Bright and early Tuesday morning (September 1, 2015 – two months after leaving Lake Charlevoix) we cast the Namaste lines from DuSable Harbor in Chicago to head downriver. Now, to say that there were mixed emotions would be a mild description. We were tired from a festive family weekend, sad that everyone had gone home, and a little afraid of what we were to face in the leg to come. However, having our new and experienced friends Ron and Vicki a day ahead of us as well as the invaluable advice and charts of Larry (an architectural tour-boat captain living onboard two boats down) we were decidedly ready to go.
The sun was just rising over Lake Michigan and shining brightly on the iconic skyline as we pulled into the first lock of the Chicago River. We were the only boat to go through and the lockmaster was friendly and helpful, NBD! We thoroughly enjoyed the city from this view and within minutes were in the purely industrial part of the river. The people, the equipment and the musical hum gave us new appreciation for commerce from this view and a new awe to the profession of engineering. Finally we were in rural Illinois with lush river banks and lots of wildlife, particularly Herons to guide us. Sammy is much happier in the rivers with land in sight and smells abound!
The remainder of the next two days was spent with four eyes focusing between the navigation charts and the river ahead. As Pat said, all hands and eyes were on deck! Over 85 miles we did four more locks and managed to get out of the way of countless barges, which words cannot describe. Things to be grateful for: we didn’t have to share a lock with a barge; the water levels never got below 8’ and we draw 5’; and the Army Corp of Engineers and lock masters got us safely through about 90’ of drop.
Tuesday we stayed at a lovely marina, Harborside, with a pool and great restaurant, the Big Fish. We met up with Ron and Vicki here and then traveled together to the Heritage marina in Ottawa, IL. Did I mention it is hot? Well, we got the last two slips at the Heritage marina for the long weekend so decided to stay five nights. Apparently the river will be full of recreational traffic so to maintain our level of boating and marital
peace we will stay here and enjoy the beautiful pool and air conditioned restaurant. Have a great holiday weekend everyone!
Boat Name of the Day: “I think I can. . .” on a unique 26’ recreational tug boat with a looper couple and two dogs onboard.
Bad Boat Name of the Day: “Cruel Intentions” on a large but quite ordinary power boat. What in the world does that mean?
Quote of the Day: “Peace is the result of training your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” Wayne W. Dyer (Detroit born, recipient of foster care services, Wayne State educated, and died on August 29, 2015). Rest in peace, Dr. Dyer.
It was great reading about your adventures. I forgot about the locks, the picture really put it in perspective for me. Good to hear you have some friends sailing ahead of you too. Enjoy!