Brad and his dad were here at 08:00 and reinstalled the repaired prop. Left Grafton at 09:35, went 15miles to Alton Marina and topped up our diesel and pumped out; then travelled 8.2hr total, 61 miles, to arrive at Hoppies Marine, Kimmswick, MO at 17:45/5:45pm. Spent 4 hrs getting through the 2 locks because of barge traffic. The big/long chamber at Chain of Rocks Lock/Dam is scheduled to close tonight for repair work so we were indeed fortunate - tomorrow would be a much longer wait.
The prop seems much better, although we still had some mild vibration when attempted to go 1700 rpm - 2000 rpm; could be the other prop or the 'fixed' one may need balancing. Regardless, it is working and meets our needs till we get home.
The Mississippi current is turbulent with lots of small and occasional large debris so we had to be vigilant all the time. There must have been several hundred barges tied along the shore, sometimes 4-5 deep, for over 12 miles downstream from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi. We did not see another pleasure boat after we left Alton!!
Hoppies has a history that offered a refuge along the river for Loopers, until the ice and flooding destroyed the barges and fuel access 2 years ago. They are open again this year and we were glad to arrive there, where 4 men helped keep us off the barge and tied us up in the 2-3 mph current plus a wind. They have power and fuel, and kind and cheerful help, regardless of how 'rough' the barges look [see photos]. One photo tries to show the turbulence of this river, alongside the barge. It made for an interesting day.
Addendum Tues.a.m. - a large tow [21 barges?] passed by at 05:30 and I captured the standing waves [see photo - the waves appears 'fixed' in time, not moving, but the water is actually moving over the surface; caused by two waves travelling in opposite directions] he left behind him; the waves are large and can really toss a boat around and capsize some; his wake was wicked - moved our boat and the barges a foot up/down and all over the place. Another reason why the mighty Mississippi is not really for pleasure boaters!!
Several of St.Louis as we passed it. And of Hoppies.
Definitely a long day!! Waiting for locks takes more effort than cruising. Holding in place in a strong and swirling current takes constant attention. Rob deserves an award for endurance.😊
Th St. Louis skyline was hard to see clearly because of the humidity/haze. The Arch is impressive. It even stood out in the haze. Interestingly, there are no marinas, no recreational boaters in or near the city. The river has commercial traffic only. It's not a pleasant river for recreation, anyway. Strong current, debris, yucky water and lots of big commercial sites and never ending barges along the shore. Definitely not suitable for jet skis!
Hoppies is in a league of it's own as the photos show. Super nice folks and they were very helpful. We are well secured and have nearly all our fenders out against the current motion. This is not a great stop for me. But, there are very few other options along this part of the river. And!..A big piece of floating debris hit us! Clunk. Phooey.
It's dark now and it's suddenly calmer! I may survive this night after all. So, goodnight.
Tomorrow will be a much lighter day - only 41 miles and no locks to Kaskaskia River/Lock/Dam where we will tie up on the free lock/dam wall.