Tuesday, 19 July 2005
Day 69 Tuesday July 19 cleanup day

Katy Leigh back homeAt last we have wifi at the dock so I can update the blog and get my mail. This is cleanup day and time to unload all the stuff we never used on the trip. Andrew is picking us up this evening and we head back to Nashville. Trip Statistics:

  • 173 days aboard
  • 11 Nights at anchor
  • 157 Nights at docks
  • 1 Night underway
  • Started Oct 17, 2003
  • Finished July 17, 2005
  • Elapsed time 21 months
  • 692 Engine hours
  • 140 Generator hours
  • 1745 gal diesel @ $2,996
  • 2.52 gal/hr
  • 5614 miles 3.22 miles/gal
  • 4,429 photos
Posted on 07/19/2005 4:32 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 18 July 2005
Day 68 Monday July 18 Completing the Great Loop

Completing the Great LoopAt 8:00PM Katy Leigh arrived at the Kenlake Marina dock completing the Great Loop. We left the anchorage on the Ohio at 5:45AM. The first lock on the Ohio was a breeze as the wickets were down and we just went over the dam. Lock 22, the second lock, was a different story. We were told to wait 20 minutes and that there was no need to anchor. We had to wait for a small tow to go down. It took almost 1 ? hours. It seems that two guys had just bought the tow boat and it stalled in the lock and it took quite a while to get it going again. Being new to the boat they were also extra slow at every move. It was early afternoon when we got to Paducah and headed up the Tennessee River. The alternate route up the Cumberland would take 3 hours longer so we gambled that the wait at Kentucky Dam would not be more than that and we could anchor under the I-24 bridge which I had done before in a different boat. At 3:00PM we arrived at Kentucky Dam and were told that we had a 2 hour wait as there were two tows ahead of us. We dropped the anchor just above the bridge and it held. When I looked back we were in danger of hitting the bridge so it was up anchor. We tried again upstream downstream, left bank, right bank but the anchor would not hold. We called the lockmaster and he suggested we tie to one of the mooring cells. Mavis got a line through the ring but the water was so turbulent around the cell that the stern swung around and almost hit. We had to drop the line and back off. That was it!! We headed downstream and the lockmaster came back and asked if we were leaving. I related our experiences and he said we could tie up to the lock wall and we would be taken up as soon as the tow boat went up. We would not have to wait for the second tow. We were out of the lock at 5:45PM and headed up Kentucky Lake. It was a beautiful evening and a great 23 mile cruise to end the loop. As the sun was setting (see photo) we dropped the mast and headed into the harbor for our new slip, #22 only to find it occupied. Billy ran out and tried to tell us where we should go but the bug man was foggy the docks with a noisy gas powered machine and we couldn?t hear anything. It seems that our slip was moved to #38 which is a better slip and right beside a 36? Marine Trader trawler; so Katy Leigh feels right a home. Billy, Kellie, and Russ were all there to greet us, helped us dock and took us aboard Billy?s boat to get out of the spider fog. It was great to be back!! Lat 36.76 Long 88.13

Posted on 07/18/2005 4:31 PM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 17 July 2005
Day 67 Sunday July 17 Olmsted

OlmstedShallow water was the big news today on the river. Our plan was to anchor at the Angelo Towhead at Cairo. A towhead is an island in the river with a channel that can't be used by tows. This one is blocked by dams at the upper end. We arrived on schedule at 11:30 and tried to get in where Mrs. Hoppie and the guide books said to go but it started to get shallow and we bailed out. Then we got on the wrong side of the last Mississippi buoy and it was shallow again. Fortunately we didn't run aground and got back on the river. Our next place of refuge was at Olmsted where a new lock is being built. Other Loopers had anchored there. We headed up the Ohio at 7.5 mph as compared to the 12.5 mph we had become used to. However, the water in the Ohio was much cleaner and there is no swirling water so it is more pleasant. The lockmaster told us exactly where to anchor and we dropped the hook. This location will save us 3 hours tomorrow. We noticed tow boats pushed up against the shore of the river on both sides. There was a lot of radio traffic and it seems that the Ohio is shallow and a tow ran aground. The Coast Guard ordered the river to become one way only, so the tows have to wait. A drag line is being used to dredge beside the barge. We just heard that another tow ran hard aground a mile or two further up the river and hit so hard that the strings of barges nearly split apart. There are two locks on the Ohio but the wickets are down so we can go right over the dams. If this continues in the morning it will save us a lot of time. I was able to test the satellite TV antennae for the first time and it works pretty well except when big swells come by. Tomorrow we leave at 5:30AM for Kenlake. It will be our last day on the Loop if we can get through the locks. Even if we are delayed at Kentucky Dam till darkness we can still finish the trip as we know the way at night to Kenlake. Lat 37.19 Long 89.05

Posted on 07/17/2005 10:41 PM by Bob Duthie
Saturday, 16 July 2005
Day 66 Saturday July 16 Little River Diversion Canal

65" trawlerDinner at the Old House last night was really good. When we got back to the boat a beautiful 65" trawler named Tesoro pulled in for the night. They had come upstream from New Orleans via the Tombigbee on their way to Chicago. In August they go to Blakely Island WA via the Panama Canal. Todd and Sandra and two boys were aboard along with two dogs and a cat. The youngest son is being home schooled during the cruise. Todd is able to work at his business on the way and has a satellite connection to the Internet which seems to be about as trouble prone as my cell phone system. I was able to show them some of our photos from the North Channel and they are hoping they can go through there. The main problem is the boat draws 8 ft of water. If anyone is interested in more information on this unique wood trawler and their cruise there is a website at www.mvtesoro.com. Today we cruised 105 miles down the Mississippi to the Little River Diversion Canal just below Cape Girardeau. A passing fisherman filled me in on the history. This was once a huge area of cypress wetland. The diversion canal drained it to create farmland. Only now are they starting to replant the cypress trees. It is one of only two places to stop in 158 miles of river. Lat 37.25 Long 89.52

Posted on 07/16/2005 10:40 PM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 15 July 2005
Day 65 Friday July 15 Mississippi River

St. Louis ArchThis is the day we should have been back in Kenlake. However due to the 12 days spent fixing the transmission it was not possible. Today we got fuel, a pump out and headed down the Mississippi. There are two locks but we had almost no waiting because there is one lock for smaller boats and other beside it for the large tows. After the locks you fly past St Louis and the arch (see photo). Our destination was just 42 miles to Hoppies Marine at Kimmswick. This is the last place to tie up with power and water until Kentucky Lake. The next 2 or 3 nights will be on the hook. Hoppies Marine is a series of 4 barges tied together and with one anchor in the river. Mrs Hoppie was very helpful and gave us good advice on the rest of the trip. The river is predicted to drop 3 ft over the next couple of days. The Ohio is running high with water from Dennis so it may be slow going up. The current in the Mississippi picked up after the Missouri River joins. We were running at 12.5 mph; 3 mph faster than with no current. Tonight we have reservation at the Old House Steak House. It is in an 18th century log cabin with 3 teepees out front which are also available for dining. Lat 38.36 Long 90.36

Posted on 07/15/2005 10:39 PM by Bob Duthie
Thursday, 14 July 2005
Day 64 Thursday July 14 Beardstown to Alton

Mississippi RiverHot, hot, hot. We set the record today for the longest distance in a single day on the loop; 102 miles from Beardstown to Alton, IL. as well as it being the hottest day so far. We left at 5:26AM and were at the first lock at LaGrange by 6:00AM only to find we would have a 1 3/4 hour wait for two barges to come up. We got to Alton at 5:56PM. I had expected a lot of current in the Mississippi and was disappointed when there wasn't. The guide books and another boater said we should see 4-5 miles per hour. There was very little pleasure boat traffic all day with only one northbound cruiser. However, barge traffic more than made up for the lack of pleasure boats. We met at least 5 tows and passed 3. (See photo of the Mississippi). In one stretch we passed two one after another. We saw two white pelicans today just standing on the shore. It seems that pelicans are not just found in Florida but also live on the prairies in the summer. Lat 38.89 Long 90.18

Posted on 07/14/2005 8:26 PM by Bob Duthie
Wednesday, 13 July 2005
Day 63 Wednesday July 13 Cruise to Beardstown

BeardstownToday was a long day with a 70 mile cruise to Beardstown IL. We met one boat on the way, a trawler being delivered by a captain to Michigan. There is no marina here just a barge company that lets you tie up for $20. We are actually tied to what appears to be a retired tow boat as all the space along the barge was being used. To get to town you weave your way around a bunch of telephone poles, various pieces of scrap, and then scale the flood wall up a catwalk (see photo). The town does not appear to be very prosperous and perhaps never was. We walked about 7 blocks to a small supermarket. As there is no power or water here we are running the generator so we can have air conditioning. It is 87 degrees outside. The satellite TV can't get a signal here and the over the air TV only has one very weak station. It is not your ideal place to tie up but the only place in a 160 mile stretch of river. Lat 40.02 Long 90.44

Posted on 07/13/2005 8:25 PM by Bob Duthie
Tuesday, 12 July 2005
Day 62 Tuesday July 12 Henry to Peoria

Illinois Valley Yacht ClubThe rain came off and on all night. We left Henry at 7:30AM and were glad to get out of the old lock without running aground. It was quite foggy but we could see the buoys. The plan was to go 80 miles to Havana IL and tie up a marina there. A passing towboat captain wanted to know where we were going. He thought I said Atlanta and wondered how we were going to get there today at our speed. He said the water was really low and to be careful. I called Havana and they said there was a shoal at the harbor entrance and I would be plowing mud to get in. So we changed to Plan B which was to go 30 miles to Peoria and stay at the IVY Club (Illinois Valley Yacht Club). I am glad we did as it is a beautiful facility. They have a covered barge with slips on both sides. Very heavy beams are used for the roof because of the snow load. The barge makes a great party place. Tomorrow will be 80 miles and one lock to get to Beardstown where there is an old barge to tie up to. Lat 40.75 Long 89.56

Posted on 07/12/2005 1:46 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 11 July 2005
Day 61 Monday July 11 Wilmington to Henry

old lock wallWe were out of Wilmington before 8:00 and before the marina opened. It will be interesting to see what we are billed for the night as we arrived after it had closed. It was an 80 mile day with 3 locks. The average time for each lock was 53 minutes. The longest wait was at Starved Rock Lock where a split tow was going down before us. The barges go down first without the tow boat. The barges are pulled out of the lock with a winch. They fill the lock and then the tow boat goes down. We were allowed down with the tow boat. It was tricky getting past the tow boat with its thrusters pushing us toward the wall and then going around the barges. We made it without a scrape. We called Henry Harbor and made a reservation. Arriving there was no one to answer the radio, the cell phone had no signal and following the signs to the transient dock we ran aground. (Third time in a day). However, as the bottom is soft mud we backed out and then tied up to trees against the old lock wall that is here. (see photo). The power comes from an ancient board beside the road and the water runs from a plastic pipe lying on the ground. Our new concern is Hurricane Dennis. If it drops 10" of rain the rivers may flood and delay our return to Kenlake. Lat 41.11 Long 89.35

Posted on 07/11/2005 1:44 PM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 10 July 2005
Day 60 Sunday July 10 Chicago River to Wilmington

Chicago RiverLast night we went to Millenium Park for dinner and then watched the fireworks at 10:30PM from the boat. There are fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday on the Chicago waterfront. This morning Mark and Michael arrived at 7:15 and stayed on the boat while Graham and I set out for the South Branch Marina. It was not easy to find by road as it was under an expressway. We left the car there and took a taxi back. At 8:15 we were underway on the Chicago River going through downtown. It is a spectacular sight to see all the tall buildings and different bridges. When we got to the last bridge before the marina it was a railroad bridge with only 9 ft clearance. We sat and sat waiting for it to open. Tried various combinations on the radio but no response. Finally I figured out it was the Amtrack Bridge and the bridge master replied that the bridge was un-operable. He didn't know when it would be fixed. We were waiting beside the Chinatown park so it was decided that Graham and the boys would take a taxi to the marina where the car had been left. We tied the boat to tree as there were no cleats on the wall. Just as we started to unload the bridge decided to open. Back in the boat and a mile or so later we dropped everyone off at the marina. The rest of the canal is very industrial with mile after mile of coal yards, sand and gravel, refineries, etc. There were two locks and we had to wait 1-1/4 hours at one so it was 6:30 by the time we got to the marina at Wilmington, IL. Graham and the boys got back to St Paul about 30 minutes before we got to Wilmington. Lat 41.39 Long 88.25

Posted on 07/10/2005 1:42 PM by Bob Duthie
Saturday, 9 July 2005
Day 59 Saturday July 9 Chicago

Millennium ParkGraham, Mark and Michael all showed up around 5:00PM last night dinner was at The Grand Lux on Ontario St. at Michigan Avenue downtown. It was very good and this is a restaurant to be recommended. Today it was a tour of the Field Museum and Millennium Park (see photo - see if you can find Mavis, Graham & Mark in the crowd). The Field Museum is a bit of a hodge podge of stuffed animals (the biggest man eating lion ever stuffed), a gorilla that died in 1921, jewelry, meteorites (one that fell on a car in the 20's, and Egyptian tombs. The Egyptian exhibit is critical of the tomb robbers but never points out where the museum got all their artifacts from. Everyone was pooped by 3:00PM from walking around so it was back to the hotel and boat for a rest.

Posted on 07/09/2005 8:17 PM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 8 July 2005
Day 58 Friday July 8 Chicago

Chicago marinaThis is a beautiful day in Chicago with a cool wind blowing in from the Lake. Our neighbor on the dock just got a new 37 ft SeaRay named 'Fire Escape'. You can guess that he is a Chicago fireman. He loaned us his truck to go food shopping at the Jewel store about 2 miles from here. With transportation we were really able to stock up and loaded the boat down with provisions for the rest of the trip. Our son's family were all planning to come to Chicago but our granddaughter has the flu so only the 3 boys drove down from St Paul. They will be in a reserved hotel tonight but plan to stay on the boat Saturday night and cruise through downtown Chicago with us.

Posted on 07/08/2005 6:13 PM by Bob Duthie
Thursday, 7 July 2005
Day 57 Thursday July 7 Holland to Chicago

View of ChicagoIt was a lonely day crossing lake Michigan 93 miles from Holland to Chicago. We had the whole lake to ourselves during the 10 hours it took from 6:00AM to 4:00PM. One Lake Freighter crossed our path around 2:30PM and two power boats going in the other direction were sighted. We didn't even see a seagull. Six years ago we had birds landing on the boat to rest. Mavis sighted the Sears Tower at 1:15 when we were 29 miles away. (see photo taken about 10 miles out). Theoretically it should be visible at 47 miles but there was quite a bit of haze. The wind was behind us but the waves built to 3-4 feet as we neared Chicago so it was kind of rough most of the day. We are moored at the Chicago Park's Burnham Marina which is just north of McCormick Place. Not very handy to downtown but all the closer-in marinas were booked for the weekend. Lat 41.86 Long 87.61

Posted on 07/07/2005 6:12 PM by Bob Duthie
Wednesday, 6 July 2005
Day 56 Wednesday July 6 Eldean Shipyard

World's Cup class sailboatsThe weather forecast had deteriorated some with 10-20 knot North winds and 3-5 ft waves. For Thursday they had forecast calm to 10 knots but now forecast 10-20 knot Northeast winds with waves 2-4 ft. The actual turned out to be 1-2 ft swells and winds of 5-10. If this holds we should have a relatively smooth crossing tomorrow. The main issue was where to start the crossing. It is 83 miles to Chicago from Holland and 76 miles from South Haven. South Haven is another 3 hours south of Holland and you only save an hour on the crossing. So we elected to go to Holland which was our original plan anyway. We are at Eldean Shipyard which is the biggest marina we have seen anywhere. There are 3 huge storage buildings and several hundred slips. It is mostly sailboats here. There are a two World's Cup class sailboats being polished for the Mackinac Race in a week or so (see photo). The Denali (blue hull) is American and the Beau Geste is from Hong Kong. Lat 42.77 Long 86.20

Posted on 07/06/2005 6:56 PM by Bob Duthie
Tuesday, 5 July 2005
Day 55 Tuesday July 5 Muskegon

Hackley & Hume Historical SiteWe spent the day in Muskegon based on the forecast of 3-5 ft waves. It was a beautiful sunny day but mid morning fog descended on the coast and stayed all day. It was very unusual to see the clouds just stay in the same place all day. A small Navy Marine Museum is nearby so we walked over and toured the submarine and Coast Guard ship there. Both saw service during the second world war. Then we took the trolley downtown. The fare was only $0.25 each. When we got downtown there was a Senior Fair being held in a park and we were given tickets for hot dogs, chips, ice cream, and water for free. All this made for a cheap day. All downtown stores have gone to the suburbs but a number of homes, parks, restored buildings, and apartments remain. The Hackley & Hume Historical Site consists of 3 buildings; two homes and a shared coach house. They are wood frame examples of Queen Anne architecture and are the 'symbol of Muskegon'. They were built around 1880 by wealthy lumber barons.

Posted on 07/05/2005 6:38 PM by Bob Duthie
Monday, 4 July 2005
Day 54 Monday July 4 Headed for Muskegon

rain squalls on radarThe weather forecast was dead-on this morning with rain and a thunderstorm. It was supposed to end later in the morning and promised 10-15 knot winds and 2-4 ft waves with a chance of rain and thunderstorms. It also forecast 3-5's for Tuesday. Thursday is supposed to be calm so we will cross the lake then. Mavis did a laundry at the superb Laundromat on the property and we were underway at 11 headed for Muskegon. In 1999 we were able to go from Muskegon directly to Chicago. Rounding Little Sable Point it got rough with large swells but not much wind. Then the radar showed rain squalls ahead and soon we were in it (see photo). The radio issued a severe thunderstorm warning but we had little choice but to continue. There was a little lightening and it was bouncy but no real problem. When we were 20 minutes from Muskegon there was another storm warning of 50 knot winds. We were in the harbor before there was any sign of that. We are at Harbortown in Muskegon and will probably stay tomorrow as it could be even rougher on the lake. More fireworks tonight if the rain holds off. Lat 43.23 Long 86.33

Posted on 07/04/2005 8:15 PM by Bob Duthie
Sunday, 3 July 2005
Day 53 Sunday July 3 Manistee to Pentwater

PentwaterThe weather looked pretty good so we were out of Manistee at 8:00AM. The photo shows the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater. The cat walk was necessary so the lighthouse keeper could get to the light in storms when the waves were over the breakwater. The wind was south at 10-15 and the waves stayed below 5 feet so we made good time arriving at Pentwater at noon. Pentwater describes itself as the Nantucket of Michigan. There is a main street with some good shops. A nautical shop had some really nice book shelves that we bought for the boat as the current shelf looses all the books to the floor in rough weather. The seasonal boaters in the marina here, "Snug Harbor", decorate their boats with ethnic decorations. A big Tiara beside us has St Patrick's Day decorations. The next boat has Marti Gras, and a large sailboat has a set of signal flags and from the top of its mast. The Pentwater fireworks will be tonight. Lat 43.78 Long 86.43

Posted on 07/03/2005 7:58 PM by Bob Duthie
Saturday, 2 July 2005
Day 52 Saturday July 2 Leland to Manistee

Manistee boardwalkThe weather forecast was good. We cruised 70 miles from Leland to Manistee leaving at 6:00AM and arriving at 1:20PM. We only had to change course twice to allow for the headlands and giant sand banks. There was no problem getting a slip even though this is the 4th of July weekend. This town is quite a bit larger than anything we have been in so far in Michigan. The town has a remarkable boardwalk beside the river that goes from downtown out to the breakwater and a park. It must be almost 2 miles long and runs between private properties and their docks on the river. At times it is elevated and clings to the bank of the river. There are historic markers all along the way. One of the most interesting was about 'Creeping Joe'. Joe was a sand bank on Lake Michigan. It was stable because of the vegetation. In 1884 the Democrats won the Federal election and to celebrate they lit a high bonfire on Joe and burned off all the vegetation. The winds then started moving the sand bank inland until homes had to be moved after 10 years and the whole town was threatened after 20 years; hence the name 'Creeping Joe'. At that point a railway was built beside the dune and the sand was shipped to Detroit for sand casting and to make glass. water's edge. Much of the downtown has been restored and appears to be doing well. Around 10:30PM there was a lot of crowd noise and boat horns. A boat parade was in progress. The boats were covered with hundreds of red white and blue lights. One had a lighted signs with USA on it. An open boat was full of people in white robes carrying torches. In the south lighted boat parades are held at Christmas time. In Michigan that is out of the question so the 4th of July is a great time. This is something to encourage at Kenlake. Lat 44.25 Long 86.33

Posted on 07/02/2005 7:47 PM by Bob Duthie
Friday, 1 July 2005
Day 51 Friday July 1 Leland

spectacular sunset

Yesterday closed with a spectacular sunset. This far north the sunsets last for what seems to be about an hour. Twilight goes on for another hour. The wind blew all night and the lines creaked endlessly. This morning the weather was true to the forecast with rain and high winds. The temperature dropped to the low 60s. I measured gusts to 22 mph. Not a single boat left the marina and none came in. Only the ferry to South Manitou Island left this morning. It would be a cold and wet crossing with the waves directly on the bow. You can see the island 12 miles away in the photo just on top of the breakwater. The forecast for tomorrow is much better so we expect to head out again. The dock here is one of the main attractions of 'Fishtown' so there is an endless parade of visitors going back and forth. We visited the beach, museum and some additional gift shops. The museum displayed mostly paintings done by the Indiana equivalent of the Canadian Group of Seven called the Hoosier Group. They were autumn and lake views of the area. We learned that the name Carp River was changed to the Leland River some time ago. The city fathers must have thought that naming their river after a trash fish was not a good name to attract visitors.

Posted on 07/01/2005 6:44 PM by Bob Duthie
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