Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sally delivering goodie bag from Grafton Harbor folks in celebration of my trip.

A great harbor with friendly and knowledgeable folks.

Tow past Grafton into St. Louis Harbor

The Arch in St. Louis... drove by it in September and boated by it today.

The mighty Mississippi from Hoppie's Marina in Kimmswick, MO.

Hoppie's Marina from the River.

Fern Hoppie at the helm.

Tomorrow is it! Weather permitting... the beginning of the final two-day leg of this journey and the longest and most remote without fuel or services. At Hoppie's Marina this afternoon I filled up the boat and four 5-gallon gas cans. I have to have enough fuel to go 250 miles to Kentucky Lake. My best fuel economy balanced with speed is around 20-23 mph and that is fast enough on the Mississippi. It is at low flood stage so the occasional sandy banks are gone - just the tree lined river. This is a disadvantage if you just want to take a break or even camp. There are a lot of logs, trees and other matter floating down the river at 3-5 mph so you have to keep a good lookout.

The taxi will pick me up at 4:30 in the morning and I hope to make the mouth of the Ohio River and find a safe harbor off the river for the night - this is usually a creek or dead water off the main channel. I'm sure my mosquito netting will come in handy. The heat advisories continue and today was brutal, but I did drink more fluids on a regular basis. Then, on to Kentucky Lake via either the Tennessee or Cumberland River. Both have a lock that locks you up to the lake - Cumberland is a little less busy with commercial traffic but 30 miles farther.

If I were to have a mechanical failure of some sort I would press the "Help" button on my SPOT and Joanne would contact this region's Coast Guard and send them the coordinates of my location. If it were a life threatening emergency I would press the "911" button and it summons regional and local rescue immediately via satellite.

Fern Hoppie gave me the scoop on my route and said I will have cell service at times but no other services along the way. There will be an occasional "put in" ramp used by locals but no services. I will need one of these when it’s time to put my extra fuel in the boat. Fred Martin and I found out how hard it is to fuel the boat on the water while crossing the Gulf, and that was with two people. The newly mandated EPA cans make life more difficult, not safer. Thank you big government.

My next blog will likely be after the completion of the trip. I appreciate everyone's interest and support and know that many of you followed without posting comments. I hope this has been as fun for you as for me - but don't leave yet, we need to determine what I learned from this experience, what pieces of equipment were useful and what lessons you can apply to your next adventure. Alarm goes off in 6 hours so must close for now.


  1. Gratitude for the history lessons, scenes of barges and locks, Goddess Liberty, New York Harbor and so much more. Right now we are consoled in knowing you have "help" buttons, "911" access and "put in" ramps for re-fueling. Safe travels for the Captain of Ranchhouse.

  2. What a ride we have had by your pictures, blogs, and The Spot!. Everyday was enlightened by what you shared and even tho not first hand, we were educated about life and living as you sailed along. Your dream that started in Hannibal is now an experience of a lifetime.
    Prayers are with you as you complete those last 24hours.
    Brenda and Jerry

  3. With your well-performing Tri-pontoon, a loyal crew of Fred Martin, expert blogger Joanne, marina managers, technicians and comrades along the way, your successful journey is a collective tribute to the indomitable human spirit.