Only One State To Go

Day 385: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Port to Port: Quincy to Keokuk, Iowa

Underway: 6:48 am      Motor Off: 4:10 pm      Miles Traveled: 38      Stayed At: Yacht Club

Mile 327 to Mile 365: After a surprisingly quiet night tied up at the small dock by the boat landing in Keokuk (we just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay $22 to stay at the Yacht Club dock like last time and not have any services like bathrooms and showers) we left at first light again. It was another ideal travel day – sunshine, moderate temps and a following breeze. As soon as we passed under the bridge (twice) to get heading north again, we put the main up and left it up until we came to our first lock. It was way better than we could hope for.

We lucked out on our first lock too – no tows in sight – but we had to wait a little while for them to finish some maintenance on the upstream gates before they lowered it for us and we went on our way. We weren’t so lucky at Lock 19 at Keokuk, though. A large tow was just entering the lock when we arrived and we expected a 2+ hour wait – you would be amazed at how slow these tows go in and out of the locks. Luckily, this lock was able to swallow the whole tow in one bite so the process was much quicker than expected. We were able to tie up to the outside wall while we waited, too.

As we were approaching the lock, Randy, the delivery captain we first met in Quincy caught up to us. We were surprised to see him because the boat he is piloting was having problems and he thought he would be stuck in Quincy for a day or two. Two bolts on the prop struts had failed and fallen out allowing water to pour into the boat. The bilge pumps kept up with the inflow but just barely. He was able to plug the leaks temporarily but he needed some special long bolts that were getting express mailed (and we know how well that works sometimes). Then he needed a diver to go down and install the bolts from below. Amazingly, his parts came in first thing and the diver had the bolts in and tight soon after. Everything else was okay so off he went by mid morning. Lucky (and expensive)!

We all locked through smoothly – this is a very deep lock but, thankfully, it has floating bollards which are much easier to use than the lines dropped down from the top. Cindy was a happy girl. Keokuk Yacht Club was only a couple miles from the lock and we both pulled in to stop for the night. They have a nice bar right on the water and we even chatted with one of the guys we met over a year ago here – I think he was sitting on the same bar stool as last time. After our boat projects were done, Randy called a taxi and we joined him on a short road trip to an Italian restaurant in downtown. We had a nice meal and listened to some fun boat delivery stories before heading back to the marina for showers and relaxation. I was able to get a hold of Gary and Pauline who we met last time also – he loaned us his truck to go to Walmart. It was too late to get together but we chatted for a while about our trip – he even offered to leave a car at the Yacht Club if we ever plan to come through again. Amazing! We just may have to come back some day…and stay a few days.

FYI – Refrigeration: We obviously don’t have a refrigerator or freezer on our little boat. Not enough power to run one. We do have a large cooler that we used on our trip in 2002. It fits perfectly, out of the way, in a space under the companionway stairs. I redesigned it for that trip and only added a 2” piece of insulation to the top for this much longer trip. I added three clear, deep, rectangular bins inside which fit perfectly side by side and reach to within 3/4” of the bottom. The two end bins are for food storage and they both have drain holes in the bottom. The center bin is for ice storage – we put the ice in heavy zip-locks to catch the cold filtered water for drinking and any water or condensation is captured in the bottom of the bin. We almost never have to pull the cooler to empty water out of the bottom, we have cold water everyday and our food doesn’t get soggy. We only need to add ice every couple of days.  It works pretty darn good.

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