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Discussion Starter #1
Alrighty then...... here goes....

Who's done it, what have you learned?

I've been digging through the site and looking to see if anyone has ever "toured" or cruised up/down and through the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

I'm looking for stories, experiences, information and anything in the way of helpful information - has anyone ever done this, or considered doing it.

I noted there are a few mentions of persons taking boats down the Mississippi to the Gulf. I'd especially like to hear from them, with their experiences, including things like stops made along the way, sites seen, shopping excursions, issues with finding a place to dock and so forth.

Thanks!!

Rick
 

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Do a google search on "the great loop". The path makes a circle of the Great lakes, out to east coast, the ICW around the east coast and through the gulf and then back up north through the rivers and nav channels back to Great Lakes. Alot of trawlers do this.
 

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The problem is going to be the bridges. There are a lot of them and they don't move. The only way under is to unstep the mast.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do a google search on "the great loop". The path makes a circle of the Great lakes, out to east coast, the ICW around the east coast and through the gulf and then back up north through the rivers and nav channels back to Great Lakes. Alot of trawlers do this.
Already have. I'm asking here for personal experiences folks here have had.

It seems I can read all the books in the world and that's great, but getting someone to actually write their real experiences is soooooo much better :)

I have looked at a few things about the "Great Loop" (and some call it the "Great Circle" - to me a "great circle" is a course scribed on a globe... but, ok :))

I'm considering doing "the Great Loop" myself. My wife and I want to do this perhaps as one of the first things we do when we start cruising, before we start doing ocean travel of any sort. We've been in almost every state (I'm missing five of them, she's missing many of the western states) along the Mississippi, Great Lakes and up and down the East Coast.

Both of us have traveled extensively - on the highways and in planes... but, are thinking about how really neat it would be to see things from a completely different perspective.

And - others' experiences are certainly something we'd like to take into account!
 

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Do a google search on "the great loop". The path makes a circle of the Great lakes, out to east coast, the ICW around the east coast and through the gulf and then back up north through the rivers and nav channels back to Great Lakes. Alot of trawlers do this.
I believe its usually done in the reverse flow.
Most head South on the Rivers; Miss, Ohio and through Kentucky Lake to the Tenn-Tom waterway. You than enter the Gulf at Mobile Bay.
The reason is that going against the currents on the Miss especially in the spring is not very fesible for long distances. I might be wrong and there is a memeber here that is located on the Miss that can corect me, but its very difficult to make miles when going against strong currents on the river.
 

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I believe its usually done in the reverse flow.
Most head South on the Rivers; Miss, Ohio and through Kentucky Lake to the Tenn-Tom waterway. You than enter the Gulf at Mobile Bay.
The reason is that going against the currents on the Miss especially in the spring is not very fesible for long distances. I might be wrong and there is a memeber here that is located on the Miss that can corect me, but its very difficult to make miles when going against strong currents on the river.
No, you're absolutely correct. The loop makes a counter-clockwise circle. Most folks are in the north in the summer, travel the Mississippi in the fall, winter in the Gulf and Florida and make the northward journey in the spring time. All seems pretty logical to me.

I lived in DC for 8 years right on the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. I used to canoe out there all summer long, took my kids out there when they were little. Never sailed it, but we watched boats and ships come through all the time.

I always thought back then how I'd like to travel down the Mississippi.

When I was a child a cousin and I built a raft. We worked for a few weeks on the thing in the spring time and dragged it to a creek one summer day. Threw our little bags full of food and water "aboard" and climbed on, poled off the "shore" and "set sail".

We found ourselves a bit later (couple of hours) in a river mouth which, basically SUCKED us out of the creek while we were trying to turn around. We had no paddles but I'd made a rudder so we were able to steer it and not hit anything.

Problem was, we couldn't stop.

We went down that river almost into Tennessee.

I've always wanted to do the "Huck Finn" thing ever since, but... on the real Mississippi and perhaps with a bit better luck, experience and good crew. hehehe.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The problem is going to be the bridges. There are a lot of them and they don't move. The only way under is to unstep the mast.
So you've done this yourself?
 

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No, you're absolutely correct. The loop makes a counter-clockwise circle. Most folks are in the north in the summer, travel the Mississippi in the fall, winter in the Gulf and Florida and make the northward journey in the spring time. All seems pretty logical to me.

I lived in DC for 8 years right on the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers. I used to canoe out there all summer long, took my kids out there when they were little. Never sailed it, but we watched boats and ships come through all the time.

I always thought back then how I'd like to travel down the Mississippi.

When I was a child a cousin and I built a raft. We worked for a few weeks on the thing in the spring time and dragged it to a creek one summer day. Threw our little bags full of food and water "aboard" and climbed on, poled off the "shore" and "set sail".

We found ourselves a bit later (couple of hours) in a river mouth which, basically SUCKED us out of the creek while we were trying to turn around. We had no paddles but I'd made a rudder so we were able to steer it and not hit anything.

Problem was, we couldn't stop.

We went down that river almost into Tennessee.

I've always wanted to do the "Huck Finn" thing ever since, but... on the real Mississippi and perhaps with a bit better luck, experience and good crew. hehehe.
Very funny read, glad you survived and did not get run over by a paddle-wheeler. Good story. and Good luck with your future cruising!
 

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Not sure how current the site is, but I found it an interesting read
Spirit of Independence Sailboat Charter Service
They had a small sail shop in Independence Mo, built the boat at their "yard"
and headed down the river. Never got to see the boat finished, but I did see when it was still sitting in the back lot. A boat that size sitting in the middle of Independence Mo is kind of hard to miss
 

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Nonjy, I forgot to mention it, but my latest addition of Lake Land Boating's Lake Michigan Ports-O-Call cruising guide has a section dedicated to the trip south and the Tenn - Tom. Lakeland Boating: Cruise Guide Michigan
 

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I think that most sailboats stay off the Mississippi and instead go down the Illinois and the Ohio to get to the Tennessee river. Most of the Tennessee river is dammed so that the current is usually very slight. We have been up the Tenn-Tom and Tennessee river from Mobile to Guntersville. It would be interesting to hear about the Illinois river. Is the current too strong for practical motoring upstream?? With a sailboat going 7 knots max I wouldn't want to fight a current much over a knot or two.
 

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I think that most sailboats stay off the Mississippi and instead go down the Illinois and the Ohio to get to the Tennessee river. Most of the Tennessee river is dammed so that the current is usually very slight. We have been up the Tenn-Tom and Tennessee river from Mobile to Guntersville. It would be interesting to hear about the Illinois river. Is the current too strong for practical motoring upstream?? With a sailboat going 7 knots max I wouldn't want to fight a current much over a knot or two.
The only problem with that is that the Illinios and Ohio are not connected.
 

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Yep sorry I wasn't trying to give precise directions. You go down the Ohio and then up the Mississippi to St Loius then get on the Illinois river. But by going the Tenn-tom route you avoid a lot of river miles on the Mississippi on the lower stretches where it is the largest and most heavily traveled. Again I don't have the charts in front of me but off hand I'd say you avoid 700 miles or so of Mississippi river traffic and current.
 

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I've been hanging out on the Great Loop List for about 10 years now. There are some cruisers with knowledge of the western rivers, but all trawlers. Search out a guy named Charles Culotta. He has cruised a lot of that area and has a website with a lot of info.
From my readings, I do think you are going to face 2 problems; fixed bridges and scarce facilities. The lower Mississippi is fairly hostile to pleasure craft.
 

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Ed,
Its going to have to be a mast down trip almost the whole way.
As soon as you exit Lake Michigan your going to have to drop the stick, probably right at Crowley's Yard.
Not sure when it is fesible to put it back up again.
Kentuckey Lake has some sailing and no bridges, but what happens when you reach the Tenn-Tomm? I don't know, I guess thats why the Op was asking for local knowkedge. Looks like some of us around here have heard and read about this, but not many have actually done it.
 

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I did the great loop in 05-06, but on a trawler and enjoyed it very much, you get to see a lot of cool places along the way. The vast majority of boats doing that are trawlers, but I ran into a few sailboats including a Catalina 42 and a C&C 35. Almost everybody goes the Illinois-Mississippi-Ohio-Tennessee-TennTom-Tombigbee route to Mobile because the lower Mississippi isn't that friendly to pleasure boats and the other route is quite nice, also allowing side trips to Nashville and Knoxville, if you want. From what I understand, once you get past a 19' fixed bridge in Chicago you can carry 52' to Mobile, but quite a few people just ship their masts to Mobile as there isn't much opportunity to sail, except at Land between the Lakes in Tennessee perhaps. Skipper Bob Publications has good cruising guides for the entire Loop, including one for Chicago to Mobile that includes bridge clearances, fuel availability, etc.
 

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From Mobile to Pickwick Lake on the Tennessee river you can take a 45' mast with no problems during normal pools. The only problem that I had was two railroad bridges. One made me wait about an hour the other made me wait about 5 hours and almost caused an accident. I was looking at the USACE web site and it seems that 19' on a bridge in chicago is the big problem. How strong is the current??? I am on the Tennessee river right now. Motoring up to Lake Michigan seems interesting. I noticed that there are some locks on the Illinois river. The TN river seems to have less than a knot of current most places most of the time. Might be a little more right below some dams where it is narrow.
 

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moon
motoring UP the Mississippi will be a task. There can be a pretty good current and there are few fuel stops and marinas in that stretch. Check the distances carefully and make sure you have the ability to make it from point to point during daylight hours under power
 

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Tim
The OP was asking about going down the Miss & Mo rivers. The lower Miss has plenty of air draft but not much in the way of marinas or anchorages. No idea about the Mo
 

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nonjy
Try this website: Voyages of the Calypso Poet: Mississippi River
Powerboaters with Mississippi & Arkansas River experience may be of some help.

Full service marina, campgrounds, lodge, country store, live music "one of the few 'marinas' on the Missouri River"

City of Omaha Parks & Recreation marina in Omaha

Pop-n-docs Too - Cottonwood Marina - Blair, NE 68008 Upstream of Omaha; "Come by boat, come by car, come buy beer"

MRBC - Missouri River Boat Club the missouri river boat club

Lewis & Clark Recreation Area/Resort/Marina I saw sailboats in the front page picture!!

Snake Creek Recreation Area near Platte, South Dakota


I found all of these marinas and more by scrolling upstream with the Active Captain website.
 
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