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#572700 - 08/13/19 06:47 AM A boat trip- short story  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
2Suns Offline
Admiral
2Suns  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
Peoria,IL
So a few weeks ago, I went with a friend to help bring his newly purchased Carver 450 voyager home from Lake Barkley KY. The trip is 4 rivers, ~450 miles.

We went down on a Sunday to take the boat from Kentucky Lake over to Lake Barkley. Our plan was to get it ready on Monday and leave Tuesday morning. My buddy hired a licensed Captain to get us to the mouth of the ILR.

Day 1: Tuesday we left with a goal of making Cape Girardeau, MO. This would be our first fuel stop. We made it down the Cumberland River and the Ohio River rather uneventful. We made the turn from down the Ohio to up the Mississippi rvr at Cairo, IL and our speed went from 17 mph to 10 mph. The current on the Miss rvr was wicked. We make it to The Cape and drop an anchor in a man made drainage canal for the night. Our plan was to get fuel early in the AM for the next leg of our trip. I decided to pop the engine room hatch and have a look around. This is when things got interesting.

The bilge had what looked like several gallons of diesel fuel in it. (It was only about 3 but it looked worse) Turns out a high pressure fuel line on the starboard engine had split, spraying diesel fuel everywhere. So we start making phone calls and trying to formulate a plan.

Cape Girardeau doesn’t have any boating services. There is a fuel dock that a fuel company uses to fuel tow boats and pleasure boats. That’s it. We are scheduled to fuel up at 7AM. We would wind up spending 3 days tied to that fuel dock. To give an idea of the current, while we were tied up there, we had to stick hammer handles in the prop shaft couplers to keep the props from free wheeling.

Day 2: Cummins is kind enough to take a 1” square piece of thin metal, stamp the part number on it and wrap it around each fuel line. We would later grade Cummins with a ‘A’ for effort, ‘F’ for execution. The boat owner finds the part in Indianapolis. He has it next day’d to home and someone is going to bring it to us. In the mean time, we call in a welder. I strip the fuel line off the engine. He takes it to his truck and brazes the line. I put it back together. It leaks. Did this three times. It finally holds. Keep in mind the line in question is for the #4 cylinder. #’s 5 and 6 have to come off to get #4 out. We take off knowing we’re gonna be close on making our next stop for the night. Running in the dark on the Mississippi is not an option. We get 2 miles up river and check it. It has started leaking again. Back to the fuel dock we go.

Day 3: I notice the water level in the bilge is high. Find A/C pump shaft seals leaking. No air conditioning the rest of the trip. Replacement fuel line is supposed to be in town mid morning then 4.5 hr car ride to us. Part doesn’t make it. if any of you all spend any time shipping or receiving things next day air, you know it can sometimes be a crap shoot. So we find another one in Hogkins, IL. Next day it to an office in Cape Girardeau ( another long story).

Day 4: mid morning part comes in and is brought to us. Remember I said F for execution? The bag has the right part number, the fuel line has the right part number but it’s the wrong one. It’s for the #3 cylinder. So after a short profanity laced tirade, we both start calling Cummins service centers, fanning out in all directions. We find one in Nashville, TN. The parts guy is kind enough to text me a picture of it and it’s the correct line. The captain that was with us lived in Cape Girardeau. He hooked me up with a loaner truck and off to Nashville I went. I got back to the boat about 9PM, put my stinky diesel fuel clothes back on and changed the line and fired her up for a while. Put all the vibration insulators back on and we were ready to go. Took a shower, had a whiskey and set the alarm for 4:45 AM.


By the time they had diminished from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect "Hungry.-Gary Larson
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#572701 - 08/13/19 06:48 AM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
2Suns Offline
Admiral
2Suns  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
Peoria,IL
Day 5: We take off the next morning for Kimmswick, MO. A place called Hoppies Marina. It’s basically a place to tie up. They’re not pumping fuel anymore. It’s about 108 miles from the Cape to Hoppies. It was this day I found our generator exhaust hose had split and was leaking water into the bilge. No more Genny. Which was ok, no A/C anyway. Fire up the inverter to keep the fridge cool. This was also the day I let my mind play tricks on me and I got nervous about fuel. We needed to go roughly 160 miles against a wicked current. So I start working through the math and am getting stumped on how to allow for the current. After a while I realize I’m severely over thinking it. I find the fuel burn chart for our engine on the web and quickly determine we’re burning xx gallon/ hour, we’ve got YYY miles to go and we’re going zz mph. we should be ok. But what if I’m wrong? That night, we pull a sending unit out of one tank and measure how much is in there. We’re fine. But what if we’re not? Funny how your brain can mess with you if you let it. Day 5 was a 12 hour day as we slowed down to slow our fuel consumption. The math said this would be beneficial, especially when playing mind games with yourself.

As we’re coming into Hoppies, the Coast Guard comes on the radio and says the Chain of Rocks canal is closed to navigation due to diving operations. The CoR canal is just above St Louis. All traffic has to go through the canal and will be part of the next day’s travels. By now I’m wondering what else could go wrong. We call the the chain of rocks lock and dam on the phone. They have no idea what the CG is talking about. We call them again the AM and we’re told to bring it. So off we went.

Day 6: 44 miles and two locks through St. Louis to our next fuel stop in Alton, IL. This is a stressful 44 miles. It’s all essentially a working harbor. Barges everywhere. Debris everywhere. Trees with 8’ root balls floating down the river. One guy driving, one guy scanning the water with binoculars. All Day. We make it through St. Louis and the Chain of Rocks lock and dam and the canal easy peasy. Next is the Mel Price lock and dam. They send us into the small chamber. As the lock doors open we see the chamber is FULL of debris. And I mean huge trees. The wind has it pushed to one side so we go to the other side and tie up. When the lock doors open that stirs everything up. I’m shoving trees out of the way with a boat hook as best I can. I shove a huge one away on the starboard side when one gets stuck and kills the port engine. Here we are, wind howling coming out of the lock on one engine. I somehow manage to get it out of our running gear and we fire it up and all is good. We motor the 2 miles to Alton Marina and take on 345 gallon of fuel. We leave Alton and head up to Grafton Marina at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. We tie up for the night, have dinner and go to bed. 10 hour day. Very stressful. 170 miles to home.

Day 7: When we got to Grafton, my buddy went up to take a shower. I’m sitting at the upper helm and the CG once again comes on the radio and says the Valley City, IL bridge is inoperable in the down position. “You’ve got to be kidding me” was my first thought. Maybe a few more profanities. There’s 5 or 6 car or railroad bridges on the Illinois River that we may or may not need lifted. Some we for sure need raised, others are iffy. Iffy to me means call and ask for it to be raised. So when I heard the CG, I frantically searched for the bridge on the charts to get its info. The chart says 34’ clearance when the river is at pool. We need ~20’. The problem is, we don’t know how far above pool the river level is. We think it’s a foot or two but that’s a guess. We talk about it and decide to go for it. By the time we got there it was operational. The two locks on the ILR are old wicket style dams and the wickets were still down from the high water we’ve had all year so we floated over them and didn’t need to lock through. 14 hours after the day began we tied her up in the slip back home.


It was a stressful week, but I’ve come around to being happy I did the trip. Learned a lot. Met some great people that helped us along the way, not knowing us from the man on the moon.

Oh,yeah, the first fuel line we ordered eventually showed up. It was also wrong.


By the time they had diminished from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect "Hungry.-Gary Larson
#572702 - 08/13/19 07:50 AM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 7,615
captkevin Offline
Admiral
captkevin  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 7,615
Chicago, IL
That sounds like quite the adventure packed week. Glad it all worked out in the end.


2004 Rinker 232
2010 Dodge Ram Crew Cab Laramie 4x4
#572705 - 08/13/19 01:34 PM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,427
WayWeGo Offline
Admiral
WayWeGo  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,427
Oakton, VA
That sounds like a trip you will always remember!

When I went along with DaveR to bring his new boat home, we traversed the Erie Canal. We were on some parts of it the first day it was open after the spring floods and there were lots of trees, a few of which ended up getting in the props. Your story reminds me of that and also the windy locks where it was almost impossible to keep the boat in position. At least we had a boat that was in really good condition so we did not have to fight any major mechanical problems once we were underway. Also a trip that I will always remember.



1975 Trojan F36 Convertible, Twin Chrysler 440's
2014 West Marine AL360 Inflatable, 1966 Mercury 6HP, 1992 Mercury 20HP
#572706 - 08/13/19 05:40 PM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,645
Dave R Offline
Admiral
Dave R  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 6,645
Raymond NH
Sounds like quite an interesting trip. My recent trip did not have the mechanical issues, but we did deal with flotsam and later when on the ocean, two days of thick fog, the second with a radar that stopped working. No regrets though.


"Mischief Managed II"
1992 Tollycraft 44 Cockpit Motor Yacht
Twin CAT 3208TA inboards
#572707 - 08/13/19 08:47 PM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,260
GoFirstClass Offline
Retired Boating Bum
GoFirstClass  Offline
Retired Boating Bum
Grand Poobah

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,260
Pasco, WA
Wow, after a trip like that one that goes as planned will seem boring. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Good luck on your next voyage.


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#572709 - 08/14/19 06:52 AM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,370
tpenfield Offline
Admiral
tpenfield  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,370
Cape Cod, MA
Newly purchased boats . . . aren't they great idn


Regards, Ted

Formula 330SS

My Boat Web Sites
#572712 - 08/15/19 08:03 AM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,932
Dock Holiday Online content
Admiral
Dock Holiday  Online Content
Admiral

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,932
Lake Geneva, WI
Wow, what a great story and very well written. Glad it all worked out in the end.

Thanks for taking the time to write it up and share with us. thumb

p.s. Any photos to share?

#572795 - 09/16/19 07:26 PM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1
genesis1 Offline
Warrant Officer
genesis1  Offline
Warrant Officer

Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 1
It’s great to you, my friends and I just select small open-air rafts several times in open water, thumb maybe next year we’ll get out for a longer rafting and relax in nature.

Last edited by genesis1; 09/16/19 07:27 PM.
#572801 - 09/18/19 07:19 PM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: 2Suns]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,260
GoFirstClass Offline
Retired Boating Bum
GoFirstClass  Offline
Retired Boating Bum
Grand Poobah

Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,260
Pasco, WA
2Suns, after re-reading your description of the trip I've decided I'm taking you on every long trip we make in the future. Sounds like you're a handy guy to have as part of the crew.


"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge


Anchor's down......Bottoms Up!
#572820 - 10/02/19 07:01 AM Re: A boat trip- short story [Re: GoFirstClass]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
2Suns Offline
Admiral
2Suns  Offline
Admiral

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,123
Peoria,IL
Originally Posted by GoFirstClass
2Suns, after re-reading your description of the trip I've decided I'm taking you on every long trip we make in the future. Sounds like you're a handy guy to have as part of the crew.


I dunno, man. I might be the source of the bad luck.

I bailed after posting this. Life got real hectic for me for a while there (kids back to college, work, etc). My apologies.

I may have a few pics. I'll see if I can get a few up in the next few days.


By the time they had diminished from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect "Hungry.-Gary Larson

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