Day 8, 9 – Polly Island to Hannibal, Mo. to Lock 24

Previous Day

Miles Covered:  um 345- to um 275 (70 miles)

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Polly island to Hannibal, day later just before Lock 24 (lost anchor)

Original Post date: June 7

Learning as we go, if you can – tie to the ‘off-side’ of an island or within a known slough – out of any wake.


Not long after daylight we were again riding the river and watching the tows –unloaded, loaded, or loading.

along with other thoughts fresh from the day before –

No major hang ups at any of the locks so far – and soon we arrived at lock 20.

All of the folks that we have encountered whether in the locks, tows, or on land have been very cordial and interested, good folks; simply other people in the same world.

Years experience and living as a long-haul truck driver provided me with an insight with the nature of transporting commerce.  I respected the Mississippi as an ‘interstate’ – and the towboats were the power.  In no way did I want our vessel ‘freebird’ to be a nuisance (as a mo-ped on the interstate) – with that being said.  I didn’t find anything insurmountable to deal with along the way, common-sense.

‘Rafting’ is inbred into the Mississippi river lore and motif, now more than ever I suspect that it is a novelty of ‘river-life’ with the towboat pilots too, we were just another amusement – like a bear, a fox, or deserted structure along the way.

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As to what we are use to; a tractor trailer can carry @35-tons, where a single barge (tows can push 42) hold @1500-tons, its a massive thought. The towboat pilots patiently maneuver those brainless containers with literally a foot of distance from each wall within the locks – its pretty impressive.  Understanding, utilizing, and then balancing the factors of current and control, perception and machine – plus other factors.

We clearly recognize their skill, – no hurry here.

Loading a barge

LaGrange, Mo. another little riverside town and time for a morning walk.  It did not appear as though there were any restaurants around so we walked into a small store for supplies…..

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and a fine lady cooked us breakfast.  It was a cross between a store and a restaurant.

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There were a few gentlemen with a card game going; they continued playing within their normal chatting – its always nice to climb into a new dimension in the world.  Lots of the same folks, whom are simply in a different place in this world.  Carl and I have maintained good conversation with no major hurtles – all in fun, and with an objective; take what this river has to offer while talking about – well, whatever…..


We found too that it wasn’t long before our dirty clothes were cleaner than what we were wearing, its nice that it doesn’t really matter – and its a plus that we each smell the same (if we smell at all).

Later we stopped in Quincy, Ill at the small marina to charge some batteries, shower, and clean some laundry – a little less river funk, if that were to matter either (I never heard the comment, “you smell clean”).

and more trains

and those forgotten Cabeeses....

and those forgotten Cabeeses….

Hannibal, Mo. of Tom Sawyer fame, even walked the town.  Lots going on, they were having a cook off and a live band played through the night, lots of fun – so of course we enjoyed the event (hootin and hollerin) until it was over and then somehow found the marina and the boat without falling in.

Mark Twain Museum, Hannibal, Mo

The next morning a local businessman  (Mike Cates of Brickyard Motor Co.) offered the use of his car to drive to Wal-mart, I would have walked but he insisted, really nice – he and his son were at work next to the diner, just an example of how nice folks are along the river.

Oh yeah, the worst part was walking out of Wal-mart and wondering what kind of car it was that I had driven there – it took a few minutes.

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We kinda felt ready to move on and cover some miles, but its been a slow day – extremely strong headwind to hold us back.  Not many pictures taken, again battery charging issues – we left wondering if we would make our 30 mile minimum, but it really didn’t matter – just to be on the river.

At lock 22 there were 10 tows waiting to pass, the lockmaster said it was the most he had seen in 10 years at one time – maybe the economy is picking up..

The strongest day of headwinds and crashing waves yet and it continued throughout – as we ‘hugged’ the shoreline to reduce the effect of the wind (near the 279 mile post) we began experiencing the ‘jumping fish’ (Asian carp), a few even made it in the boat – BIG fish, it was both amusing and funny as it all happened.

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We located a lagoon at Two Rivers Marina across from Louisiana, Mo and waited until evening for the winds to die down further – it was nice to be all showered and have a mixed beverage while waiting.

Mini Yard tow at Two Rivers Marina

“Its really nice out here…and the weather is starting to be more like summer, hot – but I guess that’s where all this headwind is coming from…. the South.”

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Noted ‘Tows’ for the Day;

The Ann Naye

The Moline

The Tom Talbert

The Reggie G

The Thomas K

The Gene Herde

The Bernard G

The Clayton McWhorter

The Bill Berry

The Cooperative Ambassador

The Laurie S Johnston

The James F Hurey

The Cooperative Venture

The Erickston

The Pebble Beach

Next day, Day 10 – to Squaw Island

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