Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hoppie's Marina on the Mississippi

The girls left yesterday so Tom my son in law and I wandered over to a dirt bar called Fast Eddie's in Alton, IL.  Everyone we saw in the last marina said it was not to be missed. Huge $.99 hamburgers which were fantastic with a great selection of beers. It was worth the walk.
 We left Alton at 800AM for the 45 mile run with two locks to Hoppies Marina.  The weather had cooled off, it was delightful. We delayed our departure for three days for the Mississippi to calm down.  The Missouri River was flooding and therefore  dumping plenty of drift into the Mississippi just below St Louis.  We kept in contact with the marina owner at Hoppies, Fern, who is in her 80's and very knowledgeable of river issues.

Tom fending off in his first lock
 After the second lock which is above St Louis there are no more locks until below New Orleans. The river runs wild. There is little recreational boat traffic and plenty of barges referred to as towboats even though they push their loads.  We waited for the river level to drop 8 feet for the drift to disappear and we were pleasantly surprised that everything was clear. Current about 6-7 MPH so a nice push south.  We started on the Mississippi in Grafton IL at river mile 212 and we would enter the Ohio River at Cairo, IL at river mile 0. 
 Tom took his turn at the helm looking for drift and towboats.  
We arrive at Hoppie's at1:00PM.
This is the only marina we will pass on the Mississippi.  Being a river boater I knew how to parallel park into a 6 MPH current.  Note the muddy color of the water.  
I love the old lawn mower reused as a base for a pump at the marina. 
Another south bound boat docked in the late afternoon.  IH is tied up on the outside here.
 We walked into town and enjoyed seeing a nice village.  Many boutiques but not much interest to two guys.  All the stores and restaurants closed at 3PM. Turns out many (mostly women) travel the 30 miles from St Louis for lunch and shopping and then return so no traffic in the evenings.  We elected to cook on IH. Better wine as well.  That explains the lack of bars as well.

 Many historic buildings. This one had been a restaurant, now closed.  
This is Mimi's boutique. 

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