Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

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Cris
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Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Cris » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:49 pm

I'm in the process of planning an 800 mile motor-sailing trip down the upper Mississippi River in 2011 and looking for any helpful observations & suggestions especially from those who might have done this before (maybe a Great Looper).

For a few years I've done ~150 mile legs, putting in where I pulled out the previous year, then boating the next leg and trailering all the way home. After four legs I've made it down to Sabula from St. Paul. Each leg my wife and I would take two vehicles (the truck with trailer, and a car to accomodate the drop off). This works well with only 150 miles between them and allows us to avoid the much slower up-river boating against the current when it's time to return home (picking up the car as we drive by the put-in point).

But going over 800 miles in one journey my thought is to leave the truck/trailer home until I arrive at a marina at the end of the trip and get a rental car from that point to go home to retrieve the trailer. The problem is there aren't any marinas around Cairo (MM 0). I'm considering going past Cairo, up the Ohio and then over to Kentucky Lake, but there aren't any rental car companies walking or biking distance in that area to rent transportation home to get my trailer. I'm also a bit concerned about gas availability below Hoppie's.

Words of wisdom?

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Chinook » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:49 pm

We've done just what you're considering, while cruising down the Intracoastal Waterway. We put in at Chesapeake VA and cruised 800 miles down the ICW to St. Augustine FL. We left our truck and trailer at an RV park near the launch ramp, and rented a slip in St. Augustine once we arrived there. We parked the boat in the slip and then rented a car, with confirmation that we could do a one way rental by turning it in at an airport near where we'd left our truck and trailer. It all worked out very well.

It sounds like the key issues for you are locating a facility where you can leave your boat, and arranging transportation back north. I'd suggest phoning up a Chamber of Commerce in a town in the vicinity of your projected destination. A person there may well be able to put you in touch with the necessary services. You might also try looking up a fishing guide in the area of your destination. A fishing guide might put you onto boat storage options, and might even be available to hire for a ride to the nearest car rental location. There also might be a bus route reasonably close. I'm confident you'll be able to figure out a workable plan. Good look with your arrangements. I'll look forward to reading about your trip, once it is completed.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by 1st Sail » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:58 pm

Best I can offer is personal taxi services to assist with groceries etc. when you get to Moline. We have 4 well protected harbors here and good public ramps.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Retcoastie » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:11 am

Perhaps we could join you on the Kentucky Lake cruise and provide land transport. Let us know when plans firm up.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Cris » Wed Jun 30, 2010 11:44 am

1st Sail, which marina would you recommend in your area? Our plan is to alternate anchoring or beaching with taking a transient slip in order to see some local sights, refresh the ice, etc.

Retcoastie, I really appreciate the offer. At this point the front-running alternative is to tie up at the Kentucky Lake Dam Marina, then rent a car one-way home to get our truck/trailer. So far as I know Paducah is the nearest place to get a rental. Of course that's not within walking distance from this marina. But I'm curious about your own proximity. Am I right that Gray Hawk is a several hour drive to Kentucky Lake, and in the opposite direction of Paducah? Maybe there's a closer place for us to get a rental car?

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by 1st Sail » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:47 pm

Chris,

I managed to drown my laptop last week so I'm in the process of moving all my mapping software to the new laptop. I use my Lowrance chart plotter on the boat but use Opencpn with US Army Corp IENC maps for the Miss. river. I'm waiting for the new sun viewable net books for use on the boat. I'll get you mile markers and details.

From Sabula to Moline there a lot of marinas, miles of back water and beaches.
There is a significant channel wing dam running from above I80 to Lock & Dam 15 Rock Island. There are limited access points where you can cross from the main channel to services in the non channel part of the river. I'll check my IENC maps to see if the portals are make IIRC they are.

North of Cordova, IL there are two large man made sand pits which you can beach or anchor out of the current. You will recognize them from google as they are square sided. Look up stream from the Excelon Nuclear power plant.
Lock & Dam 14 LeClaire google the recreational locks. There is an excellent protected pool for anchoring above the locks on the Iowa side. No current to deal with.
Loack & Dam 15 Rock Island and pool. Marquis harbor on the Moline side, has fuel, and good resturant 'Captains qtrs.)
Just north of the I74 bridge is Isle of Capri marina. Last year it was $20 a day, fuel, resturant & rooms at the Casino.
South of L&D 15 on IL side is Sunset marina. Well protected, services fuel, pump out, water.
You will need me to get to Walmart / Sam's as they are 3-5mi. from the marinas. You can call me at the office, ph # is on my web site listed with my registration.

Maybe someday we can organize a brown water sail in on the 'Ole Miss. river.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Cris » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:34 pm

1st Sail, thx for the info. Of the marinas you mention is there one you'd suggest over the others?

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Dennis » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:33 pm

Chris

We had planned a spring 2011 trip Tulsa to Coco Beach, FL via McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation ditch – Mississippi River – Gulf & ICW but the ongoing oil spill has stymied that plan. We have kids on the Great Lakes so we are now planning on spending our summer visiting and sailing. Since we have kids who can bring the tow vehicle and trailer back to Tulsa I’d be interested in making a similar trip. I’d appreciate it if you would share whatever info you collect.

Dennis

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by 1st Sail » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:59 am

Chris,
Marquis was dredged this year so the down stream entrance is not restricted, harbor is protected on three sides, new docks, good resturant, no showers, services.
Isle of Capri is floating marina adjacent to the channel. Semi protected by a floating dock but will rock you from the wake of passing boats, no showers, Casino, services.
Sunset sit in an inland bay, fully protected, not shure about showers, services no resturant.
Note the marinas near the I80 bridge are both river side with no wave protection, there are services there but reference your IENC map for the break in the channel wing dam for access.

I would choose Marquis for protection and resturant.
Isle if you need a room. If you have get a room I think they have special pricing for the marina.

If you get moment post some references for Lake Pepin and that is on my fall trip plans. It look like a good place to sail. We will probably tow and launch rather then push upstream.

Dave

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Cris
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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Cris » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:19 pm

Dave, thx again for the info.

Re: Lake Pepin, hands down Lake City Marina on the MN side is the nicest to gas up and spend the night. It’s quite large (has a ramp and a cradle) and they separate the sailboats from the motor-boats. It’s right in the heart of town so access to shops & restaurants is excellent. There’s another marina a couple of miles north of Lake City called Hansen’s Harbor that has a better ship’s store. But it’s quite a trek into town. Dan’s Pepin Marina (in the town of Pepin) on the WI side is dedicated to sailboats but it doesn’t have a gas dock. It’s a few blocks walk to the local gas station. Pepin (the town) has a few shops and places to eat that are very good for such a small burg.

There are public boat ramps in both towns, but the best one is on the northern outskirts of Lake City in Hok-Si-La Park. Unlike Lake City, the ramp in the town of Pepin doesn’t have a dock.

On the MN side north of Hansen’s is a sand bar called Long Point that juts out into the lake. It’s a good place to swim and is very popular for beaching and anchoring. Also, consider boating down the Mississippi a couple of miles south of the lake to Wabasha for a meal/drinks at Slippery’s. You can tie up on their dock. Wabasha is known for being the supposed setting for the Grumpy Old Men movies.

Lake Pepin is a great place to sail. Let me know if/when you’ll be making the trip. I live at mile marker 800 on the main channel and boat down through lock #3 to travel the 25 miles to Lake Pepin a couple of times each summer for an overnight on the lake. It usually takes me a day each way partly because delays sometimes occur at the lock, and because I’m pretty leisurely on the water.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Catigale » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:09 am

Cris - have you given any thought as to what motor to use for this trip?

A small kicker (like a 9 or even a 6 HP) might give significantly better gas mileage than a 'standard 50' outboard. While the money savings are nice, the bigger issue is cruising range and ability to choose a larger variety of refuel options.

Just a thought. A new 6 HP about 1k, easy resale value about 1/2 that perhaps.

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Cris
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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Cris » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:59 pm

Actually I’m hoping my yammie 50 provides enough power. There are times during high water the current is amazingly fast and strong. My other concern about those times has to do with the amount and size of floating wood, including HUGE trees. I’ve considered installing a prop guard, but am concerned this might backfire and result in flotsam becoming jammed rather than passing freely by.

Regarding gas, my plan is to sail whenever possible and otherwise motor with only enough throttle to maintain control and let the current do its thing. I’m allotting plenty of time, basing a schedule on covering only 25-30 miles per day.

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Catigale » Wed Jul 07, 2010 4:24 am

There are times during high water the current is amazingly fast and strong.
On the Hudson River in NY, when the current is like this, it is a good indicator to be OFF the water - invariably there are trees, cars and bodies coming down river with these currrents. A 50 HP will take you to a 15 kt boat speed pretty easily (even loaded) so you can buck a 15 kt current...but you sure wouldnt want to do that for very long.

I have taken my :macx: up the lower Niagara river with my 50 EFI BF flatout until the current overcame the power of the motor - lots of fun - when the current finally wins its pretty scary though.....

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Re: Upper Mississippi River 800+ Mile Trip

Post by Jake2670 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 4:41 pm

Dennis wrote:
Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:33 pm
Chris

We had planned a spring 2011 trip Tulsa to Coco Beach, FL via McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation ditch – Mississippi River – Gulf & ICW but the ongoing oil spill has stymied that plan. We have kids on the Great Lakes so we are now planning on spending our summer visiting and sailing. Since we have kids who can bring the tow vehicle and trailer back to Tulsa I’d be interested in making a similar trip. I’d appreciate it if you would share whatever info you collect.

Dennis
Are you stil n Tulsa, I'm just over the line at Fort Smith, AR

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