Community (Day 53-54)

Docktails at Alton Marina At least 22 boat crews came to "docktails" (dockside social hour) tonight, our last evening in Alton, Ill. After the sun set, we hosted four boaters in our salon, lit by my solar flames, while snacking on Scotch Eggs that we made in the air fryer. Hosting visitors on Many Moons … Continue reading Community (Day 53-54)

St. Louis (Day 52)

"And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." - T.S. Eliot That sounds like a Looper motto to me! I wonder if, at the end of this trip, I will know myself "for the first time?" A curious question, perhaps, but … Continue reading St. Louis (Day 52)

Bridges, Barges & Giggles (Day 51)

Full Moon atop Clark Bridge. When a full moon meets the apex of a cable bridge, it looks like a spotlight.A 5x3 barge tow carries as much as 1,000 semi trucks.Loopers on a bus named Shittzengiggles do, in fact, giggle. Those are three things I learned during our third day in Alton, Illinois on the … Continue reading Bridges, Barges & Giggles (Day 51)

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 … Continue reading Alton (Day 49-50)

Where Rivers Meet (Grafton, Day 47-48)

Illinois meets Mississippi We aren't quite there yet, but we're close. "There" is another milestone on The Great Loop: The Mighty Mississippi. You hear about it for months in advance. You worry about it a bit (at least I do) ... the giant barges and the big currents. We got a glimpse of it when … Continue reading Where Rivers Meet (Grafton, Day 47-48)

To Quiver Island (Day 45)

The water level is down. More on that later. First, the eagles. I see bald eagles often at my rustic camp on Lake Superior. I hear them even more often. I've missed that, so it was cool to hear and see them today at our anchorage just inside Quiver Island after covering 43 miles of … Continue reading To Quiver Island (Day 45)

To Peoria (Day 44)

Ah, Peoria ... Main Street America! It's 2200 (10 p.m.) on Saturday night, still about 80 degrees. I'm writing this from the free city dock alongside the waterfront park, where an outdoor band is playing. It's a pretty bad band. This amuses rather than irritates me. On any typical warm Saturday night in any typical … Continue reading To Peoria (Day 44)

Old Locks and Asian Carp (Day 43)

Another first. The Mainship Many Moons rests tonight against the 150-year-old remains of an old lock in the small town of Henry, Ill. We're tied up to loops of rebar, a metal reinforcement put into concrete. The crumbling wall creates steps to get on and off the boat. We have electricity here, and a porta-pottie, … Continue reading Old Locks and Asian Carp (Day 43)

Heartland History (Day 42)

One of our goals for The Great Loop is to get to know America better, and remember its history. We have entered "America's heartland." We are in Ottowa, Ill., the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate. Seven debates took place between the two men vying for the Republican nomination. Abe Lincoln won and became one … Continue reading Heartland History (Day 42)

Alone On The River (Day 40)

And then the time comes to fly solo. Many Loopers travel together, sometimes by design and sometimes by happenstance. I was glad that veteran Loopers lead the way yesterday, our first "river day" -- just as I was glad for a buddy boat in Lake Superior. Today, we felt ready to go it alone. There … Continue reading Alone On The River (Day 40)