We got up early on the 4th as there was a particularly low railway bridge that we had to clear and the Captain wasn’t sure if we could make it or not. It was just daylight as we approached the bridge. A towboat ahead of us just cleared it so we thought crikey, I’m sure we’re taller than them. A man was sent up the foremast to do a sight line as we slowed to a crawl. The stacks were lowered as was the Pilot House.
The Captain and the two pilots were on the flying bridge and made the call to proceed, fingers crossed I think. All trip we had been told about these low bridges and how last flood they made it by one or two inches. Well this time we were a couple of inches over height as the flutes on the stack just caught on the iron beam of the bridge and fortunately because it’s a bit thinnish and bendy, it flicked back with a loud ping. Then it caught the middle beam the same way and also the last beam. Another two loud pings/crashes and we were through. So that is the new tale to
tell. Apparently 3 hours earlier we would not have made it and would be going back to Memphis and New Orleans.
One of the photos shows the flying bridge rail pass under and I reckon that just made it by an inch. Ducked down behind was the Captain. He popped up as sailed clear. Note the look on the crew member’s face who was up the mast.
This is the main reason we can’t go up the Upper Mississippi is that there are three other railroad bridges that we can’t get under.
You would think that was enough drama for the day but no. When we got to Paducah (an Indian name with the emphasis on the middle syllable) the river was so high there was nowhere to tie up to. The crew had lots of fun looking for strong trees (not many) and bollards (none) so they found an iron structure which looked like a manhole cover and tied the stern rope to that while one of the bow ropes went to a platform/stage structure going out a little way over the water. They looked like bollards. When we came back from our trip around town
all was aflurry. A huge gust of wind had come, the beginnings of a thunder storm which thankfully never arrived, broke the stern line and also pulled over the ‘bollard’ of the wharf structure And the boat was almost floating free. Up came the gangway as we all watched from the shore thinking the boat was going to sail without us. Eventually the crew found secure moorings/trees, the wind dropped and we could all get back on board.
We stayed put for the night and joined locals on the riverfront watching an incredible fireworks display to celebrate the 4th July. Lots of people were dressed up in red white and blue with stars and stripes everywhere. Even the boat was dressed up.
All the small towns we have visited have their river museum, civil rights and civil war museums and Paducah is one different.
But what it does have that is unique is the National Quilt Museum which contains the most amazing and creative collection of quilts you have ever seen. Arty ones, practical ones, old ones, allegorical and political ones. It was extraordinary and everyone agreed, even the men. Some of the quilts were done by
We have just left Paducah and are passing the confluence of the Ohio with the Tennessee River. At last we can some trees that do not have their feet in water.
Last night I’ve been thinking about home. Theo had his first school ball last night and Connor flies off to NASA Space camp in Alabama with a school group from MAGS on Saturday morning.
We have rebooked our flight to Chicago from Cincinnati so all is well there. I think we were one of the easy ones. We still have about 10 days left on board so we just sit back and enjoy the food, entertainment, company and river towns as we glide along.
As I write we are going through our first lock.
Tot: 0.136s; Tpl: 0.018s; cc: 11; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0117s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb