The Illinois River enters the Mississippi at mile marker 218. We will travel down the Mississippi to marker zero where we join the Ohio River. The Mississippi is divided in two parts- upper and lower. The Upper starts in Itasca State park where we visited it and walked across the rocks several years ago. We will not be taking the lower Mississippi which goes to New Orleans as it is not as inviting to pleasure craft. Instead we will follow the Ohio River which leads to the Tenn-Tom Waterway and hits the gulf in Mobile Alabama.
Today our destination will be Alton Ill. at mile marker 203- so a short 15 mile day. We want to explore the history and plan to rent a car to go see the St Louis Arch.
Our first impression of the Mississippi- it is wide and fast current. We picked up a couple knots of speed , and now keep the binoculars handy to spot the channel markers and watch for large driftwood that might damage our prop if hit straight on. It continues to get shallow just off the channel.
Our AIS beeped indicated a tow and barge is approaching us about 1 mile ahead- just around a bend in the river. We radioed and were told to stay on the twos. It made a wide sweep on the S turn; and glided past us.
This area has seen several floods over the years. In one area; the town put up a 50 foot shrine as gratitude for the water stopping just short of flooding the village of Portage des Sioux. Mid July each year the blessing of the fleet is held at the shrine called ” Our Lady of the Rivers”.
The bluffs rise above us on the left descending bank (LDB), and the paddle boat cruises are passing us by.
The marina is easy to find just past the high bridge, the dock hands are ready to help us in the slip. One glitch, they are covered slips- and our antennas and radar are too tall. We are relocated and really churn up mud as we move to another slip. The water here is low, where the Illinois was at flood stage 40 miles upstream. You can see by the ramps to the parking lot- they are very steep and will float up as the water rises. the docks, the roofs, even the pool are all floating concrete. Can’t quite figure out that works.
This marina appreciates the Loopers- offering 3 nights free if you stay 3 nights! Nice pool, 20 minutes to St Louis, several local historical sights and a casino next door. No brainer, as we are in no hurry at this point.
The first walk around town included the casino, the information center and a small farmers market. This week will include learning about Lincoln Douglas debate, the tallest man, Miles Davis and underground railroads. should be interesting. We had dinner at Fast Eddies, and visited a quilt/dessert shop called Just Desserts.
Life is good. I’ll turn off the computer and head to the pool.