At 1300RPM we were travelling 10.7 knots, where we would normally be 8.5. However once past the first lock the landscape changed and past the second the river narrowed and there was significant eposure of the riverbanks. Apparently the river is 15ft lower than normal and is anticipated it will get worse. At St Louis a barge with a crane warned me to go to deeper water as he had just grounded and he only drew 5ft. Several other tows were reporting groundings as well and one captain told an upbound colleague from further south "you will see some scarey stuff up here!"
We arrived at the famous Hoppies Marina in the early afternoon and were lucky enough to have this beautiful riverboat pass us by in the afternoon.
At 6.00am it was still dark but one Looper departed, followed half an hour later by another and half an hour after that we got underway as well. By now the current was running around 3 knots and we were hitting speeds of 11-12 knots, with the highest we saw that day at 13.8 knots. We overtook our fellow loopers and were in the lead for the race to Kidds Landing. There were lots of tows, both directions - we probably passed 20 or more that day. The river got narrower and shallower with a typical sight like this one of the Little Rock Ferry ramp (which wasn't operating for some strange reason.
The next day we entered the Ohio River and it couldn't have been more different. Firstly the river was wide and had water in it. It was also running against us as we were heading upstream, so we were doing 7 knots at the same revs as yesterday. We made good time until we reached the first lock, where there was a backlog of tows and we had to wait two and a half hours to lock through. This lock is just upstream of the new Olmstead Lock and dam under construction - an awesome looking project.
The next day was a short (30 mile) trip up the narrow but deep Cumberland river to the Barkley Lock, which has a 57ft lift to Barkley Lake.
Another frenetic few days, with a lot of travel (304 miles in 4 days), so it will be good to relax for a bit.