Sept. 11, 2012

Now I waited until now to tell you about Hoppie’s. We pulled in yestreday evening and found a spot on the crowded dock which is nothing more than a bunch of old barges cabled together, a sight to see. Hoppie’s has been here since the 30’s and the owner has lived here all his life. Stopping here is a must before continuing on to Memphis, it is the last river-side gas for 400 miles.

Hoppie’s Marina


Now Hoppie is a wealth of information about the river and when we had a chance to sit and talk, our fears were confirmed. The river level south of here is very low and getting lower. Hoppie tells us that most all of the boat ramps down to Memphis are inaccessable because of the low levels which means that we may not be able to get “the Belle” out of the water. He gives us some names and numbers of folks he knows down south around Cape Gerardo and Cairo. We make a few calls and all we get is the same thing…..low water, maybe you can, maybe you can’t. The question now is do we want take  a chance on going another 200 miles only to find that we cannot get out. We both agreed that that is not an option.

Since we’ve decided to go back up river to the only sure take-out at the Alton Marina, we head into town for some breakfast. Some nice gentleman offers us a ride into town as we walk down the road and we accept. A quick trip through the drive-thru at Jack in the Box and back to Hoppie’s for breakfast next to the river and our last day.

We say our good-byes to Hoppie’s one last time and head up-river towards Alton Marina. We called Joe last night and he should be heading this way with the trailer, we should meet him tonight about 8PM. Even though we are ending our journey early, we are upbeat and do our best to enjoy this last day on the mighty Mississippi.

We encounter a 1 hour wait getting back through lock 27, yes we only thought we were free of the locks but alas, such is the river. Once through, we pass through St. Louis again and wave good-bye to the arch as we pass by. Moving up-river is much slower now that we are going against the current. The traffic is light and after a long day we come to Mel Price Lock & Dam again for our final lock-through.  It took us 6 hours to go from Alton Marina to Hoppie’s yesterday and now we’ve been going up river for 10 hours. Now that we can see the lights of the marina and the end of our journey, we must wait 2 hours to get through this lock as there are barges that must pass through, they have the right-of-way you see.

The sun sets as we wait………and finally the gates open for us to pass through. Joe arrived about 2 hours ago and we finally pull in to our slip around 9:30, it has been one long-ass day but we have arrived safely and it was definately worth it. After a quick trip to KFC for some much-needed sustinance, we crash and crash hard on “the Belle” for the last time.


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