I have been keeping a journal, for most things I choose not to share with the public. After reading through it this morning I realized there were some good stories to tell.
DATE: SEPT 22/12 LOCATION: Hoppies Marina- Mississippi River
“Six days since I have written a single word. Time goes by so quickly, it is challenging to back track multiple days for many things have taken place. Or so it seems.
After leaving Quiver Island anchorage, we took a pit stop in a cob-web of a town called Havanna, IL. We could not enter the marina to get diesel because of shallow depths, so we tied up to a random dock on the river bank instead. We borrowed a shopping cart from the dollar store, strolled the streets in search of a gas station. The auto shop had 5 gallon jerry cans, which we filled with diesel, using the shopping cart to get them back to Louise. It was rather obvious to the locals that we were not from the area.
That evening was spent at another lovely anchorage with our river family “The Copes” and our new German friend Hinnerk. Leaving the next morning, we ran aground, got unstuck, ran aground again, etc. Thank god the Copes’ were there to save the day. Pulling us off the bottom, and using their depth sounder ahead of us as they stated how deep it was over the handheld vhf. This guided us back into the channel. If it weren’t for the Cope family, we would have probably said screw this, and headed back for Lake Michigan.
Grafton, Illinois was the following days destination, where we stayed the night at a spoiling marina. Great people, great town, tons of “loopers”, never to be forgotten. Not to mention how desperate we were for showers, laundry, and a real meal. As we were getting ready to leave in the morning, two female girls, 22 year old twins, with shaved heads and bikinis pull up to the dock next to ours via tandem kayak. WHAT? Cody and Reese introduced themselves. Leaving from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, they had already been kayaking for 2 1/2 months, destination New Orleans. We were of course instant friends, and within moments the girls joined us on Louise for a cold beer and cookies! They were on their way to St. Louis that day as well, so we tied off their kayak and gave them a 15 mile ride down river. So many questions for one another, back and forth laughter on how the hell we all ended up on the Mississippi river.
Cody and Reese, like us – left on a whim. But on a much more extreme adventure, that included 200 dollars in their pocket, a tent to pitch on the river bank at night, cool-aid, oreos, peanut butter, and an old tandem kayak. It made Louise look luxurious. It made us feel rich with comfort, food, and supplies. A whole new perspective. We thought we were minimalists, and had yet to meet girls crazier than us, braver than us, tougher than us. It was the first time we had the chance to help someone else, someone with less than us. I will never forget that feeling, and look forward to it again.
After two nights at a yacht club outside St. Louis with Cody, Reese, and Hinnerk, it was time to part ways. The twins are taking the Mississippi all the way to the gulf, while we turn east up the Ohio river, towards the Cumberland. I wonder if I will ever see them again in my life. With nothing but an email address, I hope we meet again. Today we spent most of the day, and over 50 miles surfing the Mississippi. This river is huge, fast, and intimidating. Full of surprises rounding every bend. If it’s not continuous barge traffic, it’s wing dam after wing dam followed by current that pushes and pulls our house in directions we don’t steer. All though impressed by it’s scenery, I don’t like this river. Now we are safely tied to a dock at the infamous “Hoppie’s Marina.” Thank god. The last and only stop available for more than 240 miles, as the next 5 nights will be spent at anchor. Tonight I will sleep well.”
Hoppie’s Marina. The Ritz of the Mississippi.Illinois Valley Yacht Club. Thanks to Hinnerk who got us a slip for two nights, and did an interview on us for his German based podcasts and website. http://paulinchen-worldwide.com