Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to move on

It is Thursday morning, maybe, I can’t keep track anymore. It is 60 degrees not a cloud in the sky and calm winds. Can I ask for more? The forecast is sunny 82 and light winds.

Here are some pictures Diana took around the Marina. They show only a portion of this large marina. If you are interested check for better picture and details of this lovely place. Our boat is just to the left of the blue roofed marina building. The tall building is the Commonwealth Yacht Club.

Tuesday and Wed. have been busy days in the harbor. There is an endless list of small projects that have taken up two days. Diana did laundry, some cleaning, put Wd40 in a couple of window tracks that where sliding hard. I spent time do the big blog entry and I hauled out both anchor lines and flaked then out on deck to dry. We had the GTB mechanic, Jeff, come down and do 50 hour checks on the engines, including oil and filter changes, transmission fluid change (with filters). I also called the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a very nice gentlemen was able to come over and do a vessel safety check. We passed and got our certificate. Now if we are stopped on the water they won’t want to inspect everything there.

Late yesterday afternoon our friends the Kilanders from Wisconsin arrived and are going to spent about a week with us. We will drop the anchor a couple of nights then find another marina to stop at.

This morning the girls are going grocery shopping and Chookie and I will do a little repair work and finish cleaning the boat, then hopefully by noon we will be out on the water. I don’t know when we may an internet connection again so it may be a few days before the next update.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The numbers are in

One of the primary reasons we bought this boat was because of the projected fuel economy of the small Yanmar diesels. Today we filled the fuel tanks for the first time since the initial fill.

We have run 30 miles around the St Charles area then 310 miles from St Charles to Green Turtle Bay Marina in Kentucky. In addition to the 340 miles we had seven hours on the generator.

The fuel fill was 95.4 gallons. If we allow the 5.4 for the generator we did 340 miles on 90 gallons or 3.78 miles per gallon. This is right in the neighborhood that we expected and we are extremely pleased.

The number is open to some interpretation, we had a net current assist with more favorable current on the Mississippi then hindering current on the Ohio and Cumberland. We also ran wide open for a period of time on the Ohio that we know reduce fuel economy.

I'll take this set of numbers as they are, be pleased, and wait and see what the next numbers are.

A Letter of Appreciation

The trip we are on and the trip to Canada next year have been a long time dream of mine. The first step in fulfilling the dream was to get the right boat.

We think we have accomplished that portion of the dream. It was done with great support and help from the people at Wahoo Marine Sales and the Gibson Boat people.

Scott Bachman and Tom Stiefvater of Wahoo were wonderful to work with. They took the time to answer any and all question. When we wanted something a little different they and the factory worked hard to please us.

With three diesel engines, two complete electrical system (12 volt and 110) and a complete cabin with full galley and two marine heads, it is understandable that there has been a few minor issues, however everyone involved has worked very hard to make sure they were corrected as quickly as possible.

Through the entire process we have always felt the most important thing to everyone involved was that we were satisfied and happy.

In this day and age when customer service is just two meaningless words, the customer service from both Gibson and Wahoo has been outstanding.

Both Diana and I consider the people we have worked with to be new friends and would recommend to anyone that is looking for a boat of the floating home type that they should look at Gibson Boats and talk to Wahoo about either a new or used Gibson.

Again thank you to everyone.

George Hill

Monday, May 26, 2008

We Are Off

Remember you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it. Then use the browser back button.

Friday, May 23, 2008
Since we had a relatively short day planned for today we had our breakfast got cleaned up (still connected to shore power) and got underway at 8:20. The planned called for two locks and 63.5 miles to a place called Hoppies.

This eagle stands guard over the entrance to Polestar Marina where we have been for the last two weeks.

Shortly after leaving we passed the Grafton Ferry. It had been not operating for several weeks because of high water and had just gone back into service the day before. While out of service it had been docked close to us at Polestar.

Portage Des Sioux was nearly flooded in 1951 but the water didn't reach the town. In thanksgiving for this they erected a large shrine along the river.

The locks are the last two on the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf. They are very busy. The Illinois River joins the Mississippi before the first one and the Missouri joins just after the first lock. They each have two chambers, the main is 110 by 1200 feet, and the auxiliary is 110 by 600. By comparison the Hastings and Red Wing are both 110 by 600. In the larger locks a tow of 3 wide by 5 long will fit in a single locking while on the smaller lock it must be broken in half and locks thru in two lockages.

The weather was not bad but still cool and windy enough that we choose to drive from the lower helm all day. The boat cruises at 8 mph at 1800 rpm and 9 at 1900. At these setting we get 4 and 3.5 mpg. We got out into the main channel and set the engines and away we went at 10.2 to 10.8 because of the aid of the current.

This is just a sample of the beautiful river bluffs along the way. Most are rather remote but there also many lovely home that I am sure have great views.

With the current we made the 21 miles to the Mel Price Lock in two hours. When we had it in site I called the lock on the VHF radio requesting lockage. He replied that the main chamber was busy but he would have the auxiliary ready by the time we got there. The gate was open and we drove right in. Because of the high water the drop at this lock was only one foot instead of the normal seven of eight. Because of this we were told to just float in the chamber rather than tying to the wall, this sounded good but turned out to provide some problems. There was a large tree trunk floating in the chamber right where the rear gates needed to close. It took about ten minutes before he was able to start closing the gates. There was about a ten mile and hour wind blowing with gusts to twenty and it was swirling in the lock chamber. The Captain worked hard to keep the boat of the wall of the lock only to find himself being blown into the wall on the other side. A couple of time he was not successful with the first dings to the new boat. Fortunately only to the rub rail that is designed to take this specific abuse.

By 10:40 we were on our way. It is then just a few miles to the Missouri joining and increasing the current. This is followed by a stretch of bad water known as chain of rocks. Since this is not passable a canal has been dug to bypass it. It is nine miles long with lock 27 at the south end. We obeyed the sign and entered the canal, no current, back to eight mph. By 11:45 we had two tows and the lock in sight. With the permission of the tow captain we went around him and I called the lock requesting passage. A very pleasant lady replied “Both chambers were closed she would record are request. There was no estimate of reopen.” I began to try and find an alternative. There are no marinas without going back up thru the previous lock and recommended anchorages. We pulled over to the side of the canal and dropped a short anchor to hold position while we waited. We listened to the radio traffic as the lock communicated with the work the divers where working out of and to a third tow behind us and three tow upbound request passage. After about half an hour the lock announced that the auxiliary lock was going back into service. Two upbound tows were advised they would be locked up first. One had only five barges and the other none so they both fit in a single lockage. She then began polling the down bound tows waiting with us. (Pleasure craft are last on the priority list.) All three agreed that they would have to break there tow and do a double lockage, all three chose to wait for the main chamber. The call then went out that the pleasure craft would be next, (Hey that’s us). We waited for the chamber to empty and by 1:30 we were on our way. Although we were delayed about an hour we thought ourselves very lucky, had we had to wait for 3 doubles it would have been over six hours.

Just after the lock the canal rejoins the main river and a very narrow river channel thru St Louis carries the combined flow of three rivers. At 1800 rpm we were doing 12.5 to 13 mph. We quickly saw the St. Louis skyline including the arch (in picture behind center of bridge span). Unfortunately there is no place for a pleasure craft to stop. Just south of St Louis the river is very commercial with huge barge fleeting areas.

Here is downtown thru the arch.

We were then two hours from Hoppies. At 4:00 we pulled up to the dock at Hoppies. “Hoppie Hopkins and his wife Fern run a very low key marina. They have a few locals that keep a boat there and provide the only place to stop and fuel for the next 230 miles. Their dock consists of four old deck barges lined up and securely anchored. You just tie alongside in five knots of current. Fern gives a briefing every afternoon on the barge, there is shelter and comfortable seating. She gives information of what to expect, dangerous parts of the river, choice of where you can anchor (they defer with water level) and other interesting information.

After our briefing we walked to the town of Kimmswick, less than half mile.

There are some interesting estates along the way and the town is a tourist town for day trippers from St Louis.

This one is not large but someone obviously loved stone work.

A grandson of the original Anheuser donate thiers to the city, the home is now a museum and the rest is used by Ride On St Louis for horse therpy for disabled children.

Fortunately by the time we got there all the souvenir shops were closed for the day. Unfortunately so was an excellent restaurant. We found a lovely sidewalk shop that had soup, salads and sandwiches.

After pleasant walk back to the boat Diana watched the pilot episode of Stargate 1.

All and all a good day.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

We had a quick breakfast and we were of the dock at Hoppies at 7:00. It was 109 miles of fast travel down river to a place called Little Diversion River. We set the engines at 1800 and did 12 plus to 13.5 mph.

We tried to teach the deck hands to drive but they showed no aptidute and less interest in it.

They huddled close together when we hit the big tow wakes.

The rest of the time they just sleeped on the job.
Notice they are sleeping in sync.

Laurie, notice how nice the new rug looks in the center of the cabin.

We saw a beautiful river with some lovely bluffs, both stone and tree covered, also several large quarry where stone bluffs become stone and main sizes of gravel and one producing cement.

We also saw the Coast Guard busy setting (resetting bouys).

Here is a sample of how fast the current was running.

This is Grand Tower Rock. When the water is down it is not an island. It is mentioned in the journals of the early explores.

This is the muriel on the Cape Giradeu sea levie. Notice the gates at either end that allow access to the river bank in low water but can be closed when the water gets really high.

By 4:00 PM we were into the Diversion Channel and dropping anchor. The channel was originally dredged to drain a large area of southeast Missouri to create farm land. They are just now beginning to replant some of the swamp forests. At low water it makes a great anchorage in about 10 feet of water in a quiet channel 150 feet wide. Today we have over thirty feet of water with the same width. I tried a short anchor but a couple of wind gust convinced me to lengthen it. Ten minutes later we had swung so that our stern was in the brush on the shore, (depth finder still showed 20 feet in the middle of the boat). I decide we had to have a stern anchor so I got out the spare and the spare rode (rope and chain for the none sailors) and we let out all 220 feet of the main anchor dropped the stern anchor then pulled are self forward so the boat was between the two anchors. Nice and secure right down the middle of the channel.
Diana went up on the mid deck to sit in the sun and read and enjoy the rest of a beautiful afternoon. Sunny and low 70s. After a light dinner I worked on this blog and Diana is watching another Stargate.

Another very good day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It was up early and get underway as quickly as possible knowing it was going to be our longest day. The plan was 49 miles more down the Mississippi to Cario, IL where we turn at start up the Ohio. Then it is 56 miles up the Ohio to the mouth of the Cumberland River where there is a towhead (island) with a channel behind it to anchor behind. Because of the difference in going down current then up the 48 miles took four hours and the 56 took nine hours.
We started by having to pull two anchors, first by letting the main anchor way out so the boat could be pulled back to recover the stern anchor (by hand) then pulling forward to recover the main anchor (I really love my new windlass). All went without a problem and we were underway at 6:20.
The trip down the Mississippi was more pretty scenery and lots of northbound tows. There were six or seven in the four hours we were going down river. For those of you that are not river boater, they are pushing a huge mass against the current, they are not going that fast so that don’t create much of a normal wake. However, since they have 6000 to 8000 horses turn large propellers they create a huge prop wash. This a standing wave at their stern that is 6 to 8 feet high. These waves roll in place for a half mile behind them and combine with the current and to make very turbulent conditions for five to ten minutes after they go by.

This pictures is the junction, left of the point is the Mississippi and to the right is the Ohio.

The second picture shows barges all over the river if you look closely.
At 10:30 we turned the corner at Cario, IL and started up the Ohio. Cario is a very busy commercial river with barges everywhere. The Ohio is a much wider river with some pretty stretches though with high water there was a lot of debris in the water that made for a lot of maneuvering.

Above Cario the Corp of Army Engineers is building a new lock and dam, the Olmsted Lock was started in the early nineties and will not be complete until 2013. When it is done it will replace two older locks (lock 52 and 53). The problem is that during the season the water level here varies by 40 to 50 feet and constructing a lock to work at the different levels is an engineering challenge.

The photo shows some of what is done so far, note the size of the lock towers compared to the crane and tow.
Lock 52 and 53 are old and a real bottle neck to barge traffic when the water is low. When the water is high they take section of the dam out (called wickets) and the traffic just goes around the lock. We motored right past both and the water was so high that the entire lock structure was below water.
The weather was perfect, a haze sun with temperatures in the mid 80s. The wind was what my sailing friends call one with occasional gusts to two.
This picture shows the width of the Ohio also the winds.
We went on past Metropolis, IL but Clark Kent was apparently out of town we didn’t see him. There continued to be heavy tow traffic with almost no recreational boats other than an occasional small runabout.
Next up was Paducah, KY which is also the junction of the Tennessee River.

This picture shows the Tennessee on the right and the Ohio on the left.

We continued on and at 7:30 we were at the junction of the Cumberland River and pulled in behind the Cumberland Towhead. Again because of the high water we found ourselves anchor in water that was 27 feet instead of 8 to 10. However, unlike last night there was a current of 2 to 3 mph and room to swing. It quickly became apparent that we had a solid anchor and we watched a beautiful sunset.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day to everyone. Today we need to run just 32 miles up the Cumberland to Green Turtle Bay Marina. There is one lock just before GTB. We had hoped to get a reasonable early start so that we could be in the marina by early afternoon.
We woke to a pretty sunrise but in the other direction it was very dark with lighting visible, you know which side won. We did a couple of chores around the boat and listen to the weather forecast say it should clear in a couple hours.
As I sit here in water 17 -18 feet higher than normal in a torrential downpour I am think that I need to get my nephew who is studying to be a minister to give me a full explanation of the biblical story of forty days and forty nights.

Finally about eight thirty it cleared. We (the windlass) hauled the anchor and headed up the river. The Cumberland is a very narrow mostly rural river in this stretch. It is easy driving, it is generally deep bank to bank, jus t keep it in the middle and follow the bends. We had the river to ourselves. In thirty miles we past one tow with no barges and then half a dozen fisherman, all in the last three miles.
The weather was not great, cloudy, near seventy with light winds and intermittent rain showers, but we had a nice last morning and Diana was very busy photographing the scenery and a great abundance of birds.

We saw several what we believe to be members of the volture family drying their wings (bird book is still in MN) maybe one of you can identify it for us.

The current was much less than the Ohio and we cruised along easily at about 8 mph. By 12:30 we had the lock in site and called him on the VHF. I told him we were about fifteen minutes out. He said the lock was up but he would empty it and be ready for us in about fifteen. We arrived throttled back and waited maybe two or three minutes and the gate opened and we got the green light. Diana went out in a light drizzle and caught the floating bollard without a problem. The gates closed and we were raised 42 feet (at normal water level it is 57). The gates opened and Admiral decides she would drive the boat out of the lock, so the Captain became the deck hand.

We radioed Green Turtle Bay Marina and (we called yesterday and reserved a slip) and they told us where the slip was and we motored in and two friendly dock hands helped us into the slip. After four fun but long days we are here and ready to relax. There is much to do, wash the boat, laundry, wash the other half of the boat, fuel up, fill the water tank, (empty the other tank) wash the third and fourth halves of the boat but it can all wait until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It Is Time to Go

Wednesday was a quiet day. We made a trip (the last) to town . A few items each from Target and Home Depot, a few last boat supplies from West Marine then Sam’s and IGA for lots of groceries. By the time we good it all aboard and Diana got things put away she said “shopping is really a lot of work”.

Our part for the engine came in as promised and Scott came by to install it. Once it was on and the coolant topped off we decided the only thing to do was test it out. The day had been lovely, not a cloud in sight, mid 70s and light wind. We went out for about an hour’s ride down river which is an area we hadn’t seen before. The engine temperature was fine the entire time and there was no sign of leakage when we got in.

Today was cool and it rained off and on all day. Lots of little chores, Diana did wash, I did several boat projects, checked all of the engine fluids. My brother has been getting our mail since we left and he forwarded the first batch of important mail, it arrived today. So Diana finally got her Mother’s day cards and I got a couple of bills to pay.

I called the marina we will stay at tomorrow night and the one we are headed for in Lake Barkley, everything looks good there. The river level is down over three feet from its high and going down rapidly and the weather forecast for the weekend looks great. No reason left not to leave.

So tomorrow, Friday, we will finally be headed down river. We plan it as a four day trip. Friday night will be at a transient marina tied to a string of anchored barges, Saturday will be at anchor in a channel off the Mississippi, Sunday we will anchor behind an island where the Cumberland meets the Ohio, and then Monday will be a short day to Lake Barkley.

I don’t expect to have internet access until Monday, so don’t look for the next entry before Monday night or Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting close to Leaving

After our busy weekend, we had a quite Monday. We did some business, checked with three local marinas about the availability of winter storage when we come back in the fall and arranged to have our important mail forwarded to us here before we leave.

A warranty claim was filed with Yanmar on our overheating problem. Since they don’t have an authorized dealer in the area they authorized Scott the president of Wahoo Marine to look into the problem and see if he could fix it.

One of the other boats Wahoo sold this spring is a 59 foot 16 wide that went to two brothers and their wives. The four McGees plan to spend the next two years living aboard and traveling on the boat. Since they are planning to stay in this area for a few months before heading south they took a slip at another marina just down the way. They are just outside the office where we checked on winter storage so we walked over and visited since we had meet them at the factor but had not seen them since nor seen their completed boat. They indicated that Scott was coming by that evening to help them move the boat back to Polestar where we are so they could have a windlass like ours installed.

About 5:30 the McGees and Scott came into the harbor. We help get them tied up and then Scott can over to look at our engine. After getting a protective shield over the alternator belt off , it was obvious what the problem was, a coolant hose was installed or had shifted so that it was rubbing on the belt. It had cut a hole in the hose causing a coolant leak thus the overheating. Scott called for a replacement hose to be overnighted and it should be here Wednesday.

After that we joined the McGees on their boat for a bite to eat. Tonight they were here for a grilled turkey breast sandwich.

Today was busy with making lists of all the little things that need to be done before we leave then trying to cross off as many as possible. Diana also had time to get her paints outs and start on a small new painting.

Tomorrow will be a last trip to town for final shopping then Thursday will be laundry, fill the water tank, test drive the fixed engine and everything else on the do before departure list. The water levels are going down, the weather forecast looks good and assuming the engine is running we plan to leave for Lake Barkley first thing Friday AM.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend on the Water

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday was a mostly a relaxing, take it easy day. The Captain was not feeling well (24 hour stomach flu?), so we just took it easy. Terry B. stopped by and got the kill switches on the bridge working.

Diana did get a great picture of our neighbor the” Belle of the Night”. It was early morning and the sky was heavily overcast with the sun shine under the edge of the clouds is the coloring is the way it is. It makes the boat look a lot better than she really is. The marina owner bought it and has fixed it up and resold it. It is just a barge that is tied to shore as a party place. I understand that it has three dance floors, five bars and a private club on the top floor. It is too big to fit in the marina harbor so it is tied up out on the river bank.

Today was great. A gorgeous morning, upper 50s with 10 to15 mph wind with lots of sunshine and a promise of 80. We got the boat cleaned up, the fly bridge had not been cleaned since we got here and it needed it.

Just before noon it was already near 70 so we cast off from the dock and headed out for a couple days on the water. We have not used the windlass on the boat and I wanted to make sure it was working properly and I understand how to use it before we head down river and have to anchor out three nights getting to Lake Barkley. We left the marina and went just a mile or so and anchored beside an island. The windlass worked fine both down and up. While we were anchored we had lunch.

After lunch and getting the anchor up with ease we headed up the Dardenne Slough. A slough is a secondary river channel separated from the main channel by an island (or several islands). The Dardenne is about eight miles long and very useable by pleasure craft. The marina we are at is at the south end so we went all the way to the upper end slowly, turned around and headed south at a much faster rate. With the same power setting we went up river at 4.5 mph and came back at over 10.

I little side story here. In 1953 when the Hill family moved from St Paul to Mahtomedi to a lovely house on the lake, one of my (unnamed) sisters, about eight, was terribly disappointed. She had heard we were moving to a house on the lake and it wasn’t anywhere near on the lake, 200 feet back and way up on the hill. I am wondering if this picture is what she had in mind.

About half way back down the slough we pulled into a little side chute and anchored again. I am really getting to like this windlass. The chute is about 100 yards wide between two islands that are both heavily wooded. Diana is having a great time sitting on the fly bridge with the binoculars watching lots of birds she doesn’t see in Minnesota. This has produced the first calamity of the trip, she left all her bird books in Minnesota.

We had a light dinner, than took sherbet and cookies to the bridge to watch the sunset and a near full moon rise in the cloudless sky.

Then a third of a mile behind us, at the St Louis Yacht club across the channel a band started up for the evening on the outdoor patio. As my dad once said “a modern amplified band sounds pretty good across a half mile of water.” The music made me thing of BLUE STEEL and my friend Johnny K.

When the Admiral was driving she looked like she was almost enjoying this boating trip.

This will get posted in a day or two when I again have WiFi access

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We spent a reasonably peaceful night at anchor; we could still here the band with cabin closed up but they didn’t play too late. Anchored in 3 knots of current, there was a fair amount noise from water against the hull. We both awoke a couple times during the night.

The morning dawned clear and calm with an upper 50s temperature. It quickly warmed to the upper sixties and we spent a laze morning enjoying a quiet anchorage and watching the birds. We also got a couple more little projects done.

About 10:30 we decided it was time to move on, we upped the anchor (I am really learning to appreciate the windlass) and headed out into the channel with the intention of running on down river a few miles past our marina and sticking our bow up the Illinois river a couple miles, then return where we anchored for lunch yesterday for another anchoring practice.

It wasn’t meant to be. By the time we got just past our marina the wind was blowing 15 gusting 20 to 25 mph and our port engine was overheating. We quickly turned around and shut down the engine to give it a chance to cool. We decide enough for the day and headed in, the engine was cool enough to run it for the docking. With a new boat and the strong winds the docking was more excitement then either of us care for, but we got in just fine and after one false start made a very good landing.

We then went next door to the marina where the boat salesman lives and joined him and all his friends in a casual afternoon dock party. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life is Great

Yesterday was cool and drizzling much of the day so we finished up some indoor projects then went shopping. We finally bought a small flat screen TV and VCR/DVD player for the boat. Diana has a collection of old movies that she brought along. We got everything hooked up and then watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers last night.

Today started a little cool and cloudy (we had rain overnight) but quickly cleared up with the temp getting into the upper 70s again. Diana did a couple of loads of laundry this morning while I started on the remaining outside projects. I got the dinghy down and with the supervision of the Admiral put the name on the back of the boat.

This picture shows the name completed with the dinghy down but still attached to the davits.

This picture shows the dinghy up and covered, and shows the name on the bottom of the dinghy that I described in an earlier post.

The other day I had a quick ride in the dinghy with the guy we bought it from but Diana had not tried it yet. So after lunch since the dinghy was already down and it was a beautiful day we went for a dinghy ride. We went about a mile and half up river to another large marina where some of the people associated with Wahoo Marina keep their boats. We slowly cruised through the marina looking at the boats and enjoying some of the creative names.
On the way back Diana took a couple of pictures of the water front homes along the river. They all appear to have “flow thru” basements, since the current level is about an every five year occurrence. The 1993 record was sixteen feet higher, ouch.

We also went by this sixty footer cruising down river without a crew on board. It certainly could mess up a boat if you didn’t see it.

When we got back Terry Bachman , Scott’s dad and very capable boat technician was on board. When we were out Monday for Diana’s driving lesson we drove from the fly bridge for the first time. Diesel engines do not stop when you turn the key off, you must also push a kill button. Well the kill buttons on the fly bridge didn’t work. We had to use the ones at the lower helm. That was why Terry was here he was trying to make everything right.
It is now after dinner and we are sitting enjoying a beautiful warm, calm evening.

In an earlier post I mention the kitties exploring the boat. Here is a picture of Oreo, Cheif Inspector, checking out Diana's closet drawer while she turned around to get something to put in it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Great Day

Monday was a wonderful day. It started cool, calm and clear. By late morning it was 70 degrees and reached the upper 70 in the afternoon. No wind over 5 mph all day and not a cloud in site.

Finally able to get to outside projects. I got the new grill assembled. We got the old name of the bottom of the dinghy and "Memories" put on the bottom.

A word of explanation. We have Coast Guard documentation rather than state registration. So instead of "MN 1234 XY" we must display on the back of the boat "Memories, St. Paul, MN" Since we carry the the dinghy on its side on the swim platform it covers the name therefor we must also have it on the bottom of the dinghy.

About 5:00 Scott Bachman, the President of Wahoo Marine (the Gibson dealer) showed up and we went out for about an hour driving lesson for Diana. She took the boat out of the harbor, up river, turned around came back in and docked at the fuel dock. George got to be deck hand, he still hasn't taught the cat to jump to the dock with the line and wrap it around the cleat. After Diana caught her breath we cast off, turned around (in a very tight harbor) went out and down river a mile (it goes by quick with 5 knot current) turned around and came back and docked the boat.

Diana says it is going to take a lot of practice but Scott says she did very good for a first lesson. The deck hand was so busy that he forgot he should be getting pictures, (next time).

We then end a great day grilling chicken breasts on the new grill. Life doesn't get much better than today, if the river would just go down.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Rain

Here are the pictures of what we arrived to find. This is basically the same as the photo in the earlier post, notice that in the earlier post the ramp to the boat had a good decline, now it is almost flat. In the first photo the water was high now it is five feet higher.

This photo is looking across the way at the next marine. Everything beyond and to the left of the nearest power poll is where the boaters normally park their cars. The salesman that sold us the boat lives aboard one of the boats, he says he is getting tired of having to get ashore to his car on a wave runner, especially when you forget something and have to go back.

We continue to make good progress in getting the boat organized, but the weather has not been very helpful. It is now Sunday evening (Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers) and the sun finally came out and the wind is beginning to calm down. Last night a front moved in with heavy rain all night and wind 30 to 35 gusting 45 and above. The rain stopped but the wind continued most of the day today. Driving into town this morning there where large white caps in the corn fields (not good).
The river was going down and forecast to be five feet lower next week, now the forecast is for very little change in the next week. It continues to flow by here at over 2 million gallons per second. I know that all our friends at White Bear would love to have 10 or 15 minutes of that water to help with the low lake level.
Tomorrow is forecast to be 70+ and sunny, so we can finish some of the outside projects that are left. There is an interesting population of birds we don’t usually see that is keeping Diana happy taking pictures. This heron likes to perch on a piece of drift wood, hung up right beside our dock. He is very skittish and takes flight at the first sign of movement.

Our departure for Kentucky is on hold until the water goes down but we hope to do some boating here in the local area if we get some nicer weather.

The internet connection I have been using is down tonight so this won’t get posted until sometime Monday.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back Aboard

We spent Wednesday driving another van lot of essential supplies to St Charles. This trip included the crew. Neither of the kitties have ever driven more than half an hour in the car. So, a ten hour trip was some day, but both did just fine. The drive was uneventful until the last 80 miles when it began to rain, then rain so heavy we almost pulled over to wait it out. Before we got to the boat it let up to just a steady drizzle.

We unloaded the kitties and they began a long night of exploring their new surroundings. We unload half the car and then we crashed, it was along day.

The worst of the rain was west of St Louis, with some areas getting over two inches Wed. This flows into the Missouri river then into the Mississippi down stream from where we are. The forecast for us is no higher than before just slower to go down.

It has been to wet and we have been to busy for pictures. I will try and post some tomorrow.