09-15-09 Hoppies Marina Kimmswick, MO

[Rick] Today was a make or break kind of day. We left Alton Marina, the nicest marina we have encountered on the trip, for Hoppie’s Marina. We will be travelling with the trawler Meander, and the Carver Still Busy. Our task is to verify that we can make it 250 miles to the next gas stop. Meander, the trawler, only goes about 8 mph, but the Mississippi has a good following current, so at times, today, we were doing 11.2 mph. We ran with only one motor, following Meander and managed to average 3.28 miles per gallon (at times we were up to 6 MPG!). This convinced me that we can do the next part of the trip, the 250 miles, with very little worry. But, to be on the safe side, we will travel with these two boats until we reach Kentucky Lake and refuel.

When we left the marina, we added 4 more boats to the flotilla that were coming from Grafton Marina. We were strung out like a convoy. We all went through the two locks together. We passed the confluence of the Mighty Missouri River, aka the Big Muddy, and passed St Louis with its famous Gateway Arch. It was wonderful to have the current behind us pushing us along. When the Missouri intercepted the Mississippi, the increase was over 2 mph immediately.

We all arrived at Hoppie’s Marina in Kimmswick, MO and topped off our tanks. This is a marina in the loosest sense of the word. It is really 3 floating barges, tied together, and secured to the shore. Then, other floating “docks” were added and strung along. They do have Gas and Diesel. The owner, Fern Hopkins, gave an information talk at a captain’s meeting regarding places to anchor out and places to avoid for the next 250 miles. As crude as it is, it is a must stop for every looper and its reputation preceded it. This is one of the places we’ve heard about every since we started thinking about doing the loop. Not only is it the last gas stop but owners Fern and Hoppie Hopkins are colorful characters. Here is a picture of Fern with Betsy and Fern's husband, Hoppie.

We walked into town, and it turned out to be a treat. This is apple country, and everywhere, they had apple related products to sell. The stores are old, and small. Jimmy Tant on Riff Raff, paid $35 for a 9 pound apple pie, called the “levee high pie” because of its odd shape. He later shared it with us after supper. Here are some random pictures of the town and the day.

Since we are anchoring out the next two nights, we may or may not have access to cell phone and/or internet signals. So, check back. We will post as soon as possible.

Jimmy and the Levee High Apple Pie.

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