2015 Arkansas River Odyssey Report


Arkansas River morning

Arkansas River morning

Six Classic Boats traveled on the beautiful Arkansas River, departing from right outside of Muskogee, OK and then traveling 5 days through southern Oklahoma and some of the Arkansas hill country. The reloading of boats on trailers was in the Arkansas Delta country just beyond where the Arkansas River joins the White River and a very short 10 miles from where the White River joins the Mississippi River.  They traveled 370 miles and went through 13 locks, and added 30.5 hours to their motors from Sunday morning October 18th through Thursday October 22nd.Admiral Mike

A huge THANK YOU goes to the “Admiral” Mike Yancey who planned the details, checking out every stop along the way, made the reservations, communicated with all participants, and kept the tour on schedule.  He was assisted by Mike Langhorne and Paul Hastings.  John Thompson was the experienced river captain who led the daily excursions with his knowledge of river charts, channel markers, and a depth finder.

Here’s a very simple review of the trip.

Lily Pad, 1984 24' Skiff Craft, the leader.

Lily Pad, 1984 24′ Skiff Craft, the leader.

October 17th travel to launch site just outside of Muskogee OK at Three Rivers Harbor where they launched the boats and slipped them overnight. Drivers drove vehicles and trailers to Little Rock, AR for safe keeping for the next five days.

Pu Haps, a 1961 25' Owens Sea Skiff Cruiser

Pu Haps, a 1961 25′ Owens Sea Skiff Cruiser

Sunday, October 18th depart Three Rivers Harbor and travel 92 miles and through 3 locks, spending the night at Wildcat Marina in Van Buren Arkansas.

1984 24' Monarch Navy Work Boat enters Lock 13

1984 24′ Monarch Navy Work Boat enters Lock 13

This was the longest day because of delays waiting to enter locks.  The boats rafted up with anchors to hold them and used the time for visiting, snacking and even taking naps.

Waiting for permission to enter the Lock

Waiting for permission to enter the Lock

Monday, October 19th depart Van Buren, AR and travel 92 miles and through 2 locks, spending the night at Russelville, Arkansas.

1959 18' Chris Craft Cavalier

1959 18′ Chris Craft Cavalier

Lunchtime was at Ozark, AR.  Bridges had low clearance going into the town docks, so while the taller boats were anchored in the river, all boaters climbed into the two shortest boats for the trip to the municipal docks, and then the walk to the local BBQ.

1999 28' Saint Launch

1999 28′ Saint Launch

Tuesday, October 20th depart Russelville, AR and travel 77 miles and through 4 locks stopping at Little Rock Yacht Club for the night in Little Rock at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.young boater

Lunch on Tuesday was at Charlie’s Hidden Harbor near Morrilton, AR.  Newspaper publicity about the “River Runners” brought some townsfolks out including a young boy who LOVED boats.

Locking down the Arkansas River

Locking down the Arkansas River

Wednesday, October 21st brought a change of pace for the travelers.  Paul Hastings treated them to breakfast at the Maritime Museum and gave them a complete tour including exploring the USS Razorback submarine.  We then departed Little Rock and traveled 61 miles and through 2 locks, spending the night in Pine Bluff Arkansas at Island Harbor Marina.

24' late model Sea Ray - the safety chase boat

24′ late model Sea Ray – the safety chase boat

Thursday, October 22nd is our final day of travel by water. We will travel 48 miles and go through 2 locks on this day to Pendleton, AR. Vehicles and trailers were retrieved and the last boat was hauled out as the sun set.  It was an adventure well lived.

Arkansas River Odyssey sunset

Arkansas River Odyssey sunset


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