June 5, 2011

We hang on until the storm blows through. Feeling tired and spent from the night’s ordeal, we lay there wondering what will happen next. Out of the early morning darkness Chuck says “I’m hungry.” Within minutes, we are up and on the way to a diner down the road we had scoped out the previous afternoon. The sky was dark and ominous, threatening to strike us again. We just wanted to make it to the diner before it did and we did with minutes to spare. As it rained outside, we enjoyed a good breakfast and conversation with the early morning locals. The gal behind the counter was very nice and filled us in with some weather reports for the day. It looks like it will clear up later on. We’ll see.

Jake & Walt's Fort Diner

After breakfast, we headed back to the “Belle” in the rain, crossed the railroad tracks, (there’s always railroad tracks) and began our morning ritual of re-organizing our mess from the previous night. We are all pretty much zombies at this point in need of sleep but we move on. As we mosied down the river, the rain came and went several times. Chuck lost his shorts when I zig-zagged trying to miss a log in the river. He had hung his shorts out on the railing to dry and the wind grabbed them and threw them in the river. We tried unsuccessfully to rescue them. So far the river has claimed quite a few items. To date we have lost Gator’s gloves, 4 pairs of his sunglasses, my dad’s Georgia plate that was torn from the splash quard during choppy waters, a solar light that was ripped off when we hit some overhanging branches while being towed and Chuck’s shorts. I’m sure the Mississippi will claim more before the trip is done. Speaking of river debris, there is a lot of floating debris in the river from the recent flooding. We must stay diligent when piloting so as not to have another mishap.

Lock #19 was an hour and a half wait. We pulled into the “Keokuk Yacht Club,” took care of some personal business and talked to the staff about the weather, basically killing time before locking down.

When we heard the horn from the lock, we jumped in the “Belle” and shot towards the dam. I called the lockmaster and he advised us to stanby so we tied off to a tree upriver to wait. Currents near the dam are very strong and it’s hard to maintain a drift when your being sucked in so we try to tie off when we have to wait. This particular time, Gator jumped in to tie us off and got his first taste of Mississippi mud. Thinking the water was only a foot deep he steps off the deck and sinks another foot in Mississippi mud. “Ten tows” and I enjoy a good laugh.

Soon, the lockmaster brings us on in and we lock through. It’s always a good feeling to lock through and get to the other side. After the close calls we’ve had, we’ve become leary of locks. This wait was 2 hours. There was a double locking own river and a single locking up river. A double barge is where the barge is so long they have to send it through the lock in two pieces. The tow pushes one half of their load into the lock, breaks it down, backs out and then doos the second half the same way. It takes a long time. A single tow will push enough barges to fit in the lock. It goes a little quicker. Once they are done (they always get preference) we lock through as a “south-bound pleasure craft.” It’s always an adventure but today it ate up 3 1/2 hours of our time, time we could have traveled about 25 miles.

After pulling in 56 miles of travel, the sun waning, we pulled into Quincy, Illinois, a fairly large town. On the way to the Art Kellner Marina, where we planned on staying for the night, we tied up riverside and walked over to “Kutters” a riveside bar and grill. Here we dined on some fresh fish, chicken tenders and Corona. A good meal after a long day on the river. Darkness settled as we threw down the last of our meal and hurried back to the “Belle.” We managed to make our way to the marina and tie off for the night.


Art Kellner Marina

We all get a shower and settle in for a quiet, hopefully dry night.

June 6, 2011


4 Responses to “UM June 5, 2011”

  1. Caren Says:

    Hello to my Big Brothers. I am getting ready to look (FINALLY)at your website/trip. Be safe! Love ya.
    Your little sis

  2. don @ d&k marine repair Says:

    hey guys glad to see your doing better now. if i would of known you were gonna spend another nite here i would of changed the transom wood out for you here so you would of avoided the near death experience! glad you guys made it through it. good luck and happy sailing.

    1. livinlif Says:

      Thanks Don, it’s all part of the adventure. Just passed through lock 25.

  3. Bad Alien (AKA Ten Tows) Says:

    Hey Caren! Wish U were here! We’re sitting in a hotel room in St. Louis right now, but that’s all I can say. Don’t want to give away the details till Carl catches up. Later!

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