|We arrived in Hillsdale, Illinois on Friday and met up with our friends, George & Myrna Wolkoff. They are headed east after spending the summer in Montana. We spent a very nice evening catching up and they were off early on Saturday morning.
Ken spent Saturday fulfilling one of his goals - playing a PGA course. Needless to say, he is still talking about it!! Sunday found us heading into Moline, Illinois to take in the John Deere sites. Ken had a great time crawling around the newer equipment and we enjoyed the collectors building. From the John Deere exhibits we headed out onto Arsenal Island ( an Army installation ) to see what the Army Corp of Engineers visitor center had to offer. Boy, were we surprised when we arrived to learn that this site contains navigational lock #15 AND there was a barge just pulling in. I know some of you will think we are easily amused but it really was quite fun to watch the lock fill up...and we also learned the following:
#1 - From Minneapolis/St Paul to St Louis there are 29 locks and dams. The dams are not used for flood control but rather are used to 'level' off the depth of the river. The areas between locks & dams are called 'navigational pools'. There is not a need for locks & dams below St Louis because the river is consistently wider and deeper as it heads south from there.
#2 - The largest single bulk item moved upstream are petroleum products that include gasoline, kerosene and fuel oil. They are coming upbound from the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma.
#3 - Coal is also shipped upstream in great quantity. It comes mainly from the coal fields of southern Illinois and western Kentucky.
#4 - The principal downbound products are grains such as corn, wheat, oats, barley and rye.
#5 - A single barge can hold the equivalent of 15 train jumbo hopper cars or 58 semis. Most barge tows contain 15 barges - that is the equivalent of 870 semis worth of product. A 15 barge tow will cover a distance of .25 miles - 870 semis lined up bumper to bumper will cover 11.5 miles!!!!
Lastly, the local Sunday paper contains a weekly listing of the number of barges, tows and pleasure boats that come through Lock #15 along with a listing of the type of products.