Last Leg For Winter Season

At Orange Beach Marina
Just East of Gulf Shores,
We stayed a long time
Good friends there and more.

Saltwater fishing
For Sheepshead and Drum,
Using the dinghy
At least we caught some.

With eyes like a mammal
And ivory teeth,
It’s no surprise
They’re named after sheep.

Their needle sharp spines
Had punctured our boat,
And required patches
To keep it afloat.

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Bruce with a keeper Sheepshead – notice the sharp spines – He was a little reluctant to hold it!
We punctured our boat twice with their spines.

Passing our time
By biking around,
The trails there are endless
No snow on the ground.

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26 Miles of bike/walking trails in the Orange Beach State Park, some like this and some paved.

Finally Margaret
Was able to come,
We drove to Florida
We all got some sun.

Visited siblings
My sister and brother,
Bruce swam in the ocean
One wave after another.

A wedding back home
Shortened our stay,
A son who got married
On Valentines day.

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Home for a short time for son Calvin and Morika wedding.

Soon after the wedding
I took to the skies,
With United Airlines
Now selling my prize.

My prize is my boat
Which I’m ready to sell,
The Yooper Looper
Performed very well.

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Painting deck to prepare for selling the Yooper Looper.

I’ll buy another
To continue the quest,
Being on the water
Always is best.

Then in the future
Through the Erie Canal,
Down the Hudson River
Into the New York locale.

I’ll recap the rest
When the time is right,
For now I am done
I wish you a good night!

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View from biking bridge over the highway.
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Stopped here for a lunch of Sushi! There were nearly 100 people inside buying fresh seafood and 6 registers with clerks selling constantly.
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There was about a dozen people getting orders ready, besides the 6 register clerks!
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A pelican watching us fish under the bridge. Sheepshead hang out on the pillars feeding there.
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A black drum and a sheepshead… the first couple fish that I caught.
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Some really neat docks with covered slips.
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I hired a diver to change my anodes from magnesium to zinc.
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Boat on the right never moved in the 2 months I was there, but a full-time deckhand polished it every day, keeping it ready for the owner.
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Gulf Shores/Orange Beach sunset.

Demopolis to Orange Beach

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Unusual Christmas
With a small family,
And lights on the boat
In the shape of a tree.

So far down South
No snow to be seen,
With temps in the 60’s
And lawns that are green.

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Sunshine, open water, lots of greenery.

Had dinner with new friends
A potluck by all,
Sang carols on docks
We all had a ball.

The day after Christmas
The boat still our house,
I worked on the fly-bridge
With Bruce and my spouse.

Took down the enclosure
From high in the air,
To waterproof the top
I sprayed it with care.

Putting Rainex on windows
Bruce wearing my cap,
Being young and still limber
To him was a snap.

Up before sunrise
Lockmaster gave a green light,
Apprehensions so high
Gave Margaret a fright.

Through Demopolis lock
With water so high,
And flowing so fast
We really did fly.

Logs on the ‘Bigbee
And concern for my prop,
We had to watch out
Or get forced to stop.

Found a good anchorage
At David Lake,
Bruce looking for fun
A swim he did take.

Made one more stop
Before Mobile Bay,
Once we got there
A week we did stay.

Mommy went home
She drove for 3 days
Now WE cook and wash dishes
It sure changed OUR ways.

The windy days keep us
From venturing out,
The bay, it gets nasty
With breeze from the Sout’.

We left from Dog River
At Lulu’s we’d stayed,
Just me and my son now
And next day we made…

Just 10 more miles
Anchored for the night,
With Pelicans and dolphins
A beautiful sight.

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Lots of pelicans and Dolphins (which are harder to get picts of)

Dinner with Roiko’s
At Rajala’s had coffee,
Then bike rides prevent us
From becoming softies.

Rode trails that are endless
Through the state park,
Then back to our boat
Just before dark.

At Orange Beach Marina
With thunderstorms coming,
On our roof up above
The raindrops are drumming.

Now it gets lonely
Just me and my sonny,
Wishing to curl up
With Margaret, my honey!

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Found another pecan tree with some good nuts!
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Exploring up the Ingram Bayou near Orange Beach. This is an old barge, abandoned and rusted out!
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I love looking at all the boats!
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I’d like to know the story on this one, abandoned on the Ingram Bayou.
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Boatyard along the inter-coastal waterway (ICW). Notice the brown pirate ship.
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Painting on an “off day.”
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One straight mile equals six miles on the river, so at 11.3 mph, we only make less than 2 mph progress. My boat is the dark triangle on left quadrant and the hollow triangle on the bottom right quadrant is a barge/tugboat coming.
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Here’s the barge after we finally pass it on the river.
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My GPS, showing our boat (triangle in the middle), Going 9.5 MPH, a full CW circle, then a full CCW circle. We did LOTS of weird zigs and zags on the Tombigbee Waterway.
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Friends we made along the way.. they did the Loop 30 times with this boat since they bought it new in ’87!
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A couple days after Christmas, Margie and Bruce with a new “Looper” friend. Rafted at Bobies Fish Camp, while waiting for the lock master to call us.
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More live-aboards at Bobies Fish Camp.
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Cargo ship on Mobile Bay, un-loading.
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Not along the river, but near Mobile, Al when we dropped Margaret off for her drive home.
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Here’s one of the barges we were waiting for to get through the Coffeeville lock, just after Bobies Fish Camp.
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Columbus, AL – Demopolis

A friendly marina
In Columbus we stayed,
House batteries replaced
Then Stennis Lock we made…

Our way down the Tenn-Tom
Us tourists enroute,
Then Tom Bevill Center
To see what it’s about.

The Montgomery steamboat
A snagboat displayed,
And replica mansion
An hour we stayed.

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Sitting at the controls of the Montgomery Snagboat, a steam powered river boat where we spent an hour before going through the Tom Bevill Lock.

Soon after Tom Bevill
A 30 foot drop,
Cochrane was a cut-off
The main river we stopped.

This part of the Tenn-Tom
With oxbows both sides,
You have to be careful
Or you might take a ride…

Or get your boat grounded
And ruin your prop,
Needing a tow
For an unscheduled stop.

Next day was a short one
Twenty miles or so,
To Howell Heflin Lock
Tombigbee Ox Bow.

Anchored in current
No houses in sight,
A bridge up the river
Where we spent the night.

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Early morning leaving the anchorage. Cold and calm.

With frost on the railings
And deck down below,
A cold, chilly morning
At least it’s not snow.

The white cliffs of Epps
Were pretty to see,
Then ends the Tenn-Tom
Start Tombigbee.

The white Epps cliffs

Kingfisher Marina
Near Demopolis lock,
Spending 3 days
It’s a great stop.

A break from the river
And stock up on food,
Got water and groceries
We’re in a great mood.

Even though rainy
And not very nice,
A tour of Bluff Hall
For a very small price.

To see how they lived
So long ago,
In Mansions so roomy
The river below.

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The Bluff Mansion, over looking the river. This is a pile of dead bird bones that fell down the chimney. (the tour guide didn’t know about this and was a little embarrassed)

Tomorrow we leave here
With more sights to see,
Feel free to call us
Not sure where we’ll be.

Now before posting
This rhyme on the net,
Our plans took a turn
As right here we set.

The rain causing flooding
From here to Mobile,
Stranded on boats?
Now this is surreal!

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The tugboat “Albert”, moored along the river.
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Most locks have the towers so the lock master can see what’s happening.
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8 barge tow, can carry as much as 450+ 18 wheeler equivalent loads.
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Bruce getting ready to go to shore and set his camera to catch a sunset on time lapse.
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Dining room in the Bluff house. Original plaster moulding around the ceiling. Original dinnerware from mid 1800s. The first microwave oven back right. It is a tin box that sits in front of the fire to keep food warm if someone is late for dinner.
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The winding Ten-Tom heading more or less southerly in a snake-like way. My boat is the small black triangle just below center.
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White cliffs of Epps.
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We always fly the AGLCA flag. (American Great Loop Cruisers Assoc.) This way, other “Loopers” always know who is on the same page… a great conversation starter.

The Trawling Life

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Yooper Looper as she’s moored under a roof at Columbus, MS Marina

This trawling on rivers
A much different life,
Is really more fun
When you have a wife.

To enjoy the scenery
And cooking for me,
While steering from fly-bridge
A lot more to see.

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Wife, Margaret, up on the Fly-bridge doing her graphics work remotely on the river.

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Preparing to “lock down”

Ducks on the water
Herons on the shore,
Geese that are flying
White pelicans galore.

Wispy white mare-tails
Or cotton-like pillows,
The clouds ever-changing
Like smoke they will billow.

Along the Kentucky River, clouds ever changing

Sunrises and sunsets
And moon in the sky,
(At home when you’re busy)
These things pass you by.

But here on the water
With time on our side,
We get to enjoy them
As we go for a ride.

Days upon days
And nights upon nights
Out here on the water
It’s all about sights!

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Two fellow Looper boats waiting to enter the next lock.
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After sunset, with the moon above, gates closed, ready to go down to the next river level.
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Another boat joins us in the lock
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Notice the huge mechanical arm that opes and closes the gates.
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The Whitten lock – a 84 foot drop and 46 million gallons!
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The Johm Stennis Lock. Notice the fisherman at bottom right- just his head showing.
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Tugboat on left is a looper called Jack Roberts
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Mighty doors of the Whitten lock
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Wating for the gates to open after sinking down
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Andy and Bruce holding the boat off the wall as we descend.

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Pretty skies.

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See the vine covered support on left end of bridge.
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A little “dog house” fly bridge so they can see over the cargo.
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We bowled for fun in Columbus, MS (mom, Bruce , Andy and I)
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Tank in Amory, MS
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See the Yooper Looper far off in the background. Went for a walk in the State Park.
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Bike ride in Columbus, MS
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Saltie, loopers from CO

Green Turtle to Pickwick Landing

From Green Turtle Bay
A Courtesy car,
Over our limit
We drove very far.

Left my Suburban
Near Sugar Tree town,
To transport my daughter
When she is home-bound.

Through Barkley Canal
From East to the West,
Traveling in daylight
Is what we like best.

A very big park-
Land Between the Lakes,
By the Tennessee River
We put on the brakes.

With wildlife galore
And many large bays,
It’s worth a few stops
And overnight stays.

Dropping the anchor
In Duncan Bay,
Exploring the shoreline
A cold night we did stay.

Frost on the railings
Was not going to stop,
My son from swimming
So down he did hop!

Deep in the water
At 50 degrees,
Then back in again
I thought he would freeze.

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Air was less than 40, with frost overnight, and water just under 50!

30 Miles up river
Paris Landing State Park,
At McWherter fixed bridge
Docking near dark.

Rangers were friendly
Showing us reptiles,
The boys even held them
Brought on some smiles.

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The kids held snakes at the state park.

The next day was Thursday
With time we went slow,
Pulled into a harbor
To see where it’d go.

Then running aground
At Harmon Creek,
Changed our plans
We moved on to seek…

A safer harbor
Using Skipper Bob’s guide,
Pebble Isle Marina
Was just a short ride.

To stock up on food
With a courtesy car,
Waverly City
Was not very far.

Then Cuba Landing
Was our next stop,
Just 20 miles
It felt like a hop.

Met Ellie and Tom
With roots from back home,
Had interests in common
On boats also roamed.

Left Yooper Looper
Moored for 2 nights,
Drove over to Nashville
To see some more sights.

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Daughter Andrea at Opryland Hotel.

Dropped off our Andrea
And her 12 year old son,
Their ride was done now
But it was such fun!

Christmas light hanging
Was all done by Bruce,
With wire and duct tape
They couldn’t come loose.

Bruce, making our boat look like Christmas Season.

On Saturday morning
Left Cuba Landing,
Interesting houses
On both shorelines standing.

Ready for flooding
On stilt after stilt
All in a line
‘Cause that’s how they’re built.

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LOTS of flood-ready houses along the river.
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Some houses more stout than others.

At Eagle’s Nest Island
O’er night on the hook,
Anchor light shining
Marg reading a book.

‘Twas somewhat scary
To think we might drift
And end up on rocks
Causing a rift.

Woke up near dawn
Something went “thump,”
A log hit our keel
And made a loud bump.

With mom still in bed
The day started early,
The boys pulled the anchor
And the river was squirrelly

Making slow progress
Upstream we went,
To Pickwick State Harbor
The day was all spent.

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Pickwick Lock at night after 12 hours on the water.

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Some precarious houses along the Tennessee River.
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Lots of these cool houses.
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Notice the high doors at the State Capitol building in Nashville.
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Nashville congressional room. They have part time Representatives, not in session.
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Capitol building.
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Son Bruce at the war museum.
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Margie, Andrea and Rodney. We were too lazy to put the motor on.
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Grandson Rodney at Johnsonville Historical Park.
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Son Andy… we did a scavenger hunt style history lesson.
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From left – Brian, Margaret, Andrea, Andy, Bruce and Rodney. (not sure what the soldiers name is.)

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Son Andy passing time.
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Yours Truly (Brian) – notice the AGLCA flag (American Great Loop Cruisers Assoc.)

Grand Rivers Stay

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Green Turtle Marina. Yacht Club building on stilts.

Two weeks near Paducah
At Green Turtle Bay,
Back home for some football
My boat there to stay.

Just seven days later
We’re back on the boat,
But only for one night
Not ready to float.

Nashville was one city
For us to see more,
Some towns on the river
We want to explore.

Broadway had music
But not for our ears,
Too loud for our liking
And too many beers.

Boots for a cowboy
Attracted the boys,
They bought some then left there
Away from the noise.

Metropolis also
On want-to-do list,
To see Superman
Was all the boys’ wish.

 

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Metropolis City center piece, Superman!

Some things we needed
So to Paducah we went,
Picked wild pecans
And more money we spent.

The Cumberland River
Zigzags to the south,
We anchored in Barkley
At a river mouth.

With four of us eating
Thanksgiving dinner,
The steaks filled our tummies
They sure were a winner!

Patti’s was mentioned
By loopers who floated
But we chose to eat
Our own food til we bloated

We dinghyed to shore
To play for a while,
The boys made a raft
That made them smile.

Soon we pushed off
From Green Turtle Bay,
My wife and my daughter
A week they will stay.

Cruising upstream
On the Tennessee River,
Frost on the boat
Again we all shiver.

Now anchored out
At Land Between The Lakes,
Again for our supper
My family had steaks.

At Kentucky Lake
Today we’ll explore,
All made by a dam
We want to see more.

Christmas lights in Grand Rivers (also known as Patti’s Settlement) were sensational! Never saw anything like it. This is just a small sampling of it.

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One of many bridges on the Cumberland in Nashville.

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Prison? on the Cumberland River.

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On shore of the Barkley Lake, the boys climbed vines, explored and made rafts or on debris they found on the beach.

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toured the Andrew Jackson Hermitage. We were not allowed to take picts inside. A worthwhile tour if you can make it.

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Andy learning the history of Andrew.

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that’s grumpy me on a $20 fakebill!

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Getting attacked by a bear.

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George Rogers Clark, a famous explorer

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The boys posed with Lois Lane in Metropolis.

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Green Turtle Bay, as we left one morning.

 

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The River Heritage Museum in Paducah

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The Lane Museum in Nashville

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All the cars run and drive in this Lane Museum in Nashville.

 

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We watched the Tenn Titans trash the Jacksonville Jaguars in Nashville.

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Our view out of the backside of our seating area at Nissan Stadium

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Downtown Nashville across the river, through the stadium bars.

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Nashville walking bridge after the football game.

 

 

Alton, IL to Grand Rivers, KY

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St Louis sights.

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Ken, cleaning off the boat before leaving Alton.

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Another snow picture with of son, Bruce

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We saw this amazing monument from underneath, on top and from the mighty Mississippi

From Alton down river
By St Louis we go,
Cold icy weather
Banks white with snow.

Wing dams cause swirling,
Shifting currents galore,
Downstream was helping
More miles to score.

The radio blared
“Don’t go that way,
The rocks are shallow
To the left you should stay.”

It was a barge
Behind us a ways,
A friendly captain
Who kept safe our day.

Guided to safety
Avoiding rapids below,
Saved us from rocks
That our map didn’t show.

Next day before dusk
Mississippi was done,
Up the Ohio
River to run.

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The winding Mississippi – the Yooper Looper is the little black triangle on the right, the other 2 triangles, in the center are two barges coming our way. our SOG (speed over ground) is 12.5 mph with a 5 mph current pushing us.

We dropped 2 anchors
Just to be sure,
The boat wouldn’t drift
And get grounded ashore.

Cairo behind us
The anchors we weighed,
Cruising at sun up
Wish we had stayed…

To see Metropolis-
Superman city,
Had to move on
Seemed like a pity.

Motored past Paducah
Then Cumberland River,
At Barkley Dam
I started to shiver.

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Barkley dam from the Cumberland River side.

The warm sun had set
The moon coming up,
Nothing to do
But start making sup.

The wait there was long
To get in the lock,
Had time for dinner
And plenty of talk.

A train went across
As we waited below,
In the darkness we heard it
The whistle did blow.

The lock was our first
Going upstream,
A 60 foot lift
A small part of my dream.

Shining our spotlight
‘Bout midnight or so,
Into Green Turtle Bay
To dock we did go.

After a shower
A shave and some sleep,
We’re headed for home
And snow that is deep.

We’ll go back
In a week or two,
Continue our adventure
Until then – Adieu!

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View of St Louis from atop the arch. Baseball stadium in upper left.

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View from the river side of the arch, where we cruised the next day.

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Base of arch

 

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A typical industrial site along the way

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15.1 mph is the fastest my boat has EVER cruised with the Mississippi current pushing! Yooper Looper is the center black triangle

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A barge loaded with windmill blades being guided by 3 tugboats – these things are HUGE!

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I’m always fascinated by cloud formations

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The shores of the Cumberland River as we go upstream

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Barkley Dam

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Inside of the Barkley Lock as we get raised up 57 feet, our first time getting lifted, and the newest and highest gone through yet.

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This is the nicest looking tug and barge

Image may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor and waterWe saw lots of bridges and industrial sites.Image may contain: bridge, sky and outdoorImage may contain: bridge, sky, cloud, outdoor and waterImage may contain: sky, bridge, cloud, outdoor, water and natureImage may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor and water

Seneca to Alton

After staying in port
Not cruising that day,
Wind subsided
We’re underway.

Quickly through
The Marseilles Lock,
Then Heritage Harbor
Had a good dock.

Temps were nice
Adventures good,
GPS guiding
Knew where we stood.

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Bruce at the wheel

Around the corners
The radio working,
Showing barges
As if they were lurking.

Night coming on
We needed a port,
Slowly into a harbor
Too late to abort.

The water got shallow
My depth sounder said,
We could hit bottom
On the river bed.

Just deep enough
The keel slid through,
A sigh of relief
From all of the crew.

Tugboats all over
Carp that were jumping,
Up on the docks
From propellers thumping.

A bike ride was next
Just for a treat,
McDonald’s we found
Ice cream to eat.

An ice cream run on the bikes

While looking to anchor
Later next day,
Behind an island
Wanting to stay.

The radio brayed
“Come over here”
Invitation welcomed
Upstream we did steer.

Friendly Loopers
On rafted boats,
We tied aside them
Under stars afloat.

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Rafted up with 4 other “Loopers”

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Next morning breaking up the “raft” of boats

Experienced Looper
Mick was the leader,
Compared to his boat
Mine was a beater.

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Our friends on the river

Grafton, then Alton
We soon had to part,
Going back home
To make a new start.

Fast forward 2 weeks.
Back on the boat,
The snow and cold
Cuts at our throats.

Kaskaskia is next
100 miles downriver
With heat in the cabin
To keep out the shivers.

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Houses all ready for flooding, built on stilts

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Alton bridge

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One of many industrial sites

Woodshop in Grafton

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Train ride home

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Boat sat in sight of this for 2 weeks

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Keeping the boys busy building models

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The floatinf marina in Alton… Snow here now, leaving in the morning!