2017 Arkansas River Cruise Day 3

Day 3 of the cruise greeted the crews with a gray overcast sky threatening rain. The owners at Russellville Marina actually met us at the hotel to help ferry crews to the boats. Everything went smooth and despite three or four trips everyone was ready to go by 8am and we were soon saying good bye to Russellville.

As we made the short trip around the point to the first lock we were met by the only commercial traffic for the day. A tow heading out into the lake. Once we passed him the group formed up at the approach point to the lock and waited for the go ahead to the Dardanelle lock, the first of 4 planned for the day. Unfortunately just before we were cleared to the lock Baby Doll experienced a shift linkage problem and had to head back to the marina. We headed to the lock as Pu Haps took Baby Doll in tow.

The lock through went smooth and we headed down river towards Charlie’s Hidden Harbor. Charlie’s is truly hidden just past the approach point for the Arthur Ormond Lock, our second for the day. Charlie was thrilled to see us and remembered us from two years ago. The boats needing fuel quickly rotated through the single fuel pump while Charlie entertained us with various river stories over the many years he has run the harbor.

Fortunately Pu Haps was able to catch up with us and even got there in time to get fuel. Our flotilla of 11 boats was now down to 9 as we headed through our second lock of the day.

Clearing the lock the cruise continued under overcast skies. There was no wind and before too long George and Si in The Only Bid found themselves out front with nothing but smooth water. The run to the third lock was uneventful and the group made good speed all the way. Some of the boats added fuel from cans on board before heading through Toad Suck Ferry Lock.

As we locked through Toad Suck Ferry Lock the rain started falling. At first it was just a lite sprinkle but it picked up during the run to Little Rock Lock. At times it was tough just staying in visual contact with boat in front of you. However, the water remained smooth and there was no wind. The boats in front passed under the I-420 bridge less than an hour after clearing Toad Suck Lock. We floated waiting for the rest of the group and the rain found us again. All of the boats put some kind of cover up to try to shield the crews from the rain.

Once we were all formed up, we headed to the last lock of the day. The locking went through and before too long Little Rock came in to view. Several boats stopped just before Inland Maritime Museum to take on fuel. The rain continued to fall through the fueling operation and followed the boats as we headed to the museum dock.

As the boats arrived at the Maritime Museum docks the Wyndham hotel team kept taking the soaked group to the hotel. Finally all the boats were tied up, covers were put up and the crews were ferried to the hotel. Mike told us that we were on our own until 9am Thursday morning when we needed to be at the boats ready to head down river.

273 miles completed on the journey thus far. Looking forward to exploring the museum and Little Rock tomorrow. Also looking at not having the 5am wakeup call. As always, here are some pictures from the day. Hope you enjoy them:

Early start at Russellville Marina. Letitia met us at the hotel and always had a smile.
Overcast skies greeted us on Day 3. Smooth waters were welcomed.
Her’s, a gorgeously restored U-22 doing what she does best.
Charlie’s Hidden Harbor is well hidden, but a great place for fuel and worth the stop.
Lock house at Toad Suck Ferry Lock.
Cobalt making time headed down river.
The approach to Little Rock had a number of out standing homes.
Little Rock emerges out of the rain.
Going under the Little Rock bridges on the way to the museum docks.
Chris relaxes at the end of a long wet day on the river.