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Two Rivers Marina, Rockport, IL 7/30/2019
Quincy Boat Club, Quincy, IL 7/31/2019
Bluff Harbor Marina, Burlington, IL 8/1/2019
Isle of Capri Marina, Bettendorf, IA 8/2/2019
Port of Dubuque Marina, Dubuque, IA 8/3/2019
Marquette Marina, Marquette, IA 8/4/2019
Pettibone Marina, La Crosse, WI 8/5/2019
Fun, relaxing weekend enjoying Grafton and getting ready to head up the Mississippi. We had a celebratory lunch on Saturday amongst all the Illinois boaters. We spoke with marina staff and they said it was really the first weekend that folks were out since the flood. Grafton, as we found out, got hammered by water over and over again. It is at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, so with both rivers flooding, it got a double whammy every time either flooded.
We headed out Tuesday morning up the Mississippi toward home after a day of rain on Monday. We have 542 miles and 22 locks back to Wabasha. We’ve gotten lucky with the locks the past two days. We haven’t had to wait and once inside we have locked alone and floated. Because of the flooding, we have only been raised six inches to one foot in the locks. Barely anything. The lockmaster in Lock 24 (Clarksville - the last train place;) told us he and the rest of the staff at the lock have had to boat 3 miles to even get to the lock the flooding has been so bad.
Our first stop was Two Rivers Marina, Rockport, IL, right across the river from Louisanna, Missouri. We stopped here on our way down. Great little marina, but it too, has suffered from the flood. Chris, the dockhand was great. We put on some fuel and pumped out. He helped me find a chiropractor in town and set us up with the courtesy van. My back has been out now for over a week, so it was time to do something about it. After my appointment, we did dinner in town. Not much has changed since we went thru last fall other than the new bridge is just about ready to be crossed 😉 We left early Wednesday morning for Quincy, Illinois and as we were leaving the Asian carp were a fly'in!!! I thought for sure we would have a few in the dinghy, but not one 😉
We’ve gotten lucky with the locks the past two days (Tues/Wed). We haven’t had to wait.
Thursday was Burlington and two locks. We both wanted to stop at Bluff Harbor Marina in Burlington again. Boaters, if you are traveling down the Mississippi make this one of your stops. The marina is full service and protected. The staff is wonderful and will help with whatever need you have. Brenda ordered up the fuel truck for us and it was waiting when we got there. John the general manager helped us in and the dock worker that pumped us out and helped us turn around was awesome. My back was still not feeling the best and he took over tying the boat up. God bless him!
Bluff Harbor, like so many marinas on the Mississippi was under water not too very long ago. The pool of water that Burlington is in, runs higher because of Lock and Dam 19. The staff has worked hard to bring the marina back.
After a few chores we rented electric bikes and tooled around town. Loved the bikes. Went to Valley Monster. One of the coolest bars we been in. The décor was Big Foot meets American Pickers. Great place.
Friday we were up early and headed north. Our destination: Bettendorf. Four locks. Very long day of barges, dredges and industrial area on the river. It’s interesting with the barges. Since they travel thru the night, but it a much slower speed, we have passed the same four northbound barges everyday this week. The barges are running hard now that the river is open. Some locks we’ve been able to get right into or they squeeze us in quick between tows so the wait hasn’t been too bad, but the weeks not over yet! We are still being raised a minimum amount because of the flooding. The most we’ve been raised since Lock 19.
We had decided Saturday to stop in Clinton, just one lock and 33 miles, but after getting to Clinton, we changed our minds and pushed on to Dubuque. We both agree, from Clinton on it feels a lot like Wabasha on the Mississippi. We ran into tons of pleasure craft on the water from Clinton to Dubuque. It was good to finally see people and boats out on the water.
We needed to fuel at Dubuque. We had to get in line. 2 hours later we were finally in our slip. Their gas dock was pumping fuel like it was molasses! Once we got to the gas dock we were bombarded with local boaters. Super friendly folks. All transients that had decorated their boats for the lighted boat parade. It was awesome talking with them on the dock after they helped us in. The marina had a little celebration with a band and food trucks. We met a couple that completed the Loop in 2017 and it was fun comparing notes. The lighted boat parade had 20 entries! It was quite a show!
It’s Sunday and we are headed to Marquette, IA for the night. We’ll travel to LaCrosse Monday and stay a couple nights and then we hope to pull back into our slip in Wabasha by Wednesday if the weather holds and the locks cooperate! We are looking forward to seeing everyone!
Tom & Sue Slightam
Read along as we circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and southern Canada on the Great Loop on our boat BELLA, a Cruiser 460 Express.