Thursday, April 28, 2011
Planning the first leg of the trip, Pepin to Mobile
The whole trip is 2,500 miles, with 1,500 miles from Lake Pepin, Minnesota, to Mobile, Alabama and includes 35 locks. Then there is 1,000 miles of open ocean from Mobile to Dave's dock in Belize. We will leave some time between mid Oct (of this year, 2011) and the 1st of Nov. We are trying to leave and not be on the Gulf of Mexico until after Hurricane season ends on Nov 15, as boats and hurricanes don't mix well. Mid to late Oct in Minnesota can be very nice and beautiful, or cold and wet. Many of the marinas on the upper Mississippi start closing after Labor day weekend. We hope to travel about 70 miles a day on the river, which equates to about 10 plus hours a day for 3 weeks, going down river. That late in the year there is only about 9 hours of daylight and losing some each day we are on the boat. We will be using the diesel motor to get down the river, because a 53' tall mast won't clear a number of bridges along the way. When we get to Mobile we will have the mast re-stepped with a crane. Dave is looking in to having the mast trucked down and we would meet it down there. If not, we would build a cradle on the boat to carry it. A 34' boat and 53' mast it would stick out about 10 feet on each end, making docking and the locks more of a challenge. The first week will have a number of challenges. It is about 390 miles to the first marina that will be open where we can get fuel, plus the weather could be cold with temps possibly near freezing at night. After that we will be far enough south that the marinas are open year round, and the weather will be warmer. We are looking to make stops along the way to relax, get supplies, do laundry, and get some real meals, as neither Dave nor myself are gourmet chefs.