09-13-09 Alton IL Alton Marina

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: We have learned that the Coast Guard has eased the restriction on fiberglass boats crossing the CARP Tunnel. As of Saturday, Sep 12, boats may traverse the electrified area on a case-by-case basis. Boats are no longer required to pay $600 for passage.

[Rick] We decided to attend church while in Grafton, and had already located the nearest Protestant church, Grafton United Methodist Church. It was a very old church, with the building dating to 1857. It was also very small in attendance. I counted 27, with 4 visitors. We took a picture of the attendance and contribution sign in the church. The lady minister was very good, and we were welcomed warmly.

Along the way, we saw the high water mark from the famous 1993 flood. The river crested 40 feet above flood stage. At some points, the Mississippi was 50 miles wide, normally less than 2 miles. This flood was the last straw for some and they sold out and moved away. Unfortunately for them, the land they sold is worth much more today because it is on the river. And they are not making any more riverfront property.

We left the Grafton Marina and entered the Mississippi at 1302. After a short 13 mile ride, we arrived in Alton, IL. Near the town of Portage De Sioux, on the Right Descending Bank, one will find the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rivers. This shrine was erected after the 1951 flood as a thanks for the water stopping just feet from the destroying the town. There is a blessing of the fleet each July on this site.

The Alton Marina is much like Grafton, it floats and everything associated with it floats. Several months ago, we wrote about the need for clean, usable bathrooms and showers. These shower suites are the best we have seen. They furnish soap, shampoo, conditioner, an individual bath mat, and the suite has a chair and hooks. This may well be the nicest marina we have stayed in. In addition, there is a casino just down the street.

We plan to be here through Monday night and depart for Hoppies on Tuesday. More on that later. We now begin the most stressful part of the Great Loop. Getting from Hoppies to the Green Turtle Marina, a distance of 250 miles, with no fuel stops along the way. You will hear more on this later also. There is a chance we will run out of gas, but we do not think so.

Grafton Marina, All on the water, floating....

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