Alton (Day 49-50)

We’ve reached it! The Mighty Mississippi! No sign announced it. No blast of a horn. The water looked the same. 😉 But we watched the channel markers carefully, and grinned at each other as Mile Marker 0 on the Illinois merged with Mile Marker 218 of the Mississippi.

It felt like a milestone. And it is.

A pause now, to restock and organize and socialize. We will stay here, just 20 miles from St. Louis, for several days before heading into a long section of anchorages. This marina expects that of Loopers, and offers a “3-for-3” deal; pay for three nights, get three free. We took the deal.

Many Moons in her covered slip in the evening sun.

This is our first covered marina, which felt strange at first. It’s a place where family members and friends come to visit and Amazon packages are received and boat maintenance occurs. (Jeff put a swivel on the anchor and installed a new water pressure tank, and we hear some industrious banging at the boat next door.) We’ve received several packages, including a bicycle cart to carry groceries, a blue-tooth tracker for the cat, and a much-welcome VHF radio that is AIS-capable so we can “see” the commercial boat traffic.

I did two loads of laundry! That’s hardly “news,” but a part of boat life that has to be planned. (We keep a lot of quarters handy for the purpose.) Jeff took his bike into town to find the bike shop and hardware store — his first time using Google Maps by bike — while I took a slow jog on the waterfront, stopping to read signs that explain the history of flooding here.

This leisurely stop is also a great time to have real conversations with some of our new Looper friends, beyond weather and apps and next destinations. I miss meaty discussions. I was ready for that.

It’s still very hot, so I’m grateful for the marina pool. It sits on top of a barge like the rest of the infrastructure here, capable of rising with floodwaters when needed. This might be a floating marina, but it’s a clean and friendly one. The staff welcomes Loopers with open arms, even treating us (and others) to a live band and fireworks — and, tonight, “Yappy Hour,” featuring boating dogs.

The marina restaurant is tiny compared to our last port, but serves up tasty treats alongside friendly smiles. I’m happy to stay here awhile longer!

We passed this cruise ship en route from Grafton to Alton – one of our shortest legs, at just 17 miles.
Kittywake flew by us on the way to Alton. We haven’t seen them since Michigan, except for a wave from anchorage once. They were ahead of us for many days, and then we passed them. Loopers often play hop-scotch with each other this way.
Approaching Clark Bridge connecting Illinois to Missouri. It was under construction during the 1993 flood. Imagine that!
The Alton Marina is tucked behind a sea wall and is mostly covered, so we had trouble recognizing it at first.
This paddle wheel boat sits on the shoreline near our marina.
Friends June and Mike drove 2.5 hours across the state of Illinois to visit us. (Our fifth visit by someone on this trip.) We enjoyed craft beer at the Old Bakery Brewing Company. No, it doesn’t serve baked goods!
Some of the other Loopers, whopping it up at my request, at the marina’s evening festivities.
Tasha and Sebastian from Kittywake, and Joe from Seemore, returning to the marina with their bikes.
Mike and Ginny from Last Laugh (with Elsa) and Loren from Das Boot (with Zoey), backed their chairs up a bit from the live band so they could talk. The dogs went to “Yappy Hour” the next evening also.
Live music at the marina – again! (Our 6th time for this, I think.)
Clark Bridge at night, right next to the marina.
The water level is down now, but we see these reminders everywhere of what happens when it’s up.

4 thoughts on “Alton (Day 49-50)

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