Great Loop Day 050 Oct 17, 2016, Alton Marina, Alton, Illinois Layover Day 2
Alton Marina, Alton, Illinois. Layover Day 2
It is strange how little has been written about the Upper Mississippi. The river below St. Louis has been described time and again, and it is the least interesting part. One can sit on the pilot-house for a few hours and watch the low shores, the ungainly trees, and the democratic buzzards, and then one might as well go to bed. One has seen everything there is to see. Along the Upper Mississippi, every hour brings something new. There are crowds of odd islands, bluffs, prairies, hills, woods, and villages--everything one could desire to amuse the children. Few people ever think of going there, however. Dickens, Corbett, Mother Trollope, and the other discriminating English people who 'wrote up' the country before 1842 had hardly an idea that such a stretch of river scenery existed. Their successors have followed in their footsteps, and as we form our opinions of our country from what other people say of us, of course, we ignore the finest part of the Mississippi.
Mark Twain- interview in Chicago Tribune, July 9, 1886
Day 50 Monday, Oct 17, 2016. Rest day at Alton Marina. Hardly a restful day. 2 loads of laundry done. Got those rugs cleaned and dried. Found a way to tie off the thermos so it doesn't fall and still be accessible. Some monthly bills are paid online. I'm very leary about using open-source wifi to do my banking. Not sending any personal or credit card information over open-source wifi. For that, I tether my cell phone to my laptop computer and use the phone’s cell signal to get my wifi.
Walked about a mile; some of it uphill to Schwegal’s Market. Got a store employee named Dane, to drive me and my groceries back to the marina in an older Camero, you know, the half-car, half-pickup truck. Prices are a little higher than at home and I didn't find any good bargains. A bag of garden salad went for $2.39. At Aldi's, it goes for 69 cents. I forgot to take a picture of my purchase. So I snapped a shot of the grocery receipt.
I checked today's weather. Winds from south gusting to 30mph. I can see from the marina the waves generated on the river. Glad I made the decision to stay put today. Would have been ugly traveling south to Hoppes Marina 44 miles away. Tomorrow should be more enjoyable as I pass St. Louis and its gigantic arch, the Gateway to the West.
Spent some time with Steve Schreiter at the marina.
For over 22 years, Steve spent all his free time constructing a 53' long, 51,000 pound, all steel hull, 7-foot draft oceangoing sailboat in a field near his home in St. Louis which he welded together, piece by piece. He named her TwoLynne after his wife, and his daughter, who both share the same middle name, Lynne. He has experience as a diesel mechanic and has gone through several motors before finding one that will work. It's humongous inside! As I mentioned she has a 7-foot draft and has been stuck here for several months. The river level fell on arrival and he can't make it out of the narrow channel. But he'll be out in a few days heading for the sunshine and warmer weather of the Gulf of Mexico. The Army Corps of Engineers has been raising the level of this portion of the Mississippi the past day. It's up by a foot since my arrival yesterday.
Spent a couple of hours at the Argosy Casino. Didn't spend much and had nothing to write home about. On my way there I did see the riverboat, American Queen. It's huge! 5 stories high. You can see from the photo the cozy staterooms and a little of the dining facility. A big boat for a big river.
Not that different from the days of Mark Twain and steamboat travel on these rivers. But a lot safer. Steam-powered boats back in the day had this problem of frequently blowing up along with their occupants.
Excerpt: “The tragic explosion of the SS Pennsylvania was not only a disaster for the nation but was a personal disaster for the ex-steamboat pilot Mark Twain. It so happened that Mark Twain, who was quite fond of steamboats, was working as a steersman on the SS Pennsylvania up until a few days before the explosion. He had personal differences with the boat’s master and resigned, but not before getting his brother a job on the vessel. Samuel Clemens’s (Mark Twain’s) brother was killed during the riverboat disaster. Understandably, Clemens was haunted by this reminder the rest of his life.” The Explosion of the Steamboat Pennsylvania and the Missing Engineer
I spent most of this evening going over the charts and weather forecast for the next few days. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive. I'll get to Hoppes Marina and talk with locals about the best way to continue. So to all, Fair winds and gentle seas.
Comments from 2016:
Diane Lamoreaux Keep safe.....Think of you daily and enjoy the blogs. Bev Smith, Don's Godmother enjoys them too.
Joyce Bailey Prayers with you for safe traveling
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