September 28, 2012

Day 14 - September 27, 2012: A Disappointment in St. Louis

We left Alton early to get to Hoppies which is the last marina with fuel on the Mississippi before we turn up the Ohio River. This is no problem for us as we have only used about 1/3 of a tank on the entire trip so far! I love the American Tug because, although we were going with the current, I was getting up to 10 mpg.

It was overcast and rainy, and we passed through St. Louis with great disappointment. Fortunately, we have visited here before and toured the city and the Arch. On the other hand, this picture is unique in its own way. How many others can show just 1/3 of the Arch shrouded in fog to their friends?

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Fern Hopkins, the owner of Hoppie's Marina, is famous for giving a briefing daily at 4:30 to loopers who are concerned about the long next leg either because of fuel or the need to locate a suitable anchorage. Since the Mississippi is very low, most of the anchorages are silted in and unusable. Despite years on the river, she was really hard-pressed to give us much hope. We were fortunate to have found a blog of a couple traveling with 4 boats just ahead of us and got a good tip on a location behind a wing dam.

Hoppies Marina - Quaint but you get fuel and good advice
A wing dam is a rock and sand pier that sticks out into the river from one side or the other and serves to slow the current near the edge and divert the water into the main channel. This increases the velocity of the water in the main channel and helps keep it deeper so the tows can get through. Unfortunately, it also causes increased silting in the side channels and bayous off the main channel reducing the depth of the entrance and keeping pleasure craft from using them as anchorages.

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