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Day 17

Location: Anchored in “Little Diversion Channel”, Mile 48.8, Upper Mississippi River

Distance Travelled Yesterday: 96 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance: 667 Nautical Miles

Yesterday was a long one, made so by the total lack of facilities or even places to anchor along this stretch of the Mississippi. Knowing we had just under 11 hours of daylight to cover 110 statute miles at about 10 mph, I was up early looking for first light. As soon as I could make out the opposite bank of the river, around 6:10 am, we were off. Fortunately, we had strong currents and were making close to 12 mph or 10 knots all day.

It was rainy and cold with some lightening on the horizon to the south when we headed out. I have an astonishing little Garmin handheld GPS which displays weather radar received from XM satellite Radio so I could see that we were on the backside of a line of thunderstorms that should soon move on to our east. Even so, we had a light drizzle most of the day.

This stretch of river is quite desolate but there are areas of strip mines, plants and shipping terminals crowded with barge traffic. We passed a few small towns but none have any docks or shore facilities for pleasure boats. There is consistent tug and barge traffic and we overtook or passed probably 15 or 20 tugs yesterday. They use enormous tugs in this part of the world, both to accommodate a large crew and to push crazy numbers of barges. The most barges pushed at a time are usually empty ones. Yesterday, I saw one tug pushing 36 empty barges, six across and six deep.

We spent the night in a little diversion channel called “Little Diversion Channel” about two miles below Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The lovely Laura Lee is the second good cook in a row I’ve had as crew and we had a wonderful dinner of grilled veal tenderloin, snow peas and potatoes.

While the town has no dockage, it does have a small fuel dock which only can be used when purchasing fuel. Since we need a few supplies, we’re going back upstream a couple of miles this morning to buy fuel (which we don’t really need yet) so that, while I’m fueling, the lovely Laura Lee can run to the store for a few minutes. Then we’ll head back south. We have 50 more miles to go on the Mississippi, 58 miles up the Ohio River, and then about 32 miles on the Cumberland River to Green Turtle Bay where we plan our next crew change

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