Final Exam Time

Day 383: Sunday, September 22, 2013

Port to Port: Timberlake to Gilbert Island Anchorage

Underway: 8:41 am      Motor Off: 6:57 pm      Miles Traveled: 36      Stayed At: Anchor

Mile 258 to Mile 294: Today was a test – a test of whether we have changed our perspective on life after a year on the Great Loop or not. It is still a struggle not to be in a rush to get somewhere but we are learning.

We got up with the first light (easy to do when you are sleeping by 9 pm) and couldn’t see the nearest shoreline only 50 feet away. It was white everywhere. The thickest fog we have seen so far this trip. We decided to use the time productively by making a hot breakfast and some hot water for coffee and hot chocolate. It took over 2 hours for the fog to burn off enough for us to weigh anchor and motor upstream. Our progress was interrupted by a wall of stubborn fog on the main river which took another half hour to dissipate. Patience is a virtue, grasshopper….

We made steady progress toward our next obstacle – Lock 24. We knew this was going to be another test since we followed a long tow all the way to the lock. It didn’t pay to try to go around it at 5.5 mph since we wouldn’t be far enough ahead for them to let us lock up before they arrived. So we patiently played follow the leader and ended up waiting 2.5 hours before we were totally through the lock. We actually lucked out because another tow pulled up while we were waiting and could have requested passage before us but thankfully didn’t. We again used the time wisely – instead of wallowing for all that time, we anchored below the dam, had lunch and spent time reading. See, we are learning.

  On the way up river we stopped at Louisiana, Missouri just like we did last fall. Only this time the nice dock we stopped at last time was gone – probably a victim of the flooding this summer – - and instead tied up to a tiny dock next to the boat ramp. I wandered a few blocks to the gas station and passed by Isola’s Place on the way back – she survived the floods and her restaurant looks good. It was closed so late in the day but it was nice to see she recovered and is still in business.

The journey up river kept getting more beautiful. We were alone on the water. No tows in front or behind us (at least that we could see). The sunset was perfect. The skies were deep blue. And our anchorage was so quiet it is hard to get used to (after listening to Boris’ deep drone all day). Hopefully we are done with the testing and tomorrow will be a field trip day.

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