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Sep 10, 2009

Peoria the Maritime Destination Pookie II



Peoria the Maritime Destination
Evan and Pookie Davis
and the Pookie II

Evan and Pookie Davis visited Peoria yesterday and today. They are completing the "Great Loop Tour". They started in Tennessee, travelled down the Mississippi, around the Gulf, down and across Florida, up the Atlantic Seaboard, then west to and through the Great Lakes, through Chicago, and now on the Illinois River heading back home. A great trip.

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"Pookie II" is a 25' Ranger Tug...currently home to Pookie, Evan, Scruffy (18# wire-haired Fox Terrier) & Lola (a 45# rescue basset/shepherd)! We left home Feb. 23 and have traveled almost 6,000 miles. Check out www.greatloop.org to read about this type trip. We are currently on the Illinois River headed south with about 7 other "looper boats" we have met along the way.

It was great to see Beth & Craig and they are marvelous hosts!

Pookie





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Pookie almost Home

Evan Davis to Sharon, Larry, Arch, Ben, Bill, Bob, Debbie, Debbie, Eric, Jim, Karan, Marilyn
show details 11:39 AM (2 hours ago)


I forgot to mention that Frank & Pam Mathon, the couple who offered to drive to Chicago and trailer us around the carp barrier, did drive to Grafton and ate lunch with us at Mississippi Half Step, a Grafton restaurant. Nice folks who are retired teachers and own a Ranger 25.
From Grafton, we headed out on the Mississippi, which didn't have the famous current until after the Missouri joined it just above St. Louis. It had been falling fast and the current picked up to around 4 mph and our fuel usage plummeted. We made 60 miles that day and 2 locks and tied up at Hopie's, the only marina & fuel stop for the next 250 miles. Hopie's is just 3 barges on the river bank at Kimmswick, IL. Hopie is the owner and Fern is the dockmaster and river guru.
We were a flotilla of 9 looper boats traveling together to Green Turtle Bay on the Cumberland, and we took up all the dockage available at Hopie's, which has no showers or other amenities. Most topped off their fuel tanks, and the Pookie II had only burned 12 gallons in 60 miles. All walked into Kimmswick, a cute small town, and went to the shops before Fern gave all captains her advice on what to expect in the next 250 miles at 4:30 PM. She was most helpful and friendly and we all knew we would have to anchor out and raft up together in the very few anchorages available at current low water levels. She had called ahead to ask about anchorages too.
The next day we made 110 miles in 9 hours with the current, no locks and a lot of towboats to pass going in both directions. The Mississippi, Ohio and Illinois rivers, in that order, are the 3 with the most towboat traffic in North America, and we talked by radio to all that came into sight, asking permission to pass and on what side of them. Two whistles means to leave them on your starboard side and one whistle to leave them on your port side. Most were very cooperative, but Pia on Still Busy got chewed out by one grumpy towboat captain, who couldn't see how cute she is.
We rafted up in Little Diversion channel at mile 48 just below Cape Girardeau with 4 boats rafted together and 5 together. By now, Riff Raff, aka Jimmy Tant, who has more river experience than any of us, had become the defacto admiral of our fleet. He decided where and what we would do and by radio kept all of us informed. With such a large number of boats together, someone has to take charge, and Jimmy never offended anyone and used a lot of consideration for all. He even dinghied Lola, Scruffy & me ashore to save me all the time of getting my dinghy down & up again.
The next day we made 88 miles to mile 940 on the Ohio and rafted up and anchored just before the last Ohio River dam & lock we had to pass. It is a real change to go from a 4 mph favorable current to a 2 mph unfavorable current, and your speed drops dramatically and your fuel consumption per distance traveled leaps. The Mississippi is pulling the Ohio down with its low water level. Rick & Roll had lost one engine, and they and we stopped at Metropolis, IL to let our dogs ashore just before we rafted up for the night. We all stayed in touch with them for safety sake and that's another reason we stopped with them.
Our final river day was 17 more miles up the Ohio, with 1 lock, and 31 up the Cumberland against a 5+ mph current, the most reported in several years, as Barkley Dam was generating all the power it could with all the recent rain from the Tennessee Valley. We made Green Turtle Bay around 5 PM after 3 hard and long days and Bidde & the Beast finally caught up with us here, where they crossed their wake and completed the Loop.
We feel like we are home, as we've been here before on the Pookie I, even though it's another 280 miles to our home port at Joe Wheeler in AL. We got a table of 10 the first night here at Patti's, a famous restaurant that specializes in huge, tender pork chops. Last nite we had a docktail party and then 6 of us ate at the dockside restaurant here. We're leaving tomorrow for Paris Landing State Park in TN, but we'll take our time going home and try to see some friends along the way. The Pookie II has now been in 18 states and Canada, which is more than most Americans ever see.
We'll cross our wake and complete our Loop at mile 215 on the TN River, the entrance to the TN-Tom Waterway. This will conclude this travelogue, as we've done this river before and I'm tired of writing. Hope you enjoyed reading and the pics. Captain Completed
Pics are: 1. St. Louis, MO 2. Our fleet at Hopie's marina 3. Riff Raff with a huge caramelized apple pie he bought in Kimmswick and shared with all 4. Sunrise on the Mississippi at Kimmswick 5. The Admiral piloting down the Mississippi 6. Riff Raff taking me, Lola & Scruffy ashore in Little Diversion channel--we got filthy muddy 7. Four boats rafted back to back and side to side in Little Diversion channel 8. Rafting up below last lock on Ohio 9. Riff Raff with our courtesy van driver from Patti's restaurant 10. Turtles eating chicken skins at Green Turtle Bay 11. Dan & Bidde celebrating loop completion at docktail party 12. Riff Raff with his girls at docktail party at GTB 13. Fred & Sharon in garbage bag raincoats and us in rain gear at Dockside restaurant at GTB 14. Pookie II in lock 53 on Ohio---these are the nastiest and slowest locks on the entire loop.

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