Big Day on the Big Muddy

Across the River from Chester, Illinois
September 19, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

Today was a huge day for me. Because of the fast current, I was able to average 7.5 mph and covered 50 miles from Kimmswick, Missouri to an island in Missouri across from Chester, Illinois. Before today’s journey, I was averaging 25 miles/day.

Today also marks my progress past the half-way point on the River. I have now paddled 1,233 miles! My next milestone will be reached when I have less than 1,000 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.

The towboats throw off a much bigger wake. Above St. Louis, the towboats can push up to 15 barges. Below St. Louis, where there is no Lock & Dam system, they can push up to 40 barges. The wake they leave roils the water for miles behind them. I now understand why I was warned to avoid the towboats. A towboat proceeding up River, can throw off a wake that will bounce off the Illinois side of the River and travel over a mile across the River and then bounce off the Missouri side of the River. My poor little canoe is caught in the middle. When I pull off the River at the end of the day, I have to bring my canoe completely out of the River. Otherwise, the waves from the passing towboats will toss it around in the rocks like a rag doll.

Tomorrow, I hope to make it to Cape Girardeau.

Bill

(click on images to enlarge)