Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Poop! You can't handle the Poop!

(Apologies to Jack Nicholson.)
Our trip down the Illinois from Havana was quite an adventure. There are NO marinas for 120 miles from Havana to Grafton, on the Mississippi. So we stopped at a place called Sugar Creek and dropped the anchor. It was a nice, secluded and sheltered spot. We had a very quiet evening.
The next morning we went another 46 miles to McEver's Island and again dropped the anchor. It was a very similar spot and we would have had another quiet night - EXCEPT - the toilet stopped working! Here we are, in the center of the bulls eye in the middle of nowhere and we've got no toilet. Yikes!
SO....your trusty captain just happened to have stocked an extra set of valves for the toilet. Several hours, many expletives and rubber gloves later, the toilet was back in working order - or is that odor? So much for a quiet night at anchor.
The next morning we woke up to find it pouring rain. The idea of spending the whole day in rain gear, fighting with the rain and wind just didn't set too well with us. We decided to stay put and make stew. And a good stew it was. The pressure cooker really helps conserve fuel. Total cooking time for the pot of stew - 9 minutes. It took longer to cut the veggies than it did to cook the stew.
The one drawback was the creation of a lot of steam. Just what we needed - more humidity. By the time we crawled into the bedroom to watch a DVD, the ceiling was dripping from the condensation. Yuck.
Today, the rain stopped and although it was overcast, it was also warmer. We motored 48 miles to Grafton. At about 2:00 PM we entered the Mississippi River! Wow! Another milestone accomplished. We are now 327 miles from Chicago, and a total of 1900 miles into the trip. Not bad for a homemade boat, eh?
At Grafton the one and only marina is very nice. They pumped out the head, filled our fuel tanks and got us checked in with no fuss. We were even able to restock our supply of rum at their ship's store. We gave the boat a bath (badly needed after 3 nights at anchor) and now we're off to do laundry. Haven't had clean clothes in many days now, and so that will actually be a treat.
Tomorrow we are going to put the masts back up and make the short trip down to Alton. Bev wants to see if they have penny slots at the casino.

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