Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Mississippi River where the Illinois River joins - and a tow.
Smaller tow boat
CHICAGO by Carl Sandburg
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders . . .
This is the beginning of Sandburg's poem that I have been reminded of the past few days as I've traveled from Chicago to the terminus of the Illinois River where it joins the Mississippi. The entire poem is one of my favorites. From the harbor south of Chicago to here in Grafton, Ill, a picture of industry in America emerges including agriculture with grain being loaded onto barges for shipping to New Orleans and the small towns where people go about everyday life living perhaps an entire lifetime within 25 miles. Despite the barges, power companies, grain elevators and small towns engaged in whatever they do, much of the river is long stretches of solitude and trees along the river bank.
As I said in the previous posting, tomorrow I travel to the famous Hoppie’s Marina, 50 miles below St. Louis and prepare for the final 240 miles. Increased chance of thunderstorms from tomorrow night through Friday. Why are there no boat services in that distance other than some public ramps here and there for the locals? Many of the towns along the Mississippi have continuously moved their river facilities and towns farther inland after each major flood prompting them to forgo river services entirely. Supposedly Paducah, along the stretch of the Ohio I must travel, has applied to build a public marina near town. This would be a plus for boaters traveling from the Mississippi up the Ohio 30 miles, then the Tennessee River a short way up to Kentucky Lake. I may have to "anchor out" Friday night along the river in a storm hole to complete the trip on Saturday. The SPOT may be my only communication. We'll see.