Miles Covered:  106 miles, um 158.5- to um 52

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Hoppie’s Marina (Kimmswick, Mo.) to Cape Girardeau, Mo. (Storm World)

Original Post date: June 11, 2009


It was an early start from Hoppie’s, 6 am – coffee, then swing wide past the wing dam below the ‘marina’ and back in the channel we floated. It was a ‘mellow’ ride through many miles of picturesque river frontage, the bluffs became smaller and less frequent and there were some natural industries (rock, stone quarry’s, etc), a unique home or two, and then a wildlife preserve along the way.



As we crossed under the bridge at Chester we caught a quick glimpse of the bronze statue of Popeye (its where the cartoon and his crew were created by Elzie Segar).  The whole day was a day of the simplest river travel,  just ‘going with the flow’….. and observing.

100_2318  A mealtime routine,….

100_2320 another ‘routine’………

We did stop and talk to several other boaters along the way, at one time tieing along side (the African Queen) and drifting while we enjoyed a few beverages – right up to and around ‘Tower Rock.’ 



‘Tower Rock’ was the one Mark Twain once wrote about – and still at our easy pace we made a hundred miles on this day.

100_2382 Tower Rock

We have not pushed this river at all, we only ride her current, and with the addition of the Missouri river’s volume we surpassed our mileage expectations 4 fold – for two Carolina drifters, its all so interesting and different. 



The flow of the river is now more apparent here. On the occasions where we have worked against the current, we can pretty much hold our own albeit with small gains. The water can also play tricks to your eyes, especially at night – like when we got ‘flushed’ out of St Louis , with the reflections it appears at times to be flowing backwards – but for that ride we just maintained power for control and held on to a few of the senses we had left. The ‘wing-dams’ (rock formations) along the way are strategically placed by contractors to utilize the hydraulic power of the river itself in maintaining the channels depth, they may or may not be visible depending on the river’s water level.  

Wing dam breaking surface Wing dam breaking the surface.
For boaters it is important to use the channel as much as possible to avoid these, scraping a hole in your hull or pontoon could ruin the whole trip for you.  Sometimes the whirlpools they create can also play tricks with your vessels direction.  There are several areas where these extend into the channel – the worse were in the areas of um 130 to 133 and around um 70 – 71, these created difficulties with two vessels sharing the same channel.


As evening fell we met our goal of Cape Girardeau. Just before town at the Red Star landing, we found fuel with a short walk (less than 1/2 mile). We had our hopes up for some real food too, but they were soon dashed as we found the Cape had no water front dockage, plus there was a large barge blocking the only accessable wall and the riverfront just did not seem craft friendly. We crossed the river and found a beach near the bridge where I decided to try out my new tent. While I set it up, Tom battened down the hatches and we settled in for the night.

Storm World Big Time

All was peacefull – that is until three am, when the mother of all thunderstorms rolled through – and she was the ‘Wicked witch of the west.’  As I lay in my tent, the wind started picking up and then the lightening and thunder started. I think I fell back asleep when all of a sudden I was rolling down the beach wrapped up in my tent like a burito. I managed to get out and grab the tent up into a wad. The wind was so fierce, it pulled me along until I was able to make it back to the Bird. With the wind howling and the lightening crashing arouund us we managed to ride the storm out once again as the ships bell rang like an unanswered telephone.  It all passed in a few hours and the morning sun is now starting to show.



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