Set out today for the 900 mile, 14 hour drive to St Louis. Somewhere close to Columbus Ohio I notice in the rear view mirror the boat sitting lopsided in the trailer. A bracket on the trailer had broken. At a rest stop I started to figure out how I was going to fix it when several people offered to help. I accepted help from a balding, bearded guy from Indiana. He produced more tools than I had and I stayed out of his way as he happily worked on the trailer. He told me he builds race cars for a hobby and was driving a custom van he bought in DC back to Indiana. All this time with his head inches below the boat he never asked one question about it. It struck me odd but I did not mind as he fixed it in about 20 minutes.
After spending the night in Indianapolis I reached the Mississippi early the next day. It was raining hard and I waiting to go to the Marina and put my boat in the water. I went to the Old Chain of Rocks bridge to scout out some rapids I will have to pass through on my first day on the river.
The bridge was once the official crossing for route 66 but now is used as a pedestrian bridge across the river. However while I was out there a group of cars did cross it led by flashing lights. They were a fan club of route 66 and had a little parade across it.
I could see rapids just south of bridge. The rapids are created by rock ledges that stretch for about 10 miles. The Army Corp of Engineers built a 10 mile canal to bypass this section and the Chain of Rocks remains the last and only natural navigational barrier on the river. They didn’t look too bad so I decided I would go through them the next day.
The rain stopped and I put Little Joy in the river and tied her up at the Alton Maria. The same place where I took her out last year.
Alton is known for taking a hell of a beating every time the river floods. Its also know for a few famous residents. Robert Wadlow, the tallest person in recorded history, Miles Davis the Jazz musician, Paul Tibbets Jr, pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, and I reluctantly mention the assassin of Martin Luther King.
On my way
Scouting my route for tomorrow from chain of rocks bridge. The rapids are on the left.