Friday the 19th we left the Two Rivers Marina at Mile 282.3. Overcast skies and light rain were the order for most of the day. We locked through 24 & 25 (there is no 23).
Lock 25 is undergoing a lot of construction, and our timing paid off, as earlier in the week they were only open at night when the construction workers quit for the day. In the afternoon, the weather began to clear. We passed by Clarksville, MO & St. Charles, MO, then came to Grafton IL where the Illinois River dumps into the Mississippi. This is our official start of the Great Loop, and it’s at this point that we will finish the loop. The cliffs below Grafton are magnificent.
We traveled on down to the Alton Marina, which is a beautiful place, situated almost beneath the famous Alton Bridge. It is at Mile 202.9, and we were given a covered slip near the marina office, showers & laundry. We got situated, and then John and Sherla (from Hamilton) and Carla & Dave (their daughter & son-in-law from St. Louis) picked us up and took us to Fast Eddie’s Bon Air. It was a fun evening (although the Cardinals lost) and a most unique place. They actually bought a city street, and our table was on the old street, although it is now covered. 1/3 pound burgers for a buck and live music.
Saturday afternoon John picked us up and we went to an annual fish fry at Dave & Carla’s. Pounds and pounds of yummy Crappies all caught on Lake of the Ozarks. They also did shrimp, homemade potato chips & hush puppies, not to mention all the other wonderful accompaniments. Also, thanks for all the books!
Sherla gave us a ride back to the boat where we partied with some dock neighbors, then took the shuttle to the casino, where I actually won $100!
Sunday we had to restock again and did a load of laundry. We walked through Alton to the grocery store, then were given a ride back to the boat by a nice young chap who works there. The weather was beautiful, about 80 degrees and sunny, with a light breeze. We also met another couple who finished the Great Loop four years ago, and who have lived on their boat ever since. They actually have a house in Idaho, but prefer to live on the boat here in Alton. I must say, this is a fabulous marina!
Our plan tomorrow is to get an early start and head down-river past St. Louis to Hoppie’s Marina at Mile 158. We contemplated having Mark Rinker (from Elk River) pull out the boat and tow us to Kentucky Lake, as the barges were running aground near Hoppie’s, and the fuel availability is always a problem on this stretch. However, things sound better since the recent rains, so we’re going to go for it! I’ll update when I can, but I have a feeling I won’t have much internet service for a while. Until next time…