Miles Covered:  (n0 miles today) um 158.8

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Hoppie’s Marina (Kimmswick, Mo.)

 Original Post date: June 9, 2009

Ok, so late last evening during a simple ‘re-set’ of our anchor at the St Louis Arch we were set adrift and then “flushed” through the commerce alley of this river. The activity on the river South of St Louis is where multiple local tow pilots separate groups of barges, and then arrange and reattach these barges into organized groups for delivery.

It appeared to be one of the busiest ‘hubs’  for this type of activity in the country.  The loads are prepared for North (St. Louis up) South (St Louis down and the Lower Mississippi) East (The Ohio River) and West for the Missouri river conduit – the activity which takes place here is likely unrecognized for its true value in organizing the delivery of raw materials to the factory destinations within our country.

Somehow in the darkness we drifted and ‘bobbed’ with the wakes right through the crossing tows, their occasional spotlights, radio chatter, and crushing activity in a very unintentional manner – we felt about as comfortable in it as a ‘street-walker’ stepping into a church meeting.

In the midst of it all the wakes and darkness we maintained power and somehow found the last outpost forty miles downstream, Hoppie’s Marina near um 158.8.


Hoppie’s is on the right bank heading south with little to no lighting, not sure how many wing-dams we crossed before we lucked out and located it, but we did – and that’s where we spent the rest of the night and next day…

Spending a day at Hoppie’s Marina was preplanned as a zero-mile day – We were really happy to just chill in one place for more than a day.  


‘Hoppies’ Marina is a family business which dates back to when folks had to keep the lamps burning along the river, Bob Hoppies parents were ‘lamplighters’ on the river.  The marina is built on old barges so it floats up and down with the river and dates back to the 50′s and 60′s.  It’s not a Yacht Club by a long stretch, but it has all the character of a troupe of monkey’s eating candy ‘fireballs’.   Fern and Hoppie are wonderful folks with lots of character too, Tom had mentioned this place to me several times as the place we cannot miss. It was great to finally meet them and to watch them work together.  Their ‘banter’ back and forth was very comfortable – well worth much more than the short time we had there. 


To some degree it is a ‘last outpost’ for supplies, but again you will have to walk about a mile or so into the small village of  Kimmswick, Mo. As we made our way into town, we were surprised to find fancy little shopping’ stores and a restaurant,  for a grocery store you will have to walk 2 miles further….

100_2286The grocery store 

Rock Community Fire Department, MoRock Community Fire Department, Mo

We stopped and chatted with the local firefighters for a spell and then headed back to Hoppies with our load of groceries.

– we walked the 2 miles in and a local was kind enough to give us a ride back in his pickup truck. 



For today it has been awesome to sit by the river for 24-hours on these old barges and feel the river’s pulse.  Hoppie’s has a hose to shower under, you just don’t want to step on the power cord as you do…

‘Fern’ and ‘Hoppie’ have been great to us, as I have heard they are to all who pass –

Fern was sure to stress that there was no fuel for the next 400 miles! She could have meant “on the river,’ which was true, but we listened appreciatively and then found fuel available along the way – we just had to walk a ways and transport the fuel tanks by hand-truck. (Cairo, New Madrid, etc.).

The downtime was great, the river flowed while trees floated by, and we considered the more challenging circumstances of the Lower Mississippi ahead – it could be a few days before re-posting, but certainly we will as the signal or battery will allow.



 Hoppie's Marina Hoppie’s Marina 




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