Just Relax travel blog

IL River lock

Sometimes we share locks with a barge or tug


9/5-10 Chicago to Ottawa, ILL

After beating Hank at Golf, we headed out down thru downtown Chicago under several dozen bridges. Check out the pics - this was worth the extra effort to do. We must have taken 50 pics over 20 miles. Traveled thru some very industrial areas to Joliet where we stayed on a free wall called Bicentenial Park. A great spot. Hank came down to visit on his motorcycle & we continued our argument of Harley's versus Honda (I like Harleys, a real man's bike). We were worried about the locks and barges, & all that came thru to be. Passing them was tight, & they throw out a huge current from their 10,000 HP motors. So far, the 4 locks we have gone thru have taken an average of over 2 hrs each. The barges get priority as we are low on the food chain. One lock we ahd to go thru with a tug, & his prop wash pushed us all over the lock. We were worried as another boater in there with us was having trouble getting out, & we thought they were going to hit a few times. The next night was at Seneca, IL marina with a crummy supper at the local resturant, but the marina was great - loaned us their car for travel into town. Next day we traveled here to Ottawa to their free town dock with local Capt'n John Mobley taking great care of us. Staying here for 2 days with 2 other boats, just hanging out since the next lock has a 5 hr wait today. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Did some minor chores & visiting with new best friends on Triumph & an old friend, Amarse. John remembers today being his deceased father birthday by calling his brother - his dad would be proud of his boys. Tomorrow hope to make another lock. We have decided, one lock a day is enough on the ILL river. Too hectic

9/11 - 9/14 Henry, Chillicothe, Peoria

We are making about 20 iles per day, so we can see all these neat little towns. Mostly staying at free walls as we go down the river, as the towns support boaters visiting. The river is flodding somewhat, so we are getting a little boost from the currents that helps with gas milege. Paid #3.45/gallon this week. Sue has bought some gifts at the little shops for Christmas, saw a movie at the local house with other boaters we met - tiny place. When stopped in Henry, no one was around to gas us up, so we tied up & this fellow comes by calls the owner of the place who gives us the key. Gas up & pay the local fellow, who then opened the bar for us & several of us had a beer. We did pay - LOL. We find this kind of trust almost everywhere. here in Peoria, a local is loaning us his car for the afternoon. He said just call him when we get back and he'll come down and get it from us. He takes no money form us, but we will fill it up for sure. Rafted up with four boats last night. While we were eating supper, John saw two boats coming down the river at sundown. They looked frazzled to him, so he called them on the radio & asked them if they wanted to raft onto us for the night. They sure sounded relieved when they heard the invite, & in no time were hooked up to us & our new friends on Triumph. Had a great time & lo & behold, one of the boats were on Trinity who we met 4 months ago on the Hudson. John is still a little worried about the upcoming long runs on the ILL in a couple of days & then several long runs on the Mississippi & Ohio. No places to stop much, so anchors out of way of barges probably will be the norm. GPS: N40.44.891 W89.33.375 (Peoria), N41.06.634, W89.21.053 (Ottawa)

9/16-9/20 Peoria to Grafton, IL

After watching Sue run through the water fountains in Peoria at the towns festival, we headed down to Havanna at Tall Timbers marina, for two nights to get out of bad weather. Several loopers came in at the same time for similar reasons, so we had a first night party with about a dozen others. One boater was new & had a hard time docking/undocking & hit another boat when he paniced & hit the gas by accident. No damage other than ego. Left to go to Beardstown, but when we got there, the barge to tie to did not look too inviting, so we made a long day of it & anchored at Wing island. A good decision as it was a pristine site, with a great view of the river, with us being off channel out of the way of the barges that go by all night. We saw the Miss Queen around 10 pm go by all lit up. Ate Alfredo for supper & to bed. Up early after a nice sunset & sunrise to look at. WHOA, hey Sue, look, 2 eagles right by us. John dropped a hook, but caught nothing. Arrived at mile 0 on the Ill at a brand new marina in Grafton. They are making a gret go of it. ALong with Tall Timbers being new, the lower Ill river now has two places to stop at, where before, not much. Today we head down the Miss to Alton, Ill. WOW, we can not believe it, we are on the Miss. It is funny hearing our Canadian friends talk of the muddy river water. we are used to it, but they do not believe us when we tell them it will not hurt them - LOL. It is also neat with the river bends, we go east, then north, then south, then west. Watching the compass makes it seem you are lost at times. They got these jumping carp in the river that when one jumped onto a dock right next to John he almost went in the water. Several folks got a good laugh at his expense. Then one jumped into a woman's back in a boat, and flopped around in the boat. It was John's turn to laugh. They are very big too, about 10 lbs. Changed oil, transmission fluid, so Miss L is happy. Added a shower drain so Sue can wash the head easier.



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