Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wednesday 10/10/15– in Grafton IL.
Weather/Sea   Sunny, Calm, temp 55 to 70
   Captain - John C. Kwak crew Chuck Stewart and Greg Murphy
We are in Grafton IL in the Grafton Harbor Marina, this is a 150 dock marina with all the services that you want. They charge $1.30 per foot so Dutchess costs $114.40 for 2 days. This more of a resort town with lots of restaurants and wineries. This is the end of the Illinois River at mile 0.0 and it connects to the Upper Mississippi at mile 218. The Upper Mississippi begins at the confluence with the Ohio River, therefore we have 218 miles to go on the Mississippi. A big issue here for most boats is that there is a stretch of 224 miles with no fuel stops but Dutchess has no problem because we have a range of over 500 miles on her 100 gallon tank. There is a closer fuel supply but you have to call the fuel truck to come to the dock and he has a minimum of 75 gallons. Tomorrow we plan to go to Hoppies Marine in Kimmswick Missouri which is the last Marina for the next 228 miles. We need to lock thru 2 locks, the Mel Price Lock and the Chain of Rocks Canal and Lock. The Chain of Rocks Canal bypasses rapids in the Mississippi and we are warned to take the canal and NOT the river.
On Oct 8 we left Beardstown and went to Hardin IL a trip of 67.4 miles which took 9 hrs. 51 minutes our longest yet. We went thru LaGrange Lock which only a 7’ drop and went easy, this is the last on the Illinois River. We went to a dock for the Riverdock Restaurant hoping that we could stay the night after eating at the place. We walked ashore and to the restaurant and it was closed. We asked a neighbor and she said they had a fire and flood and would be closed for a while. Then we asked her if it was ok to stay at the dock, she said sure everybody does. For dinner we could only find a bar again and we had bar food again, oh well the beer was good. No fancy beers though “they don’t drink those here”.
The next day we went to Grafton a trip of only 21.1 miles which took only 3 hrs. 11 min. we arrived before noon and hiked around town. We are now passing very large tows with the huge pusher tug and 15 barges, 3 wide and 5 long. We have to be careful on passing and always call them on the VHF to ask them on which side they would prefer us to pass. With the AIS we know the tugs name and they are always helpful. We found out that one of the old products in Grafton was ground charcoal used for gunpowder. They burned Willow and Poplar wood to make the charcoal. Most of the old houses are made of yellow sandstone that came from the sandstone cliffs in the area.

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