Day 15 – Cairo, ill to Stewart Towhead island

Previous Day

Miles Covered:  78 river miles, lm 948- to lm 869.8   Wynnburg, Tn

Closest towns or landmark (chart): just below Cairo, Il to island near Steward Towhead (across from silo)

Original Post date: June 14


After coffee – and an egg & bacon sandwich it was back to another day on the Mississippi’s current.  Making almost 80 miles st idle speed might seem a drudge; but the time and miles pass quietly.  There is always something on or about the river that holds your attention, so far our only use for the clock is to have a general idea what our families might be doing at home; checking the calendar provides the closest reference in time that we need – if it even mattered.  It’s nice to simply ‘unplug.’



Riding smooth water we pass areas where barge repair is going on along the shore.  Today we see fewer active tows – not at all what we had expected on our first day of the ‘Lower Mississippi” – but nothing is dull as time passes like the rives current.

The weather has been perfect everyday – sure, there have been moments within a ‘Storm World” or two that has tested our guile – but that was just a matter of ‘battening down the boat,’ understanding that it will all pass, and then simply coping with it all.

Overall the ride has been perfect, good or bad its all “just part of it” – this date was peaceful and the summer’s heat is nearing…..


A remote cabin pops up out of nowhere, other than that there are few signs of civilization along today’s shoreline.


We’ve seen old broken barges against the shore (wondered why they haven’t been ‘scrapped’),


The waterline speaks volumes of the river’s power, tenacity, and changing conditions.  The effects of Mother nature from many miles away touch the length of the river.  Todays shoreline is coated with trees and debris and the waterline marks are distinct (from one foot to twenty and more).  We see plenty of buoys washed ashore too, many that should mark the channel and keep folks out of the wing-dams – with that we wondered who tended to and recaptured those.



A few miles later we see the USCG buoy tender Chena out maintaining the markers – even stopped and chatted a few minutes with their recon boat.  All real nice (I happened to be wearing my son’s CG shorts) they even waved and cheered us on as we parted.

Later near Hickman we spotted another Bald Eagle, it had been a while since we had one – this was the 26th eagle that we had noticed since day 1.

From there we did a stop at New Madrid, figured that we could top off our fuel and find some ‘land’ food.  The interesting thing about New Madrid is that this is where an earthquake happened in the early 1800’s, they say the river ran backwards for 48 hours, who knows? all I know is this quiet little town is on the tip of such a loop (or towhead) of the river – there is a point where it is less than 300 yards across land at the nearest point, yet it is necessary to travel 20 miles by boat to make the loop – it was unusual to watch the compass and be headed North while traveling South to New Orleans  – but again, just a part of it.


Again without a public dock we tired off to the shore near the boat ramp and walked into town, the town seems to be making progress with their waterfront – its a nice area with a new observation pier overlooking the river.


At the local gas station/deli we ate catfish and then shuttled back some ice and gas (‘bad gas’), not a large task at all, but once off the water being on the asphalt was really HOT!


Again a few kids came down to the boat and we let them walk around, funny what kids do when you hand them a ‘sharpie’ and tell them that they can write on any wall or ceiling in the boat they like…. they just stand there like “really?”


During the morning and afternoon we had been noticing tracks on the sandbars, kinda like an alligator would leave as they slide into the water.  When we finally stopped for the evening – the conclusion that we came to, turtles.  There were signs all around of where turtles came ashore and laid their eggs, some buried their eggs and for some reason others did not – little round morsels for the blackbirds.

100_2479Carl providing a ‘mark’ as we close in to shore.


100_2480Turtle eggs?


after a walk on the sandy island, Carl whipped me again in ‘rummy,’ not that I really cared – just being on ‘the river’ was prize enough….



with another beautiful sunset and a naturally great nights rest…………….

Noted ‘Towboats’ for the day;

The Jimmy Brown

The Miss Kae D

The George King

The Golden Eagle

The Lee Ann Morgan

Next Day, Day 16

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