To get to Paducah from Hoppie’s Marina, which is on the Mississippi River required four sailing days and three overnights in other than a marina. The first stop was at the Lock wall, a simple side-tie against the wall, a quiet place off the raging Mississippi. The next night was spent anchored in a storm water diversion channel for the city of Cape Giraudoux, another quiet non-stress night. The next run was to the confluence of the Ohio River where we turned upstream to get to Paducah. Some boaters, with faster boats, will attempt to make it all the way but it means a nine-to-eleven hour day on the water with a danger of arriving after dark, a risk we are most unwilling to take. So, we dropped anchor at the Olmsted Lock for the third night before moving on to Paducah.
The last part of the Mississippi became even more of an adventure. The river was at flood stage and running very fast. At one point we reached 16.5 MPH although generally we moved at about 15 MPH. Keep in mind that ours is a boat that moves at 8.5 MPH at normal engine speed so the current was 7 – 8 MPH. Plus, the river continued to have a fair amount of heavy debris which required a vigilant lookout and frequent course changes to avoid damaging logs and branches. Turning up the Ohio river turned out to be a welcome relief. The current was only about 1.5 MPH so we were able to go upstream at 7 MPH, not bad at all. And, there was virtually no debris in the water.
Paducah – the city often mentioned in a semi-pejorative way, turned out to be a delightful city. We ended up staying three nights (weather delay). In all of the towns we have visited we have sought out the local brew pubs. Paducah has a very good one, the Paducah Beer Works. The pizza comes well-recommended but we have been burned several times on this trip relative to good pizza recommendations. Having experienced the mecca of pizza (New Haven, CT) we are very discerning of truly good pizza. Turned out that the pizza here was quite good (7.5/10) as was the beer.
The picture of the dock – the dock master told us that in the spring the river water was over the rock wall that can be seen in the background.