Cheeseburger in Paradise

Ahoy from Louisville!

John E. has joined the virtual crew. He and his family are just getting into boating, and our crew introduced them to America’s Great Loop while in Pittsburgh. Welcome aboard!

Summary of the Week

Last week the crew had stopped in Point Pleasant to learn more about Mothman. On the travels down river this week, the skipper was on the lookout for Mothman. At one point, he actually thought he saw the strange bird like man, until he got a little closer.

The crew may have only travelled four days this week, but they packed the days with friends, new and old. On Monday, they travelled to the home town of Rosemary Clooney in Augusta. On Tuesday, they travelled to Cincinnati and met up with the crew of Chasing 80 for a Jimmy Buffett concert. On Wednesday, they spent the day with the crew of Long Recess and got a tour of the greater Cincinnati area. On Thursday, the crew made a lunch stop in Rising Sun, then proceeded down river to Florence where Roger Cann came aboard for the night. On Friday, they made a long cruise so they would arrive in Louisville for the weekend.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures along the days route, and a short narrative of the day’s observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. From the Travel Map site, just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your first name and email to the pop up box. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What was the last Flood Wall Mural painted in Maysville?
  2. Where did the crew attend the Jimmy Buffett concert?
  3. How many Jimmy Buffett concerts has Kevin of Chasing 80 attended?
  4. What is Gallopalooza?
  5. Where is the largest collection of Victorian homes in one neighborhood in the US?


The crew skipped Augusta on the up bound run because there was a Stern Wheeler Tour Boat taking up much of the dock. However, the crew had several recommendations that suggested they should stop on the way back down. The crew was pleasantly surprised by the little town with a big heart. The first thing to catch their eye were two houses overlooking the town public dock. The white house was home to Rosemary Clooney, now the Rosemary Clooney Museum. She is probably best remembered as Betty in the Musical White Christmas, alongside Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen.

Rosemary was born and raised just a little up river in the town of Maysville. You may recall the Maysville Flood Wall Mural project, well Rosemary’s Mural was the last one completed in Maysville back in September 2007. The mural honors moments from her life, friendship with Blanche Chambers, and her singing career.

Another recommendation, from several people, was to eat at the General Store. So, the crew hiked up the road to find the General Store for supper. Another pleasant surprise: one of the best chicken fried steaks ever, with a side of coconut cream pie and blackberry cobbler.

The town had many beautiful backyard gardens. Here is just one of many:


The crew learned via the grapevine along the river that the first concert post pandemic in Cincinnati would be Jimmy Buffett. The concert was scheduled at the Riverbend Music Center, just three miles from where the crew had planned to dock at 4 Seasons. The crew also got an invite from a seasoned Jimmy Buffett concert goer, 53 concerts under his belt, to come raft up to Chasing 80 for the concert.

The crew saw Chasing 80 at anchor by the concert venue when they passed by on the way to the marina. The skipper hailed Chasing 80 and let them know that they would return after getting checked in at the marina. Once at the marina, a tsunami of all storms hit the radar so the crew set tight and let the last storm of the day wash on by. Once the coast was clear, the crew shoved off the dock and laid down a track to Chasing 80. Upon arrival, the crew rafted up to Chasing 80 and caught up with Jill and Kevin.

Approach to raft up
Rafted up

The two crews had last seen each other last summer on the Tennessee River. Jill and Kevin then sat down to enjoy their customary cheeseburger in paradise before the concert began. The skipper wanted to know if their cheeseburgers were:

Medium rare with muenster’d be nice

Heaven on earth with an onion slice

I like mine with lettuce and tomato

Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes

Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer

Well, good god almighty, which way do I steer….

Cheeseburger in Paradise
Jill and Kevin

The concert got started about 8 and lasted about 2.5 hours. There were just over 30 boats anchored in the area, all were having a good time listening to the tunes. This photo was taken by a drone by the road crew during the concert and showed up on a live you tube stream.

The concert ended with Margaritaville, well until the three song encore really completed the concert.

After the concert it was time to navigate back 3 miles in the dark. However, about the time the crew was ready to go an up bound and a down bound tow arrived. The skipper waited and allowed them both to pass before shoving off. He then followed the down bound tow back to the marina because the tow was using his search beacon to light up the waterway. The crew got back to the marina about midnight. Time to turn in and get ready for some visitors at noon.

The crew of Long Recess, Karen and Tony, have scheduled their Loop departure for September 2021. They came by Still Waters II with a list of questions seeking answers to help them prepare for their launch. Our crew was more than happy to help Long Recess in their Great Loop Quest. After several hours of conversation, the four headed to the Boathouse Restaurant for dinner and more Q&A. Then Tony and Karen gave our crew a tour of Cincinnati while on the hunt for Grater’s Ice Cream. A great way to cap off a two day stay in Cincinnati.

Speaking of caps, the skipper also scored a Pittsburgh Pirates and a Cincinnati Reds ice cream helmet at Graters to add to his ever growing collection of ball park memories.


The crew returned to Louisville with the goal to get out to Church Hill Downs. They found Trolley de Ville which gives a 90 minute tour of Louisville, with a stop at Church Hill Downs. While touring around town they learned how the town got its start.

The only waterfall to obstruct water traffic on the Ohio River was found here at Louisville. It was a 26 foot drop over 2 miles of rapids. Pioneers and later commercial traffic would stop along the banks, unload their boats, portage the boat over or around the falls, and then reload their gear. This obviously took some time and effort. The town sprang up at the Falls to support the pioneers and commercial traffic navigate this natural barrier.

The tour went through a neighborhood of historic Victorian homes. The tour guide said it was the largest collection of Victorian homes in one neighborhood in the US. They were very spectacular.

The crew finally arrived at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby. While looking around the skipper watched a recording of the 2021 race and captured this photo finish. The tour guide mentioned that an all day seat at the Derby costs $4,000. This spot in the museum was free, and even got an up close view of the finish.

And speaking of winners, did you know that at the Galt House Hotel that they enshrine the jockey winners of the Kentucky Derby by dedicating their hand prints, name, and a rose around this statue.

While the skipper was learning the finer points of horse racing, the Admiral was busy shopping for a derby hat.

And what would a day at the derby be without trying a Mint Julep.

While returning back to downtown the crew began noticing more and more horse statues. The public art displays are part of Gallopalooza: Louisville’s Sidewalk Derby. To date they have conducted three Derby’s, 2004, 2009, and 2015 which have resulted in more than 500 horses scattered about town. They have also added large Mint Julep’s to the art work. The link Gallopalooza – Brightside Foundation will take you to a galley of the art work that makes up the Sidewalk Derby. The skipper snapped a few shots of the horses and a Mint Julep.

Louisville is an interesting town and the crew are glad they stopped and checked it out. Maybe you should consider adding Louisville to your Bucket List.

Boat Name of the Week

Pulled into Marina next to Still Waters II in Louisville

Next Week –

The crew will depart Louisville on Monday and try to make some long cruise days to get back to the Cumberland River by weeks end and hopefully arrive back at Green Turtle Bay for the weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Mothman Madness

Ahoy from Portsmouth!

Ironton Bridge

Summary of the Week

As many of the pioneers did back in the day, the crew shoved off from Pittsburgh and have begun their descent down river. They made 6 stops while cruising 356 miles this week. They returned to Chester on Monday to get some electricity and the air conditioning that comes with it due to the unseasonable high temperatures. On Tuesday, they stopped in Moundsville to explore the Indian Burial Mound. Wednesday, the crew stopped in Parkersburg to explore more about Blennerhassett Island. Thursday the crew landed back at Point Pleasant to learn more about Mothman. Friday, the crew landed in Ironton to discover more about the local and regional steel industries. Saturday, the crew returned to Portsmouth to rest up a bit before pushing further down river.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures along the days route, and a short narrative of the day’s observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. From the Travel Map site, just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your first name and email to the pop up box. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What was the original height and base diameter of the Grave Creek Mound?
  2. How many burials were discovered in the Grave Creek Mound?
  3. What was the worst flood year in Parkersburg?
  4. What was the flood crest height?
  5. When did the Mothman first appear in Point Pleasant?
  6. Who placed a curse on the area now known as Point Pleasant?
  7. What event marks the last appearance of Mothman in Point Pleasant?
  8. What town claims the oldest continuous running Memorial Day Parade?


The crew experienced warmer than should be temperatures today with the high in the low 90’s. The free dock at Moundville has no electricity, so the crew found the local DQ Grill and Chill to go cool off. Oh, and consume Blizzard’s of course. Lucky for the crew the Indian Mound just happens to be next to DQ, which minimized walking in the heat.

Grave Creek Mound

The first European American to see the Mound is thought to be Joseph Tomlinson in 1770 when he accidently stumbled across the Mound while hunting. Merriwether Lewis stopped to look at the Mound in 1803 on his way to meet William Clark in Louisville, before continuing their expedition to the unexplored west coast.

In March of 1838, a nephew of Joseph Tomlinson began excavation of the Mound. The team dug several shafts into the mound and found two burial chambers containing three burials. They also found beads, seashells, and copper bracelets. Most items are now housed in the Museum next to the Mound.

But the most interesting and controversial find was the Grave Creek Stone. The stone was discovered in 1838 and passed through several private collections before it became lost to history. However, four casts were made of the stone and somehow survived and are in the custody of the Smithsonian. Some folks think the stone was a hoax to drive attention about the mound. Some mysteries will never be solved.

Another nearby relic was the West Virginia Penitentiary. The Pen has been abandoned as a jail, but is now used to train officers in prison riots. Interesting since the prison was the site of some of the worst prison riots in the US back in 1973 and 1986.

When the sun began to set, the crew left the cool confines of the DQ Grill and Chill and headed back to the boat.

Still Waters II on dock in Moundsville


The crew headed down river and made a new stop in Parkersburg. The crew walked around the waterfront park but did not find much interesting history, other than the Blennerhassett Museum in town has more original artifacts from the original home than the rebuilt home and State Park over at the island.

But the crew found these marks on the 21 foot flood wall that was built in 1950 for the price of $6 Million. These are the three worst floods in the towns history. The top of the wall is designed to be three feet higher than the 1913 flood crest of 58.6 feet. Parkersburg has also just announced a Flood Wall Mural Project. They plan to use a local artist, Chistopher Santer, to paint the wall. The first approved mural will be the first few notes and words from “Country Roads” by John Denver.

After walking around and exploring the waterfront, the crew returned to Still Waters II for the night to prepare for the next days journey.

I have neglected to mention that the Admiral has been working on her boating skills more this season. One humorous episode occurred the other day when the crew changed positions entering a lock. The Admiral took the helm and the skipper would handle the lines and get the boat secured to the floating bollard. The Admiral was doing a good job of positioning the vessel close to the bollard when the thought went through her mind, ‘What do I do if I don’t get close enough to the bollard?

So, with the vessel only about ten feet from the target she asked the skipper, “What do I do if YOU miss the bollard?”

With righteous indignation the skipper responded, “What do you mean if I miss the bollard, I’m NOT going to miss the bollard!”

Then the Admiral started laughing uncontrollably, while he successfully tossed the line over the bollard and secured the boat. Then asked, “What is so funny?”

The Admiral went on to explain that she did not mean if HE failed to execute his part of the job by catching the bollard, but was asking what she should do if she did not get the boat close enough to the wall for him to be successful. But that she found it very funny that he was a bit miffed that she questioned his abilities to lasso the bollard. Ah communication is so complicated.

Point Pleasant and the Myth of Mothman

As the story goes, people in and around Point Pleasant started seeing a strange creature in November of 1966. First to report a sighting of a large bird like creature were five men digging a grave. Three days later, two couples out on a night time drive encountered the creature. They claim they drove back to town at 100 mph and the creature had no trouble keeping up with them. The next day a lady went to visit a friend and the creature appeared and followed her onto the porch of her friend’s house. The creature peered through the window with burning fire red eyes. Over the next year more than 100 sightings were reported.

Mothman Statue

The stories and encounters have all been captured and preserved at the only Mothman Museum in the world. One of the interesting theories behind the Mothman is a curse from Chief Cornstalk that dates back to 1777. The Chief had been detained by fearful pioneers thinking the British would use the Indians to attack colonists during the Revolutionary War. Some of his tribe came to check on him and ambushed and killed two men from the fort. Outraged and seeking revenge, soldiers went back to the fort and murdered Chief Cornstalk. The Chief is said to have muttered these words as he died:

“I was the border man’s friend. Many times I have saved him and his people from harm. I never warred with you, but only to protect our wigwams and lands. I refused to join your paleface enemies with the red coats. I came to the fort as your friend and you murdered me. You have murdered by my side, my young son…..For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.

Chief Cornstalk burial at the site of his murder in the fort at Point Pleasant

In other strange events in the area, monuments were erected in honor of the colonists who fought in the Ohio River Valley. The original and replacement monuments were both destroyed by lightening strikes. So much for the theory that lightening never strikes the same spot twice.

In December of 1967, the Mothman was reported atop the Silver Bridge just outside of town. The bridge collapsed later that same day during rush hour traffic killing 46 people. Strangely enough, the Mothman has never been seen in Point Pleasant since the bridge collapse.

Silver Bridge Collapse

Since you will probably never go visit the Mothman Museum, you might want to check out the Mothman Documentary.


The crew also stopped in Ironton. Their claim to fame is the longest continuous running Memorial Day Parade. The first parade was marched in 1868.

The skipper was fascinated by the design of the new Ironton Bridge that carries traffic from Ironton, Ohio to Russell, Kentucky. But was amazed how pretty the bridge was when lit at night.

The crew walked around town and found an interesting fountain, a replica Statue of Liberty, and a good looking Courthouse. With a name like Ironton, you can imagine that the town rises and falls with the steel industry. Talking with locals, a steel mill closed two years ago which resulted in 2,000 lost jobs. Then the RR that used to haul the steel closed down resulting in another 1,500 lost jobs. To say the area has fallen on hard times is an understatement, but the crew found the folks up beat, positive, and with good attitudes.

Boat Name of the Week

The skipper’s son has bought a boat and looking for a boat name.

The Admiral refers to the son as “Son of Fun”. He is thinking of naming his boat either Son of Fun or Sun of Fun as a play on words.

Next Week –

The crew will continue down river and stop in Cincinnati for a few days, then try to make Louisville for the weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Boatgating in Pittsburgh

Ahoy from Pittsburg

The crew would like to welcome the skipper’s cousin, Brian, aboard. Hope you enjoy the voyage.

Summary of the Week

This week the crew traveled four days to arrive in Pittsburgh at mile Zero on the Ohio River. They made the following stops along the route: 1 – Sistersville where they landed at the town courtesy dock, 2 – Wheeling where they landed on the town public dock, 3 – Chester where they stayed at the Holiday Yacht Club two nights to allow some rainy weather to pass, 4 – Then the crew arrived in Pittsburgh for the 4th of July weekend. The crew could not find a slip anywhere in town so they moored next to the Pirates baseball field and took up residence along the river walk wall. And with even more good news, the Pirates are playing at home Friday, Saturday, and Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures along the day’s route, and a short narrative of the day’s observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. From the Travel Map site, just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your first name and email to the pop up box. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Who was a Revolutionary War Hero and also a River Pirate on the Ohio River?
  2. Who holds the title for America’s first serial killers?
  3. What is the name of the first steamboat to cruise the Ohio River?
  4. Who hit the only Game 7 World Series walk off home run?
  5. Where was the first professional football game played?
  6. What is the steepest grade street in the continental US?
  7. What is the grade?

Early Boats of the Ohio River

The first mariners to navigate the Ohio River did so by the trusted canoe. It was not much effort to steer while drifting down river, and it was easy work to paddle back up river along the shore.

However, once the Ohio River Valley was opened to settlement after the Revolutionary War, a new boat was invented to float the pioneers down river from Pittsburgh. This boat was designed to carry the pioneers and all their worldly possessions including livestock by drifting down stream with the current.

Once the pioneers settled and built their homes, they needed a way to ship their goods to market. They once again used these flat boats to take to the Ohio River, where they floated down to the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. Then they drifted down to New Orleans, where they would sell their goods and boat, then walk back north via the Natchez Trace Trail to Nashville. From there, they would find their way back home through the woods.

All this traffic along the rivers was just too good to pass up for some folks, so they began their careers as River Pirates. They would lure the floating ark to shore by offering to help with navigation or some other ruse. Once on board, the River Pirates would murder the crew and take the goods to market down to New Orleans. Then on the way back north on the Natchez Trace Trail, they would become highway robbers.

One of the more famous River Pirates was a Revolutionary War Patriot, Captain in the Virginia Militia, and an associate judge in Kentucky, Samuel Mason. In his spare time he led a gang of River Pirates along the Ohio River and highway robbers along the Natchez Trace. He earned his nickname “Mason of the Woods” by leaving a message in his murdered victims blood stating, “Done by Mason of the Woods.” His gang’s hide out was Cave-in-Rock, mile 881 along the Ohio River.

Samuel Mason’s demise began after he crossed paths with another gang, the Harpe Brothers. The brothers were so bad that Mason actually kicked them out of his Cave-in-Rock hideout. The Harpe Brothers are sometimes called America’s first serial killers. They are believed to have killed some 40 people during their career of crime as River Pirates and highway robbers. Big Harpe was killed when a posse was formed to capture him and his brother.

Harpe Brothers, also known as Big and Little

Samuel and Little Harpe, Wiley, rendezvoused again, but were finally arrested on the Mississippi River in Spanish Territory. They were taken to New Orleans to stand trial. Samuel claimed he was just a poor farmer, but the $7,000 in currency and twenty human scalps found in his bag when arrested told a different story. After his conviction, the Spanish authorities were taking him and Little Harpe to American Territorial authorities when the guilty all escaped. During the escape, Samuel was shot.

The Mississippi Territorial Governor, William Claiborne, issued a reward for the escaped prisoners capture and return. What happened next to Samuel is still a mystery, but Wiley Harpe and Peter Alston showed up with Samuel Mason’s head to claim the reward. Unfortunately for them, someone recognized them as the criminals that they were, and they were both rearrested. The pair were eventually tried in federal court and found guilty of river piracy. Their lives ended in 1804 on the short end of a hangman’s noose.

The Age of Steam

The first steam boat to voyage the Ohio River was the New Orleans. She was launched in Pittsburgh and steamed all the way to New Orleans in 1811. Pittsburg, Wheeling, and Cincinnati all became centers for Steam Boat construction. These new steam boats revolutionized trade along the rivers. They could actually move products and goods up river at the astonishing unheard of speeds of 5 mph.

The Ohio River Museum in Marietta told the history of the steam boats along the Ohio River. The museum also has the last steam powered tow boat, W.P. Snyder, on display. She is the only intact steam driven stern wheeler towboat still on the western rivers.

But with most steps forward in innovation, someone came up with a better light bulb. They took that steam engine technology and put in on rails. In 1830 there was just 30 miles of railroad track in the US. By 1860, there was more that 30,000 miles of track. Transportation of goods and services shifted to the railroads and the Ohio River towns began there slow decline.

Wheeling, West Virginia

On September 5, 1936 a different kind of Pirate entered the world in Wheeling, West Virginia, William Stanley Mazeroski. He grew up to play Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was called up to the majors at the age of nineteen, and played his whole career for the Pirates. He won 8 gold gloves and is considered one of the best defensive players ever to play the game. He is also enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

However, it is for one swing of the bat that he is most remembered. It occurred in the World Series against the New York Yankees in 1960. It was game 7, tied 9-9, bottom of the 9th inning when Mazeroski stepped up to the plate. He took ball one, putting a little pressure on the Yankee pitcher. The next pitch was launched 406 feet over the fence at Forbes Field for the first, and still only, game 7 walk off home run.

Mazeroski rounding second base after homerun
Statue commemorating the homerun at Forbes Field as he rounded second base
Actual wall from Forbes Field where the ball cleared the fence


The crew decided to take the Double Decker Bus Tour to see what Pittsburgh is all about. The tour lasted just over two hours and was filled with way too many historical events to document here. However, this is a list of just a few of the nicknames that Pittsburgh has accumulated over the years:

  • City of Bridges – home of 446 bridges, most of any city in the world
  • Iron City – This is a nod to the city’s early days through 1870 when the city was known for its iron production.
  • Steel City – the city shifted to steel production becoming the backbone of the industrial revolution
  • City of Champions – Six Super Bowl victories, Five Stanley Cups, and Five World Series certainly helped earn this nickname
  • Blitzburgh or Sixburgh – another nod to the great defenses of the football team and their Super Bowl wins.
  • The Burgh – William Pitt is credited for keeping the “h” at the end of Pittsburgh and the locals affectionately refer to their hometown as the Burgh

Pittsburgh also has many firsts in its long history, a list of just a few:

  • George Ferris invented the Ferris Wheel in 1892
  • Clark Candy Bar, introduced in 1917 was initially manufactured in Pittsburgh
  • KDKA radio was issued a commercial license on October 27, 1920
  • Headquarters for the Klondike Bar invented in 1922. What would you do for a Klondike Bar?
  • Civic Arena’s retractable dome built in 1961
  • Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was claimed a success in April 1955

Burgers, Baseball, Bicycles

Today is July 4th, and to celebrate the crew plans to partake in all things American. A good burger from the best burger joint in Pittsburgh, better known as Burgatory.

The skipper went for the Elk Burger, while the Admiral went with the original Burger with a secret sauce and a blend of short rib, sirloin, and brisket. Both were par excellence. While waiting on the food and enjoying the burgers, the crew watched most of the Pirates game. They finally won a game, beating the Brewers 2-0.

The crew then waddled down the trail to walk off all the calories to the Bicycle Museum. The museum has over 4,000 bicycles jammed into two floors. If you need a bike part you should be able to find it at Bicycle Heaven.

Want to know what a $38,000 bike looks like?
Just a few of the 4,000 bicycles
Hey, Hey We’re The Monkeys
The Admiral wanted to take this out for a ride

The skipper finally found a souvenir to remember the Ohio River Adventure. Bicycle Heaven sponsors a bike ride called the Dirty Dozen. It rides up 13 of the steepest streets in Pittsburgh, culminating with a ride up Canton Street with a grade of 37%, renowned as the steepest street in the continental US.

Want to know what it looks like to ride the steepest street? Check out this video……

The only thing left to close out the 4th of July is the fireworks show scheduled for later tonight. Hope you had a good 4th!

Boat Name of the Week

That is a decal of the Tasmanian Devil next to the name, Attitude.

Next Week –

The crew will spend the Holiday weekend in Pittsburgh, then begin the long run back down river on Monday. They plan to travel 5 days per week, and try to hit some ports they missed on the way up river.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Most Magnificent Mansion

Ahoy from Marietta, Ohio!

Welcome aboard mowery, hope you enjoy the ride as a virtual crew member.

Summary of the Week

The crew had an exciting week, cruising four days this week. They enjoyed more flood wall murals in Portsmouth on Monday, probably the best display so far on the Ohio River. Tuesday, they cruised to Huntington, where they celebrated entry into West Virginia waters for the first time. Wednesday, they cruised to Point Pleasant and learned of the rich history in the area, including a visit from George Washington. Thursday, the crew anchored in Buffington Creek and survived a day with basically no cell service in the remote jungles of West Virginia. Then they concluded the week in Marietta, with a mid day stop on Blennerhassett Island to explore the Most Magnificent Mansion in the Ohio River Valley.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures along the days route, and a short narrative of the day’s observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. From the Travel Map site, just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your first name and email to the pop up box. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many years are portrayed on the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals?
  2. What is the total distance the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals cover?
  3. Who won the 1032 NFL Iron Man game, and what team got shut out in their lose, 19 – 0? (Or, who got beat like a drum?)
  4. What year did the Portsmouth Spartans become the Detroit Lions?
  5. Who is credited for naming Point Pleasant?
  6. Who had the Most Magnificent Mansion built?
  7. What happened to the Mansion?
  8. What cemetery contains the most number of Revolutionary War Veterans?
  9. When was Ohio admitted to the United States? (trick question)


Portsmouth lays claims to many first in their history, some of which are bound to surprise and stump even the best Jeopardy masters. The 2000 year history of the area is depicted on 2,000 feet of Flood Wall, once again painted by Robert Dafford. Along with the murals, Portsmouth has signage along the wall path explaining the back story of many of the murals. They also have an audio tour that you can dial up and listen to as you admire the murals. The following are just some of the murals in Portsmouth (dial 740.621.8031and listen to the history of the murals as you view the pictures. The Audio Stop numbers start with the Indian Mounds.)

First panel, the murals run east to west from this point
Audio Stop 2, Indian Mounds
Audio Stop 3, Shawnee Indians
Audio Stop 5, Alexandria
Audio Stop 6, Only house still standing from Alexandria era
Audio Stop 9, Frontier Life
Audio Stop 12, Local Industry
Audio Stop 13, Ohio and Erie Canal
Audio Stop 15, 3,000 men from Portsmouth fought in Civil War, this battle depicts them at Gettysburg
Audio Stop 17, Nod to Police and Fire Departments
Audio Stop 19, Historical Train Stop
Audio Stop 20, Market Street
Audio Stop 21, Portsmouth in 1903
Audio Tour 31, The 1937 Flood
Detail view of previous mural. Bessie Tomlin handing baby to rescue boat. Bessie was the only death during the flood.
Audio Stop 35, Modern Industry of Steel
Audio Tour 42, More Industry supporting town
Audio Tour 44 War Memorial
Audio Tour 45, Look at the reflection in the hub cap on far right of mural. That is artist Robert Dafford.
Audio Stop 47, view from the point
Audio Stop 50, Grant Bridge

Another Milestone

This week, the crew celebrated another first. They entered the waters of West Virginia for the very first time. With this milestone met, the crew has now cruised in every state east of the Mississippi River. The following picture is a recap of when each state was first entered.

For those who may not recall how they managed such a feat:

2015: they cruised up the east coast, went to Washington D.C., then to Philadelphia, and finally turned around in New Jersey to head back to Florida for the winter.

2016: they cruised America’s Great Loop, taking the Erie Canal and Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario, the St Lawrence River up to Montreal, Ottawa River to Ottawa, historic Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Canal to Lake Huron, Lake Michigan (both the Michigan and Wisconsin sides) down to Chicago, the Western Rivers to Mobile, and then around the Gulf Shores back to Ft Myers, Florida where they launched in 2015.

2017: They cruised up to Maine, and visited both Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. While waiting for hurricanes to pass, they cruised up to Lake Champlain and visited Vermont.

2018: they cruised the Great Loop a second time, but took the western Erie Canal into Lake Erie. Then made way back to Chicago. They then cruised down the Illinois Waterway to the Mississippi River where they turned up stream and went to the end of navigation, just past the Twin Cities.

2019: they completed the Down East Loop where they cruised up Lake Champlain to the St Lawrence River, cruised out and around the Gaspe Peninsula and to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. They crossed the Bay of Maine and headed Down East and back to Florida.

2020: they spent the summer cruising the Western Rivers, and went to the end of navigation on the Tennessee River.

2021: In progress to cruise to the end of navigation on the Ohio River, where they have cruised in both Indiana and West Virginia for the very first time.

Point Pleasant

Point Pleasant has flood wall murals, also painted by Robert Dafford. However, these murals are much different than the others that the crew has seen. In these murals, the artist used multiple wall sections to create epic scenes. For example, the wall starts with the Indians and how they lived along this section of the Ohio River. The scene is depicted on 13 different flood wall panels. Each panel is normally 10 feet high and 20 feet long, making the Indian History section 260 feet long.

In another large section of panels he depicts the battle that took place near Point Pleasant between the Indians and the Virginians. The skipper read that there are more than 3,900 warriors shown in the panel which mirrored the size of the armies that fought that day.

Another 5 sections of wall were dedicated to Mad Anne. She was born in England and migrated to the New World and became a heroine on the frontier. (top right of mural) She outlived two husbands shown by the respective grave stones.

She went on to become a scout for the army. At one point she made a daring 200 mile horse back round trip ride to secure ammunition for a fort when it was under siege by the Indians. The ride was a success and led to a Virginia victory. The ride is depicted below.

One mural caught the eye of the skipper because the person depicted resembled George Washington. A young George was responsible for surveying the area back in his early days and is credited for giving the area its name. Legend has it that he claimed the Point had a Pleasant view while he was conducting the original surveys of the Virginia lands.

Then this mural was found on the other side of the flood wall giving a nod to the veterans in the area. It also included a picture of a West Virginia namesake. Nice mural but not the quality of Robert Dafford.

Blennerhassett Island

While cruising on Wednesday, the skipper noticed that there was a McDonald’s dock in the town of Pomeroy. The crew decided to make a mid morning stop and enjoy some fast comfort food. After landing on the dock, they started up the stairs to the parking lot.

They heard a guy shout, “It is about time you brought my boat back.” The crew looked at each other, then looked up to see a guy belly laughing. He was an employee and he thoroughly enjoyed his joke. The crew talked with him for several minutes and then wandered inside to place their orders. They also called in an order to Pizza Hut and walked next door to pick up lunch.

On Thursday, the crew made another mid day stop, this time to visit Blennerhassett Island. The skipper noticed a dock on Active Captain that hinted that the crew might be able to land on a dock and visit the Most Magnificent Mansion on the Ohio River Valley. When the dock did not appear where the Active Captain review suggested it should be, the skipper called the State Park and asked if the dock had been moved. The lady on the other end of the phone claimed that the dock was now on the other side of the island but was reserved for a Stern Wheeler tour boat and that pleasure craft were not to land on the dock.

So much for visiting the Island. But then about another mile up river, a nice big floating dock appeared. Confused, the skipper called the State Park back and asked if he could land on this dock. A different lady told him that the dock was reserved for the Stern Wheeler and not to land on the dock. As the crew was slowly passing by the dock, a truck pulled up and two men got out of the truck and headed down to the dock. One of the men looked to be in a State Park Ranger uniform, so the skipper asked if it would be alright to land on the dock and go visit the mansion.

The skipper did mention that he had already been told twice not to land on the dock because of a Stern Wheeler, but because it was obvious the Stern Wheeler was not on the dock, he thought he would give it one more try. The Ranger gave permission to land on the dock and went on to explain that the Park closed at 1630 and that the Stern Wheeler would land on the dock at 1700. He made it clear that the crew had to be gone by the time the Park closed. The Admiral asked him for his name to use as a reference in case some one challenged the crew being on the dock. He gave his name as Mike, but added, “I will be the guy they call to have you move your boat so you do not have to worry about any thing.” God is good, all the time. And speaking of time what timing was that to meet Mike the Ranger at the dock.

The crew landed on the dock and walked the short distance to join a tour of the Mansion. The mansion was started in the 1798. The family moved into the home in 1800. They lived in the house until a strange set of circumstances entangled Harmon Blennerhassett with Aaron Burr in 1806. By 1807, both were on trial in Richmond, Virginia for Treason. They were found not guilty, but Virginia had seized the property for failure to pay taxes, and the Blennerhassett family would never again live in their mansion. The mansion burned in a fire in 1811. The home was rebuilt by the State of West Virginia to be the center piece of the State Park.


After touring Blennerhassett Island, the crew made an additional 12 miles up the Ohio River to explore the first permanent settlement in the territory north and west of the Ohio River. The Americans were granted all the land: west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River, east of the Mississippi River, and below the Great Lakes in the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

The young US government had two problems after winning the Revolutionary War: how to settle this new land and how to pay the Revolutionary War Veterans. The Congress of the Confederation solved the problems by passage of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 which allowed for transfer of land to veterans in lieu of money. Forty-eight pioneers (and Revolutionary War Veterans) set out and formed the new town of Marietta in 1788.

The group was led by Rufus Putnam and they established their new town along the Muskingum River mouth with the Ohio River. Each pioneer got a plot of land in the platted town as well as acreage outside of town for farming. The pioneers soon discovered a “Burial Mound” near their location. To preserve the “Burial Mound” they decided to surround the mound with a cemetery

The “Burial Mound”

One interesting outcome of all these Veterans migrating to Marietta, the cemetery now holds the record for most Revolutionary War Veterans. The Veteran graves are all marked with a special Revolutionary medal and an American flag.

Robert Taylor was the first recorded pioneer to be layed to rest in the cemetery.

The Father of Marietta and the leader of the Ohio Company which established the settlement, Rufus Putnam:


The area grew rapidly and on April 30, 1802 the Enabling Act of 1802 was signed into law which called for the admittance of Ohio as a formal state. The Ohio folks drew up a state constitution and submitted it to Congress in 1803. However, in a strange set of political wrangling, the 8th Congress (1803-1805) never actually got around to ratify the Ohio state constitution, a required step for statehood. So technically, Ohio was not really a state in 1803, but remained a territory until 1953. The 83rd Congress retroactively granted Ohio statehood and formally welcomed them to the United States on May 19, 1953 with an admittance date of March 1, 1803.

Boat Name of the Week

In Deep Ship

One of our virtual crew members had this to say about the name of their boat: Kelley seemed to always stir up trouble at work on behalf of his workers. Kelley was told he could never buy pizza again for his workers if they did a good job. So the next time the workers did a good job, he complied and bought them chicken wings.

Next Week

The crew will make the final push to Pittsburg, with expected arrival on Thursday. Well, if they have enough fuel that is. The crew has 172 miles to go, but not enough fuel to make the miles. Oh, and there is no diesel available between Marietta and Pittsburg.

To solve this little problem, the skipper got a 5 gallon jerry can and began making the 1 mile bike ride to the nearest gas station that sold diesel. He then pedaled the fuel back to the boat and added it into the tanks.

Beau the Sherpa

On the fourth trip back from the local gas station, the boaters in front of Still Waters II offered the skipper diesel from their auxiliary tank in the back of their truck, which was parked at the top of the hill. That saved 8 miles on the bicycle toting fuel, but the trip down all the steps would still have to be made. Oh wait, their is more good news for the skipper. The father also offered his son to act as a Sherpa and carry the 5 gallon can down to the boat. The skipper accepted both offers and was quickly able to add another twenty gallons onboard. The skipper thinks he has just enough to make Pittsburg, but the proof will be in the pudding next week. If not, it will be a long drift down river with the current looking for fuel.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Paint The town Red

Ahoy from Portsmouth!

We had two people join the virtual crew this week. Welcome aboard to ‘greatday’ and ‘orwellact46’!

Summary of the Week

The crew left Louisville on Monday and made their first stop in Madison. Unfortunately, they could not get off the dock and explore the town because a coded gate was standing guard on the gang plank and the crew did not have the code to unlock the gate upon return. A look around to find someone to help proved fruitless, so the crew just relaxed on the boat. The second stop was at Florence, where the crew met the new owners of Turtle Creek Harbor. They are busy making many improvements to their marina. Third stop brought the crew to the interesting towns of Rising Sun and Rabbit Hash. The fourth stop was in Cincinnati where the crew docked right downtown next to the The Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds. Fifth stop of the week brought the crew to Maysville, which turned out to be a great surprise. Then the sixth travel day concluded with a voyage to Portsmouth, where the crew will lay over for a few days before moving further up river.

To see more detail of each days travel, click on the link: Still Waters II Travel Map and view the Captain’s Log, pictures, and a short narrative of the days observations. The Travel Map also has a feature where you can follow the daily voyage updates. Just click on the menu, then click follow, and add your email to the pop up menu. You will receive an email each day the crew travels and updates the map.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. When was Rising Sun established?
  2. When did the General Store in Rabbit Hash open?
  3. What was the annual wage in Rising Sun during the year of their Centennial?
  4. What does Graeter’s Ice Cream use to make their cold refreshment?
  5. What was the longest bridge in the world in 1867?
  6. Who is the artist behind all the flood wall murals along the Ohio River?

Florence, Indiana

With a bust at Madison, because the restaurant was closed and the gate was locked, the crew was looking forward to getting off the boat and exploring some. After getting docked in the shallow waters of Turtle Creek, with the low water alarm blaring the whole time, the crew walked a mile down to the only show in town, the Belterra Casino. Most of the restaurants were still closed from COVID-19, but one sports bar was still open.

A sign of the times, help wanted signs posted, job fairs in progress, and signs on the table apologizing for slow service because of lack of staff. The crew sees this often this summer, and the people who are working acknowledge that the establishment is having a hard time recruiting any new help. The crew wonders if this is what happened back in Madison, the restaurant/dock closed for lack of staff.

Rising Sun, Indiana

The crew got a suggestion from a virtual crew member to check out a little town named Rabbit Hash, which is located across the river from Rising Sun. However, the skipper grossly underestimated the effort to just get across the river. The journey by foot turned out to be about 6.8 miles round trip. After docking in Rising Sun, the crew set off on foot to the ferry crossing, 1.7 miles. The ferry carried the crew over to the Kentucky side of the river. Then the crew made the 1.7 mile hike to Rabbit Hash.

When they arrived they explored the historic Rabbit Hash old General Store that has been in business since 1831. This store is 90 feet above normal pool level of the Ohio River. In the historic 1937 flood, the water was above the roof.

After getting a snack and something to drink, the crew headed back to the ferry crossing. This old barn and tractor were about halfway back to the ferry. The skipper was seriously thinking about a jump start after walking about 4 miles on this journey so far.

Another half mile and the crew were back at the ferry. Turns out it was the ferryboat Captain’s first day on the job. Once he backed the ferry off the shore, he pivoted the tow 180 degrees and pushed the ferry back to the Indiana side of the river. At least the crew could take a little break from walking.

Then it was time to hoof it back 1.7 miles to Rising Sun and find something to eat. There was a Mexican Restaurant that had good reviews on line, but the skipper was reluctant to give it a try. He uses a thumb rule that you should not eat Mexican Food east of the Mississippi River. The Admiral pulled rank and they went to Tequila’s, and to the skippers surprise, the food was very good. So good, that the Admiral made another command decision that they were stopping back in Rising Sun on the down bound trip for round two at Tequila’s.

Pavilion at end of Main Street overlooking Ohio River in Rising Sun
From the water, looking back into town

On the way back to the boat the crew passed an interesting log home. Turns out it was the first home ever built in Rising Sun.

While walking along the waterfront park, the town has embedded pavers to mark the history of the town.

To follow the path virtually along the waterfront, click on the history of Rising Sun, learn how the town got its name, how the town is connected to some interesting historical figures, and look at the 43 pavers.

And finally, the crew sees the boat to bring this day’s exploration to an end. Time to take off the shoes and soak those tired feet.

Cincinnati, Ohio

The crew decided to dock downtown along the waterfront park. They then headed out to explore Cincinnati. The Reds were not in town so a ballgame was out of the question. But the stadium was just a few blocks from the dock so the crew headed there first.

The skipper enjoyed looking at all the famous players from the 70’s championship teams.

Pete Rose
Johnny Bench

The crew then walked up to Fountain Square which is the main gathering place for Cincinnati. The crew enjoyed the fountain but the big draw was Graeter’s Ice Cream. The Admiral asked the scooper how to pronounce the store name. The young man said it was the same way you say ‘greater’ but back in 1870, when the company got its start, the owner did not know how to spell. Today they have 50 retail locations around the area, and their claim to fame is that they craft their ice cream in 2.5 gallon French Pots. Not sure what French Pots have to do with anything but the ice cream sure was good.

The fountain at night

Then it was time to hike over the river on the Roebling Bridge and visit Covington. They have a flood wall with 18 panels painted with murals depicting the history of the town from 800 BC to the present. The murals were painted by the same man who painted the Paducah murals, Robert Dafford. To see a gallery of all the Covington murals click the link. If you click the gallery photo it will enlarge and provide some detail about the mural.

The Roebling Bridge is depicted in one of the murals. The bridge was officially opened on January 1, 1867, at the time it was the longest bridge in the world at 1, 075 feet.

This is a statue of the engineer who designed the bridge, John Roebling. He is also the same engineer who designed the more famous Brooklyn Bridge. So the Roebling Bridge built in 1867 was the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge built in 1883. Looks like he is taking a selfie in the picture below, but he is actually holding a 1800’s model calculator, we used to call them slide rules.

The Roebling Bridge at night.

Maysville, Kentucky

Today marks the 6th anniversary for our crew moving aboard Still Waters II. It has been a great six years. The crew landed in Maysville today, and walked into town to celebrate. They found a restaurant that advertised “fine dining”, this set alarm bells off in the skipper’s head. Fine dining usually means overpriced small portions, where you have to stop at a fast food joint on the way home to get filled up. Luckily, the Two Twelve Market was not one of those fine dining establishments. The food, service, and portions were all excellent. The Admiral made another command decision, the crew will return here on the way back down river also.

On the way back to the boat, the crew checked out the 10 murals painted on the flood wall depicting the town history. These murals were also painted by Robert Dafford.

Boat Name of the Week

Knot Working

Next Week –

The crew will relax a few days in Portsmouth and then venture back out on the water on Tuesday. They hope to add West Virginia to the states they have travelled by boat, as well as land in Marietta, Ohio for the weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Bar-B-Que, Bourbon, and Bluegrass

Ahoy from Louisville, Kentucky!

Welcome back virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

Summary of the Week

The crew left Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday, and travelled four days through some remote and sparsely populated areas between Indiana and Kentucky as they cruised the Ohio River. They made the following stops along the Ohio River:

  1. The crew tied up along side Old Lock 45 in Owensboro, Kentucky and discovered the World’s Best Playground and two nice local young men.
  2. Then the crew anchored in Sinking Creek. Mostly what was sinking was the Skipper’s attitude as they had a soft grounding that required a passing tow’s wake to wiggle off the sand bar.
  3. The third night the crew anchored again, this time in Salt Creek after a long day to get close to the out skirts of Louisville.
  4. The long day yesterday proved to be for naught as the crew had to wait three hours at the McAlpine Lock, stretching the short 28 miles into an eight hour day.

The crew is at mile 603 on the Ohio River, so they have completed about a third of the journey.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map link to read detailed Voyage Logs of each days travels. The Travel Map has a new feature so that you can now “follow” the crew’s updates on the Travel Map. If you enter your name and e-mail you will receive an e-mail alert each time the Travel Map is updated at the end of each day’s voyage.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. Where is the World’s Number One Rated Play Ground?
  2. Where was the last public execution in the United States?
  3. How many workers perished during the building of the Big 4 RR Bridge?
  4. What are the four cities that make up the Big 4?
  5. Name at least three famous people who have lived in Louisville?


Owensboro is known for three things:

  1. Bar-B-Que
  2. Bourbon
  3. Bluegrass

In fact the International Bluegrass Museum makes its home in Owensboro.

The bridge across to Indiana is blue.

There seems to be a distillery on every block with a restaurant serving bar-b-que just around the corner.

While hiking around town the crew found the Smothers Park. Originally, the park was established back in 1816 as the first City Park. In 1963, the park was upgraded and renamed Smothers Park. Then in 2012, a multi-million dollar upgrade was completed which resulted in the Park being declared the top playground in the world in 2015. Along with the Lazy Dayz Playground, Spraypark, the park also contains three fountains with a show every 15 minutes along with a cascading waterfall.

Small Section of Smothers Park Playground
Dancing Fountain
Blue Bridge from Smothers Park

After the crew returned to the boat at Old Lock 45, two young men drove by and talked to the skipper. They had many questions about the boat and how the crew had gotten to Owensboro from Florida. After their curiosity was satisfied they drove away.

About thirty minutes later, there was a knock on the boat. The two young men had returned bringing gifts of bar-b-que. The crew invited them aboard and gave them both a tour. The two young men will be seniors in high school and are looking forward to their last year of high school. While talking, the subject of a hanging that occurred in town back in 1936 surfaced. Turns out the hanging took place on Trey’s great grandfathers vacant lot in town. This execution also turns out to be the last public hanging execution in the United States.

At night, the Blue Bridge is lit and it puts on a beautiful show as seen below.

Flooding on the Tenn-Tom

The next two days up river were nothing to write about, but there is an incident that occurred on the 10th that have the crew concerned. With more than 10 inches of rain in northern Mississippi, the Tenn-Tom Waterway levels have begun to rise. Unfortunately, a barge broke free and drifted downstream and rammed the Stennis Dam. Then the barge sank blocking three of the five gates on the dam.

Stennis Dam with sunk barge

The crew have stored their motorhome in a dry storage area on the same property as the Columbus Marina, which is beside the Stennis Lock. Because of the major flooding, the road out to the marina has been shutdown. The roadway acts as the emergency spillway for the dam, and water is running over the road. There is one gentleman in the marina that has been giving the crew updates on the status of water level where the motorhome is stored.

  1. June 10, Time1400: Parking lot is surrounded by water but still dry. Ground at Dry Storage is still dry. Motorhome still on dry land.
  2. June 10, Time 1600: The Aberdeen Lock which is the next Lock and Dam above Stennis has reported the crest at the Aberdeen Dam took place at 1400. This is good news because the Stennis Lock water gauge usually follows the Aberdeen Lock by 24 hours. Which means water levels should crest at the Columbus Marina about 1400 tomorrow, June 11th.
  3. June 10, Time 2000: Ground at Dry Storage is now wet. Water has risen to 2-3 inches on the tires of the motorhome. (Jim is estimating by looking with binoculars from his dock.)
  4. June 11, Time 0930: The water level rose less than a foot (+/- 9 inches) over night. Looks like water level is below the center of the wheels on the motorhome.

Well in times like these, the crew grabs hold of Philippians 4:6 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all that he has done.

What the crew needs is for that water to not rise any further and actually begin to recede.

5. June 12, Time 1230: Water level crested about midnight. Have seen a whole 4 inch drop in level since. At least we are trending in the correct direction.

6. June 12, Time 1500: Surely you have to be kidding. The Corps of Engineers just released a second notice to mariners, the lock and dam downstream of the Stennis Lock has now also had a loose barge crash into the dam. Have to wait and see how this accident unfolds and impacts the Stennis Lock.

Barge at Bevill Lock and Dam

This is the year of the lock and dam problems. Besides these two dams on the Tenn-Tom having issues. The Erie Canal is having problems also. Lock E-17 has a broken bull gear that was built over a hundred years ago, so they have the gear at a machine shop working on a repair. Boaters were stuck for several days while the canal folks positioned a crane to temporarily operate the gate while they wait on the gear repair.

Crane lifting gate to allow boat into lock

Then at Dam 30 the earthen works collapsed near the dam and drained the pool to just about 5 feet. This lock is on the western Erie Canal that Loopers have to take this year because Canada’s border is still closed.

Repairs in progress to fix dam

The western Erie Canal has many bridges in the 15.5 foot range that boats must be able to get under. For those too tall, or those who now cannot get pass Lock 30, the boats can go to the Welland Canal on the south shore of Lake Ontario. Well, till today that is. Now the Oswego Canal Lock 3 has broken, blocking access to Lake Ontario where boaters need to go to access and pass through the Welland Canal (Lake Ontario to Lake Erie).

A challenging cruising season is certainly shaping up for Loopers.


The crew arrived late to Louisville because of the three hour wait at the McAlpine Lock. Upon arrival they found a slip at the free docks at the waterfront park. They decided to take the one mile pedestrian, Big 4 Railroad Bridge, over to Indiana for dinner. Along the way they saw an historical marker that discussed the original construction of the bridge back in 1895. The construction was plagued with mishaps which lead to 44 worker deaths. On December 15, 1893 strong winds caused a large crane to be dislodged. This in turn caused a truss with 41 workers on it to fall into the Ohio River. A ferry operating nearby witnessed the fall and performed the rescue of 20 of the 41 men. Because of all the accidents, the company building the bridge eventually went into bankruptcy. The Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St Louis Railway purchased the bridge and hence the name Big 4 Railroad Bridge.

Big 4 RR Bridge

After making it back to the boat after dinner, the crew was entertained by the beautiful sunset.

Big 4 Bridge at night

Then after the sun set, the bridge was lit to provide a spectacular show.

Famous Louisville Residents

The crew has been exploring the waterfront on both sides of the Ohio River, doing boat chores, and troubleshooting the alternator. The skipper hopes he has fixed the alternator issue but the proof will be in the pudding when they cruise on Monday.

Thomas Edison

Edison lived in Louisville for 1.5 years starting in 1866 when he was 19 years old. He worked as a telegraph operator at Western Union and performed experiments at home in his spare time. He would end up getting fired and he moved on to New Jersey in 1867.

In 1883, he returned to Louisville to enjoy the Southern Exposition opening which just happened to be showing 4,600 of his new incandescent light bulbs.

Paul Horning

Paul got his start in football playing for the local high school. He won a Heisman Trophy while playing for Notre Dame. Then went on to play on Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packer teams of the 1960’s.

Pee Wee Reese

Pee Wee made his professional debut in 1938 for the Louisville Colonels. He went on to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940’s, where he led his team to 7 National League pennants.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Memorial Center

Cassius Clay was born and raised here in Louisville. Hard to figure out what he was most famous for: three separate heavy weight boxing titles, his stance against the Vietnam War, his leadership in the Civil Rights movement, or his poetry (I float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee.) I guess you need to decide which of these is the greatest of all time.

Boat Name of the Week

We have some friends who just had some work done on their boat and are not happy with the billing. Reminds the skipper of the BOAT acronym: Break Out Another Thousand, which also leads to our boat name this week. Apparently a play on words of ‘depth finder’ which all good captain’s enjoy.

Next Week –

The crew will shove off the Louisville Waterfront and back out onto the Ohio River and head towards Cincinnati.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

The Beautiful River

Ahoy from Evansville, Indiana!

The Admiral’s cousin has jumped on board, welcome Mary Alice.

Summary of the Week

The crew managed to cruise in three states this past week: Kentucky, Illinois, and Indiana. This also marked the first time for Still Waters II to cruise waters in Indiana. The crew left Green Turtle Bay on Tuesday and met a very interesting couple from Norway who are doing a completely different kind of Loop. On Thursday the crew made way to the small town of Golconda. Then Friday the crew made a dock -n- dine stop for lunch at E-Town River Restaurant before dropping the anchor at Wabash Island. Saturday, the crew made a long slow crawl against the current to end the week in Evansville, Indiana.

Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs and additional pictures of each days route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is the year of historic flooding along the Ohio River?
  2. How many times has the crew of the sailing vessel India crossed the Atlantic in the last year?
  3. What is the town Golconda named after?
  4. What does LST stand for?

The Great Ohio River Flood

The native Indians had many names for the Ohio River, the Seneca Indians called it the ohi yo h , meaning “good river.” When the French explorers arrived, they called it the la belle riviere. People now call it the Big Beautiful River. However, back in 1937 the river was big, but it was not beautiful. 1937 was the year of historic flooding that still claims the record books from the headwaters at Pittsburgh to the mouth at Cairo.

It all started with 12 days of historic rain fall in January that saturated the Ohio River Valley. As the runoff started the river began to rise. In Paducah, the river crested on February 2 just over 60 feet above normal. Paducah sits up on a high 49 foot bluff overlooking the river. This meant that the town was now under 11 feet of water. To prevent a reoccurrence of the disaster, Paducah built a flood wall to protect themselves from the Beautiful River.

The Flood Wall stands 12 feet above street level in Paducah. Along the wall the history of Paducah has been captured with murals. Just a few:

A Different Kind of Loop

There was a large sailboat, India, on the dock when the crew arrived at Paducah. The crew met the owners later in the day and were intrigued by the story the Norwegians had to tell. They left their native land about a year ago and have been cruising their sailboat on a grand adventure. They have crossed the Atlantic three times so far, with one more crossing in their future to return home.

They are hoping to cruise into the Great Lakes, then out the St Lawrence River to Greenland, hop back over to Iceland, and eventually return home to Norway. The crew wish Dirk and Ingrid fair seas as they complete their journey.

Guest Spotlight of the Week

The following is an e-mail sent from the crew of India, about their journey up the inland rivers starting in Mobile.

Mobile Bay Lighthouse

After we have arrived here, the customs are finished and we, for the time being here tied up at
the outer pier, we start to settle in. Everyone is nice, wants to help and is interested.
Telecommunications have been a little tricky, but at the moment we can call inside the US and
take calls from Europe. The data consumption via the mobile phone hotspot was enormous and
used up after 5 days. But a very nice person (call me Spencer) gave us his mobile hotspot,
unlimited, as long as we were here. He also invited us to the local yacht club and we can use an
old car from him every now and then. We can only enter the harbor with our boat at high tide. So
now everything has to be planned good. We expect 2 days around the crane. We can lie here
for a month for US $ 650.

A motorboat left the harbor on our route the day before yesterday and is the spotter for us.
Here there are in the moment some strong thunderstorms but also beautiful sunny days. Our
plan today, May 10th taking the masts down falls victim to announced thunderstorms. Hopefully
it works tomorrow.

I dropped my tablet here on the 3rd day. Big damage, but now I have a small laptop that needs
to be set up properly. Let’s see how I (with strong support from the skipper) can do it. Not
everything goes like clockwork. Yesterday, Sunday we were in Mobile, Downtown with historic houses … and looked a bit through the suburbs. There are apparently really rich and poor districts, but the area in between
seems thin.

Yesterday, May 11th the masts came down. Except for long periods of thunderstorms,
everything went as planned. Requirements for the masts on the boat are still being completed
today. Then the masts come back on the boat, this time lying down. Before that we have to
dismantle the spreaders and the electronics and pack everything together. We will definitely start this week.

05/13/2021 We are back on the outer pier. Supplies have been replenished, once again a tour to Walmart. A few days ago we also bought new herbs there. Only the Norwegian parsley survived. The rosemary had made it to Cuba, the rest ended up in the Caribic before. We have that ok for and from a new fellow sailor. She’ll join us in about a week. American, currently living in Germany. On the 14th we filled up with the tanks and tomorrow morning, right after sunrise, we will start. Bye Mobile, Turner Marina and… .. Tonight again live music from the River shack across the street. Say goodbye all around and try to sleep. We received a lot of support here, morally and also with direct help.

Saturday May 15th 06 in the morning casting off from the jetty. A last morning greeting from our new neighbor, born German, now American and arrived
on our route from St. Louis a few days ago with the mast down, and off we go.
Again on the seaside past Mobile, almost right through the harbor and first on the Mobile River. Then Tombigbee River with an overnight stay on the so-called Bates Lake. Rather narrower than the Tombigbee but with a lot of huts and cabins. People live here, at least on weekends. Otherwise it often looks deserted on the river. Despite 2 to a maximum of 3 knot countercurrent, we made very good
progress. Today very little business trip, good weather and after the initial stress has subsided, a nice route.

On May 16th our first American lock. No problem. Big, floating bollards, and we are all alone in. Spend the night on the most expensive floating jetty of all time. Bobby’s Fish camp. Shaky jetty, no shower, toilet … but $ 80. There you lie happier on the anchor.


May 17th turned out to be an expected long day. A distance of approx. 90 country miles without
stopping for the last 40 miles. Then our second lock and at dusk anchored in the upper water. The day started at 5:45 am and ended with anchoring at 8:30 pm. In between a lot of trees, water and an oncoming slipcase. You can feel alone. The phone / internet coverage is also quite pitted. But the weather has been good so far and we’re making progress. The next morning it goes a few more miles to the Marina Demopolis. After short negotiations we are here, a little off the beaten track but with a courtesy car, for 35 US dollars until our new crew member arrives. The city seems small but nice. The marina is large and fully equipped. Heather is scheduled to land in New Orleans on the evening of the 22nd and will probably come
here by bus. The cousin as a supplier is still being processed – but does not look promising.
As always, we think of you
Dirk & Ingrid
homeport Levanger

One of the joys of Looping is meeting some very interesting people. And speaking of interesting……..

E-Town River Restaurant

The crew decided to stop for lunch 2 hours after leaving Golconda on Friday. There is a little floating restaurant on the water that is famous for their fried catfish, so of course, the crew had to stop. When they docked, there was an older gentleman unloading his morning catch. One of the guys helping unload the fish came over and grabbed the crews lines and helped secure Still Waters II. The Admiral went over to give the young man a tip. Once his co-worker saw what was going on, he said, “Hey, I told him to go help you,” as he held out his hand.

The crew went inside and placed their order for some fresh Ohio River catfish. While waiting on their food, the skipper spotted who he thought might be the owner, and struck up a conversation. Turns out, Joe was a civil engineer by training.

He turned in his pocket calculator a year ago and bought the restaurant. He has 8 commercial fisherman who supply his catfish. The skipper asked how much catfish he buys a week, and was met with a humorous answer.

Joe said, “Every pound I can buy.”

Joe has dreams to buy a paddle wheeler boat and use the boat as the structure to house the restaurant.

Fresh Catch of the Day

As Joe was leaving, The Admiral noticed a woman mowing on a zero turn radius mower. She commented how much she misses mowing. A short time later, the lady mowing came in the restaurant and spent a few minutes talking to the fellow in the corner, who turned out to be the Mayor. Then she came over to our crew’s table and introduced herself as Staci, the other half of the ownership team. The Admiral and Staci hit it off immediately with their common interest in mowing.

Again, very interesting people:

living their dream,

their way.


Speaking of dreams, how about the pioneers who set off down the Ohio River chasing their dreams. One such dreamer was Sarah Lusk. Her and her husband put the town of Golconda on the map. The town was started as a ferry crossing to move pioneers across the Ohio River. The ferry crossing was initially named after the creek which took the name of the man who started the ferry, Lusk’s Crossing. The man died early in the endeavor, but the wife carried on in true pioneer fashion. The ferry crossing began to carry her name as Sarahsville. After she remarried the ferry crossing became known as her new husbands last name. Finally in 1817, the town took its final name, Golconda, after the fort in India.

Perhaps you have heard of Fort Golconda, India. The region is very famous, famous for very large diamonds. Perhaps you have heard of America’s most famous diamond, the Hope Diamond. Yes, it was found near Golconda, India.

Another strange finding in Golconda was this plaque and memorial on the courthouse grounds next to their Veterans Memorial. Who would have known that someone associated with ending WWII would have come from this little town of 631 citizens.

Evansville on D-Day

On Saturday, as the crew made the horseshoe bend at Evansville they spotted a large grey US Naval vessel, the LST 325 moored along the riverfront. The crew decided to hike the 2 miles from the marina on June 6, to go tour the vessel. Because it was the anniversary of the D-Day invasion, they had reenactors and actual WWII veterans aboard. They were performing 21 gun salutes on the hour followed by Taps. A wonderful way for the crew to remember the sacrifices made so that they can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

When the crew arrived at the ticket window, the Admiral asked what LST stood for. The guy working the counter said it depends on who you asked. The government claims it stands for Landing Ship, Tanks. But he went on to say that the guys who took her over to the Omaha Beach on D-Day called her Long Slow Target.

Seventy-seven years ago on her first run to Omaha Beach she carried 59 vehicles, 30 Officers, and 396 enlisted men. She carried 38 casualties back to England on her return journey. To complete the liberation of Europe, she made over 40 runs across the English Channel delivering additional men and equipment.

June 12, 1944

She was eventually sold to Greece, who decommissioned her in 1999. A group of veterans decided to buy her, refit her, and bring her back across the Atlantic Ocean to make a working museum of her and honor the WWII shipbuilding industry in Evansville. The LST 325 is the last working LST of the 1,051 that were built. In the fall each year her crew of volunteers take her up and down the inland rivers to visit “foreign” ports.

All Ashore Who’s Going Ashore
Tank Deck
Top Side

To see additional pictures of the LST 325, click on the link to the travel map

Boat name of the Week –

Next Week

The crew will continue upbound on the Ohio River and try to make Louisville, Kentucky for the weekend.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Safe Boating Week

Ahoy from Grand Rivers, Green Turtle Bay Marina!

Hello returning virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

The crew of Compass Rose has joined our adventure. Our crew spoke with Compass Rose a week ago as Still Waters II approached the Pickwick Lock. We will highlight a story Compass Rose told in a Guest Spotlight below. Welcome aboard!

Ann Marie jumped on board at Paris Landing State Park. Glad to have you along for the ride and the recommendation for David McCullough’s, The Pioneers, where he tells the early story of settlers making way to the Ohio River Valley. Also check out the Boat Name of the Week, it just happens to be owned by our newest virtual crew member.

Summary of the Week

As expected, the crew had two easy travel days to find a slip at Green Turtle Bay. The hardest part was finding a marina that had an open slip through the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. The intermediate stop was at Paris Island State Park where the crew grilled burgers in the park.

Click on the link Still Waters II Travel Map to see detailed Voyage Logs.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:
  1. What anniversary is being celebrated for the Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971 this year?
  2. When is National Safe Boating Week?
  3. What is the number one cause of death in boating accidents?
Started the week at Pebble Isle Marina

The week before Memorial Day Weekend is usually designated National Safe Boating Week. The week is peppered with news stories about safe boating just before the unofficial kickoff to the boating season. While most boating trips are enjoyable, many trips still end in tragedy. Since 2000, there have been 13,000 boating related deaths and over 64,000 boating related injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented. With a bunch of newbies on the water this weekend, our crew has wisely chosen to sit in a marina. But if you watch the video below, a marina may not be the safest place to be however. The guy in the video hits four boats while floating around the marina. But before the video, let’s hear a rescue story from the crew of Compass Rose.

Guest Spotlight –

The crew of Compass Rose, Jacque and Tsali, plan to launch their Great Loop Adventure from Goose Pond Marina on the Tennessee River this fall. While they patiently wait for their launch date, they joined a small flotilla of five boats for a multi day cruise down the Tennessee River. In honor of Safe Boating Week, May 22-28, I thought I would share their Day 3 shenanigans on the water to remind everyone to maintain situational awareness at all times while on the water, you just never know what you might see.

They planned for a long ten hour cruise (80 miles) from Guntersville to Joe Wheeler State Park. They were hoping for better favor with the Guntersville Lock than the day before when they waited three hours for the lock master to fix some “incident” before they could enter the lock. They eventually gave up on the lock and returned to the marina in Guntersville to live to lock another day. Their patience paid off as the fleet of five boats were locked through without a hitch on the second day.

After the Lock, they overtook a tow pushing four barges, nothing unusual about that, but wait, there seems to be something unusual going on up ahead. They could not completely make out what was going on at this distance, but as they drew closer it looked like lots of people waist deep in the water. The two crew members looked at each with wonderment when they witnessed a couple of people dunk a third person in the water. A baptism? Yes, a baptism right here on the Tennessee River.

Then about halfway through the days journey, the crew was approaching the I65 Bridge. Another strange observation, looks like someone is on the side of the bridge contemplating a plunge 58 feet into the water below. They passed under the bridge and continued on, but did send a few prayers upwards to ask for help for the person on the bridge. No one in the fleet of five saw the person actually jump, so maybe he got the help he needed and was talked back to safety.

Ever notice how strange things seem to come bundled in packages of three? Today would be no exception to the rule. As they approached the inlet to Joe Wheeler State Park, one of the boats they were traveling with declared an emergency of their own, an overheated engine. This is especially a problem for this vessel because they only have one engine. The engine shutdown and smoke filled the boat in distress.

Tsali turned the Compass Rose around and came beside the boat in distress. Then, in true pirate swashbuckling fashion, Tsali leaped aboard the boat in distress. Jacque did remind him to put on his lifejacket, just in case the smoke was from fire, and the boat was burned to the waterline. He might need that lifejacket if he found himself in the water. (Just a side note: 79% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims, 86% were not wearing a lifejacket. And another strange number, 8 out of those 10 drownings were using a vessel less than 21 feet in length.)

The swashbuckling pirate created a new dilemma aboard Compass Rose, however. Jacque (who had NEVER been aboard Compass Rose solo) suddenly found herself all alone. She assumed the role of helmsmen and carefully got distance between the two vessels and then just floated along with the current while the people on the boat in distress figured out what was going on.

After much troubleshooting, they finally figured out that the water pump was seized causing the overheating issue. But knowing the cause is only half the battle, how to get the boat in distress safely docked without an engine became the next problem. They decided to have Jacque bring Compass Rose back along side the boat in distress. Easier said than done, but Jacque piloted Compass Rose like a champ and had both boats side by side without incident. They tied both vessels together and Compass Rose towed the boat in distress about a half mile to the marina.

The marina assigned them a double slip so they just pulled bow into the slip while tied together and both got secured to the dock. Well that is what boating is all about, boaters helping boaters. Great job to Jacque and Tsali.

Compass Rose towing Wilma Mae


Learning and improving your safe boating skills takes work, but will increase the odds of an enjoyable experience, as noted in our Guest Spotlight above. In the spirit of improving skills, the Admiral decided it was the day to knock the cob webs off and practice piloting the boat after four months ashore. She moved the boat over to the fuel dock, and then piloted Still Waters II out of the narrow and winding one mile channel back to the Tennessee River.

After returning to the main channel, our crew had an easy day on the water. With the waters completely crowded on Saturday, the crew found themselves all alone as they entered the south end of Kentucky Lake. Other than a few fisherman out on the lake, there was very little sign of life.


While safe boating starts with education, and requires practicing the skills out on the water to ensure an enjoyable experience, there is one thing that should be avoided. That one thing would be boating under the influence. In the video below, the guy piloting the boat was arrested and charged with four counts of boating under the influence.

Boat Fails of the Week | Mayhem at the Marina! – YouTube

Depending on what study you read, around 25% of deaths on the water are caused by boating under the influence. Stay safe out there on the water, and enjoy docktails when you are safely tied back on the dock.

Our crew had trouble on the way north from Paris Landing, equipment failure not human performance errors, as the port engine began to overheat. The skipper turned the port engine off and cruised to Green Turtle Bay on just the starboard engine. The crew fell in behind a sailboat and followed the sailboat all the way up Kentucky Lake, through the canal, and into Barkley Lake.

When they approached the dock, the skipper fired the port engine back up and used both engines to guide Still Waters II into her slip. Time to do some boat yoga and figure out what caused the overheating issue.

Wednesday, Thursday

The skipper has been working on the port main engine cooling system, in hopes of finding and fixing the over heating issue. The engine temperature has actually been creeping up since last summer. Initially the engine ran around 175 degrees under a light load. By the end of last summer she was running around 185 degrees, while this year she has been running closer to 190 degrees. The skipper believes the heat exchanger needs to be cleaned after refuting a few other options during troubleshooting.

After removing the end bell from the cooling water heat exchanger, he found about 10% of the tubes blocked and not allowing water flow through the small 1/8th inch tubes. After a run to the hardware store, to buy some dowel rods to clean the tubes, the skipper called it a day late Wednesday.

On Thursday he cleaned all 96 tubes, which will return all tubes to service. Then a bit of a nightmare started. He could not get both end bells back on the heat exchanger. While trying to put the return end bell back on, the whole tube bundle began to shove out the opposite end of the heat exchanger body. Then he could not move the tube bundle back the other direction to its original position.

After taking a lunch break and noodling on how to proceed, the skipper finally decided to remove the one end bell he had reattached, and put the other end on first. This moved the tube bundle back in position and allowed placing the return end back on with no more problems. Would have been nice if the maintenance manual shared this little tid bit of information on the order of reassembly. Time for a pen and ink change to the service manual in case the skipper has to do this job again.

The skipper cleaning the heat exchanger

Complete repairs will be put on hold until Saturday as a new development has come to the crews attention. The grandkids may be in the area on Friday and actually stop by for a while as they pass through the area on their summer vacation.


Sure enough, the rumor of an unscheduled stop of the Lathers vacation came to fruition. The crew of seven swabbies swelled to a crew of ten with an addition of three friends who are stowed away for the vacation extravaganza.

It was an SOS (scoot over some) afternoon

They arrived about noon, so the first order of business was to feed the new hungry crewmates. Afterwards, the gang walked down to the beach and enjoyed an afternoon in the Cumberland River. Well, until a fish swam by the girls and rubbed along one of their legs. They evacuated the water immediately and began telling stories of ‘river monsters.’ Somebody has been watching too much TV.

The resort golf cart shuttle just happened to swing by about the time the gang was packing up to head back to the boat. The crew members jumped aboard the shuttle and got the grand tour of the Green Turtle Bay Resort.

The shuttle driver did a good job of promoting the resort. He made a stop at the Thirsty Turtle Tavern and explained how kid friendly it was, how a band was playing tonight, and how good the food tasted. The crew began their scheme to turn into mutineers by getting the Admiral to call the skipper (who was walking back to the boat with the would be mutineer’s father) and inform the skipper that the would be mutineers were hatching a plan to eat at the Thirsty Turtle Tavern. Dear ole Dad made a command decision and nipped the mutiny in the bud by making it clear that Nathan hot dogs were in their future and not the Thirsty Turtle Tavern.

After fine dinning on Nathan hot dogs, it was time to load up the crew and head to their next destination a couple more hours down the road. When you are traveling with two adults, six teenagers, and four kids, getting the mass to move in the same direction is a chore.

Since the people take up all the interior space in the van, all the other gear is pulled behind in a U-Haul. You can tell it is early in the vacation because the parents are still smiling.

Boat Name of the Week

Next Week –

With all the weekend warriors out on the water this memorial day weekend, our crew will sit in the comfort of the Green Turtle Bay Resort and not leave till Tuesday morning. Then they will begin their travels to Pittsburgh by making the first stop in Paducah, Kentucky on the Ohio River.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

Staging for Ohio River

Ahoy from Pebble Isle Marina

You only have a few ports left to jump back on board as a virtual crew member before the crew begins their Ohio River Adventure to Pittsburgh this cruising season. Hope to see you aboard.

Summary of the Week

The crew left the comfort of the Columbus Marina and made way north on the Tenn-Tom Waterway to begin to stage for their Ohio River Adventure. After one night at anchor, near the Wilkins Lock, the crew pulled into Bay Springs Marina to discover 30 gallons of fuel in the engine room bilge. It took two days to clean that mess up, and correct the cause. After the cleanup was complete, the crew next ventured to Aqua Yacht Harbor where they ‘discovered’ The Outpost. They next moved to Clifton where they enjoyed conversing with Susan, one of the new owners of the marina, while they had a sumptuous hamburger. They concluded this week by navigating up to Pebble Island Marina and dodging some 300 plus pontoon boats plying the Tennessee River.

As a reminder to the virtual crew members, the skipper posts the history of the areas they travel through on this blog each Sunday afternoon. In addition, he also maintains a Travel Map that is updated at the end of each day’s cruise. The Travel Map has a short summary of the day’s journey, pictures, and the Captain’s Log. Click on the Still Waters II Travel Map to see the daily updates.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. How many miles has our crew cruised since starting this adventure back in June of 2015?
  2. What two states, east of the Mississippi River, has Still Waters II yet navigated?
  3. How many states west of the Mississippi River has Still Waters II visited?
  4. How does an 1800’s author play a part in naming a 1930’s Pickwick Lock & Dam project?

Few Fun Facts

The crew has been asked to speak and facilitate various sessions for America’s Great Loop Cruising Association Spring Rendezvous. This has necessitated that the crew have a good internet signal on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Not an easy task to find in this remote area of the US. As such, they have been Marina hopping slowly north as they simultaneously wait for the Marinas along the Ohio River to place their docks back in the water prior to Memorial Day weekend.

Second day on the Loop with Training Captain Geof

In his spare time, the skipper decided to go back and calculate the total miles they have cruised to date:

  1. First Loop – June 2015 to February 2017 = 9,555 miles
  2. Second Loop – February 2017 to January 2019 = 12,615 miles
  3. Down East Circle Loop – January 2019 to January 2020 = 6,073 miles
  4. Tennessee River Adventure – January 2020 to November 2020 = 2,476 miles

This provides for a grand total of 30,719 miles before the start of the Ohio River Adventure for the 2021 cruising season. Which then begs the question, Why travel to Pittsburgh via the Ohio River? Answer, so that Still Waters II can float in waters of Indiana and West Virginia. These are the last two states east of the Mississippi River she has never visited.

September 2019, Crossing our wake on the Down East Circle Loop

Speaking of states, how many states west of the Mississippi River has she visited? You might recall that the crew took her to the end of navigation on the Mississippi River in 2018. Along the way, she visited Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota west of the Mississippi River.

How Do You Lose 30 Gallons of Fuel?

The day started like most days on the Loop with the skipper in the engine room performing fluid checks and general look around for anything unusual. With the checks complete with no abnormalities noticed, the skipper fired up the engines and disconnected shore power and lines. The crew only made about 38 miles over seven hours because they spent two hours negotiating four locks. After the 84 foot ride up the Whitten Lock, the crew docked at Bay Springs Marina. The skipper hooked back to shore power and went to the office to check-in.

Upon his return, the Admiral asked him what he had sprayed in the cabin because it really smelled bad. (First clue that something was amiss.) The skipper denied any wrong doing and returned to the helm to close out the day’s cruise. Part of this activity is determining how much fuel they burned. He calculated the fuel burn and then went to the fuel gages to verify the result. (Second clue that something was amiss.) With a dumbfounded look on his face, he was trying to figure out how the port engine appeared to have burned 30 gallons more fuel than starboard. He quickly added clue 1 (bad smell) with clue 2 (missing 30 gallons of fuel) and guessed he had a fuel leak. Unfortunately, this was immediately confirmed when he opened the engine room hatch and noticed the fuel several inches above the floor covering the bilge.

All the skipper could imagine in that moment was how large the fine would be if that 30 gallons of fuel found its way to the lake via a bilge pump. He immediately removed power to the engine room bilge pump, then went and checked the bilges forward and aft of the engine room. Good news, no fuel in the bilges with installed automatic float switch activated pumps.

Sunset at Bay Springs

The next step in this miserable nightmare was to deliver the bad news about fuel in the bilge to the office and ask for help to recover the fuel. The owner assigned a mechanic the chore of bailing fuel for the last three hours of his shift. After the fuel was removed and a general look around to locate the leak was unsuccessful, the skipper noticed the return valve to the generator fuel tank was cracked open. Further investigation uncovered a fuel overflow trail to the bilge. So it now appeared that the port engine was returning fuel to the generator fuel tank and back pressuring the carburetor causing the generator to leak fuel to the bilge.

The skipper closed the valve and fired up the engines and no leak was found. Nice when there is an easy fix to a seemingly complex problem. Thank you God. The skipper has now locked that valve closed and then spent the majority of the next day cleaning the engine room bilge. The crew has run another 100 miles and no more fuel has appeared in the bilge. A huge thank you to Bay Springs Marina.

Four pigs swimming across the Tenn-Tom

Pickwick Landing

Normally, large projects such as the Pickwick Lock & Dam are named after historical figures famous in the area in which the construction project is being built. Previously, the skipper had tried to determine who the Pickwick Lake, Lock, and Dam were named after. The search ended with little satisfaction as the locals could only recall that is was named for the local community, Pickwick Landing, back in 1934 when the Dam was under construction.

Inside the Outpost

The answer to the mystery was revealed at an eatery named The Outpost. The crew went to test the venue’s world class reputation for banana pudding and other culinary delights. The banana pudding must be good because they were sold out at 1400, so the skipper settled for key lime pie while the Admiral tried the coconut cream pie. Both were excellent and did not disappoint. But back to naming Pickwick.

On the back of the menu, the skipper found the answer to the question he had been seeking. The Lake, Lock, and Dam were indeed named after the local community. Pickwick Landing took its name from the local post office. The area’s first postmaster was fond of the works of Charles Dickens and had named the post office Pickwick in honor of the author’s first novel, “The Pickwick Papers.” Nothing but the dam facts found here.

Clifton Marina

The crew would need to be in a location with good internet connection on Thursday evening for a Q&A session with the AGLCA Spring Rendezvous. They picked the Clifton Marina largely on the memory of the skipper, not that he remembered a good internet connection, but that the on-site restaurant served a very good hamburger. Upon arrival, he went to check-in at the office and quickly took note that things had changed for the better. He discovered that the marina had new ownership and there was a new sheriff in town, named Susan. She assured the skipper that her chef would produce a burger much better than last visit. But, he had better arrive before 1800 because “last order” was at 1815, not 1816, but 1815. Did I mention there was a new sheriff in town.

As directed, the crew got their orders in before 1815 and were greeted by a magnificent burger presented by Chef Jeremy. He tried to persuade the crew to try his bread pudding and cheese cake, but surprisingly the crew turned him down. Well, till the next day when they went back and had an afternoon snack. Oh, and one last thing about Chef Jeremy, he also is the marina maintenance man. Now that is an amazing set of diverse skills.

Chef Jeremy, cheesecake, and bread pudding

The skipper engaged Susan in conversation and asked how she came to own the marina. The story was fascinating and I will share a few of the high points.

  • Her daughter – in – law, Stacy, had relocated from California and bought a farm in Tennessee in 2018. She was looking on Craig’s List for a pickup truck when in the middle of the trucks a marina for sell pops up. She drove to the marina and stealthily checked it out and took a bunch of photos.
  • Several months later, at the family Thanksgiving Feast, (at a Marina I might add) conversation turned to how they could buy a business and the rest of the family could escape California. Susan’s son brought up the idea of buying a marina, like the one they were presently enjoying.
  • Stacy said, “funny you should mention that,”as she broke out her pictures of the Clifton Marina.
  • After some long conversations and swinging back and forth, they all agreed to pursue the purchase of the property.
  • Early 2019 turned out to be an historic flooding year on the Tennessee River. The closing date for the property just happened to coincide with the day the river crested four feet over the road.
Flood lifted docks to top of those vertical posts

The new owners delayed the purchase until the water receded, inspections of the property were made, and necessary repairs were completed. In addition to the repairs, the new owners have made wonderful additions to the marina and are working hard to provide excellent customer service. The crew wishes them well in pursuing their Clifton Marina dream.

Towing going by at the Landing in Clifton

Boat Name of the Week

When the crew arrived at Pickwick Lock, there was a strange looking pirate ship circling and waiting on a tow to leave the lock. There was also a tow in the que waiting for its turn to lock through. The skipper called the Lock Master and was pleasantly surprised that they would get to lock through with the pirate ship as soon as the tow left the lock. The crew followed the pirate ship into the lock and learned that looks can be deceiving, the pirate ship turned out to be a replica of the Pinta, one of Christopher Columbus’ three ships on his maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.

Next Week –

The crew will continue to the north end of Kentucky Lake early in the week, and then sit still till after the Memorial Day Weekend. No reason to be out on the water with all the crazy weekend warriors on the water for a three day celebration.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

The Devils Backbone

Ahoy from the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Summary of the Week

The crew arrived back on the boat on Sunday and spent the week doing water leak repairs as documented in the post titled, Announcing 2021 Itinerary. The week drew to a close as the crew completed this shore excursion by route of the Natchez Trace Parkway on their return to Texas.

Bet You Didn’t Know

On this weeks voyage of discovery, the crew answered the following questions:

  1. How long is the Natchez Trace Parkway?
  2. When was the Trace established as a unit of the National Park System?
  3. When was the Park officially Completed?
  4. What was a Kaintucks?
  5. Who were some famous folks who travelled the Trace?

Traveling The Trace

The crew jumped on The Trace at mile 200 near the town of Mathiston, Mississippi. They were 244 miles from the northern terminus near Nashville. However, for this shore exertion they would turn south and explore the 200 miles to the southern terminus in Natchez, Mississippi.

The Trace was the original footpath for the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. As the United States grew westward, the new settlers began to use the trail until it became a well worn path.

A section of ‘sunken trace’ at milepost 41.5

In the early 1800’s, folks in the Ohio River Valley began building wooden flat bottom boats to deliver their farm crops and animals to New Orleans. They would sell their goods, along with the boat, and walk back home via the Trace. These folks became known as the Kaintucks.

Flush with cash, the Kaintucks became easy targets for land pirates. To solve the safety problem, people began building Stands, or Inns, to accommodate the Kaintucks. As the Stands became a main stay, the Postal Service used the route to deliver mail. This increase usage led to improvements of the path to more of a road. By the time the Civil War rolled around, both the North and South troops used the road. Both Jefferson Davis and General Grant were known to have used the Trace.

Other famous folks who have used the Trace include: General Andrew Jackson, Meriwether Lewis, and John Audubon.

Once the age of steamships began moving material up and down the Mississippi River, The Trace fell from favor and began to fall into disrepair. In the 1930’s, FDR used rebuilding the Trace as one of his projects to get people back to work during the depression. The Trace became part of the National Park System in 1938. The final section of the modern Trace was completed in 2005.

The crew made stops at the following mileposts on their way south:

193.1, Jeff Busby

180.7, French Camp

176.3, Bethal Mission

175.6, Cole Creek

160, Kosciusko Welcome Center

135.5 Robinson Road

Robinson Road crossing the Trace
RVing on the Trace

88.3, City of Clinton Visitor Center

52.4, Owens Creek Waterfall

0.0, Southern Terminus

Next Week

The crew will turn back to the grind of home schooling for the next two weeks. Their next shore excursion will be Easter Weekend when they go explore Garner State Park.

See ya then

Eric the Red

%d bloggers like this: