Although Misty Pearl isn’t a houseboat per se, she’s a boat and she’s our house. Houses need refrigerators. Yesterday morning ours stopped working. Just a perfect way to start what had to be a record-hot day. Fortunately we have good cell service to make it easy to call around for help, right? Nope. Apparently Verizon didn’t throw up some new towers since Monday. Oh well, this stuff happens. We pitched all our cold food and started looking for options. At least we can party in “The Key West of the Midwest.” Just look at all that action.
In fairness, yesterday was a Tuesday. And ungodly hot. Not surprising that folks chose to stay inside. We ventured out long enough to eat lunch at a reclaimed loading dock, which cleverly was named “The Loading Dock.” One of the coolest venues we’ve seen so far, right at the confluence of the Illinois and the Mississippi. That’s right. We just ran the entire length of the Illinois River. Check that bad boy off the bucket list.
On the way back from lunch, we saw an empty Chicago tour boat pulling in to get fuel at our marina. Hmmm. We recalled that the current was swift and the safe water was narrow when we came in. How’s he going to make it? Turns out he didn’t. After two tries he gave up, but smashed the dock in the process. By that point we were back at the boat and turned on the VHF just to listen to the fun. The captain was trying to flee the scene of the crime but they called him back upstream. The cops even showed up.
Later we shuttled up the mountain with 4 other Looper boats and had dinner at the Aerie Winery. The views were fantastic. The company was even better.
This morning after a leisurely breakfast that didn’t involve eggs, cheese, or any of the other stuff we had to throw out when the refrigerator decided to quit, we took off for Alton, just a few miles down the Mississippi. Old Man River. Big Muddy. Whatever other nicknames there are that we can’t recall. We’re on the mother of U.S. rivers now.
The Mississippi shore started looking almost like the Hudson River valley, with bluffs and cliffs. Things were looking great. We’ve even picked up enough current to push us along at a blistering 10.5 knots. We were outrunnng the carp. Yup, things were looking great.
The first sign of trouble was when we looped back under the Highway 67 Bridge and swirling current caught us unaware. We managed to fight that off, but the depth gauge went to 4.8 feet very quickly. That can’t be right. The marina knows we draw 5 feet. We made it to the fuel dock and enjoyed witty banter with Second Wave and Sabbatical, who pulled in behind us. We mentioned to the marina guy that we were concerned about depth. No worries, he said. 5.5 feet all the way to our spot at the end of J dock. Perfect. We’ll just take her slow and easy.
5.5 feet became 5 feet. Then 4.5 feet. Then the depth gauges flatlined. Can’t steer in a foot of silt. Thrusters don’t work in a foot of silt. The guy in the sailboat brought his dinghy over to push our bow like a tug pushing a barge. That got the bow around, but our butt was settling in for the winter. Much jockeying, pulling, and pushing later, we got close enough to tie off in the shadow of giant third-grade string art.
Now they tell us the pool dropped a foot or more very quickly. We’re stuck here—literally—until they get more water. That will be next week at the earliest.
We suppose it’s all part of the adventure. As Marty Feldman famously noted in Young Frankenstein, “It could be worse. it could be raining.” Then it started raining. Crap. Now things really couldn’t get any worse. It brought to mind a sign we photographed during our interminable stay in Deltaville. This is the perfect time to share it.
However, as generally is the case, things turned around. Dana and the boys napped. The sun came out again. The swimming pool was cool. The drinks were cold. We joined a massive crowd of Loopers on the shore. We walked to a nice dinner with Brent and Karen. We even got a new refrigerator ordered and we have time here to receive it. Life is good again after all.