We arrived at Alton on Tuesday the 15th, pumped out, fueled up, were in our slip and had our rental car by about 3 PM, so we went off to see St. Louis, which was about 20 minutes away. We walked around downtown and had dinner. We also were going to walk in the park below the arch but found the entire area was dug up for renewal, but at least learned how to get to the arch the next day.
The next day we went up inside the arch. The view was a little restricted, but it’s one of those things you just have to do when you’re there. Learning about the building of the arch as well as the “train” that took us up was interesting. The old domed courthouse where the Dred Scott decision was made is often pictured with the arch as a background, and we stopped there to look at the museum inside.
Our visit to the Missouri Botanical Gardens was a high point. Said to be the oldest botanical garden in North America, the large trees and mature plantings as well as several fine old building’s, including the founder’s mansion spoke of its age. We just had an overview of the Japanese gardens as we went by in the tram, but it was a place where we could spend more time.
On the 17th we all went to the airport. Sue and I flew to Florida for our appointment while Jim and Paula flew back to their home in Davis CA. Jim and Paula were with us for a week on the Illinois River. Along the way there were lots of tows but little private boat traffic. The towns were small. Hardin IL at the Riverdock restaurant dock had 1000 people.
Much like it was for the settlers in covered wagons, St Louis is a jumping off point for loopers. Tomorrow Sue and I leave for more travel on the Mississippi, Ohio and then Tennessee rivers. There will be few if any marinas for many miles. Hoppies, where most loopers stop, is full for the next few days, so we plan to skip it and tie up on the outside wall of the Kaskaska lock, 84 miles downstream from here at Alton. That should not be a problem if we can get through the Melvin Price and Chain of Rocks locks, both within 3 miles of here, without more than a few hours delay. We’ll call the lockmaster first thing tomorrow morning.
After that we will reach the Ohio River and probably need to Anchor out to the side of the channel for a night or two. There we will hit the Olmsted, 53 and 52 locks before we turn right at the Tennessee River. The last two of these are famous for extreme delays due to a new dam being constructed.