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Old 24-05-2014, 08:33   #1
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Chicago to Mobile Delivery

A friend of mine and I are delivering a Searay 35 from Sturgeon, WI to Mobile, Alabama. We are still in the planning stage and would like to talk to someone who has made the trip from the Chicago Harbor to Mobile Bay.
How long did it take, scheduling fuel stops, etc.
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Old 24-05-2014, 09:50   #2
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

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Originally Posted by yamaha350 View Post
A friend of mine and I are delivering a Searay 35 from Sturgeon, WI to Mobile, Alabama. We are still in the planning stage and would like to talk to someone who has made the trip from the Chicago Harbor to Mobile Bay.
How long did it take, scheduling fuel stops, etc.
What is your fuel range on that boat?

Looking at this in sections with approximate distances:

Sturgeon to Chicago 220 miles
Illinois River 335 miles
Mississippi River to Ohio River 220 miles
Ohio River 50 miles
Tennessee River 215 miles
Tenn Tom 235 miles

Total 1275 miles

Running 10 hours or so days, then you're talking about roughly two weeks. Could be cut as short as 10 days. Longest fuel run is about 250 miles. This is from Hoppie's to Kentucky Lake. Are you gas?

What electronics do you have?

On the Illinois and Mississippi there are some areas that are lacking in facilities, but you're really just taking a path loopers take all the time. Pretty swift water in places, various obstacles to watch for. Mainly barge traffic. Not much protection from that traffic at night.

The electric barriers for the Asian carp are something you need to be prepared for. Here is a reference.

http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/Missio...l/Barrier.aspx

I would recommend reviewing the route on Active Captain but also going to captainjohn.org where there is some excellent information on this route.
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Old 24-05-2014, 13:30   #3
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

Thank you very much for the information. I told the captain to make sure the Garmin740s chartplotter has the inland waterways loaded. I love GPS navigation but am a FIRM believer in using paper charts also. I am looking forward to making the trip. How is the run through the Sanitary Canal in Chicago? Do the Locks get very crowded? As far as the fuel situation, it's a Searay 35 with twin 7.4L Mercruisers and 250 gallon fuel tank with an 8kw generator. Don't know the GPH but you can bet I will before we make the trip.
Thank you,

Terry
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Old 24-05-2014, 15:03   #4
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

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Originally Posted by yamaha350 View Post
Thank you very much for the information. I told the captain to make sure the Garmin740s chartplotter has the inland waterways loaded. I love GPS navigation but am a FIRM believer in using paper charts also. I am looking forward to making the trip. How is the run through the Sanitary Canal in Chicago? Do the Locks get very crowded? As far as the fuel situation, it's a Searay 35 with twin 7.4L Mercruisers and 250 gallon fuel tank with an 8kw generator. Don't know the GPH but you can bet I will before we make the trip.
Thank you,

Terry
I'm afraid you're going to find that is really pressing it. One problem is you don't know how much of the 250 gallons it really holds and you can really access. Much of the time it's less. Typically those engines in that size Sea Ray get just barely 1 nmpg at most speeds. If a Sundancer, maybe even less. To have a safety margin at all you're probably going to have to reduce to no more than 1500 rpm for the trip from Hoppie's to Kentucky Lake. That will put you around 7 knots. Might even have to run some slower around 1000 rpm. But current will help you some. I would test both consumption and capacity and, if in doubt, pick up some bladders and fill them at Hoppie's as well. Kentucky Lock can often be crowded and a wait for barge traffic. Is the boat a Sundancer? or SLX type? Unless you find strong evidence otherwise on your fuel, I would think bladders are in order.

The locks you encounter on the Mississippi are generally not too bad, but waits on occasion can be longer. The biggest issue is the Electric Barrier and it can be quite slow clearing that area depending on traffic. Also, be sure to know all the safety rules for that area.

It can be an enjoyable cruise but keep in mind this is first and foremost a commercial waterway you'll be traveling until you hit Kentucky Lake. As such there will be plenty of barges and they'll take lots of space. Good communication with the tow captains is important. My big concern for you is just fuel.
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Old 24-05-2014, 16:33   #5
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

I looked at the carp barrier info but I didn't see anything on boat traffic. What kind of prep is needed to pass through those barriers with a boat?
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Old 24-05-2014, 16:52   #6
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

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I looked at the carp barrier info but I didn't see anything on boat traffic. What kind of prep is needed to pass through those barriers with a boat?
Basically do as told. Everyone must wear PFD's. Do not touch the water under any conditions, not anchoring, fishing or any other way. Be prepared that your engine and propellers will stir up the carp and after passing through you may see them flying all around.

You must request permission on channel 16 or by phone. Transit is generally from 7 AM to 5 PM only. Only boats over 20'. Generally a place for seriousness and best behavior. There can be a delay on occasion.

Here is the official notice:

http://www.asiancarp.us/documents/US...rwayNotice.pdf
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Old 24-05-2014, 23:19   #7
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Chicago to Mobile Delivery

BandB listed the Tenn-Tom section as 225 miles. It is 450 and then another 10 to Dog River. You can get fuel at Demopolis at mile 216 and at Bobby's Fish Camp at 118 on the lower part.
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Old 25-05-2014, 01:11   #8
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

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BandB listed the Tenn-Tom section as 225 miles. It is 450 and then another 10 to Dog River. You can get fuel at Demopolis at mile 216 and at Bobby's Fish Camp at 118 on the lower part.
Thanks for correcting me. Actually two parts technically to it and I just picked up one. Was picking the numbers up quickly off a site and failed to even notice what I was doing. My distance was technically correct for the Tenn Tom but I left off the Tombigbee which is from Demopolis to Mobile and brings the total of the two sections to 450-460 as you state.

Fuel on the Tenn Tom and Tombigbee shouldn't be a problem with the stops you mention. That leaves the area between Hoppie's and Kentucky Lake as the longest stretch.

Again, thanks for catching my oversight.
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Old 25-05-2014, 08:37   #9
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

Thank you BandB. With the information you have provided, I am confident we will have a safe passage through the Barriers.
I have forwarded all this information to the captain.

Terry
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Old 26-05-2014, 19:01   #10
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Chicago to Mobile Delivery

BandB: Wasn't trying to upstage you. I just went down and back from Kentucky Lake (Lighthouse Landing at mile 24) last fall and returned in March. Fuel is plentiful from Kentucky Lake south. I am only familiar from others about the leg from Hoppies to Ky Lake. If Kentucky Lock looks saturated, then consider going on upriver on the Ohio to the Cumberland and coming up to Barkley Lock. not as busy and only adds a few miles. Once through Barkley, Green Turtle Bay is just above on the right side (west). A mile south if Green Turtle Bay is the mile long canal connection the Cumberland with the Tennessee at Tennessee River Mile 25.3.

The stretch from Demopolis 216.1 south is sparse with only Bobby's Fish Camp 118.9 as a fuel stop. I carried 5 jerry cans of diesel on top of my 38 tank gallons and bypassed Bobby going down. It was a three day trip to Turner from Demopolis Kingfisher. Coming back I had heavy current and stopped at Bobby's for fuel. It took me 4 long days from Turner to Demopolis on the return.
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Old 26-05-2014, 19:37   #11
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Re: Chicago to Mobile Delivery

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Originally Posted by J Clark H356 View Post
BandB: Wasn't trying to upstage you. I just went down and back from Kentucky Lake (Lighthouse Landing at mile 24) last fall and returned in March. Fuel is plentiful from Kentucky Lake south. I am only familiar from others about the leg from Hoppies to Ky Lake. If Kentucky Lock looks saturated, then consider going on upriver on the Ohio to the Cumberland and coming up to Barkley Lock. not as busy and only adds a few miles. Once through Barkley, Green Turtle Bay is just above on the right side (west). A mile south if Green Turtle Bay is the mile long canal connection the Cumberland with the Tennessee at Tennessee River Mile 25.3.

The stretch from Demopolis 216.1 south is sparse with only Bobby's Fish Camp 118.9 as a fuel stop. I carried 5 jerry cans of diesel on top of my 38 tank gallons and bypassed Bobby going down. It was a three day trip to Turner from Demopolis Kingfisher. Coming back I had heavy current and stopped at Bobby's for fuel. It took me 4 long days from Turner to Demopolis on the return.
There was no upstaging. You corrected a major mistake. I left him in Demopolis....lol. If he can make it from Hoppie's to either Kentucky Lake or Barkley, then he'll have no problem from Demopolis to Mobile, although he might still want to visit Bobby's. Your advice on Kentucky Dam and Barkley Dam is right on and that's the added danger of being very close on fuel.

He really needs to examine the fuel situation and that means both sides, usage and capacity. I would find a way to carry at least 50 more gallons if not 100.

There were rumors once that Hoppie's might close. Talk about Looper panic. Also, they will give you excellent information for the trip on down to the Tennessee or Cumberland.
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