Picking up where I left off, in Grafton, IL, we got up as planned the next morning to tackle the Mighty Mississippi with all its flooded current, floating trees and craziness. Three of us left Grafton just at sunrise, two sailboats had already gone ahead towards the first lock. It took us about an hour to get to Alton and the first lock of the day. By then the wind was insane, the current even worse, and the debris off the charts. Barges were having trouble finding any control and the Coast Guard made one of many announcements again advising pleasure craft to stay off the water.
As we approached the lock Ben made the call to turn around. But we didn’t want to pull into Alton. We were there two years ago and the marina has a phenomenon where it can be plenty deep and then water levels are changed at the dam and many feet of water get sucked out of the marina. We knew at this point we would have to leave the boat until after the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous and we didn’t want to be stuck sitting on the bottom waiting for the water to come back up when we got back. So the hour trip down, took us 3 hours to get back up to Grafton. We tied up, made our peace with staying put until after the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous and made a plan. We had to rent a car now to make the 7 hour drive to the Rendezvous so we got the car early and play tourist in St. Louis. Two years ago we saw the Arch and that was about it. We wanted to see a few more things this time before packing up and heading out as the flood waters continued to rise.
We started the day with the Anheuser-Busch tour. Maddy adores horses and the Clydesdales and their stable did not disappoint.
The grounds are beautiful and the tour was quick an informative.
Next up was lunch, a quick walk through the farmer’s market and on to the City Museum. The kids played and played and wore themselves out. Having older kids meant we did not have to climb all of the structures or go down the slides with them. Ben did climb up to the ten story slide with them. I waited at the bottom. Their favorite section was outside. We skipped the rooftop but they loved all of the other outside structures and slides.
We headed back to the marina to pack up. While we drove to St. Louis and played tourist, the Herbons braved the Mississippi and in a couple of days made it down to Paducah safely. The Zeeffs were there for awhile so we hatched another plan. Have to make lemonade when you get lemons from the weather! We packed up and left the ever higher flooding marina and started our long trek down to Rogersville, AL for the AGLCA Fall Rendezvous.
We stopped in Paducah for the day and night to hang out with the Herbons and the Zeeffs. We were so excited to have a day for the adults to catch up and the kids to play. It was a Sunday. And nothing in Paducah is open on Sundays. So, we walked around, looked at the awesome murals on the town wall, and found one restaurant that was open. And then Ben took turns shuttling everyone to our hotel to swim. Who doesn’t like an over chlorinated hotel pool with 7 screaming kids??? It was a fun treat for all of them (and us!).