2006 Adventure UPDATES


UPDATE #26 10/05/06 thru 10/11/06

  Howdy Everybody,

    We are very interested in hearing from ya’all.  If you have missed out on any of the previous emails and would like us to re-send them, please let us know.

Please let me know if these emails containing pictures are too large and we will send you a version with text only.

The period 4/1 thru 10/04 has been covered in Updates 1 through 25.


 UPDATE #26   10/05/06 through 10/11/06.

     As you may remember, we have been in St. Charles, Missouri since our arrival on September 13, 2006.  With this email UPDATE, we continue our Loop trip and our great adventure along the waterways.  The visit with family was absolutely wonderful in everyway.  Now after 22 days, we are on our way.   



      After a restful night on the boat at Polestar Marina, mile 221.8 on the Mississippi River, we were awakened very early by the alarm clock.  We organized and readied AMARSE to get underway.  It was still very dark as AMARSE and MISSY B eased out of the harbor onto the Mighty Mississippi.  Larry and Doris Goby will be traveling with us to the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) in Kentucky.

     The weather was as forecasted at 59 degrees.  If the forecast holds, we should have enough good conditions to get us down the Mississippi River, Ohio River, and up either the Tennessee River or the Cumberland River to Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.  We have allocated the next four days for the journey.

     As we sip coffee at the helm, the breaking daylight gently illuminates the limestone cliffs lining the eastern bank of the river.



     The new bridge at Alton, Illinois is of a unique design that is quite beautiful. 


The lockmaster at the Mel Price Lock #26 in Alton, Illinois, had the gates open and the flashing green light welcomed us to enter the chamber that would lower us to the next pool.  Missy B was nestled against the lock wall behind us at 8:45 am.  Do you think it was “Lucky Larry” that helped us get a quick locking sequence?



     Judy is very skilled at line handling in the locks.  This was her first experience with a “floating bollard”.  These ingenious devices rise or fall with the changing water level.  We attach a line to our amidships cleat, then take two wraps counterclockwise and cleat the line again.  This method secures the boat to the bollard while we gently fend off the bow and stern off the wall.



In less than 15 minutes, we were merrily on our way down the river again.  We were surprised to see the “American Dream” lying alongside the riverbank.  This sternwheeler is in the same fleet as the “Delta Queen” and is a cruise ship type vessel that plies the western rivers.  She is probably here for repairs.  We had seen her lying dormant in New Orleans in April.



     At 9:25 am, we passed the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.  Since leaving this morning, we now have the combined forces of these three powerful rivers, including the Illinois River. 

     “Lucky Larry” was at it again.  We were greeted by a flashing green light at the Chain of Rocks Lock #27.  Without delay, we entered the chamber to be lowered in the final lock on the Mississippi River.  From this point south for about 1000 miles, there are no more locks on the “Ole’ Miss”.  We, however, will turn off the Mississippi River onto the Ohio River in another 185 miles.  We will have plenty more locks along our routing.



     The river cuts right down along St. Louis.  A number of bridges connect East St. Louis, Illinois with St. Louis, Missouri.  One of the early bridges is the Eads Bridge.  Notice the intricate architecture using steel and stone. You will also see a statue commemorating this point on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

     An interesting bit of history here.  While this bridge was being built, a large number of workers were injured or lost their lives while doing underwater diving duty.  They suffered from condition then termed as “Caisson’s Disease”.  It was not understood then, but now we know of it as “nitrogen narcosis”, or “decompression sickness”, or the “bends”.  When divers stay under too long, the blood absorbs too much nitrogen.  As they surface, the nitrogen “bubbles” out in the bloodstream causing extreme damage and even death.  Scientists and divers now know that the downtime and surfacing rate must be timed and limited to prevent these problems.



     The Arch is a spectacularly memorable sight from the river.  The swift current is adding several miles per hour to our downriver speed.



     Look how peaceful and tranquil the river is on this lovely afternoon.  I bet you think it’s all relaxation all the time. 



     Just before that tranquil picture was taken, Larry decided to spice up everybody’s afternoon.  We got a radio call from Doris on “Missy B”.  In a somewhat stressed tone, she advised us that both of their engines had quit and that they were floating down the river in the current without control.  Well, we quickly turned AMARSE around and headed for them.  Judy got the fenders down and rigged some tie lines.  We eased up alongside “Missy B” and tied up in raft style.  We could now move together using our engines to control both boats.  Larry was below working to restore power.  Within a half hour or so, Larry had both engines running again.  It seems that he had waited too long to switch fuel tanks.  In essence, both engines ran out of fuel.  He had to switch tanks and then “bleed” the air out of the fuel system before they would start.  Of course, we accused Larry of doing it on purpose just to get some attention.  He denies it, but we’re not sure.

     With everything back to normal, we resume our peaceful cruise down the river.



     We were going to stop at Hoppie’s Marina at mile 158.5.  It was only 1:05 pm and it seemed too early to stop on this lovely traveling day.  I suggested that we keep on moving south and go to the lock wall at the Kaskaskia River lock.  At 4:45 pm, we tied up to the lock wall under the direction of a helpful and friendly lockmaster.  This is a good secure place to spend the night and the price is right. (free)

     After cocktails aboard Missy B, Judy and I enjoyed a sumptuous dinner that included a fresh, tossed salad.  The main course consisted of Spinach and cheese ravioli in a butter sauce with Parmesan cheese.  Very, very tasty.


POSITION: N37 58.892 W089 56.631    Mile 117.3






(Note:  October 6th was Fred’s Dad’s Birthday too.  We have always thought it was a great honor that Sharyn was born on the same day.  Hope you’re looking down with that great smile, Dad).


     By 6:55 am, we had enough light to safely depart the lock wall.  We traveled south along the twists and turns of the river.  The scenery was quite interesting and there was an abundance of wildlife and shorebirds along the banks.  It was a lovely day and the sights were much more beautiful that most people expect.




     We made good time, so, by 1 pm, we had entered the Diversion Canal at mile 48.8.  I went in first to peruse the anchorage and get set up in the narrow channel.  Larry delayed just outside on the river while we set anchor.  At 1:30 pm, we were lying into the easterly wind on a single anchor in this channel not much more than 120 feet wide.  Larry followed suit and anchored just ahead.  We had just enough swing room even though we were short-scoped.  With a peaceful forecast, we felt secure.  Later in the evening when the wind calmed, we swung 180 degrees to face the opposite direction in the light current. 

     We have read that the same person that designed the Panama Canal designed this little diversion canal.  The purpose of this canal is to provide drainage for thousands of acres of farmland to the north.  Without the canal, many more thousands of acres to the south would be rendered useless.  Fortunately for us, it also serves as a protected anchorage out of the swift currents of the Mississippi River.



     We  had arrived early enough that I had time to enjoy a delightful afternoon nap.

     Our peaceful dinner started with a crisp, green salad and continued with excellent slices of Meatloaf, mashed redskin potatoes, and topped with a mushroom gravy.


POSITION:   N37 14.929  W089 31.254       Mile 48.8




     The night had been clear and cold.  In the light of the full moon, we could see the thin layer of fog forming on the water surface.  When the air is much colder than the warm water, the chance for surface fog exists.  It was absolutely beautiful in a slightly eerie way.  We had the opportunity to put the radar and GPS to good use until the sun burned off the last remnants of the wafting fog.



     The US Army Corps of Engineers has the responsibility for maintaining the navigable channels along the western rivers.  This requires that certain areas be dredged out frequently to provide enough depth for vessels to pass.  The dredge “Potter” was busy pumping mass quantities of sand, mud and water out of the channel into adjacent “spoil areas”.



     Upon reaching Mile 0.0, we crossed the line at the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Ohio River.  Since bodies of water that are different temperatures do not mix well, there is often a clear line visible were the two attempt to meet.  These waters are different colors due to the suspended sediments thus making it easy to see the delineation.



     We had experienced a following current on the Mississippi River flowing southward.  Our turn onto the Ohio River occurred at 10:45 am and Mile 981.0 near Cairo, Illinois. (pronounced “KAY-ROW”).  The river starts in Pittsburgh, PA, however, our trip will only take us about 60 miles to Paducah, KY.  The river currents that had helped us previously are now slowing us by nearly the same amount.  You can easily see the effect of those currents on this red Nun buoy.



“Missy B” can travel just a little faster that we can.  We let her take the lead this time.



     Lock #53 is located at Mile 962.6.  It has a “wicket” dam associated with it.  In periods of high water, the dam is actually lowered down below the surface allowing the river to flow unimpeded.  Once again, “Lucky Larry” brought the good fortune and we were able to continue upriver without the need to enter the lock.

     At the recommendation of some other “Loopers”, we selected an anchorage area behind a submerged sand bar at Mile 949.2.  Larry led the way and was able to get a good anchor set on the first attempt.  We were not so fortunate.  It took us 4 attempts before we were able to get a solid bite in the gravel bottom.




     At the agreed upon time of 6:30 am, both boats hoisted anchors and rejoined the main channel of the Ohio River.  Since the bottom was gravel, we had no muddy cleanup to do on the anchor.  We had slept well and held tight.



     Once again, it is good to be traveling with “Lucky Larry”.  At Mile 939.0 and Lock #52, the “wicket” dam was down and we are able to pass without hindrance. 

      We had two choices to reach Green Turtle Bay.  The first is to turn up the Tennessee River at Paducah, Kentucky.  The second choice would be to continue further along the Ohio River and turn up the Cumberland River.  Most pleasure boaters choose the Cumberland River route.  Although it is a longer distance, there is generally a shorter wait at the lock into Barkley Lake.  The Tennessee River route is about 20 miles shorter, however, the lock into Kentucky Lake is notoriously delayed due to intensive commercial traffic. 

     If you were traveling with “Lucky Larry”, what would you choose?  Alright, we’ll try the Tennessee River.  At 8:36 am, we left the Ohio River at Mile 935.0 and veered onto the Tennessee River at Mile 0.0.



  We immediately saw an increase in our speed since we had left the stronger currents of the Ohio behind.  At Mile 22.2 is the huge Kentucky Dam and Lock.  Boaters often talk about having many, many hour delays and some even days of delay to get through this lock.  What would happen to “Lucky Larry”?  You guessed it.  The lockmaster said if we would hurry, he would have the lock gates open and slide us up between two double-size, commercial tows.  So, we unbelievably zipped in to the lock and were lifted the 57 feet into Kentucky Lake without any delay.



     Take careful notice of the expert technique that Judy skillfully applies.  The line is perfectly wound around the bollard and she maintains the fore and aft balance using the boat hook.  Is that a terrific gal or what?




  The lockmaster told us that if we were only a few minutes later, our wait would have been at least 3 hours.  At 11:45 am, we motored out onto the lake.  A manmade canal links Kentucky Lake with Barkley Lake.  Within about 45 minutes, we were entering the channel to Green Turtle Bay.  This is a favorite marina for “Loopers”.



     I know you’ve been wondering, so, here is a picture of “Lucky Larry”.  Larry Goby is the captain of “Missy B” from the port of McAllen, Texas.



     This is the lovely Doris Goby.  The real reason he is called “Lucky Larry”. 



     We had a wonderful cocktail hour and dinner together to celebrate another milestone toward the completion of our “Loop” voyage.  Patti’s 1800 Settlement Restaurant is well known for their delicious meals.  Judy had their specialty of 2 inch thick pork chops.  I had a chicken dish with country ham, cheese, and some other stuff.  It was fantastic.  The restaurant does something quite unusual.  They actually bake bread inside a clay flower pot and then serve it hot and still in the pot. Pretty neat.




     Judy and I have talked a lot about taking a side trip to explore the Cumberland River.  The trees are changing to fall colors and folks say the trip is beautiful.  Of course, we love to branch out just to see what’s around the next corner.  I guess it’s a form of natural curiosity.  Anyway, we were expecting good weather for the next few days according to the forecast.  Our friends, Larry and Doris, will rest here at Green Turtle Bay for at least another day before rushing back to Texas.  We bid them farewell, filled our fuel and water tanks, and, at 11:35 am, departed the harbor headed upriver on the Cumberland River from Mile 31.7..  This river extends about 380 miles to Celina, TN.  We don’t know how far we’ll go, but we will go until we turn around.  We will have to return here since the river does not connect further up.

     The afternoon was nearly perfect and the scenery spectacular.  We both agreed that it was far better to be out here on the water than roaming around at the marina. 




     Along the RDB (right-descending-bank) is the famous “Castle on the Cumberland.”   It is the Kentucky State Penitentiary, the only maximum-security prison in the state.  More that 160 inmates have died in its electric chair.  In fact, on a July Friday the 13th in 1928, seven men were executed here, a record that still stands in the United States for the most legal executions in one day.



     At 4:24 pm, we crossed the state line into Tennessee.    The huge dam, back at mile 30.8, has created this section of river known as Barkley Lake.  The winding section of river led to a narrow turnoff into an embayment at mile 77.4.

     We are using a guidebook written by Fred Myers.  His work is excellent and is the most comprehensive treatise on the river.  His recommendation for Bumpus Mills Marina led us back into a secluded, remote grouping of small buildings and covered docks.  You immediately get the impression that this is a fisherman’s paradise.  We were, by far,  the largest boat there.  They fit us in alongside the office building and, at 5:10 pm, helped hook us up for the night. 



     It was interesting watching the fishermen return that evening and we certainly enjoyed the restful solitude.  The sunset may have equaled the beauty of any that we’ve seen on our trip.





      The night had been quite cold which brought a dense fog to this area of warmer water.  We delayed our departure until 8:10 am.  In the embayment, the fog had lifted to very light, however, as we entered the main river channel, the fog thickened within a few miles.  We relied on the GPS and Radar to help navigate in the reduced visibility.  It was amazing how many fishermen had ventured out in this stuff.  By 9 am, the fog was nearly gone and the weather became wonderful.

     It is quite interesting reading about the activities, engagements, and battles that occurred in this area during the Civil War.  It was along this very river that Union General Ulysses S. Grant gained national prominence with his victory at Ft. Donelson.

     The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Cumberland Steam Plant was one of the world’s largest when it was completed in 1973.  The 1000-foot stacks are now dormant having been replaced by the two 600-foot stacks with scrubbers to reduce pollution.



     Many millions of years ago, a giant meteorite, more that 20 miles in diameter, struck earth in this area.  Although the crater has eroded away, a nearby hill has been identified as the center of the rebound area.



     The City of Clarksville, TN has recently opened a brand new municipal dock facility.  The free dock is managed by the Parks and Wildlife Department and is available for overnight stays.  It is terrific to see these communities boosting their economies from increased traffic on the river.  The concrete dock is conveniently located to the historic district and several restaurants.  A nearby bus transit site makes city bus travel available to many city businesses.

     At 2:05 pm, AMARSE was secure at Mile 126.0.


     We walked around the lovely historic district of the city.  Built in 1898, this building served as the US Post Office and Customs House.  It features a variety of diverse architectural styles blended together.   It now serves as the Clarksville-Montgomery County Historical Museum.    



     The historic Montgomery County Courthouse has been artfully reconstructed and restored to satisfy present day needs.



     It was recommended that we try the New China Buffet and Grill located just downriver along the lovely river walk.  It was excellent and the chilled, boiled shrimp were the highlight for me.

POSITION:  N36 31.802 W087 21.893     Mile 126.0




     We had hoped for an early departure, however, the early morning was quite rainy.  We walked over to Mrs. Winner’s for a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and steak/egg biscuits.

     We began to make way at 8:15 am.  The rain had subsided and, although the forecast called for 70% chance of rain, the sky looked as though it was clearing up.

     At 11 am, we arrived at the Cheatham Lock.  We would have to wait some time for a commercial sand barge tow to lock through.  It was 12:50 pm as we exited the Cheatham Lock at Mile 148.8 and continued upriver.  Created by this huge dam, Cheatham Lake has 7,450 acres of backwater with a shoreline of 320 miles.



     Our delayed departure, combined with the delay at the lock, made our planned upriver destination impractical.  We opted to stop at the small Riverview Marina & Restaurant dock at
Ashland City for the night.  It was only 1:55 pm, but facilities along this stretch are few and far between. 




     This is off-season in these parts and we didn’t see another cruiser all day.  There doesn’t seem to be much pleasure boating going on right now.  Most of the “Loopers” have gone further south by now.  The Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama is going to start this coming week.  We were unable to get reservations because they were sold out. They had to turn away quite a number of us.  Too Bad, So Sad.

     The restaurant is a local favorite and has a nice salad bar.  Judy tried the catfish and I enjoyed the Chop Steak.

POSITION: N36 16.118 W087 04.588     MILE 158.0


       The next installment UPDATE will continue with our voyage along the Cumberland River.  I don’t want to make these email postings too large for some of the computers that have slower internet services.  I’ll try to get the next one out soon and eventually catch up.  Thanks for your patience.



       My Verizon AirCard that operates my computer internet still operates slowly and sporadically.  The coverage areas are not as good as we had hoped.  We will be sending out updates when we can.

     Judy has Cingular Wireless cell phone service.  It seems to work even better than the Verizon Wireless.  Judy can be reached at 361-550-5353 and Fred can be reached at 210-296-4933.  We can be reached at either number.  Please call us if you like, we’d really like to hear from you.


"AMARSE".  is pronounced "AM-ARE-SAY".  Our website is:   www.amarse.net   .

Check it out while we will attempt to keep you informed via email

  We would like to hear more about what is happening in your lives.  Let us know as we very interested in what’s going on with our friends and family.  Please call or email us with your thoughts and comments and ideas too.  Thanks

Lot of Love,

Fred Reed and Judy Law