"The Water World of America's Heartland"
( Why cruising the Great Loop is much-much more than just a 5,429-mile boat ride. )
The Ohio River
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This leg of your journey is only 46 miles, from Cairo, IL to the Tennessee River at Paducah, KY.  That is of course, if you resist the
temptation to explore it further. As a side-trip the Ohio River offers another 935 miles from Paducah to Pittsburgh. There is probably more neat stuff
(and free stuff) to see and do along this river than any other.  From Boat Shows to free river side summer Concerts & Festivals, the activities on the
Ohio are non-stop for the entire boating season. You must however, plan this side-trip to make sure you are in warmer weather before winter.
The Ohio River It begins at the confluence of the Allegheny river near Pittsburgh, and flows 981 miles to join the Mississippi at Cairo, Ill. There
are 53 Locks on the Ohio RIver. Cairo of course, is where we Loopers are introduced to the Ohio.

In Summertime, there are long lines of pleasure boats waiting at locks. We were told over 30,000 recreational boats locked through the Pittsburgh
District’s locks last year.

Folks, between the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers and lakes, these are the safest most scenic and enjoyable side-trips you can
make.  Fishing is at an all time high, as the quality of the water and the fish have dramatically improved over the past years. It is a long ride up from the
Mississippi to Pittsburgh, and another long ride back down; but I can't think of a better use of the time spent your boat.
If no where else, the Ohio should wet your appetite for more side-trips and adventure as you cruise though the Heartland's
Planned right, and weather abiding, by the time you reach the Cumberland, Kentucky, and Barkley Lakes they will be a kaleidoscope of Fall
colors. The cool breeze, the sharp scent of apples, and a dazzling array of brilliant colors will blanket everything you see from the shoreline to the
tops of the rolling hills.

In Fall, the entire area transforms itself into an amazing blast of intense yellow, gold, orange and red landscapes. If you take the time (and we
strongly suggest you do) stop at all the "Welcome Centers" and pick up the area's calendar of Fall & Apple Festivals along your route. There is such
a variety of autumn activities surrounding you in this area, leaf peeping Loopers will find it difficult to decide what to do next.
Cruising the Cumberland River - click next.
       We made one voyage all the way to Pittsburgh, and what a fabulous voyage that was. It is however, a very long round-trip journey. As a result,
we never made that voyage again, but we have returned to Louisville on two additional occasions. Louisville makes a great side-trip especially for
those interested in seeing Churchill Downs and visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. The museum and factory is located in Louisville,
Kentucky's "Museum Row", which is near the River and part of the Main District of downtown. The museum showcases the story of Louisville Slugger
baseball bats in baseball and in American history.
      The museum is located just beyond (upstream) of the McAlpine Lock & Dam at Mile 608. The Marinas are located near Mile 102. We recommend
a rental car for a couple of days as there are several places of interest to visit in Louisville.