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Old 08-14-2015, 10:19 AM   #1
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Cool things near the Mississippi river?

I will be leaving the great lakes in about a week headed south. The last time I did the loop it was 6 years ago.

We have no real plan till mid November in Norfolk.

Can anyone recommend anything to do?
I'm all up for renting a car and doing a day trip.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:18 AM   #2
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I read your request and it piqued my interest as I boat on the upper Mississippi (mile 535 +100/-60 so far) this year. The river gets better as you go north. If you ever have the opportunity, I would recommend a trip up to the Twin City's and up the St.Croix. It is a beautiful trip The downside, and one that precludes most cruisers, is the fact that it's a little over 600 miles from the TC,s to the confluence with the Illinois River, From your description I assume your passing thru Chicago on the Sanitary Canal (not named for being clean) to the Illinois and Mississippi. Are you going down the Mississippi or the TennTom? I have passed thru Chicago to the Illinois once and I can't say I would do it again unless it was between where I was and where I wanted to be. I have run the Mississippi from the Ohio north. My experience was the river below the Illinois was a nasty, big, swift, driftwood filled drainage ditch with the addition of lots of commercial traffic, and nearly no pleasure boat facilities. Exception: Alton Marina, just below the Illinois is First Class. If you go down the Miss to the Gulf I have heard it isn't bad If you exit the big river at the Atchafalaya. Memphis and Vicksburg are supposed to Fantastic. I haven't done tha trip myself. I'm going to do the winter blocked on the hard under shrinkwrap, I'm jealous of your plans.
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Old 08-17-2015, 04:58 AM   #3
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So many amazing small cities way further South in Louisiana St. Francisville unfortunately no Marina, but near New Orleans the little town of Jean Lafitte does ( or did) have a marina I have not been in 11 years but what a great little place it use to be sure hope it still is
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:44 AM   #4
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We have done the twin cities before. None of us want to do it again.

We were planning to start down the Chicago River or we could do the Calumet Sag.

My wife’s family lives about 30 minutes from where the Ohio and the Tennessee river. Then we were planning on back tracking and going down the Mississippi like last time.

We have talked about doing the Tennessee – Tombigdee Waterway, but I have not finished reading on on the trip.
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Old 08-17-2015, 05:01 PM   #5
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If you haven't done the Chicago River trip, It's pretty cool. There are more bridges than the Cal Sag but the river in the Loop is neat boating below the Tall buildings. If you can get a slip at DuSable harbor or perhaps Windy City Marina (below the Marina City Towers) a visit to the Loop is interesting. I did the Chicago River going into Lake Michigan and the Cal Sag coming back. The Chicago River has more to see. Unless you like seeing the waterfall outflows from many sewer plants (sarcasm). There was very little traffic on either. Downstream of the junction of the two was what I thought was dreadful. The Commercial traffic is heavy, the canal very narrow (250' or so) with most places having two barges wide (70') tied to either shore. add a three barge wide tow and there isn't much room left. The commercial people make it clear they don't think you should be in the way of their waterway.
The Tennessee is exceptionally nice. I have never done the TennTom. I want to though. Good Luck in your travels.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:05 AM   #6
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Were going to take off in the morning down the Chicago River depending on the weather. The propeller shop should be bringing back my spare in a few hours.

It looks like we are going to go through the Tenn Tom.

Were working on getting a couple marinas lined up.
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Old 08-18-2015, 08:31 AM   #7
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Take the time to go up the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. The gorge of the Tennessee is incredible, Nashville and Chattanooga are great stops. You may never have the chance to do this again. I have done two Great Loops and the best recommendation I can offer is Slow Down and explore!
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Old 08-19-2015, 08:17 AM   #8
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Choppywater: Take Tingum advise taking time to explore the Cumberland and the Tenn. rivers. There is much more to see than on THE MUDDY MISSISSIPPI, beautiful country side and lots of history if your into that. Several members on the TN. so come by and say hello
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Old 08-19-2015, 08:29 AM   #9
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what about a visit with Marie Laveau ?


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Old 08-19-2015, 08:56 AM   #10
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If you can fit under the bridges in downtown Chicago, definitely take that route; they don't open for pleasure boats except for prescribed days and times in the spring and fall. If you don't fit, take one of the tour boats that specializes in architecture and history. We lived and worked in Chicagoland off and on over the years and local-boated with friends. Having seen them and done short stints, going down the Cal-Sag and the Illinois are on my reverse bucket list ("Make sure to never do that"!). Have also spent a fair amount of time by the lower Mississippi and Ohio, also personally not appealing and other than Memphis, a very nice town (our daughter went to college there), not pleasure boat friendly.

On the other hand, having seen them, I'd love to do the Tennessee and maybe the Cumberland on our own boat someday.
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Old 08-19-2015, 09:32 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by siestakey View Post
So many amazing small cities way further South in Louisiana St. Francisville unfortunately no Marina, but near New Orleans the little town of Jean Lafitte does ( or did) have a marina I have not been in 11 years but what a great little place it use to be sure hope it still is

Ditto- you just don't see recreational traffic this far south. Unless you are crossing Ol' Man River in Nawlins'. Industrial Lock> Harvey Lock generally.


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Old 09-26-2015, 08:17 PM   #12
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:35 AM   #13
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If you can reach the TN River in time for some fall color cruising, that will be great. Our plans when we do the loop next year or the year after is to leave Chicago about this time of the year, get down to the TN and keep the boat in that area for a while. You can get there in time to enjoy some fall weather still, not too cold, and then take the TN Tom on down to the Gulf Coast.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:30 AM   #14
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We ended up doing some speeding and were on the Golf of Mexico. Saturday they were not able to get our mast back up and depending if the weather is good it should be back up Monday before noon. I have 3 more aluminum's to change out; I ran out of air.

Tuesday we have a rental car lined up. The wife and one of the kids are going to get our tanks refilled and go to a bulk store to load the boat down with goodies.

There is some family in Texas we might float over to see depending on the weather or we are just going to run around Florida and head back to Norfolk.

Some stuff came up with our twins and they might have to fly home and stay in a hotel if we do not get back to Norfolk in time.
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Old 09-27-2015, 12:06 PM   #15
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We ended up doing some speeding and were on the Golf of Mexico. Saturday they were not able to get our mast back up and depending if the weather is good it should be back up Monday before noon. I have 3 more aluminum's to change out; I ran out of air.

Tuesday we have a rental car lined up. The wife and one of the kids are going to get our tanks refilled and go to a bulk store to load the boat down with goodies.

There is some family in Texas we might float over to see depending on the weather or we are just going to run around Florida and head back to Norfolk.

Some stuff came up with our twins and they might have to fly home and stay in a hotel if we do not get back to Norfolk in time.
Here's the good thing. There's no bad choice. Whether it's Texas or Florida or Norfolk, whether it's a day here or a week, they're all good. There isn't anywhere between Chicago and Norfolk that you can't enjoy. Sometimes your favorite places are the least expected and other times they're the ones that weren't by choice but by weather or other situations. For those you miss, there is always your next loop.

We just left Norfolk. It's still there waiting for you whenever you get there.

One other thing I'd toss out. Once you get to the Gulf or even just as far south as Pickwick and Iuka, MS, you're in places warm enough that if you have to fly to Norfolk briefly with the kids or something, the boat's fine without being hauled and winterized or too much worry.
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Old 09-27-2015, 02:17 PM   #16
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The weather where were at now is rain, with mostly rain, and a lot of heavy showers for the next 3 or 4 days. The marina kept bumping us from using there travel lift for putting up our mast to pull people out. A lot of the other boaters ran off from the weather. If my mast would have been up I would run off also. I know there is better weather a few hours down to the west from me.

There is only a few weeks in Norfolk that you don't want to be in Norfolk during the winter.

No my twins never moved out on there own with them taking collage classes on line it's hard to kick them out. If they have to fly I'm not going with them, but I know my money will.
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