Tuesday, August 26, 2008


There may be some gaps in dates as we are no longer focused entirely on the boat. Various activities and projects are keeping all the McGees quite busy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The two MO McGees (Keith and Maryann) went for an evening boat ride on Mike’s Gibson Houseboat, piloted by Scott. It was a lovely evening – balmy with a slight breeze. Several folks were aboard, relaxing and having fun. It was obvious how much the Mississippi River had fallen; we were glad that an experienced captain was at the helm. Scott threaded his way through the slough, avoiding trees and delivering us safely to a newly-formed sandbar. Looks like it will be a great place for future beach parties! After that we went downriver to check out a dredging operation. The water level has gone from flood stage to just the opposite extreme, and now they need to deepen the channel so that commercial traffic can continue.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Keith and Maryann attended an Open House this morning at Smartt Field in Saint Charles County. Although there were no planes flying, there were several Warbirds present, thanks to the local chapter of the Confederate Air Force. For $2 per person, we were able to climb inside a C-47 Skytrain, also known as a Gooney Bird during WWII. This particular plane came off the assembly line in 1941 and is now the oldest true C-47 still flying in its original configuration! During the war, this plane carried troops, jeeps, artillery pieces and other heavy equipment. Keith was reminded of the C-141s that carried him and other troops to Vietnam and back in the ‘60s. He said the insides of the planes haven’t changed much; they just hold more people. Definitely a no-frills flight!

After the Open House at the airport, we headed for Louisiana by car, since Dream Manor will be out of the water for at least a week for repairs. It took us 3 days to make a 12 hour trip! (Actually we made a side-trip to MS to visit friends for two days.) Along the way, Allen called to ask what was taking us so long. Seems his family has put him to work, and he needs a helper. Since we are at loose ends, we thought we’d share a picture of Keith’s feet with you. This is what results when you wear sandals all summer without sunscreen!

August 26, 2008
Keith & Maryann arrived in Youngsville, LA this afternoon. Having joined Carol & Allen, the 4mcgees will spend some time here and then return to Missouri when the boat is ready.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


8/11-17/08---For you faithful blog readers I figured it is time for a quick update. You might say I got bolg’d down. The first week home (Louisiana) for Carol & I has gone by very rapidly. I made an appearance at my old office so my fellow workers could see my long hair. It had not been cut in four months. After show and tell I promptly got it cut! Clint (Son) and I installed a new pressure tank and re-plumbed the water softener for our water well. We are not connected to any city water. Tom (Son-in-law) and Crystal (daughter) and I mowed the grass and trimmed the bushes at Keith’s new house which is located in Youngsville, LA about 2 miles from us. I refer to it as a house only because Keith and Maryann have never moved into it to make it a home. It is available if sometime in the distant future they want to be on dry ground for a while. Tom, Crystal & I repaired the cabinets in one of our rental units. Crystal has been painting and fixing up her bathroom. Having taken down the wire shelves and clothes brackets in order to paint the walk-in closet, it provided an opportunity to make some changes. Tom & I installed wooden shelves and new closet rods. There is much more usable storage now, and my daughter is very pleased. What are Dad’s for! There has been a little time to visit with some of our friends. We hope to see more this coming week.

In the meantime, back in Missouri, Keith and Maryann are staying quite busy keeping the boat clean and in good shape, Keith has been studying on what spare parts we are going to need aboard as we began traveling later this fall. Carol sent them a small dog made of resin to set on the boat to scare away the birds. Maybe the cleanup won’t be so difficult. We are not sure if it will work, but it has the fellow boaters looking. It will not provide any relief from the bugs however and Maryann says the mosquitoes have gotten ferocious.

Monday, August 11, 2008


8/10/08---Carol & I (Allen) arrived in Youngsville, LA at 2:00 p.m. The drive was uneventful as one would hope. It took 14 hours total driving including fuel and eating stops. Keith and Maryann are enjoying some peace and quiet on the boat. Keith said he is going to catch up on some more reading without me being concerned that he may be just laying around.


8/9/08---Moved boat to Polestar Marina and tied up to other Gibson boats. The main purpose was to attend the Annual BBQ Pig Roast & Social sponsored by Wahoo Marine Sales, Bloch Marine Service, Safe Harbor Yacht Sales and Marine Max. There was a good crowd including several politicians. The food was well prepared and very tasty. There were plenty of Calhoun County peaches for dessert. The one man band provided good listening. Carol and I (Allen) left at 2:00 p.m. enroute to Louisiana. We drove to Batesville, MS and spent the night. Keith got a fellow boater to help him with the fenders as he moved the boat back to Woodland. Maryann joined Keith after her big day in downtown St. Louis at a Juice Plus program.

Friday, August 8, 2008


8/8/08---Peaceful day on the boat. Spent several hours washing the boat. Lots of surface area to clean, and plenty of windows. When it comes to polishing the stainless steel rails it seems like there are miles of them! But, it is all worthwhile when the work is done and the boat looks great.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


8/7/08---A beautiful sunrise at Hardin. Our morning chores of checking the engines found all the fluids were good. After a fine breakfast we untied at 9:00a.m. and proceeded down river on the last leg of this journey. At 21 miles down the Illinois River the zero mile is reached as that is where the Illinois pours into the Mississippi. A 5 mile jaunt up the Mississippi River put us at Polestar. We stopped to take on 417 gallons of diesel fuel. Continued up river about 1/2 mile to Woodland Marina. It felt like returning home to see our rental slip come into view and our vehicles waiting patiently on the parking ramp. We wanted to make a trip to gain experience and did we get some!


8/6/08---A long day lay ahead as we maneuvered slowly out of the narrow harbor at 6:15 a.m. We traveled from the I.V.Y. Club on the south end of Peoria Lake at mile 167.9 to Hardin at mile marker 21. Tied up to the dock at 4:45 p.m. That means we traveled 146.9 miles in 10.5 hrs and went thru 2 locks. Peoria Lock, 10’ drop and LaGrange Lock, 6’drop. We will be back to the Woodland Marina tomorrow. Still draining water from the sediment bowels every day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


8/5/08---Left Heritage Harbor at 9:00 a.m. (mile 242). Said our goodbys to Capt Moe. He provided us with several ears of his home grown corn last night. We could hardly wait to get it cooked and it proved to be absolutely delicious. Arrived at the Starved Rock Lock at 10:00 a.m. It was another wait as there was a tow in front of the lock. It was the same one (tug named Morgan)we had been in the Dresden Lock with yesterday. Once he was in the chamber, we moved in near his tug and held ropes on the starboard side. Everything was fine until the downstream gate was opened and the tug started to push the barges. His prop wash pulled the bow of our boat off the wall and it just cleared his stern. He recognized my dilemma and stopped his engines. I was then able to manuver the boat back over against the wall where Keith tied a line to a pin in the wall. All is well and we fianally cleared the lock at noon. We called ahead to the Illinois Valley Yacht Club located at mile 167.9 on the RDB of Peoria Lake. They said we could tie up just past the fuel dock. The entrance to the marina is very narrow, so it was a blessing there was no wind at the time we arrived. At 5:00 p.m. the lines were secured to the dock without incident. We drained water from the sediment bowels for the second time today. After checking the engines we enjoyed using the club's showers. The restaruant on site was very good. The abbriviation for the club is I.V.Y. as seen behind Maryann.

Monday, August 4, 2008


8/4/08---At 7:00 a.m. the harbor crew started getting the lift ready. The boat was slid into position and picked up so the props could be examined. Props were damaged, but the shafts are okay. Had to lower the boat back into the water and secure it until a wind storm passed. After that the changing of the props went well. These props are the 20" dia w/ 26 pitch. Again back in the water we moved the boat around to the fuel dock and had the holding tank pumped out. Finally ready, we pulled away from Harborside Marina at 10:30 a.m. Arrived at the Dresden lock 10:50 a.m., but had to wait for a tow. We got thru the lock at 12:50 p.m. A floater and line were both used to secure the boat away from the tug & barges while we dropped 20'. We continued to the next lock which also lowered us 20'. The wait was not as long. We arrived at the Marsailles Lock at 3:00 p.m. and departed at 4:00 p.m. Not wanting to press so hard today we chose to stay at the Heritage Harbor that we enjoyed on our way up a few days ago. We arrived and were tied up and plugged into shore power at 4:30 p.m. This marina is located at mile 242. We started out today at marker 273.7 and therefore made a grand sum of 31.7 miles. We plan to do many more miles tomorrow. We are just glad to be back in motion.


8/3/08---An important day for Maryann. It is her birthday! A fine lunch was had at an Italian Restaurant in Morris. Of course the afternoon was spent doing a necessary job. Two weeks of laundry had to be done. Grocery shopping came next and then back to the boat to put everything away. Just one of those days.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


8/2/08---A rather busy day. Keith borrowed an Expedition so we could drive into the nearby town of Morris. It is just 13 miles from the Harborside Marina. Located right on the Illinois River it seems like a busy town. After locating Enterprise, Keith was successful in renting a vehicle. We went back to the marina and returned the borrowed vehicle. Keith & Maryann drove to Alton about 480 miles round trip. They met and picked up a set of props from our boat dealer, Scott Bachman. These are the original props that were on our boat. They will work until the new ones arrive. We are told it could be as much as 5 weeks delivery on new props. While they made the trip to get props, Carol & I washed the boat. At least the boat looks great sitting quietly in front of the lift. There have been many of the local boaters stopping by to look at our boat. We get lots of compliments.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


8/1/08---What a beautiful day! We pulled out of the Belmont Harbor at 6:30 a.m. The short trip in Lake Michigan was great, and we got thru the Chicago Harbor Lock with no wait. This lock lowered us just 2' into the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The morning trip thru downtown Chicago was great with the sun behind us. We also beat one of the bridges being closed for repairs. The work crew was just starting to get set up. We did have to wait 30 minutes at the Conrail Bridge before the Amtrac trains had cleared and the bridge was raised. The commercial water traffic was not too bad and we made good time going down river. Arriving at the Lockport Lock we got right into the chamber. This lock lowered us 40 feet. Tied to a bollard which goes down with the water makes it quite handy. We cleared the lock ar 12:30 p.m. The Brandon Lock was not as convenient. We had to wait 1 hour for a split tow to clear the chamber. Since this had put us just on the south side of Joliet, we are past the low bridges. The wait gave us time to raise the radar arch and the bimini top. We are grateful for the shade. We arrived at the lock at 1:10 p.m. and cleared at 2:35 p.m. after lowering us 35 feet. Things were going a bit too well I guess. The sun was shining brightly on the channel markers and reflection from the water made them a little dificult to see. The wide open area of water seemed to lure us out of the channel at mile marker 283. The shallow water alarm sounded from the sonar as we turned toward the channel, but it was too late. The loud noise of the props tearing thru rock was very unnerving. The port engine had to be shut down because of excessive vibration. Fortunately the starboard engine could be run at reduced rpm. As we made our way downriver on one engine I called ahead to Harborside Marina. Yes, they have a lift large enough to pick the boat up out of the water. Upon arrival they had personnel available to assist us in getting the boat thru a narrow passage into the harbor and parked us along a wall directly in front of the lift. By now it is 4:00 p.m. on Friday evening and work is over until Monday. We will have all weekend to ponder the navigational error. I am sure the co-captains have learned a valuable lesson.

Friday, August 1, 2008


7/31/08---Carol & Maryann stayed on shore while Keith & I took the boat out of the harbor and into the lake. One purpose was to get some pictures of the boat with the Chicago sky line in the background. After numerous shots we pulled back into the fuel dock and picked up the ladies. It is important they be on board as we find they are a very helpful crew.

We traveled up the coast line enjoying a smooth ride on Lake Michigan. The sun was shining and with no wind the water was spectacular.

The water is so blue and pretty compared to the muddy Mississippi. Upon returning to the harbor we laid the radar arch & bimini top back down in preparation for our departure from Chicago. There are many low bridges in the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal until getting south of Joliet. We are looking forward to a good trip back to Missouri. Nephew (James McGee) picked us up and showed us his apartment. We also spent some at the "Cafe Refreshed" where Julia waited on us. Later James took us to a fine place to eat where we could sit outside on the second level.


7/30/08--- Hung around the harbor enjoying the view. Those who have sailboats seem to be most active. Keith & Maryann raised the bimini top & the radar arch in preparation for a cruise in Lake Michigan in the morning.