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Topic: Dances with Ferries II  (Read 16963 times)

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« on: September 29, 2010, 04:32:22 pm »

In my 2008 assault on the ferries I crossed 11 ferries in a SS1000 (1000 miles in 24hrs), and 14 in a BB1500 (1500 miles in 36hrs).  It was a very complex planning/routing experience in addition to being a fun and interesting ride.  Those who haven't read it before and want the gory details can see my 2008 trip report thread.  Sorry, no pics in 2008.

This time I got pics.



At the time I was convinced I had crossed the most possible ferries in the context of a SS1000 and BB1500, at least in this part of the country.  Well, short of 1 more ferry, as one was broken down at the time.

But I went back to the drawing board, and found a way to better the total, finding a route that should get me 12 ferries in a SS1000, 18 in a BB1500, and 19 in a SS2000.  

Well, it simply had to be tried.

[EDIT/UPDATE: Sadly, two of the ferries in this planned route have since been shut down.  The Houchins Ferry in Mammoth Cave National Park, KY was closed  in 2013 after a 108 year run.  The Fredericksburg ferry in Missouri closed in 2011 after 125 years of operation.  One other ferry, the Canton (MO/IL), which was the oldest ferry in continuous operation on the Mississippi river, closed in 2014 after 171 years of service.  The Canton was not on this route plan.  Ferries are slices of history that continue to vanish at an alarming rate.  Get out and ride 'em while you can.]

I set my sights on Fall 2009, but the weather didn't cooperate.  Then in the Spring and Summer of 2010 a really wet season in the upper Midwest held the Mississippi really high and kept one of my ferries closed.

Then another ferry went on a shortened weekend-only schedule due to budget issues.  With the jigsaw puzzle of ferry schedules that forced me into a Friday/Saturday ride with MUCH tighter hoops to jump through.  I was less than certain the ride remained do-able, but I was tired of waiting and decided to try the last weekend of September.

During the week I tried to contact each ferry operator to reconfirm their schedule and operation.  I was bummed to learn the the Akers ferry in MO was down, awaiting permit approval to dredge some gravel.  Damn, 1 ferry down before I even started.  I decided to go anyway.

The weather looked OK, with chance of rain hovering around 0-30% along most of the route.

My plan was to head out Thursday and work my way to Carrollton IL, where I would get a room and a meal and early to bed in prep for my 4:15AM departure from a Carrollton gas station.

Some good omens helped me off to a good start.  About an hour before I left my wife found my long-lost BigEar earphones, and about 10 minutes before I left my optometrist called to say my new sunglasses - with bifocals dialed in to the exact distance of my GPS from my eyeballs - had arrived a week early.

So I picked up my new glasses and headed to Carrollton on a gorgeous warm Thursday afternoon, crossing a couple of ferries along the way just for fun.



The Grafton ferry, a private ferry crossing from MO to IL at the confluence of the Mississsippi and the Illinois rivers




I checked in to the Goettens motel and stepped next door for a good fried chicken dinner at the Goettens Oasis, a nice country bar and restaurant.  I was in bed by 7.

At 3:30 the green meanie offered the final salute to a night of tossing and turning.  A quick shower and I headed out the door to load up the bike, only to find…
« Last Edit: May 02, 2019, 04:28:45 pm by SteveJones » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 04:52:20 pm »

... that it was just starting to sprinkle.

No worries, I thought.  Probably just a passing cloud.  But by the time I had loaded up it was pouring and quite windy.

I rode a few blocks to the gas station where the attendant signed my start witness form.

The route plan required that I make the latest start possible while still catching the first crossing of the day on the Grafton Ferry – 4 ferries down the road.
 
Previous runs told me I should be safe starting about 4:15, so I hunkered under the covered pumps, credit card in hand, waiting for the clock to tick down and willing the rain to pass.

Suddenly lightning struck close by, and everything went black dark.  It was like the glow of my dash was the only light in the world.  My mind raced, wondering if the other gas station in Carrollton a few blocks away would be affected, and how I felt about riding in a lightning storm.

But the lights came back on in less than a second, which had been plenty of time for my thoughts to bounce around and rattle my positive attitude.

Not wanting to see what happens next, I swiped my card, fueled up and got the heck out of there.  My receipt read 4:11.  I headed into the storm, west toward the first ferry a few miles away.

Highway 108 runs straight from Carrollton to the Ferry, emphasis on straight except for a short mildly twisty section descending through the river bluffs that divide the uplands from the bottoms.  That section of 108 is quite narrow, with heavy woods hard by the roadside.

Those woods apparently had noticed that on September 24th Fall was technically underway.  In the wind of the storm they gave up an impressive percentage of their load over night, leading to a solid carpet of leaves on the pavement.  A carpet well moistened by the pouring rain.  Among the leaves were hidden acorns that even at my cautious pace made me poop just a bit when my front tire found one in a curve.

If these conditions persisted, my route was toast.  If I missed the first ride on the Grafton, I would pull the plug and head home – trying again the next weekend.  The prognosis was gloomy.

The Kampsville is a free ferry operated by the Illinois DOT, operating 24/7.  It has been running for 86 years.  The quarter mile run takes about 5 minutes.  It is a 3-lane 15 car ferry, similar to many other inland ferries - powered by a tug which pivots on a rotating “king pin”.  This keeps the deck pointing in the same direction, eliminating the need to turn the ferry so people can drive straight off.

I arrived at about 4:30.  The ferry was docked on the western shore, and I had to flash my lights and honk a few times before it headed my way.  I think I may have interrupted a nap.  My Stebel Nautilus horn farkle paid off there Smile

I was the only passenger at that early hour.  Unfortunately, the pictures don’t do the ferry justice:


 


Ugh.

It was still nighttime, but dawn wasn’t far off and the deer would be stirring.  So in addition to the lovely weather and wet leaves, I needed to worry about Bambi.  The next 60 miles or so would take me through the world-famous “golden triangle”, a deer hunting area known for huge deer and lots of ‘em.

I crossed the Illinois river again at the Joe Page Bridge next to Hardin.  This is the largest span "vertical lift" bridge in the world.  

From there I headed to the Brussels ferry which would carry me across the Illinois once again.  It is another free ferry operated 24/7 by the Illinois DOT.  24 hour inland ferries are rare, and are a critical piece of my routing puzzle.

It was just pouring, not great picture taking conditions:




 
Next was the Golden Eagle, a private ferry crossing the Mississippi river.  They charge $4 for motorcycles.  I arrived just as the ferry was pulling away, but no worries… they run 2 ferries so when one is pulling away, another is heading toward you.  It’s another 3-lane pivot-tug type ferry.  It was about 20 till 6, and I had plenty of company from the commuters.




It's coming!



One odd thing happened here.  Could have been my imagination, but the deck hand seemed through body English to be communicating his disgust with having a motorcycle on his ferry.  Or possibly it was that the bike didn’t come from Milwaukee and sound really cool.

Either way, he made me wait for all the cars to get off first.  When he finally waved me off I raised my helmet and asked him if he was sure.  Apparently the sarcasm was not too subtle.  With my earplugs I couldn’t make out his response but I figured the situation could only degrade from there so I rolled up the ramp into Missouri and toward the Grafton Ferry.

The Grafton is a private ferry crossing at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, charging $4 for motorcycles.

The summer floods which kept them closed for weeks on end this year left a present - filling in part of their normal route and forcing a long detour until they can get a dredger out to fix the problem:



This makes it a 25 minute 1.7 mile ride instead of the normal .7 mile in 10 minutes.

Despite the weather, leaves and surly bargemen, I had arrived at the Missouri landing way ahead of schedule:


 
The rain had slacked off a little.  As you can see it was plenty warm.  Unfortunately my rain gloves are insulated, but oh well.

With a little photoshopping I’m able to show you the Grafton landing just before dawn:






 Art shot…


 Dawn finally makes a careful entrance…



Even with the weather, I just love dawn on a motorcycle.

Soon, on schedule, I rode up the ramp back into Illinois for a 195 mile run to Kentucky via the Cave In Rock Ferry.

The next 12 hours would be a critical part of the ride.  I had 615 miles and 5 more ferries to cross to arrive at the Augusta ferry in time for its last run of the day at 7:45 Eastern.  I honestly didn’t know whether it would work, and the weather wasn’t helping me into an optimistic mood, but wuddaygonnado.  You ride.

To be continued…
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 10:53:09 am by SteveJones » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 05:51:25 pm »

 :popcorn:
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 11:27:24 pm »

 :popcorn:
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« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2010, 12:38:35 pm »

 :popcorn:  count me in on this one, excellent so far.
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 02:41:28 pm »

I'm diggin this . . . . . .
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 06:05:16 pm »

The quickest route through Illinois from Grafton to Cave In Rock was a mixture of freeway and rural highway.  The rain slowed and finally ended around 8:30 which was a big relief.  Unfortunately the rain was replaced by unseasonable heat… pushing 90 and humid most of the day, as high as 95 at one point.  So staying well hydrated was another thing to worry about.

I rolled into Cave In Rock as the ferry was loading up on the Kentucky shore of the Ohio river.  I'd cross the Ohio 5 times this day... twice by bridge and three times by ferry.



But it soon made it back to Illinois…



And I was underway, saying goodbye to Illinois for the next 25 hours or so, with Kentucky, Ohio, Kentucky again, Tennessee, Kentucky again, and Missouri to ride through first.

I had put timing milestones into my route, and had loaded them into my GPS so I could keep track of how I was doing.   I expected to be behind, but as I rolled up the ramp into Kentucky I was pleased to see I was about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

So far the roads had been pleasant but not real entertaining.  When I left the (deep breath) "Wendell H. Ford Western Kentucky Parkway”"to catch Highway 269 towards the Reeds Ferry, I was in heaven.  Really beautiful area, a twisty road, a bright sunny day, the leaves just changing, it was a great boost to my morale.

Good thing… because when I rolled up to the Reeds Ferry across the Green River around noon, I was bummed to see that the ferry appeared unattended, and on the far side it looked like the road was blocked by barriers.  No “closed” sign or anything on my side.  

I recalled passing a local gent on a tractor about a mile back, so I zoomed back to ask him if he knew anything about it.  He told me the ferry should be open as far as he knew, and that I should go back and honk, that the operator might be taking a break.  So I did that, and saw no sign of life, except another vehicle approaching from the other side, seeing the barriers, and turning around.

I was so bummed I forgot to take pictures, but here’s one from the Kentucky state website:


 

So I was now down 2 ferries from my plan, but there was nothing to be done about it, so I plugged a detour into my GPS and backtracked.  At least I got to enjoy the road back to the "Wendy".

I rolled into Mammoth Cave National Park and hit the Houchins ferry [EDIT/UPDATE:  On a sad note, the Houchins was shut down in 2013 due to budget constraints.  The possibility it might ever re-open took a blow in early 2017 when a downstream closed lock/dam began failing, and is now being removed - restoring that part of the Green River to a natural flow and greatly lowering the water level.]


 

This is a neat old “Cable” type ferry, with a sidewheel drive.  It’s an efficient system designed to let the cable handle all of the side forces of current, freeing the drive system to move the platform back and forth, perpendicular to the force of the water.

Shortly after the ferry, the paved road gives way to gravel for a few miles.  Nice friendly well maintained gravel that gave me no problems.  The road becomes paved again, exits the park and loops around to the north, re-entering the park and heading for the Green River ferry, another sidewheel cable ferry waiting to carry me across the Green River.  

It was a fantastic ride through the park, but one to be taken cautiously.  Plenty of wildlife, and it is well patrolled.  I didn’t see any deer (saw plenty last time through here in the dark) but did see some turkeys.


 



 
Oooh!  Check out the spiffy new glasses Smile

I had about 150 miles of Kentucky to get through to reach the next ferry.  Aside from the 4 hours of rain at the start, the weather had been clear, no traffic issues came up, and aside from the Reeds Ferry and the easy detour around it, I had been pretty lucky at the ferries, with no long waits.  Sometimes a barge will be chugging upstream and you get to cool your heels for half an hour or so as the ferry waits for clear passage.

So I was actually well ahead of schedule, and feeling pretty good about things.  Though it was pretty hot.

One odd sight worth noting, as I approached Lexington on Hwy 60, I did a double take as this came up too quickly for me to grab my camera:


 

It’s an odd place with an odd story, explained somewhat on this website, from which I cadged the image.

Man, this is horse country.  There are some incredible horse farms around Lexington, most looking like they were immaculately prepped for a movie.  I rode past a lot of money.

Heading into Lexington, I realized that it was, after all, approaching rush hour on a Friday.  Fortunately I was heading towards town for most of it, but I did hit some traffic when I turned south on 1974, Tates Creek Road, towards the ferry. I was quite happy to have built up a good bank of time from which to make withdrawls.

Tates Creek seems to abandon it’s crowded, overly built suburb persona with a snap of the finger, suddenly returning to horse farm country and a very entertaining twisty ride down into the Kentucky River valley, and the Valley View ferry.

This ferry wins the history contest.  It is Kentucky’s oldest business, being in continuous operation since 1785.  225 years.  Wow.  It’s a cable ferry, driven by an attached paddle wheel tug.


 

The deck can only hold 3 cars, so with the rush hour line, I had to wait for 2 trips before I could board.



The pilot and deck hand were happy to pose for a photo.  I didn’t get their names.  You can see the pilot holding a copy of the handout I had been passing out on every ferry:


 

Many of the ferry hands I met along the way had no idea there were still that many ferries operating, and were really taken with the idea of the ride.


Check out the two towers that anchor the cable.  A federal project paid for those a few years ago.
 

You can kind-of see the paddle wheel there behind the top red board…

So.  The traffic and waiting in line for the Valley View Ferry had eaten up a chunk of my time bank, but I was thrilled to realize I had plenty left.  Getting to the Augusta ferry before it closed looked easy now which was a relief.  So after some VERY fun but all too short twisty roads, I was back on I-75 north towards Lexington.

Unfortunately, storm clouds were brewing to the north.  My route had me turning northeast at Lexington, and I thought maybe I’d skirt the storm, but no such luck.  Shortly after I turned onto Hwy 68, the skies opened up on me again.  I can’t say it’s all bad though, because the heat was getting old.

The rain broke up and the sun burst out just as I arrived at Augusta.


I must say that Augusta is a neat looking little river town, one which looks worth exploring for a day or two.

The Augusta ferry also has great deal of history, having run at this location on the Ohio river since 1797.  

Motorcycles pay $2 for the crossing.  The deck hand explained to me that they were subsidized with public funds, which was good because they burn about 400 gallons of fuel a week, and the pilot gets $250 a shift, while the deck hand gets $150 a shift.  That adds up to a lot of scratch!




 

 

 
The biggest hurdle of the ride had been passed.  It looked like I was going to get a nice, clear, comfortable night to ride in.  I felt really good about things as I rolled into Ohio and headed north to Cincinnati.

Next, a couple more ferries and a lot of miles before I get to sleep...
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:36:50 am by SteveJones » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 06:44:24 pm »

Nice, very nice.
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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2010, 08:23:26 pm »

Now  see why you were wanting info on Clay's Ferry.  I'm guessing that the Anderson Ferry is next?  

Part of my quest to explore all parts of the Bluegrass is to get to all the ferries still running in the state.  I just made it over to the one around mammouth cave this last spring.  I'm planning on hitting the ones in western Ky next summer......but not all in 24/36 hours!

Good read!

Patrick
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 12:41:29 pm »

I'm glad everybody is enjoying the read!  It was a lot of fun... but it seems ironic that it takes almost as long to write it up as it did to ride it Bigsmile

I'm working on the next installment...

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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2010, 01:43:23 pm »


I'm glad everybody is enjoying the read!  It was a lot of fun... but it seems ironic that it takes almost as long to write it up as it did to ride it Bigsmile

I'm working on the next installment...




It seems like a goofy but fun idea, and I love it! There's always some way to make a theme for a ride to keep it interesting and challenging.
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2010, 02:09:50 pm »

Great report Steve.  I never would have thought to make a trip centered around ferries.  
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« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2010, 03:48:14 pm »

Awesome, and I was relived to find it had nothing to do with a Village People concert.
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« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2010, 07:04:42 pm »


Awesome, and I was relived to find it had nothing to do with a Village People concert.


Yeah.  I figured this was safer than a SS1000 from Normal to Gay and back.  Illinois and Michigan, that is Smile  
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2010, 01:54:19 am »

When planning the route, I was sure it was going to be a tense thing getting to the Augusta in time for her last run of the day, but as it turns out I arrived with over half an hour to spare.  So it cracked me up to see my GPS inform me of two waypoints right after I rolled into Ohio… the first said “Relax Now”, the next “No Deadline”.  I had forgotten I’d put those in there.

I had a lot of miles ahead of me this night, but only 2 more ferries, both with no scheduling problems.  I planned to get a motel room in Clarksville Tennessee, which would wrap up my Saddle Sore 1000 ride.  

My only time constraint was the fact that I had to leave the motel in Clarksville Tennessee a little after 5 in the morning in order to hit the first run of the Cumberland City Ferry that morning… so the earlier I got to Clarksville the more sleep I would get.

Unfortunately Clarksville was 437 miles away.
 
Dusk gave way to dark as I headed up Highway 52 along the Ohio River, Cincinnati glowing in the distance.  As I hit the big city, riding along giant freeways among brightly lit skyscrapers was a bit surreal after so long riding in the sticks.

I turned west on Highway 50, a road I have long wanted to ride from it’s Eastern end at the Atlantic in Ocean City Maryland to its original western end at the Pacific in San Francisco (though now it ends in Sacramento CA).  Someday.

Just a bit west of Cincy, across the river from the Cincinnati Airport (which is in Kentucky – go figure), I hung a left on Anderson Ferry Road and watched the ferry make its way across the Ohio to pick me up.

The Anderson is yet another ferry with a lot of history.  It’s been in operation since 1817.  One of their boats, the “Boone No. 7”, is an old sidewheel paddlewheel steam boat built in the 1930’s, and converted to diesel after WWII.  She hasn’t been retired yet, but nowadays she only runs when one of the other boats is down for maintenance.  I can’t even imagine how cool it would be to show up and get a ride on the Boone.




 

 
The fee for bikes is $2.  I handed it to the young deckhand, along with the handout describing my ride.  A few minutes later he returned and gave me back my money, saying the he and the Captain had discussed my trip and they would prefer I spent my two bucks on coffee Smile  That was pretty cool.  If you fellas happen upon my trip report, let me repeat my thanks and that you are a class act.

I’m kicking myself for not getting better pics of the Anderson, but it was night and all.  You can see some here.

Rolling up off the Anderson, there is a short but amazing little stretch of road up out of the river valley.  Point Pleasant Road to Mineola Pike.  It doesn’t look like much on the map, but it will put a smile on your face.

From there it was a 240 mile ride, mostly down 71, around Louisville, and down 65 to just past Mammoth Cave National Park (wait, wasn’t I just there?), to “Louis B Nunn Cumberland Parkway”.  MAN those folks love long names on their highways.

Skirting the north edge of the sleepy burg of Tompkinsville, I slipped down into another river valley to catch the Turkey Neck Bend ferry to cross the Cumberland River.  It's a free 24 hour ferry run by the State.  Not much traffic at a quarter till midnight, so I had to flash the lights and honk the horn a few times to raise any interest Smile


 


 



The next few miles were spectacular even in the dark, twisties, hairpins, the whole deal.  I'd love to ride it in daytime.

Soon I crossed into Tennessee, where the night miles rolled by.  A little after midnight,  just past the town of Celina, I crossed the 1000 mile barrier.  So if I get the SS1000 certifed, that's 11 ferries in 1000 miles, under 24 hours, tying my 2008 ride.  If only the Reed had not been down for some unknown reason…

Ahh well.  Onward to Clarksville.  A little after two AM, I turned onto I-24 North, one more side of slab to endure before I slept.

I hit the town about 2:40 AM, not as early as I had hoped. The nice attendant at the gas station was gracious enough to fill out my end witness form for my SS1000.  I had gone over 1,130 miles according to my GPS, in about 22 ½ hours.

I slipped across the street to the Days Inn, where a room was arranged for around $50.  I entered my non-smoking room to find it simply reeked of some sort of industrial strength cleaner.  As I only had a short time to sleep, I lived with it.  I could have just found a rest area or some other place to sleep, but I find that I do better with a soft bed and a shower.

The green meanie went off around 4:40, giving me a little over an hour of sleep.

My 2008 route was different, but also had me sleeping in Clarksville.  Back then, the nods came on me before I got to the motel and I had to pull off for a power nap.  This time the nods stayed away.  I was pleased that naptime had not visited me so early this time, but was a little concerned about only having an hours sleep as I began the final leg of the journey.  I had about 11 hours left to complete the BB1500, and 23 hours to finish the SS2000 - though I should cross my final ferry a little before it closed near sunset, after which I would have about 4 hours slack to use for sleep if I wanted.

I wasn’t too worried though, because I have a pretty solid rule – if I get tired, I sleep.  There is no trying to ride through the nods.  If that put me too late, so be it.

So, awake again in this fresh fall night, I made my way out of Clarksville and down into the Cumberland River valley.

to be continued…
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 09:41:37 pm by SteveJones » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2010, 07:23:33 pm »

I thought it was against the law to assault ferries.   Bigsmile

Nice pics BTW.
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« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2010, 02:37:04 am »

Highway 233 towards Cumberland City is another of those roads I wish I could ride in the daytime to really appreciate it.  It rolls and twists pleasantly as it drops you down to the ferry.

I arrived on time and crossed the Cumberland River for the second time in a few hours.  I was catching the first run of the day for the Cumberland City Ferry.  Motorcycles pay a whole buck.




(had to fiddle with Photoshop for that one… it was DARK lemme tell ya…)





Then it was west 23 miles or so to Kentucky Lake, where dawn had broken and the Houston-Benton ferry waited to carry me across.







The sun showed up, and it was a simply beautiful morning for riding.  The kind of day that makes your bike threaten to go without you if you don’t climb on.  



After about 80 more miles of Tennessee I crossed back into Kentucky.  Soon after I arrived at the Hickman ferry and was pleased to find it waiting on the Kentucky shore.

This ferry runs more up the river than across, so from KY to MO the trip against the current takes 20 minutes or so.  The other way takes 10 minutes.  So, if you are a really unlucky sort you could get there as the ferry is pulling away… making the whole trip cost you 50 minutes.  The trip is almost a mile and a half.  Finding the ferry waiting for me was a relief.





I pulled aboard, and handed them my printout.  I get the feeling they normally might wait a bit for more vehicles to show up, but I guess they decided to help me keep on schedule, and soon we were on our way up the Mississippi, the only customer on the boat.  I think they probably burned more diesel than my $5 covered.  Thanks guys!





This was a neat thing, their bulletin board has a constant-readout depth guage:




And back in Missouri:


The Missouri bootheel is not known for its twisty roads, but I enjoyed rolling along the big cotton, corn and bean fields.  Then I was on I-55, headed north.

I arrived at the Ste. Genevieve ferry about a    quarter after 11, ahead of schedule.  Which was good… because my timing was bad and I had to wait 15 minutes for her to arrive.  $5 will get your motorcycle hauled across the Mississippi River.  Their price list says that's also what they charge for a horse and rider.  I'd like to get a picture of that!

The ferry was first operated here in 1800, by a gentleman named John Price.  His license was granted by Don Francois Valle, Captain of the Militia and Civil and Military Commandant of the Post of Ste. Genevieve.  Price built a large brick house in town which is now in use as the "Old Brick Restaurant".   An example of the crossing fees back then: 1 person, 40 sol.  1 ox or cow, 1 1/2 piastres.  Wagon, 3 piastres.  All payable in silver, lead or pelts.

There was even a train ferry nearby until sometime in the 60's.  This rather remarkable photo of it was taken in 1950:


Courtesy of Massie-Missouri Resources Division





On the ferry, I met a nice local rider named Rory who was heading home after a morning jaunt on his Kawasaki Versys.  We chatted about where I was heading next, and when I told him I was heading up Highway 3 he said I should instead take the bluff road, and that I could follow him if I liked.  That definitely turned out to be a good idea – no traffic, better scenery and no stoplights.


The west route was much better.







Rory led the way…









He peeled off to head home, telling me to stick with the bluff road until hit Hwy 3 north of Columbia, which worked great.

Soon I was on I-255, crossing back into Missouri and heading west on I-44, a piece of road I’ve commuted on thousands of times.  Good thing I had the GPS to remind me to get off the highway and head into the Missouri River valley along Highway 100, through Washington.  Otherwise I might have accidentally ridden home Smile

After enjoying some of my favorite Missouri Roads, I approached the Fredericksburg Ferry.  [EDIT/UPDATE:  Sad to report that after a 125 year run the Fredericksburg ferry closed in 2011.]

This is one of my favorite ferries.  It’s a small cable ferry, in operation since 1886.  This was the ferry that recently went to weekend only operation, forcing my route  into the Friday/Saturday format.

It ties Highway J across the Gasconade River.

Usually.

There were a couple of bikes there already.  Apparently, they had been there a while, and had been unable to raise a reaction.  They asked if I had a good horn.  Why yes I do I explained.  A moment later they were in full agreement, and finally someone across the river hollered that the ferry was closed because the river was too high.

Uhgh.

Well, poop.  It was gut check time.  This was the third ferry I’d had to drop from the plan.  There was only 1 more ferry (the Peel), and it was too far to be part of my BB1500.  As it happened, I’d already crossed 15 ferries in under 36 hours, and was over 1500 miles, so I had beaten my old record by 1 ferry.

It was almost 500 miles to get to the Peel and beyond to complete a SS2000.  I still felt like I could accomplish it, but with home less than an hour away, it suddenly seemed like a better idea to wait and give it another try in the Spring, hopefully with all the ferries up and running.

So, a little bummed but still satisfied, I turned around and headed home.  When I got my final gas receipt I was at 1610 miles in 35 hours and 17 minutes.

I probably won’t submit this to the IBA, as I didn’t really meet my goals and only broke my old mark by 1 ferry.  But, all the paperwork is sitting here, so who knows.

Thanks for riding along with me.  Hopefully in a few months I’ll be back at it and get it done properly next time.

And maybe somebody else will get the bug and beat me to it!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 10:56:22 am by SteveJones » Logged

Regards - Steve Jones
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2010, 09:24:18 am »

Sweet again.  Too bad the water was high and prevented you for completely accomplishing an other wonderful feet, but take comfort that you are most likely the only person to do this in with any vehicle once, let alone twice.
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« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2010, 10:43:37 am »

what a wonderful adventure -- I had no ideas there were so many inland ferries in this neck of the woods. . . . . .gives a fella ideas, it does . . ..

thanks a million!
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« Reply #19 on: October 04, 2010, 12:03:54 pm »

 Bigok !
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« Reply #20 on: October 04, 2010, 12:48:35 pm »

. . .gives a fella ideas, it does . . .


If you're of a mind to go exploring, there are a couple other ferries in the area, which I couldn't find a way to fit into the route.  The Canton, crossing the Mississippi River at Canton in northeastern MO.  
[EDIT/UPDATE:  Sad to report that the Canton Ferry was retired in 2014.]

And the Helms ferry in northeastern TN, north of Knoxville, crossing the Powell River from Sharps Chapel to the Union County Boat Dock area.  It's missing from many map products, such as Microsoft Streets & Trips, and Garmin City Navigator NA 2010, but you can see it on google maps.  It was down for an extended period of time, but returned to operation last January.

If you check out this map you can see there are tempting collections of ferries on the east coast.  I haven't researched them, but it may be possible to break the record there.

One of the big problems for anyone thinking of doing this in the context of an IBA ride is that, when you get to bigger water, you have to worry about time on the ferry.  For IBA purposes, the clock keeps ticking while you are on the ferry, but your ride doesn't get credited the miles the ferry traveled.  Not a problem when you are crossing rivers, but when you are crossing a Great Lake, or big coastal water, it can add up.

Anyway, thanks everybody for the kind words.  Glad you enjoyed the trip.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2017, 11:04:34 am by SteveJones » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2010, 02:38:59 pm »

Great report  Bigok

But when I read this I can't help but recall The Outlaw Josey Wales"

"There something around here we call a Missouri boat ride."
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« Reply #22 on: October 06, 2010, 06:08:24 pm »

Holy cow  EEK!

 Clap Clap Hail

I don't get the whole iron butt thang but, I do admire the effort and planning  Thumbsup

I never would have suspected that there would be a ferry as far west as Ohio in the 1790s. How cool was it that the ferry crew decided to give you back your fare?

I love ferries and will ride 100 miles out of my way to catch a ferry.

There's just sumthin about them that evokes the sense of wanderlust.

A hearty well done  Thumbsup Thumbsup

P.S. If I were you, I would send in the paperwork  Smile
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