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Old 07-31-2021, 01:30 PM   #1
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Ohio River Cincinnati to the Mississippi

We are longtime Gulf of Mexico and ICW cruisers but newbies on inland waterways. We are splashing a Gulfstar 36 in the Ohio River and bringing her from there down the Mississippi to the Arkansas River. Would appreciate some input on the Ohio. Thanks in advance.
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:21 PM   #2
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We are longtime Gulf of Mexico and ICW cruisers but newbies on inland waterways. We are splashing a Gulfstar 36 in the Ohio River and bringing her from there down the Mississippi to the Arkansas River. Would appreciate some input on the Ohio. Thanks in advance.
Only advice is to get down from Cincinnati before winter hits. Now you will encounter a challenge coming down especially on weekends and holidays as the locks can be very crowded. You have 500 miles and 7 locks on the Ohio. Then 370 miles or so on the Mississippi with not a lot of places for relaxing and recovery along the way there. The 220 miles to Memphis is the longest stretch.

I don't know if you're going to do a pleasure run or delivery run but the Ohio should be quite enjoyable, other than all the locks, while the Mississippi less so and more of a challenge.
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Old 07-31-2021, 03:34 PM   #3
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Are you going up the Arkansas? What's your final destination? Memphis is the only easy stop between Cairo and the mouth of the Arkansas. Not much in the way of facilities or support on that stretch.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:40 PM   #4
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Only advice is to get down from Cincinnati before winter hits. Now you will encounter a challenge coming down especially on weekends and holidays as the locks can be very crowded. You have 500 miles and 7 locks on the Ohio. Then 370 miles or so on the Mississippi with not a lot of places for relaxing and recovery along the way there. The 220 miles to Memphis is the longest stretch.

I don't know if you're going to do a pleasure run or delivery run but the Ohio should be quite enjoyable, other than all the locks, while the Mississippi less so and more of a challenge.
Thank you for your post BandB. We Have been in the Mississippi down around New Orleans several times and we are not looking forward to that part of the trip at all. We are going to start to Arkansas the end of August (more or less...and don't have to rush it).
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:47 PM   #5
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Are you going up the Arkansas? What's your final destination? Memphis is the only easy stop between Cairo and the mouth of the Arkansas. Not much in the way of facilities or support on that stretch.
Thank you Jeff. Our final destination (as of right now) is Arkansas. We are planning on going up the Arkansas to the Lake Dardenelle area. We are not looking forward to the Mississippi River. Mempis will be a good stop over for sure. At least we are going down the Mississippi..lol
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:18 PM   #6
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Thank you Jeff. Our final destination (as of right now) is Arkansas. We are planning on going up the Arkansas to the Lake Dardenelle area. We are not looking forward to the Mississippi River. Mempis will be a good stop over for sure. At least we are going down the Mississippi..lol
I went down the MS from Cairo to the cutoff into the Achafalaya a few years ago. It was an adventure. I actually enjoyed the trip immensely, but had some serious second thoughts the first couple of days, mixing it up with the big tows on the endless switchbacks north of Memphis.

Are there facilities on the Arkansas? When I went by the junction there was a big flow from the Arkansas. It looks like you've got a long way to go upriver after leaving the Mississippi. Not many pleasure boats around there...

The Corps of Engineers publishes observed and predicted water level for all the rivers. Be extra cautious if the levels are high or rising. A lot of debris ends up in the water when levels rise, and generally currents are higher.

Good luck!
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:23 PM   #7
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Are there any boats going to be cruising down the Ohio from from Cincinnati to the Mississippi during August and September?
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Old 07-31-2021, 09:33 PM   #8
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I went down the MS from Cairo to the cutoff into the Achafalaya a few years ago. It was an adventure. I actually enjoyed the trip immensely, but had some serious second thoughts the first couple of days, mixing it up with the big tows on the endless switchbacks north of Memphis.

Are there facilities on the Arkansas? When I went by the junction there was a big flow from the Arkansas. It looks like you've got a long way to go upriver after leaving the Mississippi. Not many pleasure boats around there...

The Corps of Engineers publishes observed and predicted water level for all the rivers. Be extra cautious if the levels are high or rising. A lot of debris ends up in the water when levels rise, and generally currents are higher.

Good luck!
Thanks for your input...I know what you mean about intimidating tows on the Mississippi. The first time my husband got "dumped" into the Mississippi from the ICW way back in the 80's, he was single handed on a 30 ft. sailboat. He looked up and saw a 5 wide by 5 long tow..no match for our little 2 cylinder Volvo. I think our biggest concern for this trip will be the debris. We appreciate tips experienced river cruisers can share. I feel comfortable in the gulf and icw... but am not confident in the rivers...yet. thanks again.
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