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Old 27-02-2011, 09:22   #1
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How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

I will likly be making a transit down the Mississippi River in May or April.

How long would it take to come down the river system to get from Lake Michigan to the Gulf of Mexico, if a person attempted to do it as quickly as possible. It's about a 800 mile straight line distance, but I understand that there are several lock systems in the process, as well as many many many twists and turns.

This is not a cruise, but a delivery trip for my new yacht.

Thank you
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Old 27-02-2011, 12:10   #2
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

Try searching Great Circle Loop or Great Circle Route in the search engine just after my signature. You'll find all kinds of information and a forum that could help.
kind regards,
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Old 27-02-2011, 13:00   #3
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

2-3 months depending on how fast you travel.

it's 2350 miles.
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Old 27-02-2011, 13:44   #4
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

The Tennessee Tombigbee waterway would be quicker if not easier. It's a little more boat friendly in terms of access facilities. Sort of depends where on the Gulf you need to be and when you leave. Spring can be a challenge on the Mississippi. I would avoid the Mississippi. It's actually easy to get lost.


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Old 27-02-2011, 14:04   #5
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

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Originally Posted by joey69 View Post
2-3 months depending on how fast you travel.

it's 2350 miles.
I guess that's if you're poling a raft Tom and Huck style.
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Old 27-02-2011, 15:16   #6
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

Just a word of warning. Be very aware of any flooding on the rivers which is common during the spring. Several times I have seen telephone poles as well as trees drifting down stream on the Kentucky Lake / Tennessee River.
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Old 27-02-2011, 15:39   #7
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
The Tennessee Tombigbee waterway would be quicker if not easier. It's a little more boat friendly in terms of access facilities. Sort of depends where on the Gulf you need to be and when you leave. Spring can be a challenge on the Mississippi. I would avoid the Mississippi. It's actually easy to get lost.


http://www.tenntom.org/images/maps/T...sarterymap.jpg
Intersting. I had origionaly ruled out the tenntom, as I'm eventualy headed to Texas, and the tentom spits you out into the gulf a bit farther away. I honestly have no idea which would be faster.

The primary interst in this trip is how quickly can I make it. I boat needs a refit, and untill I can get it down to Texas, I can't honestly refit it. The quicker I can get it here, the quicker the refit can start, and the fewer vacation days I have to take to get it started. (And the fewer days I have to take now, the more I'll have later to actualy enjoy the boat!)
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Old 22-03-2011, 11:07   #8
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

can be done in 3 weeks, even less depending on the weather and how much fuel you want to burn, barges do it all the time. I think the record is 12 days. Stay in the channel, go down stream, try not to hit things... at flood stage the buoys will bob underwater, or get washed away and wind up on some island.

If you're headed to TX you can take the Atchafalaya River out of the Mississippi at mile 304, that goes south to the ICWW at Morgan City and you can shave several hundred (frustrating) miles off the TX trip. Watch out for TX flagged barges! They seem to lack basic navigation skills and courtesy.
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Old 22-03-2011, 11:43   #9
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

Living aboard S/V Morgan

You haven't said what kind of boat you have - that would make a difference. From Lake Michigan, most hit the Mississippi at St. Louis and come up the Ohio to Paducah, KY and then get on the Tennessee and down the Tenn-Tom.

Check out Mike's blog above. He left November 3 from Lighthouse Landing (Tennessee River mile 24) and made it down the Mississippi in his small sailboat to New Orleans on December 3. He wasn't in a hurry and took his time. I'm sure he would love to take the opportunity to discuss the trip, so contact him on his blog. He said the trip was better than he had been led to believe. Everyone I know except Mike would avoid the Mississippi at all costs.

Most people on Kentucky Lake go to Mobile down the Tenn-tom. I've made the trip in a Cabo Rico 38 and there is a lot of fuel and provisioning support for most of the route - particulary above Demopolis. Below Demopolis it is limited.

From Lighthouse Landing, it is about 8.5 days by sailboat down to Mobile if you are in a hurry and have radar to run in the fog and at night. Mast down if height greater than 52 feet. Power boat would be 5 to 6 days.
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Old 22-03-2011, 12:10   #10
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

Longer than it takes to spell.
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Old 22-03-2011, 13:15   #11
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

You'll probably average 7 kts. or better. You have to go faster than the river to maintain steerage. But you won't have to use much throttle, so good fuel consumption..
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Old 30-09-2015, 08:44   #12
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

[QUOTE=Hillbillyfunk;649665]can be done in 3 weeks, even less depending on the weather and how much fuel you want to burn, barges do it all the time."

Hey HBF, would barges that leave Minneapolis take just 3 weeks to reach New Orleans, for example? That's awfully good for such a big vessel to make it through all of the locks etc.
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Old 30-09-2015, 09:45   #13
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

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Hey HBF, would barges that leave Minneapolis take just 3 weeks to reach New Orleans, for example? That's awfully good for such a big vessel to make it through all of the locks etc.
the Mississippi is 814 navigable miles, if one can make 50 miles per day it can be traveled in 16 days. So if the capt can maintain a speed if 4.8mph 12 hours a day the river can be completed in 16 days, but time is money so the tug capts push hard downstream.

Barges run crew 24/7 and make between 8-12 mph, plenty of time to lock through.
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Old 01-10-2015, 05:37   #14
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, HarleyB.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:17   #15
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Re: How long does a trip down the Missippi take?

The speed and range of your boat makes a huge difference. A boat with a 300mile range that can cruise at 15kts will get there a lot faster than a boat that has a 5kt cruise.

You don't want to run any of the rivers at night. Too much debris. You also are limited in some areas by spacing of safe anchorages/marinas. If you have 2hrs of light left but there is no safe place within 2hrs range, you have to stop early. The later you can push towards June, the better as you get more hours of light to work with.

Also, in April, spring flooding can create an issue. We got stuck in Grafton Il for 2 weeks until the corp of engineers would allow us thru. The later you wait the less flooding is a concern.

From Chicago, you take the Illinois River. There are several locks and the current is fairly tame. Around 330miles.

From Grafton (where it meets the Mississippi), it's around 150 miles to the Ohio River. No locks south of St. Louis and the current can add 2-4kts, so even fairly slow boats can make 80-100miles in a day.

At the Ohio you have a choice:
- At the Ohio River, you can continue south but services for pleasure boats become very rare on the Mississippi. You get the advantage of lots of favorable current and no locks but the river curves back and forth drastically increasing the miles to get from A to B.
- If you head up the Ohio, once on the Tennessee River, there are plentiful anchorages and marinas. While it's not dead straight, there is less curving than on the Mississippi. I haven't checked the milage but it's probably not that much more.

I would seriously give thought to the tenn-tom route. If you push hard 3-4wks is possible but only if everything goes perfect. Engine issues or a lock getting shut down could easily add weeks.
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