#59 Alton, Illinois to Kimmswick, Missouri

Written by The Crew

Rev writes all the posts as "The Crew" at What Yacht To Do. It's just part of the First Mate duties. That list just keeps growing...

October 31, 2019

It was time. We had to say goodbye to Alton. Our buy 3 nights get 3 nights free deal was over.

We picked up two boats who were traveling our direction, Whiskey Business and Saltaire.

Well, right out of the gate, there’s a lock.

Usually, I have to get mentally prepared.

Make sure I have everything.




But there wasn’t really time for that this morning.

Sam was the leader of the pack and had already communicated with the lock master.

So we left Alton Marina, went under the Clark Bridge and right into the Mel Price Lock.

To say that there was a lot of debris in the lock is an understatement.

I told Sam NOT to use the thrusters.

We just got our bow thruster back and I didn’t want to take any chances.

As we made our way in, there was a kayaker right in front of us.

He grabbed on to a ladder and we took the floating bollard behind him.

Kayaker tied up in front of us

We barely noticed the lock going down. I think it was only about a foot.

Not bad at all.

Down the Mississippi

As we excited the lock, there were definitely currents and eddies (circular currents and whirlpools) fighting against us.

What is this?

Oh yeah.

The Mississippi is messing with us.

Sam handled it like a pro.

As we continued our journey down the Mississippi, we saw what we had seen before.

Warning signs with Red Flag – sometimes barges carry hazardous materials


That’s right.

More barges.

When is this going to end?

I’m guessing not for a while.

Another Lock

You know, I’m not a fan of locks, but its just part of the experience.

We had one more to get through before our final destination.

So, first Sam called the lock and they couldn’t hear him.

He called again.

Others could hear both Sam and the lockmaster.

He called again.

Finally, one of the tow captains relayed the info.

I was afraid we would make the lockmaster mad and we wouldn’t get through.

But that didn’t happen.

We did have to kill a little time before we were able to go in.

Dodging logs, barges and other boats, we wait.

When we got the green light and finally went in, we had to go to the front floating bollard because there was one missing (the one we would have chosen).

We hooked up to the first bollard dangerously close to the front gate.

So close that the lockmaster came over in his little cart and told us we had to move back about 5 feet.

We had to continuously keep a distance behind the bollard.

Sam used reverse and the thrusters.

I stressed out.

It was hard to hold us near the lock wall behind the bollard.

It’s unnatural.

But we did it.

When it was time for the gate to open, the lockmaster told us to move back even further.

We did.

There was only one time that I couldn’t wait to get out of the lock because it was so uncomfortable.

Now this was the second.

St. Louis Arch

Our reward for going through two locks was seeing the St. Louis Arch up close.

We started seeing that wonder at a distance.

One of the highlights of doing the loop is going by the St. Louis Arch.

Now that we have done it, I know why.

It is impressive.

A friend of ours sent us a picture of our three boats (Here’s To Us!!, Saltaire, and Whisky Business) when we were right in front of the arch.

So cool.


We had been through two locks, we had seen the arch, now all we had to do was get to Hoppies.

Hoppies is a looper highlight.

It kind of reminded me of being at the Logsdon tug in Beardstown.

The gentlemen that helped us tie up were fantastic.

In fact, one of them showed me how to work the side rail that I have been fighting with since we got the boat.

I am so grateful to have that information.

Kimmswick, Missouri

After we got settled in to Hoppies, we took a walk over to the town of Kimmswick.

What a great place!

There are several little shops and fantastic restaurants.

The Blue Owl has the most incredible apple pie you have ever seen.

But get there before 3 p.m. or you’ll miss it!

Selfie with Mary, the owner of the Blue Owl – She’s from Galveston.
With Saltaire and Whisky Business and Mary.

Smokee Robinson has a BBQ place with delectable ribs.

Oh yeah.

It was so good it left me speechless.

This area has really been hit with floods but the people are resilient and it will be rebuilt better than it was before.

Put it on your list of places to go and see.

Our Thoughts

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  1. After reading your updates we are so glad we decided not to do the Great Loop and do the Bahamas instead. Too many locks, barges, and all the issues you guys don’t like about doing the Great Loop. Your blogs just reiterate all the reasons not to do the Great Loop…..Sorry. Sounds like the only time you guys are having a good time is when you stay somewhere for a few days. You need to change your plans once you get to Florida. We’ll buddy boat over to the Bahamas and show you what boating is all about! Check out our website at fortunate2.com and you’ll understand what we’re talking about.
    Love you guys,
    The Fortunate 2

    • I guess we just have different versions of fun. We really enjoy seeing parts of the country we have never seen before and that few do. We’re even talking about doing it again! I’m not sure about the Bahamas this year. I think we’ll wait awhile on that. There is something to be said about the adrenaline rush in new and challenging situations. Have fun and be safe!

  2. It looks like an amazing place! I never knew I wanted to go to Kimmswick, but now I do! 🙂

    • Oh you would love it! It’s such a cute little town. But they do roll the sidewalks up early. LOL

  3. For the record, I love seeing your posts about the Great Loop. We plan on doing it all! Stay safe!

    • Thanks, JR! It has been quite an adventure and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. Glad to hear you are still planning on doing the Loop!

  4. What’s up with your YouTube videos? I am no longer able to access them. I never thought I would miss them as much as I do!

    • Hi Tom. We were hacked and currently do not have access to our own channel! YouTube is in the process of fixing it. We are continuing to make videos and will be posting more as soon as we get our channel back. Thanks for your patience!

  5. As a Ohio and upper Mississippi River boater, I don’t understand the concern about the tow boats, they move slow, they stay in the channel, they are easy to spot even with fancy electronics. What always bothers me is the go fast plastic boats, that have no idea what they are doing except trying to go no where as fast as they can.

    • We got used to the tows and their Captains were always very professional. As you note, the small, fast pleasure craft are indeed something to watch out for as they seem unpredictable at times.


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