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)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hennepin to Peoria

Tugs Along the River
The last couple of days we have traveled on down the Illinois River with Time and Tide and the gentleman in Sixteen Tons who is from Finland.  I guess those locks did not scare him from traveling with us.  We tied up on and old barge at Hennepin and walked up the hill to have a chicken dinner with our traveling friends who had been this way before. Traveling with a gold looper does have its advantages. We are at a dock in Peoria tonight overlooking the city.

Lots of Eagles Today on the Illinois River

Island of Birds
Duck Blind

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Joliet and Ottawa

What an adventure the last couple of days!  We have had free town walls with electricity, free cop rides and a very rough lock through with a giant barge!  I think perhaps I should try my luck at writing a book after this adventure is over.  Joliet is a nice small town and we decided to ride our bikes around town. I am not the best on these foldable bikes. You guessed it, I did not make the curb and down I went taking a direct hit to the knee.  Needless to say the pain was intense and there was no way I was going to get back to the boat short of a cab or ambulance. The town cop stopped and after I refused a medical run he agreed to take us back to our boat, bikes and all. The next several hours Mike played doctor and today I have a beautifully colored stiff knee to remind me of Joliet.  We then continued on to Ottawa through three more locks. We just love these giant locks! After having waited earlier for three hours on a lock we agreed to go into the next one with the barge.  BAD IDEA, do not agree to this offer ever. Another boat traveling with us also came into the lock he was from Finland and asked if he could follow us for the day.  I doubt that he forgets yesterday.  The turbulence as the barge left  was expected but he had trouble leaving the lock and this turbulence continued for some time making our boats seem like toys in the bathtub. We did survive and made it to the lovely town of Ottawa where we once again met up with Time and Tide.  This town also provides a few dock wall with electricity and will even bring you back from the grocery store in a car. All is well.  Today Mike changed our engine oil for the third time since our trip began (Thanks Nate for bringing the needed supplies.). We have done over 5,000 miles since March 23th. Sorry the pictures are out of place but they have a mind of their own as to where they want to go. The blog is smarter than I am.

Free Dock Wall in Joliet     
Down the Illinois River

Locking Through With a Barge  

This Is Light Prop Wash

Monday, August 19, 2013


We enjoyed our two days in Chicago but on Sunday morning it was time to continue.  Once through the small lock that leads into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal we enjoyed the view from our boat of Chicago and traveled on to Joliet where we found a free wall to tie up to and met up with our good friends from Time and Tide again. Christelle insisted on having us over for supper which gave us a chance to catch up on the news and once again I got a chance to get in a little more cat time with Jacob and Joseph. This is a lovely couple from Canada and we have really enjoyed getting to know them.

Chicago Lock
Bridges, Bridges

What a View

Electric Carp Field

Chicago From Our Bow

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Heading to Chicago

Chicago's Navy Pier
Fast forward to Friday.  We tried to cross Lake Michigan on Thursday morning but after only a few miles we returned to St. Joseph.  The waters were much to rough.  Returning to St. Joseph we again met up with Tide and Time.  Together we then crossed to Chicago on Friday morning in the most perfect lake conditions. The sight of Chicago coming into view in the distance was quite a sight.  After cruising by Navy Pier we chose a nearby marina for Friday and Saturday night.  Today we finally got the bikes out and road our way around the Chicago bike paths.There is an air show here today and there will be fireworks tonight!  We feel like we are on vacation from the loop today. Our plans are to continue on tomorrow and cruise through downtown Chicago, that should be a grand sight.  We have now traveled 4,880 miles of our loop.  The time is really going fast.  This will become a memory before we know it. We have met so many great people and have seen so many small towns along the journey.

Chicago Coming Into View 
Chicago Skyline

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The last few days we have been making our way down Lake Michigan.  we stopped in Muskegon to anchor one night and then went on to Saugatuck where we spent two nights on anchor due to those high winds and rough waves on the lake. Saugatuck was a very neat little town and we met another looper couple on the Time and Tide that we really enjoyed getting to know.  They are from Canada and heading south as we are at this time.They travel with their two cats and so I got to get a little cat time aboard their boat. We pulled out saying good bye on Wednesday morning heading for St. Joseph near Benton Harbor. We are sure our paths will cross again.  We spent Wednesday night on the free wall in St. Joseph.  Today we plan on taking the long route across the lake to Chicago if the waves will allow.

Entering Saugatuck  Breakwall

Chain Ferry Saugatuck      

Friends on the Time and Tide

Paddle Ferry 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pentwater and Silver Lake Sand Diunes

Silver Lake Sand Dunes
We enjoyed our stay in the small town of Pentwater and happened to be there during there Homecoming weekend.  We had music each evening, a strawberry shortcake event, sandcastle building, a day at the beach,fireworks, and best of all we were picked up by our daughter and her family to join them for a day on Silver Lake at the sand dunes. This is a family event they have enjoyed doing the last few years and this time we got to see it and be a part of it first hand. After spending Saturday with them we are again underway today putting on a few more miles of Lake Michigan.

Town of Pentwater

Boat in Snug Harbor Marina

The Hughes Family


Family Fun on Silver Lake Sand Dune

Sand Dunes Overlooking Lake Michigan
Sand Dune Fun

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Manistee to Pentwater

The last few days we have been slowly making our way down the east side of Lake Michigan.  Slowly for two reasons, the weather for the lake was not the greatest, and we did not want to get to Pentwater before this weekend.  It is funny how things just work out sometimes.  Our daughter and her family had a vacation scheduled for Silver Lake this weekend and all along they said it would be so neat if we came through about that time, Almost Perfect timing ! We plan on meeting them on Saturday for a visit right here in Pentwater. Until then we will check out the town, the beach, and do some cleaning on the boat.  As of today we have traveled 4,699.9 miles. The boat has done great! We have encountered no special problems that have taken us off the water.  Mike plans another oil change very soon. We feel very fortunate that we have had no  problems.  We know of several trawlers that have been pulled for prop, shaft, or strut work. Livin the Dream, Having an Adventure.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Leland and on to Frankfort Michigan

We did leave on Sunday morning and made our way to Leland.  Leland is a small Fish Town with neat old fish shacks that house a variety of stores including fresh fish just caught.  We enjoyed walking the town and then purchased some just caught salmon to prepare for our supper. On Monday (today) we left out early to get some mileage before the winds picked up and increased the waves.  We are finding that Lake Michigan  can be a very rough ride for our boat when the winds pick up any speed at all.  We are not to fond of taking the waves over the bow. As we traveled today about 35 miles  we went past Sleeping Bear National Park with 480 foot tall sand dunes to our port side. We also passed by the famous lighthouse know as Miss Betsie.  Tonight we are anchored  in Frankfort,  on Miss Betsie Lake overlooking yet another small village.

Fish Town Leland

Sleeping Bear Sand dunes

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

Frankfort North Breakwater Light

Leland Water Fall

Swans on Lake Betsie