Barkley Lock and Green Turtle Bay Marina Resort

To get to Green Turtle Bay (GTB), the last hurdle is the Barkley Lock a rather imposing structure.  Most of the locks have been a few feet of lift.   The largest we saw on the Erie Canal was 40 feet; the Barkley lock is over 47 feet of lift.  The other boats look very small in this lock.

The marina has loaner courtesy cars which we used to go to town and get groceries and supplies.  There is a well-stocked ship’s store here for needed boat items.

We went to dinner at Patti’s Restaurant which is famous for their 2” thick Pork Chops with some of our Looper friends.    The food was amazing, but be sure to save room for dessert because they offer an extensive list of homemade pies. The restaurant is part of a Patti’s 1800’s Settlement that includes gardens, gift shops, and a huge Christmas light display starting in November–the largest in western Kentucky.

Yesterday “Last Call,” left for Nashville. They are taking a side trip up and back on the Cumberland River to visit.  “Life’s TraVails” moved on to another marina to leave the boat for a couple weeks and return home for a wedding.   “Glorious Dei” left their boat to visit their son in China.  So our group of traveling boats is down to 2 for a few days.  “Last Call” should catch up with us next week, or at the planned AGLCA Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park.


At the Barkley Lock      

Entering –  Gates Closing –  Lifting boats






Entering Green Turtle Bay Marina



Sanctuary at Green Turtle



Scenes from around Green Turtle Bay Marina

Some of the dock set ups are VERY elaborate, with large grills mini bars and flat screen TV’s


Birds from along the route 

Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, Buzzards and a large pod of White Pelicans



SunRise and Foggy morning at GTB



Sun Rise and Foggy morning at GTB



Kaskaskia to Towhead Island – Delays and more, Delay then to Green Turtle Bay

The morning fog at Kaskaskia made the spider webs stand out with all the water drops.  We left Kaskaskia Lock and dam once the fog cleared and traveled to Little River Diversion Channel.  The Little River Diversion Channel leads to a river and waterway that seem to go for miles.  We explored up the river in the dinghy and saw soybean fields right at the edge of the river bank.  The plants were so far out to the edge it is surprising the tractor did not fall in the river.  The anchorage at Little River Diversion Channel was peaceful and quiet.  It must be near a small airport that is home to experimental helicopters.  We saw a few of those fly over the river.

On the way to Little River Diversion Channel, we saw the two canoeists who are traveling the length of the Mississippi river.  We met them at the Alton marina when we noticed one of them had a Michigan shirt on. They are part of Warrior

Finally out of the muddy, debris laden Mississippi River!   While I miss the current pushing us, there is nothing else about the Mississippi River that we will miss.   The boat speed dropped from 11-12 knots to just over 6 knots.  So instead of a 4 knot bonus pushing us, we had a 1 to 2 knot penalty slowing us down.  Traveling is much easier, not large logs, whirl pools and a lot less barge traffic.  The few you do meet only have 2 or 3 barges not as many as 30 (5 wide, 6 long) hooked together, like we met on the Mississippi River.

After traveling a few miles on the Ohio River, we encountered the Olmstead Lock and Dam Project.   This is a HUGE construction project on the river creating a new dam and pair of large locks, with an expected completion in 2020.  There was a long delay (over 4 hours) waiting for an escort through the work area. The old lock chamber was open and we just passed through without any lift.  Totally do not understand the logic behind the long delays and escort process there, but then I am not a government employee.

With the long delay at Olmstead Lock, it made for a late arrival at the anchorage planned for the night.  We anchored just after sunset, a 12 hour “travel” day by Bean Branch Creek on the Ohio River.

We needed to leave the anchorage early to get to the next big hurdle which is lock 52.   It has only one of its two lock chambers open and recently was closed for a couple days completely.  After “only” an hour wait we were allowed to pass.  We were told to tie to the side of the barges that were just entering the lock.  This tie-up put us up very close and personal with the barges and tows.  From there it was an easy travel to our planned anchorage for the evening by Towhead Island.

We are at Green Turtle Marina in Kentucky.  We plan to stay here a couple days and re-provision and do laundry etc.



Spider web in fog with water droplets at Kaskaskia



Sunset at Kaskaskia




Cape Girardeau MO where my Uncle Carrol retired from the United States Post Office




Bridge on the Mississippi




Many different kinds of bridges along the way




Paddler on the Mississippi, part of Warrior Expeditions. He is from Kalamazoo MI and is paddling the complete length of the Mississippi River.







Queen of the Mississippi River boat.



Queen of the Mississippi River boat.



Teresa passing by the Queen of the Mississippi River boat.




Some islands in the Mississippi River




Sanctuary anchored in Little River Diversion Channel




Leaving the Muddy Mississippi River entering the Ohio River




Working on the Olmsted Lock Project




Olmsted Lock Project




Olmsted Lock Project



Going through the Olmsted Lock, only inches of clearance for the barges.



Approaching Olmsted Lock Project



We had a few of these hitch hiking on the boat



One of the many visitors along the way




We tied to this barge in lock 52 after a long wait.



Tied to the barge in lock 52



Tied to the barge in lock 52




On to Green Turtle and the huge Barkley lock……


From Hoppies in Kimmswick to Kaskaskia lock and dam

We continued south on the Mississippi yesterday, headed for Kaskaskia Lock and dam.   There is a wall here that traveling boats tie up to.  They said there was space for three on the wall, but we shoe horned four into the space and got two more tied off on the fuel barge.  The amount of logs and debris was not bad today; thankfully there weren’t many barges.One in particular  was pushing a long line of barges up the river giving us a huge wake.   It felt like we were out on Lake Michigan in 3 to 4’ rollers after it went by. Consequently, it rearranged everything that was not tied down.

One section of the river we were warned there would be a lot of turbulence. That proved to be an understatement.   The Core of Engineers has added Wing dams,  Weir dykes, Jetties, Bend wiers and normal dams.   Some of the structures are completely under water and the boats travel over safely, some come out from shore up to 300’ and you must avoid them.   The area where the most turbulence was (mile 130) had the kind of structures you travel over, but they create swirling water, like giant whirlpools pushing the boat from side to side making it impossible to steer a straight line.  As you travel the rivers and follow the charts for them, the charts have mile indicators just like on the interstate highways.

Today we are waiting for the fog to clear, then we plan to travel to an anchorage south of here called Little River Diversion Channel (at mile 48.8).



Froggies at Hoppies



Post Office in Kimmswick



Conducting real business at the Post Office in Kimmswick



Sitting with the mayor of Kimmswick in front of the post office



Teresa had to visit the “library”




One of the many interesting old buildings in Kimmswick. Tiny, quaint and friendly town. Wishing we had more time to go exploring.



MeeMaw’s cabin — this one’s for you, sis!



City Hall




Last Call and Glorious Dei at Hoppies



Leaving Hoppies Marina



Lots of sticks, logs and debris trapped by barges. When they move the barges, the debris is released creating large islands of hazardous moving junk.



Tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam–Sanctuary is the 2nd from the front of the line up.



Tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam



Foggy morning, tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam waiting for fog to clear



Foggy morning, tied up at Kaskaskia Lock and Dam waiting for a go-ahead with a fog clearing.


Later today, we plan to travel south to the Little River Diversion Channel and anchor for the night.


Left Alton, IL moving further down the Mississippi River, past St Louis to Hoppies

After a few days in Alton IL, we began to travel down the Mississippi River again.  Just a little over a mile from the marina was the first lock for today.   We approached it with extreme caution because yesterday a boat got pushed into the wall and damaged.  There was also lots of floating logs, sticks and debris in the approach.  The lock was opened after a short wait, and us and five other PC’s (“Pleasure Craft” as the lock master refers to us) entered the main lock. We tied to a bollard and lowered to the new level without any incident.    A bollard is a post in the wall attached to a large barrel that floats up and down with the water level.  This allows the boat to be held against the wall.   A few miles downstream the Missouri River joins the Mississippi River.  In the confluence area, there are lots of swirling currents pushing the boat off course.  The current also was a lot faster so instead of our normal 7.5 knots we are traveling at over 11 knots!

There is a canal just past the confluence that bypasses a series of rapids.  Not going over the rocks and rapids in a trawler is a very good thing.  Down the canal is another lock and this one was also uneventful.

We soon approached the city of St. Louis and the ARCH.   You can see it up river for a long way.  There are a number of interesting bridges to pass under on the way past St. Louis and a few are pictured below.

Once we arrived at the Arch, we took pictures of “Last Call” and then swapped positions so they could take pictures of “Sanctuary.”

The destination for today was Hoppies Marina–a very unique and unusual place.  The marina consists of a few barges tied together along the bank.  They have built an office and a sitting area on the barges.  Hoppies is in the small town of Kimmswick, Missouri.    Kimmswick has a number of interesting shops, great Barbeque and a GREAT bakery that has Mile High Apple Pie.




Alton Marina









Bike trail at Alton along the river on the levee



Alton bridge overlooking the Alton Marina



Chain of Rocks Lock; notice the gate raises and lowers like a garage door. It does not swing like most lock gate openings.



Navigating Chain of Rocks Canal



Lots of current pushing boat on Mississippi river. Normal speed would be 7, but with current, we are going over 11 knots.



Many different kinds of bridges along the way, this one over Chain of Rocks canal



Very old bridge near St Louis



Interesting bridge near St Louis



Sanctuary at the Arch in St Louis




Hoppies main dock



Fern at Hoppies giving the FAMOUS afternoon river talk



Fern at Hoppies giving the FAMOUS afternoon river talk 



Sanctuary at Hoppies



1954 Chris Craft, still runs and floats, at Hoppies




1954 Chris Craft




Smokee Robinsons Cajun Smoke House, Best ribs and Barbeque



Dinner at Smokee Robinsons Cajun Smoke House with other loopers



Lots and Lots of logs and debris floating by in river. Hopefully we miss them all…..

Tomorrow we plan to continue on down the Mississippi river to an anchorage.

Staying in Alton a few days

We are staying in Alton a few days; the next stop down the river “Hoppies” was full.  The locks are back operating, but it did cause some back ups.  The Alton Marina is a very nice marina to hang out for a few days.  We rented a car so we could complete some shopping errands in the St. Louis area.  The screen on my laptop got broken, so I took it to a Microsoft store for repairs.  We got supplies at West Marine and plan to stock up in Alton because further along the river we will be anchoring and supplies will be much harder to obtain.

The plan is to leave on Tuesday for points farther down the Mississippi river.

Peoria to Alton IL, Finished the Illinois River now on the Mississippi

We left Peoria IL and continued down the Illinois river.  Once away from Peoria, the area became very rural with not much to see along the river.  There also was very little connectivity, and was the longest time I have seen my phone with just 1x for data services.  We tied to a wall in Havana Illinois one night and anchored just south of Big Blue Island the next night.  While finishing the Illinois river and arriving on the Mississippi river, the change in scenery was dramatic.  It went from just flat land and trees to fancy mansions on high limestone bluffs.   We’ll be staying at a marina in Alton for a few nights before we continue down the Mississippi river.

Day #9 of The Great Loop Experience—September 11 & 12, 2016

Last evening, we landed in Peoria at Eastport Marina. Very nice location with free ice and laundry facilities! That’s a first for us. We climbed the tower attached to the marina office and could see for miles around. Bridges can be seen in either direction. Some we’ve cruised under and others we have yet to go under. We did not do much the remainder of the evening other than computer work back at our boats. No decision has been made if we’ll stay another night here or move southward. On the dock, we met Becky from True North. They left Ludington last week too, but ended up hitting a rock while temporarily tied up next to a barge while awaiting a lock opening. They plan to travel on until they reach Kentucky Lakes to haul her out and repair the propeller.

We are staying one more night in Peoria which is perfectly fine. Today, we’re re-organizing stuff on Sanctuary, cleaning, laundry, injector pump oil change, and other projects. We watched Life’s Travails offload their scooter from a DeFever 44 topper with a lift. They also have a very nice dinghy on the upper deck with a wheel which they use the lift for also. Fixed scrambled eggs with sausage and waffles for breakfast.

Day #12 of The Great Loop Experience—September 13 & 14, 2016

Basics of Life. Stayed on Havana city docks right in front of the Havana Nature Center. Quiet evening after walking into town. Visited an Ace Hardware store. Purchases: replacement hose for one Steve used that more closely resembled a water soaker hose, replacement faucets for our head sink (happy, happy: no more leaky faucets and water all over the counter top), and a scrub brush for the tub. Next stop: Dollar General. Believe it or not, I was excited to walk down all the aisles just to see what there was to see. Purchases: cranberry juice, walnuts, and a package of hamburger! Yes, the Dollar Store does carry hamburger. After being on the boat all day, we all were excited for our feet to touch land and temporarily become a dirt-dweller. Put some eggs to boil before we left our free, non-electric dock. Egg salad for lunch maybe? And then one hard-boiled egg for breakfast another day.

Confession: two days ago our friends from Life’s Travails rented a car to pick their pastor-friend up from the airport. They also made a run to Costco asking us if we’d like any supplies. Four items: case of water, batteries, paper towels, and salmon. Boy, was that salmon tasty. Steve sprinkled Old Bay seasoning on them, had red beans and rice with salad (which Karen made).

I have not been to a Kohl’s, Meijer, Walgreens, or any other retail store for 12 days now. Nor have I driven or rode in a car. Feeling a bit of a withdrawal, but embracing the simpler life. Daily life now consists of:

  1. Rise & Shine. Put coffee pot on to boil or prepare coffee in Keurig if have power.  Otherwise, coffee in peculator on stove. Dress
  2. Quick breakfast: oatmeal/cereal/toast & egg
  3. Put away dishes and any loose items in preparation for travel
  4. Dispose of trash if receptacle nearby. Bathroom duties.
  5. Carry navigational tools, personal items up to bridge.
  6. Travel
  7. Research & talk to other Loopers regarding next good review destination
  8. Dock/slip/anchor for the night.
  9. Dinner preparations.
  10. Sleep
  11. Back to the beginning


Day #13 of the Great Loop Experience—September 15, 2016

Spent a quiet evening at anchor rafted off Last Call. The four of us went on a dinghy ride around the island of Big Blue Island just off the Illinois River on the way to Grafton/Alton. Our biggest surprise and terror came in the form of a lively Asian Carp of over 16-20 inches who decided he wanted to make his presence known. The fish slapped Scott on the shoulder splashing everyone in the boat causing Karen (in front of him) to scream and grab me causing me to scream bloody murder too. We have now decided that dinghy rides are a full contact sport requiring helmets, goggles and other protective gear.

Made reservations at Alton Marina for at least one night. We can provision, get fuel, and take on water at that destination. The Illinois River was flat today. We’re seeing farms, fields, farm equipment, and homes on stilts to avoid being flooded. River’s still high but seems to be coming down in height. Weather mild, sunny. Pearl Bridge operator spotted us on the river, contacted us, and let us know he sees us and opening bridge for us now.



Eagles along the river


Some of the river houses need some work……



Exploring creek off Illinois River near Big Blue Island where Scott was attacked by an Asian Carp.




Anchored by Big Blue Island with Last Call and Life’s Travails



Anchored by Big Blue Island with Last Call and Life’s Travails




Ferry crossing river




Ferry crossing river



Limestone Bluffs on Mississippi River




Limestone Bluffs on Mississippi River



Houses on Limestone bluffs near Grafton IL on Mississippi River




Our Lady of the Rivers shrine near confluence of Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois rivers.




Alton Bridge, entry to marina is on left just past the bridge




View from fly bridge on Sanctuary at dock in Alton Marina




From Ottawa IL to Peoria IL and the Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park

Today our journey started out cool, but very clear.   It was a beautiful travel day, clear blue sky with just a few white puffy clouds.

Since we stayed over yesterday, we toured the limestone cliffs of Buffalo Rock State Park getting up very close in the dinghy.  Along the way to the  park area, we saw a number of white pelicans. At first sight, we thought: this could not be pelicans–we are in Illinois, but sure enough–they were pelicans!

There were not any long lock delays today. We only had one lock to pass through today with only a few minutes wait for it to fill so we could enter and lock through.  The rest of the day was clear “sailing” covering about 70 miles. The heat and humidity weren’t as high making the trip a pleasant one.



A pod of white Pelicans



Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



White Pelicans in flight



Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park


Waterfall on the Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



Water running down Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



Up close to the Bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



More bluffs at Buffalo Rock State Park



Sun rise and Sanctuary at Ottawa IL



The water is very high with lots of minor flooding along the Illinois River. The good thing for us is that it means more current pushing us along. The bad part is there are lots of floating logs, trees and sticks to try and avoid.



Illinois River


Many river barges and pushers on the river


Crossing Peoria Lake, it is very wide but only about 3 foot deep outside the channel



Twin Bridge spanning river


Tonight Sanctuary at Eastport Marina. Another DeFever Life’s Travails  pulled in at the same time as us



Eastport Marina, Peoria Illinois — many friendly hands helped us snug into slip #3 dock



Sunset over Marina





Today we are in Ottawa IL

We traveled yesterday from Joliet to Ottawa IL.   We had a long wait at the Marseilles Lock, so we tied up to a barge with three other loopers and had “Locktails.”  We had planned to travel south today, but were told there was a 4 hour wait at the Starved Rock Lock.  It was raining this morning and I wanted to be able to photograph the Starved Rock limes stone cliffs as we went by, so we are waiting till tomorrow.  We saw White Pelicans on the trip yesterday, and found out that a group of them is called a pod.

This was the view from our boat on the wall in Joliet.

Pusher Tugs at Joliet

Pusher Tugs at Joliet



Teresa attaching a line to the Bollard in the lock.

The bollards are in the wall of the locks.   The post is attached to a large cylinder that floats up and down with the water level.

You tie to the post to keep the boat next to the wall as the lock fills or drains.



At the top of the lock waiting to be lowered to the river below the dam



Midway down the lock



Lowered all the way lock gates open ready to travel on.



Pusher tug on river with pilot house raised, when they are not pushing or need to go under a bridge, it can be lowered.



Floating cottages along the river




Deer visiting the lock


We are staying tonight in Ottawa IL, and plan to travel south tomorrow.


Stayed in Joliet Today

We tried to continue south on the river today but the Brandon Road Lock just down stream from here was closed all day.  Late in the day one pleasure craft and Barge/tow came up river.  We have not seen any more since those two that were in the lock together.   The wall here is now about full with boats waiting for the lock.  Hopefully tomorrow it reopens and we can get through.

Here are a few images from the last few days.


Approaching Chicago

Approaching Chicago



Barges Staged South of Chicago 2

Barges Staged South of Chicago


Barges Staged South of Chicago 2

Barges Staged South of Chicago 


Capt Pete Pusher Tug

Capt Pete Pusher Tug


Chicago Panoramic from DuSable Marina

Chicago Panoramic from DuSable Marina



Command Bridge on Sanctuary

Command Bridge on Sanctuary


Flying Kites while crossing Lake Michigan

Flying Kites while crossing Lake Michigan



Good Year Blimp Out over Lake Michigan

Good Year Blimp Out over Lake Michigan



Last Call Approaching Chicago

Last Call Approaching Chicago

Last Call Approaching Chicago


In the Lock at Lockport IL 2

In the Lock at Lockport IL 



In the Lock at Lockport IL

In the Lock at Lockport IL


Alan and Karen on Last Call

Alan and Karen on Last Call



Last Call in Chicago Lock 2

Last Call in Chicago Lock




Last Call in Chicago Lock

Last Call in Chicago Lock



Trump Tower

Trump Tower


Sears Tower(Willis) in Chicago

Sears Tower(Willis) in Chicago


Last Call out in Lake MI

Last Call out in Lake MI


Leaving Saugatuck

Leaving Saugatuck



Pusher Tugs at Joliet

Pusher Tugs at Joliet




Sanctuary on the wall in Joliet

Sanctuary on the wall in Joliet



Skip Jack Pusher Tug

Skip Jack Pusher Tug


Stephen Colby Pusher Tug

Stephen Colby Pusher Tug



Steve and Teresa on bow in Chicago Ship Canal

Steve and Teresa on bow in Chicago Ship Canal



Teresa and Amanda on the wall at Lockport IL

Teresa and Amanda on the wall at Lockport IL



Through Chicago and started down the rivers