Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Few More Thoughts From Grafton

When you spend so many days mesmerized by watching the water rise over 12 feet, praying it doesn't get over the wheels of your car parked in the parking lot, seeing roads closed due to flooding (detour, detour, detour), also praying the power/water doesn't get cut off to your boat and you'll have to use your generator in this muddy mess---you lose track of time. What day is it? How long have we been here?! All total, we've spent 12 days here--and I totally forgot some of the other things we did when I posted the last blog this morning. Since we get to finally move down river tomorrow, I don't want to forget them either--so here goes.

We spent one morning going to the lock at Alton--there's a museum on site and a guided tour. On our day there, we had a young girl (maybe 20 years old)--only her 4th time leading a tour of the lock--and poor thing, she didn't know much at all. Others went the day before and got an older gentleman who evidently gave them a fantastic tour--oh well, can't get them all just so. But the interactive displays in the museum were very interesting and we each got the chance in a simulator to try and drive a barge through one of the locks--not an easy feat --none of us succeeded! We were all amazed at how much debris the locks keep bottled up in times like these--we would have thought they would have released all the stuff to flow downstream as soon as it collected. Not so. It all flows to New Orleans--no wonder they have so many problems there!

Another day, once the rivers started to drop, we took the near-by Brussels ferry across to the historic Wittmond Hotel, in Brussels. Constructed in 1885, it serves "family style" lunches and dinners 365 days a year (imagine!) by fifth generation family members! Fried chicken, roast beef, homemade country sausage, rolls, soup, vegetables, relishes, slaw, gravy & mashed potatoes & homemade desserts.....all served on lace tablecloths.....wow, did we ever stuff ourselves--all 7 of us ate like it was Thanksgiving! On the way home, we all chose what we thought was the best--I chose the warm blackberry cobbler with ice cream.

Another treat was going up the steep hill just behind us to "the winery". It actually doesn't make wine there--only serves it, and now only on the weekends--but what a truly fantastic view of all the surrounding area. We could see for miles--see where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers join, see farm land off just beyond the Mississippi, even see the city of Alton--which is 15 (?) miles away. We all wished we could come back when the leaves would be turning their vibrant colors and just sit up there one whole afternoon and watch it all pass by--wouldn't it be lovely!

During the times when we weren't going back and forth through the corn fields to Jerseyville for Wal-Mart, Auto Zone, UPS, and such--we spent walking the streets here in Grafton--great little shops and such. There was an "Arts' Fair" in the Town Square Saturday, and that was fun. We've all bought fresh fruit, peanut brittle, and homemade pies from the "pie lady"--absolutely the best ever--just ask Louis. We've bought 3 pecan pies!! We seem to be just like our friends the Staggs, and I quote: "We just seem to be eating our way around the Loop!' Yep, that's all of us too. Loopers seem to know all the best places to go, and we love "networking"! Delicious all the way----is the only way to go!

We leave tomorrow (Thursday, September 25th) for the marina in Alton. Although it's only 15 miles downstream, a spread sheet was proposed for all of us Loopers to follow as we exit our perspective spots--so that we not get "bottle necked" in any one particular area in the coming days. As we travel down the Mississippi for the next 200 hundred miles or so, places to overnight are few and far between. We will be at anchor three nights, and the few anchorages there are can't hold many boats. Had the flood not come, we all would have been spread out enough to make each stop without any trouble of "no place in the inn". But since we all got held up for almost two weeks, now we all need to be smart and follow the departure suggestions from AGLCA. It's our turn to leave and start down, so we leave. We say good-by to Jan and Joe here at Grafton Marina--we're now members of their family--but there are many behind us coming down who will enjoy this place as we have. "Sunshine", "Southern Comfort", and "Bella Luna" are so excited to be on the move again! We'll join the 3 "Texas" boats at Hoppies on Friday--more of our Grafton family!

1 comment:

Claire Dodd said...

Hi Bean (and Louis) ~

Certainly am glad to know you survived the hurricanes and flooded rivers--sounds like a mess indeed. Have so enjoyed reading your blogs--what a great "book" of memories you have.

I miss you and hope to chat with you soon.

Much love ~

Bean