Alton, Mississippi River to Mile Marker 164

OH My Gosh…What a beautiful morning.  We woke up at 1 a.m not able to sleep. Partially because we fell asleep by 7 p.m LOL  But it gave us time to get ready to leave Alton. Bryce called the Mel Price Lock the night before. We asked when we should arrive at the lock. We were told to arrive at 7:00 a.m.  I think we were both ready to head out of Alton. It always feels good to go into port after 8 days to refurbish our supplies.  I have to laugh because normally after 24hrs and we are fully loaded I am ready to go back on the hook.  It is sometimes very trying on the hook but it keeps us young and on our toes.  Like if the winds shift 180 degrees in the middle of the night to 40 miles per hour and pouring rain, anchor dragging. We must be ready for it. I can’t count the times we have woken up in the middle of the night to a  major storm not predicted by the weather person. But with that said it is awesome to anchor out. The following blog is a long one. It’s all in a day of motoring the Mississippi.

Good morning.. It’s 6:30 a.m. and we just pulled out of Alton Marina.


The first lock: Mel Price was only 1.5 miles away. We barely had time to drink our coffee.


After they started lowering us down, I had to cover my ears.  The floating bollards screeched. The sound was worse than someone scraping their nails on a chalk board!! It was horrible bad!


The Mel Price Lock has two chambers .  One is 1200 feet long for the big tows.  The other is 600 feet for us and small tows.  We locked down in the 600 foot lock at the same time a down bound tow locked down in the 1200 foot lock


Look at this huge wall coming out.  This is looking back at the small lock we came out of.


Now, our little chamber is on the far right. The middle is a dam and left of the dam is the 1200 foot lock. Then there is another dam on the left side of that lock. This is crazy big!  You don’t want to mistake the middle dam for a lock!!


This tow with it’s barges is waiting to enter the lock going Northbound.


This area; which is shortly after we got out of the lock, is a dry dock where they work on these tows. It is pretty cool looking. I wouldn’t mind taking a tour of one. And I’m sure Bryce would too.


We are starting to see the groynes again. Not the personal thing..LOL These groynes are built to help control erosion and sediment.  They also help control the river flow.


The color of this tow blue just captured my camera.


I think this once was a casino. I didn’t see a parking lot so maybe the barge company uses it for an office.


Here is a picture of a tow in a floating dry dock.  Notice the huge propellers.  Also, notice these tows have rudders in front of the prop and another set of rudders aft of the prop.  It allows these tows to have as much steering control going in reverse as in going forward.


Here is the entrance to a floating dry dock.


This is a quite interesting picture in that it shows the floating dry dock is raising a tow out of the water.  Notice the water pouring out of ballast chambers.


Here is another floating dry dock showing the supports inside.


Here is a barge unloading fuel.


These little whoop-ee-do makes our boat feel like it could spin circles.  I always imagine it might take us down to another dimension.


If you don’t follow the sign you will go to another dimension.  If you turn right instead of left there is a huge ( monster) dam that can pull you over.  Just up from this point in the Mississippi River is where the Missouri River junction is.


This is the Chain of Rocks Canal. It is very pretty. Each bank is lined with rocks. I am sure that is how it gets its name.


Maintenance crew adding rocks making sure it stands up to its name!!


The rocks come off heavily loaded barges.


The tow Al moves these barges around.  I wonder if this is Al?? As we passed by he came out and waved to us.


Every once and a while we see a log.


The Chain of Rocks Lock has twin locks.  A 1200 footer and a 600 footer.  As we came up to the small lock, we could not tell if the doors were open.  The light was flashing red so Bryce floated us around for a few seconds. When all of a sudden the lock master told us to enter.  He also said there would be a tow joining us for a lift down too. The 600 footer has this unique lock door that raises up by huge chains rather than doors on hinges.


We locked through with this tow.  Her name is Holly P. The captain didn’t even need to tie off.  He just pushed against the lock wall to hold him in place.


This floating bollard was so high, Bryce had to come forward to put our loop over it.


The doors opened and we are ready to go out. We waited for the Holly P. to leave. As the doors opened it looked like she was going to get hit. LOL I am sure they have done this so much that they like to show off in front of the pleasure boats.


Here is a view of the twin locks.  We just came out of the left lock.  A tow and a bunch of barges is coming out of the large lock.


The name on the building still shows Union Electric. I guess an old power company. I think they should level it.


The sky line of St Louis..


The first sign of St. Louis is the arch behind a few bridges. I surely think they could redo their water front area to dress it up some.


We could hear the train blow its horn as it traveled through the sky line.


Here is the people mover right travelling under the roadway.


The St. Louis Arch


As we motored through the river, I thought we had tows and barges coming at us. Only to find out they just store them right there in the river. On our first time around I don’t think they were anchored like this. I guess I will have to look at my last blog.


The current of the river is very strong here.  You can see the wake this tow is creating coming from the South. He is really pushing his engines.


Look at his bow plowing though.


I just can’t remember any tow making this type of wake. LOL


I busted my gut laughing when I saw this statue. I am not sure what it represents but It sure did make me laugh.   Look at the bikini laden legs jumping into the pool!


This is one reason we like the Mississippi.  We are zipping along at our normal 6 1/2 miles an hour through the water.  But the 4 mph current boosts our speed to 10.3 mph.


After we anchored for the night, we sat upon the bow having coffee and watched the tows go by.


Not only did tows go by but we also watched a lot of timber too.


This is a unique tow we saw.  It looks a bit futuristic eh??


Here is our nightly locater. LOL This shows our anchorage or our whereabouts.  https// 


We anchored out again after two nights in Alton. We anchored in the Mississippi River just South of St. Louis at mile marker 164.  The depth was 12 feet and the current was 2.2 mile an hour.


Thanks for following us Red rose

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