Miles Covered:  78 miles, lm 948- to lm 869.8

Closest towns or landmark (chart): just below Cairo, Il to island near Steward Towhead (across from silo)

Original Post date: June 14, 2009

After coffee and an egg & bacon sandwich we began another day at idle-speed in the current and made almost 80 miles – seems like a long way at idle speed but the time and miles really pass quietly – always something on or about the river to hold your attention.  Our only use for a clock is to have a general idea of what our families might be doing at home.


We ride smooth water while passing some barge work areas along the shore and see few active tows – not at all what we had expected on our first day of the ‘Lower Mississippi.”  The weather has been perfect most everyday – sure there have been moments within a ‘Storm World” or two that has tested us, but that was just a matter of ‘battening down the boat,’ understanding that it will all pass, and simply coping with the elements.

Overall, the ride has been perfect, good or bad its all just part of it – but this date was peaceful and warm…..

100_2459 Cabin in the wilderness

A remote cabin pops up out of nowhere, there are few signs of civilization along today’s shoreline.


We’ve seen old broken barges against the shore (wondered why someone didn’t come and ‘scrap’ them),


The waterline speaks volumes of the river’s power, tenacity, and changing conditions. The effects of Mother nature many miles away touching here.  Trees and debris coat the edges, water-lines are distinct (from one foot to twenty and more).  We see plenty of buoys washed ashore too, many that should mark the channel and keep folks out of the wing-dams – with that we wondered who tended to these buoys gone rougue?

100_2462USCG buoy tender

A few miles later we got our answer. The US Coast Guard, of course. We got a chance to pull along side of a recon crew and chatted a few minutes – they were real nice (Tom just happened to be wearing his son’s CG shorts) they waved and cheered us on as we parted.

Later near Hickman we spotted another Bald Eagle, it had been a while since we had seen one – this was the 26th eagle that we had noticed since day 1.

From there we did a stop at New Madrid,  figured that we could top off our fuel and find some ‘land’ food.  The interesting thing about New Madrid is that this is where an earthquake happened in the early 1800′s, they say the river ran backwards for 48 hours, who knows? All I know is this quiet little town is on the tip of a towhead or loop in the river. There is a point where it is less than 300 yards across land at the nearest point, yet it is necessary to travel 20 miles by boat to make the loop – it was unusual to watch the compass and be headed North while traveling South to New Orleans  – but again, just a part of it.

100_2468New Madrid

Again without a public dock we tied off to the shore near the boat ramp and walked into town. The town seems to be making progress with their waterfront – its a nice area with a new observation pier overlooking the river.

100_2471 Where’s the catfish?

At the local gas station/deli we ate catfish and then shuttled back some ice and gas. Being off the water and inland a bit we noticed how really hot it was. Really…HOT! 

100_2472Shuttling ice and fuel back to the “Bird”

Again a few kids came down to the boat and we let them walk around, funny what kids do when you hand them a ‘sharpie’ and tell them that they can write on any wall or ceiling in the boat they like…. they just stand there like “really?”

During the morning and afternoon we had been noticing tracks on the sandbars, kinda like an alligator would leave as they slid down the sand into the water. When we finally stopped for the evening, we concluded that it must have been turtles.  There were signs all around of where turtles came ashore and laid their eggs, some buried their eggs and for some reason others did not – little round morsels for the blackbirds.

100_2480 Turtle eggs?

100_2539 Turtle nests?

100_2482 Nestled in for the evening

After a nature walk on the sandy island, I whipped Tom again in cards….

and with another beautiful sunset, we retired for the evening.


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