Alton, IL – Kaskaskia River Lock
We had the luxury of a bit of a late start this morning. I decided that Nightingale needed a full wash in the worst way, she had not been washed since New Buffalo and we had the “pleasure” of being rained on for the first 4 days of our trip. Eric and I washed down the boat, filled back up with water, called the lock and prepared to leave. Luckily the Mel Price lock was only 2 miles from Alton Marina so we shoved off when the lockmaster said he was bringing the water back in to lock us and another 4 pleasure craft through. This leg of the trip will bring us through the Chain of Rocks Canal and lock and on through St. Louis. We waited at the Chain of Rocks lock for about an hour for a large tow to come through and finally entered with another couple pleasure craft and a government tug pushing another tug.
Once through the lock we entered back into the Mighty Miss and found that current that would help us make up a ton of time. At 1050 RPM we were doing almost 15 mph, at that RPM we are normally doing 10-11 mph. We will end up doing 85 miles even with the wait at the 2 locks and a late start. We cruised through the St. Louis riverfront, saw the famous arch and then contended with heavy commercial traffic for the next 10-12 miles. A popular stop on this leg would be Hoppies Marina owned by Fern Hopkins which is a couple of barges tied up in the town of Kimmswick, MO. However on this trip we need to make up time and we cruised by heading to Kaskaskia Lock, not to mention the “marina” was full for the night since all of the pleasure craft we locked through with had already reserved space.
The next 50 or so miles were uneventful and we pulled into the Kaskaskia river mouth right at dark where we tied to the lock for the night. This place has zero amenities but it is out of the strong current, we can tie to a nice lock wall, and it is very peaceful. We needed to run the generator all night since there is no power or water, and luckily we were full of both fuel and water. Next up will be the remainder of the Mighty Miss, and the Ohio.
Capt. Ray Bock