I left Rondeau Island and crossed the river toward Golconda, Illinois. This is a photo of their no longer used lock master house for Dam #51. This lock house is unique because of the castle style lookout tower on the right side of this photo.
The river was very calm, punctuated only by my boat and outboard motor. I saw no pleasure craft for the first five hours and only one towboat.
I saw several beautiful houses high on hills overlooking the river valley.
The day was overcast, but I saw dark clouds moving in. As I approached Paducah, Kentucky I couldn't see their bridge because the rain was so heavy. Since the rain had not reached me yet, I beached the boat, tied up on shore and I had time to arrange a tarp over my cockpit (as I had practiced at home).
The tarp kept me relatively dry up until a towboat passed out in the main channel. I couldn't even see the towboat, but the wake came crashing against the back of the boat causing it to line up parallel to the shoreline. That meant the boat was leaning over quite a bit and subsequence waves from the wake were splashing into the boat.
Since the last time I was in this area, the City of Paducah has installed a transient ramp for boaters. It has water, electricity, a pump-out station and gas pumps. I just needed a place to tie up while I went into town and ate lunch.
The increasing width of the river is evident in the bridges. Earlier in my trip bridges may have been one, two or three spans. This bridge, down river from Paducah, is ten spans long.
This is how I tied up most evenings. A bow line (the front of the boat) is attached to an anchor pulling toward the middle of the river. A stern line (back of boat) is tied to a tree or some other anchor.
A photo of my evening view illustrates the width of the river at this point. It's more than a mile across. With only one downstream dam and virtually no development, this portion of the river is said to look much as it did when explored by Lewis & Clark. Because of the width, the water spreads out and areas become shallow; so shallow in fact that a hundred years ago farmers could walk their livestock or pull their wagons across the river. Today the shipping channel is dredged and maintained, but boats going away from the channel can be easily grounded.
Throughout the night I could hear towboats passing by on the other side of the river. By the time the wake reached me, it just gently rocked my boat. With no lights of any kind around, the lights of the towboats looked as bright and crisp as I've seen. The little blue object in the dark photo is a towboat from about a mile away.