Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A New Record: Ugh!

Days on cruise:  172

Distance traveled:  137 miles

Travel time:  11 hrs, 25 mins

Total trip odometer:  3,822 statute miles

We knew we were in for a long day today as there are no marinas and no good anchorages for a long distance after Kaskaskia Lock. So at 6:00 am the captains and crews of Time and Tide, Kathryn and Next To Me were all on the wall at Kaskaskia Lock ready to help each other slip our lines and get underway. We had only one cup of coffee, no food, but wanted to get going as soon as it was light enough to discern the red and green marks. The photo below looks like it was lighter than it actually was, but it was pretty.


There was a low-lying fog for the first hour, so we went a bit more slowly than planned.


The Upper Mississippi River widened as we traveled south.


Early in the day we lost count of how many tows pushing barges we had to navigate, either passing them down-bound or coming up the river. Traffic was crazy at times and we were frequently busy on the radio managing the situation. All the tow guys (and they ARE all guys!) were friendly enough and helpful. Some were more talkative than others, always in that somewhat garbled twang that was hard to decipher, but we were always able to figure it out. They DO enjoy conversing with a female voice on the radio and sometimes had their binoculars out to check us out as we passed them.


Very late in the afternoon we reached the end of our journey on the Mississippi River and turned northeast, upstream, onto the Ohio River. The confluence was CRAZY with traffic bound in all directions and lots of tugs pushing a huge number of barges. On the Mississippi River we had been running at 1400 rpms (compared to our usual 1200 rpms, about 9 mph) and traveling at anywhere from 12 mph to 15.3 mph because the swift current on the Mississippi ran in our favor. As soon as we turned up-river on the Ohio, our speed at the same rpms dropped to 8 mph, then 7.5. So goes the current!


Finally, late in the day, we called ahead to Lock 53 on the Ohio River to discuss a suitable nearby anchorage and whether there was a big back-up of tows with barges for tomorrow morning. They tell us they expect to lock through all the backup overnight and we should be good to go in the morning.  We’ll see. Meanwhile, we’re anchored (for the first time since Saugatuck, MI on Lake Michigan a couple weeks ago), out of the main travel channel and expecting to go to bed early.  We’re whipped!


Just don’t ask what we had for dinner tonight, but we’ll confess it was comprised primarily of crackers, cheese and wine. 

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