Monday, September 5, 2011

Chicago to Peoria

Talked with Loopers behind us...Mike and Gail from Australia, and then headed for Burnham Harbor (near McCormick Place) for fuel since several  marinas have stopped carrying diesel fuel on the river.   We saw our next boat (see photo).  It is owned by the CEO of Arlington Race Track...not a bad little vessel. 

We headed north for the Chicago Lock.  Even in the harbor, the wind had picked up and we were glad to get into the shelter of the river.  Duke was terrified of the car noise from the bridges.  Our height is 14 feet from the water line, so we fit under all but 2 bridges.  The Amtrack bridge is notorious for making boaters wait.  We called on Channels 16, 14, 13, and 12.  No Response!  We finally called a phone number listed on our charts and they told us that the bridge is monitored by a camera.  After a second phone call, and a 45 minute wait, the bridge opened. 

Our first lock (Lockport):  We went in with a barge, the "Addie C " and tied to her starboard side.   Not a good locking experience.

2nd lock (Brandon Road):  Went through again with "Addie C".  This time we tied onto a bollard and it was a  much better experience.

We arrived at Harborside Marina and couldn't get them on the radio even though it was a holiday weekend.  We needed to stop since we'd been on the river for 10 hours.  Eleven years ago, this marina looked completely different.  It now has floating houses instead of boat slips.  We saw an empty spot next to a dock and pulled in (it said no dockage, but at that point we didn't care).  They have a pool and the temps all day had been in the upper 90's and very humid.  One of the other boaters let us into the pool (Dave and Keith on SALTY).  We finally found the harbor master who told us we could stay. There was a rear harbor that would have been better.  (highest slip fees of the whole trip---$50)

Salty traveled with us on Saturday through lock #3 (Dresden) --we got right in this lock.
Lock #4 (Marseilles):  Along with several other pleasure craft, we waiting for an hour for entry.
Lock #5:  Starved Rock Lock:  We arrived and were told it would be over an hour, so we went back to Starved Rock Marina to let Duke walk around.  Went back to the lock and there was a split load barge going down, so the wait went on.  Waiting to enter the lock was another barge, Sugarland (hazardous load) and 6-8 pleasure craft.  Another hour went by.  The lockmaster finally said that he was going to let the pleasure craft through first--this is very unusual since commercial vessels have priority.  THEN THE STORM HIT!
Northbound pleasure craft were alaready in the lock.  We were floating above the lock in the channel next to other boats and the barge.  Visibility went to near zero.  Winds were over 60 miles per hour.  One of the boats said he clocked wind speed at 92 miles per hour.  Keeping away from other boats was a real challenge.  The storm died out after about 15 minutes of maneuvering and we entered the lock as the northbound vessels exited.  We had storms on and off the rest of the day, but nothing compared to the first one.  We arrived in Henry, IL and tied up to the wall with the help of the Salty crew. 

The LST 325 was at Henry for tourists to board and view the WWII vessel.

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