island where we anchored near the town of Havana.  This area had so many jumping Asian carp that they not only jumped over the dinghy they landed in the dinghy! Our next evening took us to Bar Island near the town of Beardstown.  Time and  Tide joined us for a dinghy run and we checked out the town. Not too much here but we enjoyed the town.  The temperature has been climbing the last few days and today we have hit 95 with a promise of a few more days to come!!  We probably will have to get in this river this evening to stay comfortable.  We can always wash off river water.  We plan to anchor at Willow Island tonight along with Time and Tide and Sixteen Tons.  Tomorrow we will finish the Illinois and prepare for the long desolate trip of the Mississippi.  At least we will have a good current pushing us on the Mississippi.

Gary and Christelle (Time and Tide)

Lock Eight Illinois River

Down the Illinois River

New Cat Friends From Time and Tide
(Jacob and Josie)