Beginning Location: Grafton, IL
Ending Location: Alton, IL
Miles Traveled: 16
Weather: A Beautiful Saturday. Bring out the SeaRays!
Stayed at: Alton Marina ($320 for the monthly rate)
On Saturday morning, we were in no hurry to depart Grafton and travel the short distance to Alton, IL. This was good, because Maria enjoyed a little too much of the “Key West” atmosphere the night before and had to wait for a bar to open at 11am and retrieve her cell phone! Fortunately, the phone was waiting for her and we were able to get on our way.
Just after Grafton, we entered the Mississippi River for the first time. We will only travel 220 miles on the Mississippi, but we are both excited and anxious to travel this legendary body of water. The views along the way are great. We motored past tall sandstone bluffs and wide lake-like expanses on river.
Because it was a Saturday and we left in late morning, we encountered many, many powerboats who had a fun time “waking” us. This means they traveled past us at high rates of speed creating large waves. We’re a slow, heavy boat so we have no choice but to turn into the wakes as best we can and ride them out as all of our stuff bounces everywhere in the cabin. We both believe anyone who buys a large power boat should have to spend an afternoon on a small lake sitting on a sail or fishing boat while power boats circle them at top speed. That MAY teach them a little courtesy!
On a completely different subject, Alton is one of the pinch points on the Great Loop. This is the last real marina for nearly 300 miles of pretty tough river travels. Many Loopers and other south bound boaters gather here to rest up a bit, victualise their boats and enjoy a last bit of civilization.
We have had an enjoyable couple of days here meeting a fellow sailor, Brian and his friend and crew member Sarah. We also got to know Margaret and Jim in their “small boat” an Albin 27 we both adore. We’ve been the “little boat” most of this trip, so it is good to meet up with people who have similar mindsets about traveling. Brian and Margaret and Jim will be leapfrogging past us, but we hope to see them all in Florida sometime soon.
Once we leave here we will have 5 to 7 days of tough going. We’ll be anchoring just out of the river channel, waiting at some of the busiest locks in the country, and battling the current upstream on the Ohio. It’s a stretch we all dread, but everyone gets through it okay.
Before we take on that adventure though, Bruce and Maria will be renting a car to go back to Grand Rapids for a week. Maria has job work to do and we actually sold the cottage!! Once we close, we will own no real estate in Michigan. This is an important financial and psychological milestone in our journey. Improbable will stay in Alton while Pudgy, Grace, Bruce and Maria go for a car ride.