Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes…….

Just when you thought it was over!  We found a great ending for this America’s Great Loop adventure (or it could be the beginning of the next?) in the lyrics of Jimmy Buffett’s song,  Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.  Here is our rendition of it.

We took off for a weekend this month just to try and recall the whole year.

All of the faces and all of the places, wonderin’ where they all disappeared.

We didn’t ponder the question to long, we were hungry and went out for a bite,

Ran into a looper, got into a stooper, and wound up having docktails all night…..

It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes – nothing remains quite the same.

With all of our running and all of our cunning, if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.

Reading the nav signs in some big chart book, reminds us of the places we’ve been.

Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure, makes us want to go back again.

If it suddenly ended tomorrow, we would somehow adjust to it all.

Good times and riches and great seafood dishes, we’ve had more than we can recall.

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.

Through all of the islands and all of the highlands, if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.

We talk about looping when we’re high on red wine, wish we had our feet in the sand.

So many nights we just dream of the ocean, gosh we wish we were looping again.

Oh, yesterday’s over our shoulder, so we can’t look back for too long.

There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me, and I know that I just can’t go wrong.

With these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, nothing remains quite the same.

With all of my running and all of my cunning, if I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane……..

If we couldn’t laugh we just would go insane……….

LOOPERS – If we weren’t all crazy – we would go insane!

 

Look for our final blog post tomorrow!

RETURNING TO HOME PORT (August 31, 2018)….and Santa goes Gold!

Finally we are on the last leg of our “Bucket List Trip” and the end is bitter-sweet.  We traveled through our last lock today, our last of 115.  We traveled 7,134 miles and over 300 days.  We visited 133 marinas, anchored out under the stars, experienced more cultures and dined on more regional foods than we can remember.  We saw dolphins swimming in our wake, we sat on our boat at the the foot of “Lady Liberty” in the New York Harbor.  We watched the Blue Angels as they flew just feet above our boat in Annapolis for the graduating class of the Naval Academy, we lived through the Houston Ship Channel where 800+ foot cargo ships left us in wakes so high we could only see water surrounding our boat, we hiked and we biked.  We saw way too many museums and we had large Asian carp jump into our boat.  We collected over 300 “boat cards” from people we met along the way, we made life-long friendships.  We experienced Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall….on the water….on our boat.  Wow, I don’t know what to write.

 

Today was our last lock, the Cheatham Lock, Mile Marker 148.6, on the Cumberland River.  Ten miles to go and our Great Loop will be completed.

        

The beautiful white puffy clouds caught our attention today…..in our travels we experienced wind, rain, snow, ice, fog, cold, heat, tornadoes, many highs and very few lows.  Today was a beautiful day.

    

On a funny note:  We heard gunshots as we were cruising up the river today, minding our own business, and when we saw shells hitting the water in our direction we decided to call the local police.  Little did we know, it was opening day for duck season.  It’s so good to be back in Tennessee!

Then we got waked by a “go fast” boat.  It was so bad we hailed him on the radio to thank him!  He didn’t respond but he did have to wait at the lock for us to catch up.  The lock master made him wait on us so he would not have to open and close the locks and raise and lower the water twice!  They cater to barges and tows – but NOT to us pleasure boats!  Slowed that guy down!

Thanks to our friends Linda and Allen for these photos!  Linda caught us several miles down river from her balcony at the Braxton.  I really can’t describe the feeling as it came into sight.  We were anxious to see our family and friends again – but not quite ready for this adventure to end.

    

One year and 12,000 photos later……it was with mixed emotions that we pulled into our home port of Harpeth Shoals Marina in Ashland City, Tennessee – where this adventure began.  But the closer we got, the more excited we became – not knowing what to expect after traveling over 7,000 miles and spending a year away from home.

    

We swung around and backed into our old slip and it was just like we had never left.

      

And there on the docks were our friends!  Thank you special friends who greeted us with Don Perignon and Norman Love Chocolates,  thank you for the gifts of champagne and wine!  Most of all thank you for your friendships!  We are glad to be home.

    

    

EB and Allen exchanged gifts of homemade moonshine – I think this has become a tradition with them.  If you want to know the story behind this you will have to ask “them”.

    

Reba found a bottle of wine called “The Loop”!  When they visited us in Mackinaw, they brought “Cara Mia”.  That pretty well covers it for us!

                

And we toasted to friendships and to our safe return……and enjoyed an evening of reminiscing and catching up!

    

    

    

    

        

    

And let’s not forget Santa.  Santa traveled over 7,000 miles himself.  He completed his loop today!  Santa is now a “Gold Looper”  and will fly his gold looper flag along with us.  We couldn’t have done the trip without him!

    

Santa and I are trying to talk Ron into a second Loop, time will tell!

TOMORROW – THE KIDS AND GRAND KIDS!

Just how does one end a book, or a trip of a lifetime?……………………………………………

“Say goodnight Gracie”……..

Clarksville (Aug 28-30)

The full moon was still out when we waved goodbye to Wally and pulled out of Bumpus Mills.  We really liked that little marina.  Our next stop, Clarksville, will be our last before returning to our home port.

    

Back on the Cumberland, not far up river at Dover, was Ft. Donelson National Battlefield.  An important naval battle of the Civil War was fought here.  Notice all of the canons lined up facing the water!

    

The scenery just kept getting better but we did notice the water pool being down…..

        

…..evidenced by this private dock on the dirt……

We had to hold back for the Cumberland City Ferry carrying a car across the river.

    

And finally we arrived at what would be our last marina on The Loop.  This will be our 132 marina on the trip.  Since we are on the move so often, sometimes at night we wake up and have look around to see where we are.  I also keep a spreadsheet of each stop – the marina, the town, the state, the country, how many miles we traveled, etc.  You’d be surprised how many times we have referred to it to see where we were just days before.

Clarksville Marina.  This was our first stop on the Loop and now is our last transient stop.

    

We walked up the hill to The Liberty Grill, just as we did a year before on our first night out on the Loop.  And we toasted to “The Loop”, just as we had done that first night.

    

Only last year our waiter did not take the eminent selfie as he did this year.  He also brought us Key Lime pie for dessert, free gratis, in honor of our completing the loop.

Santa is getting nostalgic about his trip as he poses with his “white” AGLCA looper flag, just days before he goes gold himself!

    

Courtney, a photographer from the Clarksville newspaper, dropped by for a visit and photo to document Santa’s return.

    

Sometime it’s birds, sometime frogs, sometime bears and alligators, but now this beautiful butterfly spent the afternoon with us.  I thought it was unusual that he was black and blue on top and black and orange on bottom – but then what do I know about butterflies?

        

Second day in Clarksville, our friends Robert and Linda (originally from Clarksville) drove from Nashville, picked us up for dinner and took us on a tour  around town.  Clarksville is a college town with a major military base, giving it unique flavor and character.

        

You may remember Gomer Pyle and Sergeant Carter?  Frank Sutton, aka Sergeant Vince Carter was from Clarksville, and this bronze statue was placed in honor and memory of him.  I’m sure you recognize the stance from the TV show!

    

There are a lot of Predator Hockey fans around Nashville, but this guy and his car take the cake!

    

We had dinner with Robert and Linda at Edward’s (a great steak place) and enjoyed catching up with them.  It had been almost a year since we saw them last.

    

And the sun set over Clarksville, the marina, and Kara Mia…………

    

It is now sunrise in Clarksville and finally time for us to go home.  We pulled out of Clarksville Marina with a bit of nostalgia ourselves, but not before we witnessed a gorgeous sunrise and rainbow reflecting in the water below!

    

    

Since the time of Noah’s ark, rainbows have been symbolic of God’s faithfulness and mercy and promise of love, care, support, and protection…..

    

Bumpus Mills, TENNESSEE (Aug 27)

We re-entered Tennessee today, where it all began a year ago!  We were pleasantly reminded how beautiful the hills and waterways of the Cumberland are, as compared to all of the wonderful sights we’ve seen on this trip.  It matches them in its own way.

    

    

Along the way we passed a houseboat washed up on shore, many floating logs to be aware of, birds, and the Kentucky State Penitentiary…..we never bore of the sights along the way – from the magnificent to the mundane.

    

    

And more birds…..the gulls followed in our wake for miles.  I did throw crackers their way but I think they were more in hopes of catching a small fish or two from our wake.

    

Some of the beauty along the Cumberland was the homes tucked away on the tree-covered hillsides.

             

After researching “Bumpus Mills Marina” in the waterway guides, Karen advised Ron that it did not look like the place for us, but looked more like a fishing camp for the locals.  And where the heck is “Bumpus Mills, Tennessee” anyway?  But there was something about it calling to Ron.  Around the bend and up the creek – there it was – and it appeared to be exactly what Karen had suspected – a rough looking fishing camp!

    

Not only were we the only transient boat there – but we were the biggest – being larger than the marina itself.  We hung out the back, hung out the front, and hovered above the roof.  At first we thought it funny, but humor soon gave way to realism, and in no time we began to appreciate the quaintness, the peacefulness and the sincereness of Wally and Vicka, owners of the marina.  When we arrived, there sat Wally at the table in his small marina with a plate full of home-grown green beans in front of him.  What a lunch!  And what a simple life……

    

        

    

We took our usual evening stroll to look around the docks – it was a short stroll but interesting none the less.

       

Take note of the picnic table up the hill from us, complete with ladder and an old tire!  Only in Tennessee!

    

Eventually other forms of life appeared.  At sunset a couple of local boats went out to do some fishing.  They were friendly folks.

    

Next morning, after sunrise and a bit of provisioning at Wally’s, we pulled out of the marina.  Wally said he would sell anything from the refrigerator door on that side to the exit door on the other.  So before pulling out I did a little shopping, buying some supplies along with a jar of sorghum molasses, a few homegrown tomatoes, and best of all – some of Wally’s green beans!  Wally even let me get a handful of biscuits out of his freezer – “just reach right in and get you some” –  right out of his bag of frozen biscuits – and he wouldn’t even let me pay for them.

The whole Bumpus Mills Marina experience turned out to be, well, just that – an experience!  And one we wouldn’t have missed for anything.

    

RANDOM:  I’m not sure how I captured the butterfly (moth?) in flight, along with (and looking larger than) the gulls.

I read that there is ONE restaurant in town, The Bumpus Meals Diner, but we had no transportation to get there.  It had dozens of 5-star reviews, “just like Grandma’s kitchen”, “nicest people you could ever meet”, “home cooked meals”, and “truly a country folk diner”.  Maybe next time!

    

We were told “It’s an ‘r to Clarksville, an ‘r to Costco, an ‘r to Sams, and an ‘r to Paducah – it’s about an ‘r to anywhere from Bumpus Mills”!

Buzzard Rock (Aug 25-26)

It was Saturday morning when we pulled out of Paducah and the fishermen were out early.  The barges and tows still lined the shore waiting for their turn to lock through.  Lock #52 was backed up for scheduled maintenance.

    

We traveled from Paducah to Lake Barkley and docked at a neat marina – Buzzard Rock.  It required a short cruise up the Ohio before turning into the Cumberland River.  The Barkley Lock was our only lock for the day and it was not bad.  When we called the lock master, he had 11 downriver bound sailboats to lock through, but said if we “hurry” we could enter his lock after the sailboats left.  So Ron put the pedal to the metal and we got there with perfect timing to enter the lock.  Being on the Cumberland River again, we are feeling close to home.

    

Buzzard Rock Resort in Kuttawa, Kentucky…..

       

It was funky – but fun…..

    

    

We had a bird’s eye view of the goings and comings at the marina.

    

We tried to find a TV to watch the Titans game but to no avail…..Shannon served us some nachos and beer at Buzzard Rock Cafe – yes, the servers are still doing selfies for our blog!  ……and we shopped a little at the ship store.

        

It was Saturday night at Buzzard Rock and, “I see the full moon rising, I see trouble on the way.  I fear the river’s overflowing, I see bad times today.  Don’t go around tonight, Well, it’s bound to take your life,  There’s a full moon on the rise.”          I digress.

The deck below the cafe turned into a honky-tonk as the full moon rose and nighttime fell.  It was a one-man band that opened the floor to Karaoke – to our dismay.  The band was good – karaoke was not.  Note:  Elvis should not be characterized with Karaoke!  We were thankful that our boat was just far enough away from the activities.

    

Our sunrises and sunsets over Kuttawa, Kentucky were awesome as usual.

    

….and Karen is forever working on the blog……

Our little frog friend joined us over a week ago in St. Charles and is still traveling with us.  He hides when we get underway and only comes out when we dock – so we can’t leave him behind.  It’s the little things……..

    

We have a friend named “JuJu” back at The Braxton – a unique name for a boat as well.

    

On our second day at the Buzzard we walked around the resort – never found the pool…. and did some shopping for the kids (and us).  After a while in these remote places there’s not much to do.  Today we started out with a nice walk with our coffee, then smelled the aroma of bacon cooking at the Cafe, then we shopped at the ship store (for the fifth time), then to the Cafe – where we ordered homemade biscuits with country gravy and bacon – for two – our total bill was $6.57.  Then back to the boat where we killed a few hours recapping our last few days, then back to the store to pick up a few things for the kids.  Back to the boat, back to the store and cafe……..and so on……..can’t say we got bored, but there’s not much else to do here – so we will head out in the morning for our next stop……..”Bumpus Mills”…………….look that up!

Rain Day in Paducah (Aug 24)

The moments before sunrise are always captivating.

   

Then within seconds the sun bears itself in splendor over the horizon…..

    

But today the warm sunshine soon gave way to the rain on the Ohio…..

  

After the grueling travel day yesterday, and after seeing rain in the forecast, we decided to take an extra day in Paducah as a rain day.  We grabbed our umbrellas and headed out.  The ramp from the dock was steep and the historic downtown area of Paducah was right there at the crest…..

  

We were too late for the farmer’s market, but the National Quilt Museum was near.  Just 2 blocks from the Ohio River, it brings quilting art and history to over 100,000 people from 40 countries annually.    

These commemorative statues represent those who helped Lewis and Clark on their travels to the Pacific Ocean.

    

The Market House Museum is Paducah’s only general history museum.  It houses artifacts from Paducah’s historic heritage, from the Native American residents through its founding by famous explorer William Clark in 1827.

   

We enjoyed our walk through the charming historic downtown area, and of course – did a little shopping.

   

DOE’S EAT PLACE  was the most recommended in town so that’s where we had dinner.  We had homemade beef tamales, homemade garlic buttered bread, steamed vegetables and the best filet with blue cheese sprinkles ever!

    

Robert was docked near us on his 39′ Mainship Trawler, “Dream Quest”.  He completed the loop several years prior.  It’s always fun to meet up with other loopers.

   

The floodwall in downtown has protected Paducah for 72 years.  It extends 13 miles, 3 miles of concrete and is 14 feet high.

By the time we returned to make our descent back down to the docks the rain had subsided and sun was starting to peak out again.

    

RANDOM:  Robert found this little clown after Katrina flooded New Orleans.  It is now his mascot.

Travel Day – Missouri to Paducah (Aug 23)

The fog was thick when we awoke at Hoppies, but by the time we checked our options, charted our maps, looked at the weather apps and had our oatmeal and juice – the fog lifted and we had a beautiful sunrise for our departure.

    

Today we had many options…

  • Travel 41 miles and tie up to the Kaskaskia River Lock wall – no electricity, no internet, no water
  • Travel 109 miles to the Little River Diversion Channel and anchor – no power, no internet, no water
  • Travel 137 miles to Brown’s Chute and anchor out – no amenities while on anchor
  • Travel 157 miles to anchor out at Cairo, where the Mississippi and the Ohio Rivers converge at Angelo Tow-head
  • Reminder – The Mississippi trash was abundant!
  • Or if all goes well, continue on……

We made such good time we decided to go all the way to Paducah, Kentucky – we could make it there by 4:00 “if all goes well”.  At Cairo we made a hard port turn (left) and into the Ohio River and against the current – which slowed us down by at least 3-4 mph.

    

It would ultimately be a long travel day……

    

We tracked our travels on “Nebo”….

   

….told the grand-kids we got run over by a train….

The first lock let us right through without even securing a line. The current was pushing us around but we managed thorough.

    

The second lock was only 4 miles from where we would dock in Paducah.  The lock master had us go to the “Kentucky side” of the river and anchor while he let several tows and barges go down.  Each barge takes about 45 minutes to an hour.  We anchored, made barbecue sandwiches and potato salad, and made the best of it.

Here we sat – anchored out – just yards from the lock and a few miles from our dock for the night in Paducah, Kentucky.  And here we sat for over three hours.  It was beginning to get dark and we were starting to get nervous when the lock master finally hailed us on the radio that we could enter the lock – “Pleasure boat Kara Mia, this is Lock 52, please proceed to the locking chamber – pull around barge Miss Lucy on your starboard and enter slowly”.  We locked through and ultimately arrived at the the Paducah City Docks before dark.

    

Today we traveled 206 miles and 12.5 hours.  On an average day we travel 40-50 miles.  We left Hoppies in Missouri at 7:30 am and arrived in Paducah, Kentucky at 8:00 pm.  It was our longest travel day of our 7,000+ mile trip so far!

Hoppies in Kimmswick (Aug 22)

Our first lock out of Alton (The Melvin Price Lock) was within sight of the marina so we called the lock master to see if the lock would be accessible on our arrival.  They said “come on”.  As we approached, we were joined by looper boat, “Miss Daisy”.  Once inside the lock there were issues with the rear door not securing.  They opened it – and closed it – and opened it – and closed it – and opened it – well, you get the picture.  We were in the lock for over an hour until it finally secured and we were allowed to lock through.

    

We would pass through the last two locks on the Mississippi today.  They are the largest – with two chambers each – one for commercial boats and one for recreational boaters.

We followed Miss Daisy further down to the “Chain of Rocks” canal entrance, where the Missouri River meets the Mississippi River.  The Chain of Rocks canal is not very scenic, although we did have eagle sightings, and the lock is at the end of the nearly 10 mile canal and commercial mooring ground.

    

As we exited the lock and approached the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, we knew we were very close to St. Louis.  One must appreciate the beauty of the architect of the Stan Musial Bridge.

    

St. Louis’ waterfront is not a compliment to the city, with its rugged bridges and industrial rust on the river’s banks.  The river around St. Louis was congested with barge traffic which kept our pace down a bit.  In the distance we could see the “Gateway to the West”.  The Gateway Arch is another architectural wonder and an amazing sight from the water’s perspective.

        

    

    

We were soon past St. Louis and its commercial activity and into the fury and the current and the flotsam of the raw uncontrolled river.  The swift current of the Mississippi gave us several extra miles per hour and great fuel economy!  Too bad we didn’t have that the first 6,000 miles!  After the final two locks on the Mississippi, without the control of the locks, it turns into a wild and raging river!  There are no more locks (on the Mississippi) from here to the Gulf of Mexico.

    

Hoppies is a must stop for loopers as it is the last stop for fuel for the next 200 miles.  It also provides all you need – fuel, electric, water, a safe tie-up, and nearby Kimmswick for shopping and dining.  Hoppies is not actually a dock, but rather several old rusty barges tied together – with a rather eclectic collection of junk and stuff all over the place.  It has been described as “rustic docking conditions”, but is an iconic slice of Americana!

Hoppies is half the size as it was when we were through here a couple of years ago due to sunken barges – that are still underwater about a hundred yards down river.  They are still uncertain as to why they sank and unfortunately, much of that neat junk is now at the bottom of the Mississippi.

                

It was a scenic quarter-mile walk to Kimmswick….            

    

Our first stop was at “The Blue Owl”.  You must have lunch at The Blue Owl, a restaurant and bakery – best known for their homemade desserts!  And check out their display!  We ordered white chili, hamburger soup, a tossed salad, shrimp and asparagus quiche, a reuben sandwich and a smoked turkey sandwich (each person gets to pick three items).  We left with full tummies for a walk around the fun little town of Kimmswick.

    

    

The roads in town are not paved and it was another walk back in time.  With lots of unique boutiques and stores, we did a bit of shopping.

    

The Anheuser Estate, of the Budweiser, Anheuser-Bush fame in St. Louis, was right here in Kimmswick.  It was the weekend home of Fred and Mabel.  From the water’s view, the Anheuser Estate, now a museum, was magnificent, but from the street side on Windsor Harbor Lane, it was even more so with its abounding landscape and horses and stables.

        

Last stop was at Smokee Robinson’s for some take-out barbecue – didn’t want to go hungry today!

        

The knowledge and legend of Fern and Hoppie is another looper must.  At the end of each day Fern and Hoppie (and their family) hold a briefing on the dock, sharing with us loopers all of the river and weather  information needed for the next few travel days.  When we got back to the dock four more looper boats had arrived.  There’s only room for five boats at Hoppies so you have to make reservations early!  We huddled around the homemade bar table and listened and took notes.

    

RANDOM:  Yes, I have a side by side washer and dryer on the boat, and yes I did use them numerous time on our trip!  And our headsets are often commented on.  Otherwise called “Marriage Savers”, they allow us to communicate with each other when not in sight and without a lot of screaming!

    

We are marina hopping for a few days now, a night here, a night there…..and it is with mixed emotions that we enter the final few weeks of our trip.  We miss the kids and grand-kids but are not quite ready to end this adventure…

Alton (Aug 21)

We waited at Port Charles for the UPS driver to deliver our last fuel filter (for the generator) while Paul, Dustin and Preston finished up in the engine room.  We were anxious to get on down the river!  It was a drizzly morning and we managed to get out around noon.  Alton was just about 20 miles down the Mississippi.  As we rounded the corner at the mouth of the Illinois, we could see Grafton in our rear view.

    

Palisades is the word used to describe a line of lofty, steep cliffs and interesting rock formations usually seen along a river – these majestic Mississippi Palisades live up to their name!

    

    

The number of barges being pushed by tows increased from 3 x 5’s (15 barges) to 6 x 7’s (42 barges), and as we boated down the river, water slides and churches lined the hillsides.

    

Along the way was the historical river landmark, “Our Lady of the Rivers”.  Our Lady of the Rivers is a shrine to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  The 25 foot statue of Mary, mounted on a 20 foot concrete pedestal, sits at the water’s edge looking across the Mississippi to the bluffs above Alton, Illinois.  This tall white statue gets its name from the fact that three major rivers:  Illinois, Missouri, and Mississippi, intersect within a few miles of the site – and is used for navigation, historical remembrance, and is the site of the annual Blessing of the Fleet.  The Blessing of the Fleet Parade is a big boating event that we were fortunate to witness while we were in Grafton.  For this annual tradition, hundreds of decorated boats gather from miles around to receive a blessing from the town priest, asking for Mary’s intercession to protect their vessels from harm.  After the blessing – the boats parade up the river to the nearby town of Grafton.

    

    

and now on to “The Alton Marina”…

We pass under The Clark Bridge (named after explorer William Clark – of The Lewis & Clark Expedition) to enter Alton Marina.  The $85 million dollar bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Mississippi River and is sometimes referred to as the Super Bridge.  We had many views of the impressive bridge from our boat – buy sunlight and moonlight, with the moon above and with clouds and boats.

    

    

Alton Marina is a great facility.  Among other amenities, they furnish big white fluffy towels and private baths for transients.

    

        

Alton was preparing for their anniversary celebration and party the coming weekend – but no boats had arrived yet.  With the exception of one transient sailboat, we had the whole dock to ourselves.  What a difference a day makes!

    

Wednesday…………………………………………..Friday…………………………………………………….

    

It was a short walk over the pedestrian bridge to town and to the Bluff City Restaurant for an early dinner.  Ron had chicken livers, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans and a salad.  Karen had “fried guacamole” (I don’t recommend fried guacamole).

       

After dinner we walked around to take in some sights of Alton.  Alton is another small quaint town of around 25,000.  The amphitheater was next to the marina, the old tire store is now an antique shop, and the Argosy Casino was nearby.  We didn’t let Santa out to play this time!

    

    

        

….and the sun set over Alton…..

    

RANDOM STUFF:   ? ? ?

Tomorrow – down the Mighty Mississippi!

Port Charles, St. Charles (Aug 19-20)

It was a long trip across the Illinois River to the Mississippi River.  Actually our travel today was only 5.5 miles from Grafton Harbor to Port Charles Harbor, where we had scheduled some maintenance.  We said goodbye to Bru and Sandy (and Coconuts) and headed across.  Grafton Harbor Marina was in Illinois on the Illinois River and Port Charles Harbor Marina was in Missouri on the Mississippi River.

    

    

After docking and settling in, we walked around the marina and a nearby campground.

        

We walked to the Duck Club Yacht Club for dinner.  The Duck Club next door, and the marina have a reciprocal agreement with guests which allowed us the use of their restaurant and facility.  We watched the sun go down over the Mississippi while we dined on gourmet pizza and beef kabobs.  Then a short walk back to Kara Mia where we would batten down for upcoming thunderstorms.

    

This little guy joined us in St. Charles and actually traveled with us for about a week.  I think we left him in Kentucky at Buzzard Rock.

    

We were awakened by thunderstorms at 4:00 this morning and more at 5:30, but the weather cleared and even cooled off a bit – a welcomed surprise!  Paul Sr, Paul Jr, Dustin, Preston and Taylor got busy early on our maintenance work.  Port Charles Harbor is family owned and operated and the best Volvo techs ever! They impressed us with their work two years prior when we were bringing Kara Mia home to Nashville.  After discovering “gunk” in our fuel filters, it was determined we had taken on bad fuel.  We already knew this because ever since a fill-up in Canada we had noticed a change in performance that gradually deteriorated – thus our maintenance work here.  Because our fuel lines were working against nature, they had to pull Kara Mia out of the water to drain the tanks and lines.  UGH….”it’s a boat”……(we use the term frequently).

        

With an oil, fuel and filter change, they had us up and running in no time, and as you see on the map – back to our optimum 39 mph!  We were ready to roll!

Not only do they have excellent technicians, but Port Charles also has very talented body work and fiberglass specialists who are able to turn a wreck into something creative.  The dragons and pirate ships and sharks are actual boats created here and are used in boat parades and for parties.

    

    

    

RANDOM STUFF:  “Linda” is a good friend of ours….and our other friends Allen and Sharon are joking about naming their new boat “He Didn’t Ask”…..so we thought “She Said Yes” might be inspiring.