We did not take the boat down in the fall so we didn't bring it up in the spring. It was a bummer but Greg wanted to expand his factory and ended up tripling the size. He was really busy with that. We hauled out the boat and it stayed on land at Pier 1000 in St. Joseph, MI for the winter.
10/14/2007 - Sunday - 10:00 pm - Day one. We started off on the wrong foot, which for us is a good sign. We got up early and Greg got some of the work done that he needed to do and I got the inside of the boat cleaned up. We met Carol and Glen for a wonderful breakfast then went back to the boat and continued to get ready. Greg had more work to do and I went to the grocery to pick up perishables. Our goal was to leave no later than 1:00 pm but we finally got everything loaded, including the Harley and were on the lake by 3:00 pm. Mary and Ryan were there to see us off which was very nice. It finally stopped raining but was cloudy all day. The lake was fairly flat and there was no wind. Smooth sailing. I bet Greg that there would be a beautiful sunset. He was sure there wouldn't be. I won but I admit I was at an advantage because I took an astronomy class in college and I knew that the sun set every day. It was beautiful to watch the sun light up Chicago. We also got to watch a sliver of moon set, along with the lights of Chicago. All in all a good ride across the lake. We got into Hammond Marina around 8:30 pm, which isn't a marina at this point, but they do have a gas dock and we tied up to it for the night. The casino is really expanding and I don't know when they plan to reopen the marina. At least they still have the gas dock. I can't believe the t.v. reception we have here it is great. Good first day.
10/15/2007 - Monday - 10:00 pm - We got up before the sun and saw a beautiful dawn over Gary, IN which turned into sunrise over Gary. We finally got underway and had our last look at a misty Chicago skyline. Slowly we made our way down the cal sag through lots of bridges including the Chicago Skyway Bridge. I am constantly amazed at the amount of industry and how huge it is. You can watch how we move tons of coal for power. In the midst of all that I saw the strangest bird but it ducked under water right as I took the picture but I got a great picture of a seagull anyway. Also got a great picture of a bunch of egrets. We made it to the confluence of the cal sag and the IL River. This is were our curb feeler really comes in handy for that pesky low bridge. We also saw two electric fish barriers to prevent the Asian carp from getting into Lake Michigan. This is also an industrial area and watching them load and unload a variety of products is always fascinating. You can even see how they build mountains. The mountains of the IL river are beautiful. We made it through the Lockport Lock with no problem and got a friendly goodbye from the guys, then through the bridges of Joliet. The bridge tenders there work like a well oiled machine. The first tenders asked if we were going all the way through and then he radioed the other tenders and the bridges were open for us right as we got there. NO WAITING! It was beautiful. Greg noticed a problem with one of the tachometers and when we made it to Harborside Marina, we had supper and then he went to work on the problem. At our next stop he will have to find a part that can fix the whole thing. Its always something. It was a beautiful day and tonight it is raining. A perfect end to a perfect day.
10/16/2007 - Tuesday - 9:00 pm - Got up early again and it was rainy. The lock was only a mile away but we had to wait for a barge. He let us lock down with him and even let us tie onto him. It was great. It was an uneventful day but Greg did get the tachometer to work again and it seems all systems are good again. Got through the other locks in relatively good time. I did get a phone call from my friend Helen in NYC. Today is her birthday and now we are both the same age. Ha Ha. I know she is having a great birthday. I made a pot of chili and it was good. We stopped for the night in Hennipen, IL. Its funny how the brochure always sounds better than how it really is. They described it as having finger piers for smaller boats and a wall for larger boats to tie up to. Well the finger piers only had three fingers and the wall for the larger boats was an old abandoned barge. The up side was that they had a grocery store straight up the hill and we could get hot sauce for Greg so he could eat his chili. The only really exciting thing today was Helen's birthday. So Happy Birthday Helen and good night!
10/17/2007 - Wednesday - 11:15 pm - Left Hennepin early and it was cool and cloudy. The exciting thing today was seeing the first flocks of pelicans. They were flying in from everywhere. I was worried we wouldn't see then this year. Also spotted a couple in a canoe. I think they were on a camping trip. We ran up on the barge tow "Anne B" again. We asked to pass them and the captain recognized us from the day before. He and Greg talked for quite a while. He is also a Harley rider. He lives in Paducah and recommended a steak house that we could walk to. He also told us that the barge was back and we could probably tie up there. That was good news. We got to Peoria and debated about staying there for the night but then decided to press on. I got a close up of a seagull, they kept following us. Evidently we must kick up fish for them. The triplets were cute. Also spotted some black vultures, and I just love vultures. Most of the day was cloudy and rainy. It is raining hard tonight but it makes for good sleeping.
10/18/2007 - Thursday - 9:30 pm - Waved goodbye to Beardstown before the sun came up. Not one of my favorite places. I don't think we have ever gotten into there during the day. Which is a good thing. It was a great day except for the wind. It was 30mph with gusts up to 40mph. Spotted my first bald eagle of the season but wasn't fast enough with my camera. Maybe next time. It was beautiful. We stopped to let a ferry full of cars and people cross the river. It must be less expensive than building a bridge. It is kinda disappointing the only color we have seen is green. I also spotted my mystery bird that I can't identify. It is difficult to photograph because it dives as soon as I get focused on it. But today was my lucky day. I will figure out what kind of bird it is. Tonight we are in Grafton, IL at a wonderful marina. We have water and electric and are tied up to an actual dock. Clean bathrooms and across the street we ate at the "Rotten Apple," which served great cajun food. It was a really cute place. Then we walked downtown and looked around. Really nice town. I would love to come by car and stay in the old hotel. The only down side it we have poor phone and internet connections but I did get to watch my shows on t.v. They keep interrupting the program to tell us about the tornado warnings that are all around us. It is a little windy out there. A good day and a comfortable evening.
10/19/207 - Friday - 9:00 pm - Goodbye IL river, hello MS river! Grafton is at the confluence of the IL and Mississippi Rivers. We took our time leaving Grafton, IL this morning. The marina was wonderful. It is easily the best marina on the IL river. It was still windy this morning when we left and stayed that way all day, again. We passed Greg's favorite hole in the rock. There is a crack in the side of it and he is wondering when it will fall off. Also passed the most colorful casino I still have ever seen, in Alton. The mystery bird is no longer a mystery. It is a double crested cormorant! Thanks to Rich Beckman who first identified it as a double crested cormorant. Jay Ferguson and Susan Halman also suggested it was a cormorant. Thanks everyone. They sure don't like their photos taken. While we were in the canal on the Mississippi we saw a tow boat with a flock of pelicans chasing behind it. I hit the pelican jackpot for photos. It was pelicans posing for the camera. I got pelicans landing, flying, and landing. It was great. We got into Hoppies around 3:00 pm and Fern was there to great us. Hoppie got back from running an errand shortly after. It was wonderful to see them again. Hoppie is recovering incredibly well and even was able to help with the lines on our boat. It was great to see that again. Greg unloaded the bike and we went into St. Louis to Best Buy and picked up some movies. We then found a sushi bar and had a great supper. We got back to the marina and visited with Fern and Hoppie for a bit and then came back to the boat and are in for the night. Its good to be here.
10/20/207 - Saturday - 9:30 pm - What a great day. We took the bike to St. Louis and went to a Barnes & Noble book store. I have been looking for an internet Dummies book and found one there. I have to figure out how to do web pages better. Maybe now I can. When we got back Greg started washing the boat and I started reading my book. It was a great afternoon. We watched whole trees float by all day long. The river is rising and flushing out all the side creeks. The wind is still blowing like crazy. It is wild. We did get to see what a Hoppie's haulout was like. They sure know what they are doing. The boat they were hauling out doesn't even have a motor on it.
10/21/2007 - Sunday - 9:15 pm - There was beer in the air today. We decided to stay at Hoppie's until Tuesday, so today we headed into St. Louis on the bike and took a tour of the Anheuser-Busch factory. It was really something. The tour started with the horse barn. I would love to live this well. Some of the horses had private suites and others were just in stalls. The chandelier in the barn was custom made just for them. Greg enjoyed the barn. The architecture was beautiful. We got to tour the brew house, where we saw the mash tanks which were incredible. It is hard to believe that this is a working factory with skylights and light fixtures like these. Greg just couldn't get over the mash tanks. We then went to the bottling plant which had "Bevo" resting on all four corners of the building. They also had "Bevo" in tiles on the walls inside the building. He is their good luck charm. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see the bottling process today. Of course they also had a hospitality room that we both enjoyed. Anheuser-Busch is one big company. We had a wonderful ride back to the boat. When we got there we sat outside and enjoyed some funny stories with Fern and Hoppie and some of their friends. We got back to the boat and Greg fixed us a snack tray for supper and I worked on the computer.The weather was great but still windy and the river is finally starting to go down. Maybe a foot a day. Really a great day.
10/22/2007 - Monday - 11:00 pm - Don't know why I keep getting up so early but I sure am glad I did this morning. I got to see this beautiful sunrise. But as the saying goes, red sky in morning sailors take warning. We jumped on the bike and went out for breakfast and then to Wal-Mart to get prescriptions filled and few groceries. Got back to the boat and it started to cloud over. Greg got his sewing machine out and started working on a canvas project and I pulled out my egg stuff to work on. It started to sprinkle off and on the rest of the day. It was nice to hole up and work on projects. Late in the afternoon another boat came in and Fern came down to tie them up. She stopped by our boat and we started talking and then Hoppie came down and Dave, who has a house boat across the dock from us, also came down. We were all talking and Dave offered us his boat, which has satellite dish, so that we could watch the Colts tonight. It was great. Dave is a generous man and his boat is fantastic. The real bright spot in this dreary day was when we found out that today is Fern and Hoppies 47th wedding anniversary! Wow! They both said how fast the time had gone. Those two know more about this river than any two people on the Mississippi. They take such good care of each other and are still happy. They have a rich history and are an incredible inspiration to me. Another great day.
10/23/2007 - Tuesday - 9:30 pm - It was a gloomy early morning when we left Hoppies. Fern came down to see us off. It was a pleasure to visit with her and Hoppie again. I have always known that Fern was a strong woman but this trip I learned she is an artist, and a talented one. She is one amazing woman. I can't wait till the spring and we can visit again. We traveled 150 miles today. There was a steady stream of barges. One right after the other. We went past Cape Girardeau and it was 3:00 pm when we got to diversion channel and decided to keep on going. By 6:00 pm we were at mile 7 and tucked away behind an island under the Cairo high way bridge. I made a pot full of chicken tortellini soup which really hit the spot after the cold and rainy day we had. Did spot a flock of pelicans flying south and another bald eagle but wasn't fast enough with the camera for the eagle. Good day and glad to be anchored.
10/24/2007 - Wednesday - 10:30 pm - It was another cold wet day. The sun peeked out for about 5 min. and then rain and gloom. We left the Mississippi today and into the Ohio. The confluence here is usually busy but today not too bad. There were several barges waiting for tows. I did spot a flock of coots and as we got closer they flew off. We got into Paducah and lucky for us the barge was here. We rested for a while and got warm then walked into town. We found "Doe's," a great resteraunt that the captain of the Anne B. told us about. Wonderful steaks and a great bartender. We had a great time. Came back to the boat and Greg hit the sack. Too many drinks for him. The day wasn't so good but it ended up being a fun night.
10/25/2007 - Thursday - 10:15 pm - Yet again another cold wet day. We left Paducah and then onto the Cumberland River. Relatively little barge traffic, which is good because the Cumberland is so narrow. For a little river it also has some big industry. We got to the Barkley lock and only had to wait for about and hour and a half before we locked through. We were expecting a much longer wait since the Kentucky Lock was closed and everything being routed to Barkley, but we got lucky. Got into Green Turtle Bay around 3:30 pm. We ran into several people we met at Hoppies and had supper at the yacht club with the Brenda and Dale Carlson from "With A - K." It was a good night with good company.
10/27/2007 - Saturday - 10:30 pm - Yesterday we got into Paris Landing Marina. We plowed our way through Kentucky Lake in cold a dreary weather. At least it didn't rain until we got the the marina and had to tie the boat up in thick cold drizzle which turned into heavy rain. We closed up the boat, turned on the heat and stayed in and watched t.v. and took a nap. We went to supper at the lodge which was very nice. It started warming up a little that evening and we walked back to the boat and made an early evening of it. Today we got up and did some housekeeping. Getting ready for our friends from MI to come for a visit. They will be here tomorrow morning. After cleaning the boat we fixed a little snack and watched some football games and I knitted. The sun came out and it really felt good sitting on the back of the boat all nice and warm. This morning P.D. called us and was very upset because he had just found out his friend Jimmy Mack was shot and killed and his other friend Justin Riddle was shot 4 times and was in surgery. Several other of his friends were there but not hurt. If P.D. would have been home he could have easily been there too. Luckily he and his roommates were at school and they were not part of that. I feel so bad for the mother's of the two boys and I will keep them in my prayers for a long time. It is frightening how quickly your life can change. Especially so for the invincible young college people. My heart aches for the mother's and what they must be going through this night, and for the young friends that have grown up with these two boys.
10/30/2007 - Tuesday - 9:30 pm - It has been a busy few days. Carol and Ray Alderdice came to Paris Landing for a visit. We were able to golf at the Paris Landing Golf Course and it was great. Ray and Greg really enjoyed the course. They really liked aggravating the squirrels in the woods. We went to Seatons and had a wonderful supper and then came back to the boat. The next morning we decided to head for Pebble Isle Marina in New Johnsonville, TN. We were thrilled when they agreed to ride along. It was a wonderful cruise and Carol ended up driving most of the way while Ray enjoyed the ride. She even maneuvered past an oncoming barge. We went past an abandoned railroad crossing and depot. One day I would love to dinghy up to it and see what it is like in there. We got to Pebble Isle and were met by a flock of pelicans on a tiny island at the entrance. Greg and Ray unloaded the bike right away. Greg and I road back to Paris Landing to pick up thier car and bring it back to Pebble Isle. When we got back we all went out for Chinese food. It was a great. The next morning we made a huge breakfast and then headed to the Bear Trace golf course in Clifton, TN. It was a wonderful sunny warm day and we all enjoyed it, especially me and Carol. We got back to the boat and I fixed supper, then Carol and Ray had to hit the road. We had such a great visit with them and were so glad they came to visit.
10/31/2007 - Wednesday - 9:00 pm - BOOOO, Happy Halloween! Greg and I took it easy today. It was a warm and sunny day. We talked to Randy and Tammy here at Pebble Isle and decided that we would keep the boat here for the winter. They have a covered slip for us and they keep the water and electric on all year. We will winterize the engines but that is all we will have to do. I think this is the end of our trip for the season. Greg is heading to Marion tomorrow for a meeting and then he will be back here by Saturday. We are planning to watch the Colts on Sunday if we can find it on tv here. In Tennessee if it is football all you can watch is Tennessee Titans. We will find someplace to watch the Colts. While Greg is gone I plan on working on eggs. I have a big show in Columbus, Ohio after Thanksgiving and I don't have near enough inventory. It will be nice to work on eggs again. I just worry about Greg riding the Harley back to Marion. It is a long way and lots of interstates. He promised to call me every time he stopped. We will see. We don't plan on going home for a while and will probably hang out here and see the sights in the area. I don't know what we will be doing but it should be interesting. I do have to say I am disappointed that the trip is over and I really was looking forward to being in Alabama but I do love it here too. Pebble Isle is a wonderful place and it will be something different. Either way is great.
11/01/2007 - Thursday - 9:00 pm - Greg took off on the bike around 10:00 am for Marion. I started working on eggs and stayed at it all day. It was a cloudy day most of the day and then cleared up. I waited for Greg's phone calls, which he actually called me everytime he stopped for a break. I appreciated that because I worry about him riding on the interstates. He finally made it home around 6:00 pm, I think. I ate a little supper and then went back to work on eggs and will probably work on them the rest of the night too. Nothing too exciting today.