We left Keokuk Monday around noon after re-stocking the boat with groceries. The weather was beautiful; calm winds & blue skies with a high around 75 degrees. Perfect & blissful outside, we cruised past familiar landmarks, although we hadn’t seen them since 2001. We cruised through Lock 20 without delay and headed to Hogback Island, a popular sandbar at Mile 332. It was a shorts day! We met some fun (and crazy) locals from Quincy who went across the river to spend the night at a cabin on stilts. It was a starry night, and we turned in early.
We headed out after a big late breakfast. The friendly Louis County folk did my first mate land duties (pulled the stakes and took in the ropes) while I sat chatting with them on the bow. Breaking through white-capped waves we made it to Lock 21, only to be told we would have to wait about an hour for a barge. Instead of being tossed around in the waves, we pulled into the South Side Boater’s Club in Quincy IL. There we tied up to wait – that was a challenge. Finally we were able to cruise through Lock 21 – we had difficulty holding the lines and keeping the boat secure because of the 30 mph wind gusts. Our aim was to make camp on a sandbar opposite Hannibal, MO, but it was too shallow to get the boat into the beach. Instead we ended up in the Hannibal boat harbor which was probably a better choice in the end. We slipped for free although we had no shore power. We took a long walk through town, got some spaghetti noodles from the ‘Brick Oven’ and headed back to the boat for spaghetti dinner (left-over sauce from the cook-off). Played backgammon and called it a night.
Wednesday we stayed again in Hannibal, as it rained all day, with strong winds and cold temps. We walked to the movie theatre and saw ‘Here Comes the Boom’. It was a feel-good movie; then we walked to a local pub where we had a drink. Went back to the boat and read the ‘Nitty Gritty on the Tenn Tom’, trying to prepare a little for the next leg of our journey.
Today we got up early to clear skies & sunshine. We left the Hannibal Boat Harbor at about 9 a.m., wanting to beat the forecasted rains and high winds. As we waited for a barge in Lock 22, a dark cloud bank and winds were fast approaching. After locking through, we hightailed it to the Two Rivers Marina at Mile 282.3. It’s a very nice marina just across from Louisiana, MO. People met us at the dock, and we gassed up, pumped out, got fresh water, then a slip for the night. This was the cheapest gas we’ve encountered; only $3.99/gal. After eating a late lunch at the adjoining Lighthouse restaurant, we showered and did a load of laundry (nicest showers yet!!).
Jim hung our white ‘Great Loop’ flag, which signifies that we are currently doing the Loop. This has it’s advantages, as other Looper’s recognize it; and entitles us to discounts at times. After completing the Loop we will be given a yellow flag.
Tomorrow we are hoping for less winds and rain so that we can cruise down to Grafton IL where the Illinois River dumps into the mighty Mississippi. But one never knows what tomorrow brings. It’s all part of the adventure!