Saturday, May 3, 2008

OK Boat Trip, Day 9, 5/3/08


Remember our previous comment about traveling on a boat and having a plan but being flexible? Well, after phone calls this morning to several folks on the Arkansas River, including several lockmasters, one marina, and the Port Authority at Muskogee, we’ve decided to take a week delay here in Memphis at Mud Island Marina, possibly longer.
Here are some of the comments we got this morning. “This has been the wettest April in recorded history for Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. The AR River is roaring.” “I wouldn’t want to put my boat out there right now. Floating logs and debris are everywhere.” From the Muskogee Port Authority – “The river normally flows at 7000 metric cubic feet per second. It’s at 120,000 per second now. I believe I’d delay somewhere for a while.” Similar increases were noted all along the river. “The barges are running, but only during the day. They are only moving up river with about 1/3 of their normal load. It’s the only way they can make any progress against the current.” Etc, etc.

And then we met Mr. Blackley, a Captain and a very nice man who is refurbishing a boat here at Mud Island and has a wealth of knowledge traveling the AR River after having made the trip six times. “Trust me, I’ve been there, you don’t want to be on that river in its current condition. Even if you successfully make the trip in these conditions, you will not have seen and enjoyed the true beauty of the AR.”

The other factors are fuel and time. In our trawler, we average 10 mph but traveling against a current of 5 mph or more, you double your travel time and fuel costs.

OK, enough is enough, we give in! We really wanted to get to Muskogee sooner than later but we have been pushing it hard and probably need to stop and “smell the roses.” So, we approached Jim at the marina about a long-term stay. What a deal. Basically $10/day plus electricity, and we have cable TV and free laundry. Now, where can you get a riverfront room in a riverfront town like Memphis during Memphis in May for that kind of price? So, here are some shots from our new home for a week or so.

View of the river with tug going under I-40 Bridge (our backyard)

Downtown Memphis (front yard)

The American Queen Riverboat (she left shortly after this shot with full load of passengers)

View from Downtown Memphis looking back toward the marina

This is not law enforcement after us - they were patrolling the river for Memphis in May Music Fest on the riverfront.

We still need to move a couple of vehicles to Muskogee also so we’ll probably make use of our time for that purpose.

Not sure when we’ll be moving on the water again but check the blog periodically. For those of you new to river boating and checking the site to learn more about cruising the rivers, we may take this opportunity to cover some of the systems on the boat like cooking, water, electricity, bathrooms, etc.

Before we close for today, we want to mention another comment from Captain Blackley. We asked him to compare the AR with the TN River, our home cruising ground. He said the AR is prettier and even more interesting than the TN. “You see everything from swamps to mountains, rock cliffs, pristine lakes, neat cities like Pine Bluff, Little Rock, Ft. Smith/Van Buren and others.” That’s a pretty good recommendation because we can tell you from experience that the TN is absolutely beautiful with similar attributes as those he noted. We’d also note that many folks we have spoken to who have traveled the entire Great Loop Cruise Route have cited the TN River as one of the best on the route, equaling such areas as the Georgian Bay in Canada. So, we are even more excited about the AR River.

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