Sunday, October 29, 2006


If this trip is supposed to be an adventure, the last few days have proved it.
We finally made it to Kentucky Lake, but what a time getting here! We've not set foot on land since last Sunday. When we left Hoppies, we traveled to a spot called Kaskaskia, where we tied up to a lock wall. There were no services there, but at least we were protected.
Then we went 69 miles downriver to a spot called Little River Diversion channel and anchored again. We wanted to stop for gas at Kidd's River City Fuel, but they REFUSED to sell us any gas. The only gas station on the river and they refused to sell us any gas! I called them on the phone to make an appointment (recommended in the guide books) and the guy told me he had a 50 gallon minimum (we needed 7 gal.) and since he had no other boats scheduled that day he wasn't going to come down to the dock even if we wanted the 50 gallons. I asked what I should do for fuel and his answer was "I don't know what to tell you." SO...

All boaters doing the Loop - beware! Don't count on Kidds for fuel or dockage. Make sure you have all the fuel you need before leaving Hoppies. Scratch Kidds right off the page in the guide book. They are useless.

As it turned out, we made it to KY Lake with about 5 gallons of gas to spare. Cutting a bit close, but we made it.

After Little River we went down to the I57 bridge just north of Cairo. It was cold and wet and rainy, so we ended up staying there for 3 nights. We met some other boaters who also anchored in the same little cove. Two of the boats traveled with us up the Ohio, and one of them is now at the same marina as we are. We're waiting for another to meet us here.

The Ohio was a bear. The current was so strong we could barely make 3 to 4 miles per hour with the engine going full bore. The first day, we tried using the sails to help and were able to boost our speed to around 5, but by late afternoon the wind was so gusty and the waves so uncomfortable, we dropped the sails and continued on with just the engine. We weren't able to make the 46 miles to Paducah by nightfall, so we found a spot to anchor and spent the night.

This morning we got up early and set off just as the sun was rising. We were doing about 4 mph until we got to Lock 52. This is a "picket dam" which means that the whole dam can be retracted in high water so you can skip the lock. The dam was down when we arrive so we just motored right over it - until - we hit the current coming over the dam. Our speed dropped to 2 mph, then 1, then 0.9 and I started getting scared we would get sucked back in. I gunned the engine and turned at a 45 degree angle to the flow of the river and gradually our speed increased until we were able to pull away from the dam. It was one of the more "adventurous" parts of the trip.

After that we were soon at the entrance to the Tennessee River. Once we got into the Tenn, the current abated and we were able to make 6 mph rather easily. We arrived at the Kentucky lake lock about 1:00 this afternoon just as they were taking several other pleasure boats up. It was neat to see all the tows with their barges having to wait for us for a change.

Now we are safely tucked into our slip at Kentucky Lake Sails marina. Tonight we are going to Patti's for dinner (legendary 2" thick pork chops the specialty) and capping off the night with - what else - some Kan-tuck-ee bourbon I've been saving for the occasion.

No comments: