Okay, I’m delusional . . . for those of you who were counting . . . it was FOUR grueling days. I was so tired I couldn’t even count anymore!!
We woke to rain and were happy we had decided not to move today. While we don’t mind rain (in theory) we ended up having some thunderstorms come through and those are a no-no for us. The marina owner lent us her car so we could go to the grocery store and stock up for the next 5 days, most of which will be spent anchoring out and tying up to lock walls in the middle of nowhere. Mission accomplished.
On the way back, the weather had started to clear, so we put the laundry in the washer and Jim washed off the boat (odd, you think, that you have to wash the boat after it rains, but sadly, it is a fact of boating – rain does not wash a boat, it just gets it wet!) while I worked on indoor tidying. While the laundry was working, we went to a local restaurant where we had a BOGO coupon for appetizers. The sun was out as the laundry was finishing up, so we walked a little way to Art in the Park, a showcase of local arts and crafts, and learned a little bit more about the history of Grafton.
Visited by Marquette and Joliet in 1673, the actual town of Grafton was founded in the early 1830’s and named for the founder’s hometown of Grafton, Mass. The prime industry was boat building which survived until the early 1970s. Resting under the Mississippi River bluffs, quarrying was also a lucrative industry, at one time employing nearly 2000 people. Grafton Stone was used to build the Old Cathedral and the Eads Bridge, both in St. Louis.
Fishing was another lucrative business in Grafton. Prior to the construction of the Alton Dam, fish were floated to St. Louis in “live boxes”. Grafton Fisherman still use them. Local fish include catfish, bass, carp, Buffalo perch & spoonbill.
The unpredictable ups and downs of the river have always been a part of the rhythm of life in Grafton. The Flood of 1993 was devastating, cresting at 38.5 feet and covering the aptly named Water Street in 25 feet of water. Most people rebuilt, but the town continues to shrink, with the latest census counting only 674 souls. Those left, however, appear resilient, with a young workforce catering to tourists that come by boat in droves.
Next for us is the Mississippi, which we take to Cairo, IL where we take a left to the Ohio. I get off the boat on Tuesday to come back to FL for some appointments. Jim will be joined by our friend and mentor, Captain Ray Woods, who will safely help pilot Meraki to a safe berth in Paducah, KY, where I will rejoin the voyage. Till then!