All the angst about leaving Alton was for naught. We worked Misty Pearl back 20 feet, pushed her bow out, and plowed silt at 1800 rpms until we hit the channel. The water she was peeing through the pump was as clear as the muddy Mississippi can be. Sweet. The sailboat needed a jet ski AND a tow boat to get out, and another boat pumped mud into an engine and had to be towed back upstream to St. Charles, but we dodged any mishap. Probably a reward for our clean living.
Next hurdle was the Mel Price lock. We have no idea who this Mel Price guy was, but his lock is a canyon of swirly currenty crappy mess. We kind of tired of the long wait and may or may not have drifted into the current at the top gate a bit early. We pulled out of it, barely, but then started back in involuntarily. Abort! Oh crap, the current is so strong that even with full power we can’t move upstream away from the looming 1200′ x 20′ ugly concrete wall. Assume crash position everybody! Oh wait. Let’s put her in gear and see what happens. Whew. We made it in safely. Certain death and/or a lifetime of embarrassment avoided, and off towards St. Louis.
Along the way the Missouri River poured in beside us. Supposedly this creates crazy dangerous cross-current but somehow we missed it. The Missouri is famous as the path taken by Meriweather Lewis and whatshisname Clark as they explored the West. How they went upstream remains a mystery, but keeping the engine in neutral probably wasn’t part of it. Hard to believe some poor bastards had to row. The Missouri also is famous for that time The Outlaw Josey Wales shot the ferry rope and sent the union carpetbaggers on a boatride.
We wanted to swap photos with Second Wave like we did at the Statue of Liberty, but time was a wastin’. Fortunately there’s a webcam, so we took a screen shot instead. The couple posing for selfies probably didn’t know about the webcam—or Misty Pearl—but that’s us framed on the river. Hard to tell who photo-bombed who.
Through St. Louis and the locks, tugs, tows, and barges were everywhere. One of them announced a load of pig iron. Which is funny all by itself. Pig iron, pig iron. He was here to do some business with the pig iron on his ship*.
As expected, it was a long day. But we made it to the lock wall on the Kaskaskia River. This is pretty close to where Popeye is from. Yup. That Popeye. We got there just in time to watch a really bad football game. The only good thing was that Steve from Sabbatical was 100 miles away.
The tough part of today always was going to be the first 100 feet. That went better than expected. Tomorrow is another long day, with anchoring out the only option. Hopefully that’ll go as smoothly. Either way, tonight we get a sunset and a good night’s sleep.
*Apologies to Marty Robbins and to everyone who reads this silliness.