Day 20, Memphis to the Old-Town Dikes

Previous Day

Miles Covered:  91 river miles, lm 736 to lm 645

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Memphis Yacht Club to Old-town Dikes

Original Post date: June 18


Departed Memphis at 6am with a fresh cup of coffee and at least 700 more miles to go –  I say ‘at least’ because being ahead of schedule I find myself indulged with the thoughts of proceeding further than NOLA or Biloxi.  Eastward – if mother nature and the little motor holds out. All still yet to be determined; play-it-by-ear ‘to speak.

Size of Tow

Tow Wakes (Behind tow)

From Memphis there seems to be more debris and trash in the water, logs, trees, TV’s (the one’s that I see float!) with the water the ‘muddiest’ yet (if that was possible).

As the large tows steadily work their load upriver, their massive propellers churn and force the tan water into a series of tall rolling wakes – this ‘white-cap’ action follows a hundred yards behind the vessel.  Enlarge the picture above and note the tows ‘wash;’ this ‘whitewater’ area’s danger lies not so much in a ‘ride’ on the whitewater – but more about the logs and debris being kicked solidly about in the mix – these ‘whoop-de-doos‘ are not an area to cross without risk……


Carl and I had been doing ‘experiments’ where we would fill a clear container with river water and let it settle for a while.  Thirty minutes later (depending on happy-hour) one of us would check for sediment on the bottom – always dirt on the bottom just as Mark Twain described in Life on The Mississippi (something about taking a glass of river water, letting it settle for 30 minutes – then planting in what had settled to the bottom and drinking the rest).

“You look at the graveyards; that tells the tale. Trees won’t grow worth shucks in a Cincinnati graveyard, but in a Sent Louis graveyard they grow upwards of eight hundred foot high. It’s all on account of the water the people drunk before they laid up. A Cincinnati corpse don’t richen a soil any.” M Twain

On a sidebar, algae – within two weeks of being on the Mississippi I had green algae growing below the waterline on the pontoons (which were clean at start), the same algae was showing up on the inside of the ‘clear’ container used for our ‘experiments.’


Now alone on the Mississippi I find an orphan “Wilson” (crew) floating in the water, help for today’s experiment; on this date we once again check the water for sediment – the river held no immediate surprises – as muddy as ever.

Above Tunica, Miss there was alot of shoaling (sand moved by the current into the channel) leaving the channel hard to distinguish.  Soon I came across this Mississippi River Dredging operation, leaving me wondering if the lower Mississippi was going to be more of a challenge for identifying the river’s ‘channel’…….


a less defined channel would certainly be cause to pay even closer attention to the river.


100_2657Below Memphis is Tunica, Ms. this area has grown mainly because of the tremendous Casino business.  They also have a River Park Museum and boat dock (one of the few on the Lower Mississippi), so it was a good place to stop and take advantage of the great buffet’s that Casino’s offer.

100_2658The ‘land food‘ was real good and ‘held’ me for the rest of the day.  As I returned to the boat a couple of guys from the nearby excursion riverboat (The ‘Tunica Queen’) stood by and chatted for a good while, it was a great break.  Funny thing about this trip – for doing pretty much nothing, it seems I have a purpose – a purpose too that most everyone along the river likes to talk about doing – “going down the river“……

It was easy to miss Carl’s company and conversation, but I know he was aching to get home, cut the grass, and go back to work – as for me this ‘rivertime’ continues to be ‘awesome’

– everything is of interest, plenty of stuff to see and little things to do as I continue to idle down the river – at 5 miles an hour…..

This evening’s ‘tie-off’ came a little later than desired, I did miss the ‘marks’ Carl provided – but soon found the ‘inside’ of an island to anchor to (number 61 island).  I settled for the night across from numerous organized mounds of rock along the shore – the Old-Town Dikes.

My first day solo (well besides Wilson and Patrick) turns out to be a 90 mile day………….Memphis to Miller Point (645.7).


Noted ‘towboats’ for the day;

The Joe B Wyatt

The Amy Ross

The Eileen Bigelow

The Jennie K

The Dixie Challenge

The Big Daddy

The Donna Griffin

The John Donnely

The Carol P

The Carl Cannon

Next post, Day 21 Old Town Dikes to Goldbottom

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Small Town Spotlight: Tunica, Mississippi - Hopper Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: