Thursday, September 4, 2014

9/4/14 Heritage Harbor Marina to Starved Rock Marina.

At 5 a.m. we looked out the window, saw storms, and went back to bed.  The storms continued throughout the morning.  At 1230 we decided to go the 11 miles to Starved Rock Marina.  The weather had cleared, but it was very windy. 

Thanks Dad and Adagio made it in to the harbor, but Charis has a deeper draft and was relegated to the gas dock on the outside of Starved Rock Marina. 

When we arrived, Chuck and Margaret (Francesca) were on C Dock right behind our boat.  Chuck and I almost immediately got our musical instruments out for a jam session on the dock.  It was fun to see them again!

Dinner at the marina restaurant was good (fajitas were the special).  Tomorrow we are going to try for another early start (6am).  Peoria is 60 miles and one lock away.  We hope to arrive at the free dock where we will stay for the weekend before all of our looper friends take off.  At that time, we will head for the IVY Club.

9/3/14 Joliet to Heritage Harbor Marina Marina in Ottawa

The best description of today was hot, hot, hot!  There were 9 boats waiting to lock through at the last lock.  At each of the locks today, we were very lucky, waiting only about an hour.  Each time, a tow boat captain told the lockmaster to let the pleasure boats through first.  We were so grateful! 

Heritage Harbor Marina had a pool, but we went to the restaurant to cool off instead. 

Early to bed, so that Charis, Thanks Dad and Adagio could get an early (6am start).

9/2/14 Chicago to Joliet

The pictures say it all:

3 water taxis


approaching Navy Pier





locking through

leaving the lock
We, along with 8 other boats, tied up to the wall for the night in Joliet.

9/1/14 Chicago

The weather was not so good (rainy and windy) so we spent most of the day on the boat.  At 4:30 we joined Jeff and Lolly for cocktails on their boat in DuSable Harbor.  It was great seeing them again.  Tomorrow we will all be heading down river together.

After leaving Knot So Fast (Jeff and Lolly's boat) we headed for E dock (DuSable Marina) to meet several looper couples. 

Our plan tomorrow is to leave together for the first lock so that we arrive at the Amtrak Bridge after rush hour. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31/14 Racine to Chicago

After 4 days in Racine waiting for a good weather window, we headed for Chicago.  Carey, Nancy, Hal and Wendy decided to go to Kenosha, so we followed them out of the harbor.
LeeLoo and Adagio


 For about 10 miles, we traveled together and then we split up.  They headed in to Kenosha and we set our course for Chicago.   Almost as soon as we parted, we entered a fog bank, but the visibility wasn't too bad. 

7 1/2 hours after our departure, we arrived in Chicago.  Since it was Labor Day weekend, there were a plethora of boats.  We dodged several sailboats and commercial vessels and finally made it in to the inner harbor.  Our slip is at the Chicago Yacht Club, which is in a great location downtown just off of Lake Shore Drive.

Lake Shore Drive in background

Chicago yacht club

 We walked to town for dinner at Mezcalina, a very good Mexican restaurant.  I had tacos and Ron had Octopus (pulpo). 

Tomorrow we will reunite with Ken and Ann (Charis).  They have been in Chicago visiting with family for several days.  On Tuesday, both Charis and Adagio will head into the Illinois River.  We hope both the Amtrack Bridge and the fish barrier present no delays. 

8/30/14 Racine

Reef Point Marina, Racine

The wind and waves were still too dangerous for us to venture out into the lake, so we did a few chores on the boat and did the laundry.  For dinner, we joined Carey, Nancy, Wendy and Hal for another great meal at Olde Madrid.

 If you get a chance to stop in Racine,  definitely go there.  The young couple who own the place are terrific and the food is outstanding.  The variety of tapas foods are unique and the portions are ample.  We highly recommend the gumbo!!!

Our thanks again to our four friends who adopted us while we were in Racine.  We had a wonderful time.  Carey and Nancy are starting the loop in Sept. 2015.  We wish them the very best!! 

Here's another recommendation: Wendy and Hal own a bed and breakfast called Hawk Valley Retreat and Cottages in Galena, IL.  If you get a chance, stay at their place.  888-777-6016.  Tell them we sent you.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/27/14 Racine

After sleeping late, we decided to walk in to town to mail a letter.  Main Street is just a couple of blocks from the Marina.  There are a number of restaurants and shops on Main Street, but also evidence of some empty store fronts.  Maybe the businesses couldn't survive in the downtown area and moved toward other shopping centers.

After walking around for a while, we stopped in and had lunch at one of the local restaurants.  Since it was nothing to write home about, I won't mention the name.

We are staying another day so that we can get together with another Nordic Tug owner and his wife.  They are Chicagoans, but keep their boat here in Racine. Three years ago, we met at the Great Lakes Nordic Tug Rendezvous in St. Ignace, MI. 

Our goal is to leave Friday, weather permitting, for Chicago.  The AGLCA Harbor Hosts, Woody and Ellen Sutton are hosting a dinner for all of the loopers at their condo.  Food will include Chicago pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and Eli's cheesecake. 

8/26/14 Milwaukee to Racine

After almost a week in Milwaukee taking care of family business and a side trip to Nashville for Jessica and Josh's baby shower, we headed for Racine We waited until mid-day to leave because of thunderstorms in the a.m.

 By the time we left the marina, the skies were beginning to clear and the water was fairly calm.  We had a slip assignment in advance and a map of the marina, so it was easy to find our slip.  Even though it is a large marina, dock help was available when we arrived.


We've spent nearly a week in Milwaukee taking care of some family business.  The river front in Milwaukee has many restaurants. 

My cousin, Donna, who passed away in December 2013, was very active in historic preservation.  A walkway near Brady Street has been named in her honor and a tree is also being planted in her name. 

  During the weekend, I flew to Nashville for a baby shower for my first grandchild, Leah Lorraine (due in Sept.).  Ron drove me to Chicago's Midway Airport so that I had a direct flight.  Had I flown from Milwaukee, I would have had a layover in Orlando which seemed sort of ridiculous. 

The weekend with Jessica and Josh was wonderful.  I was able to meet Jessica's mom, Lorraine and her best friend Tara.  She and Tara have been friends since they were 5 years old. 
Jessica and Lorraine
Tara and Jessica

JoAnn, Jen, and Lorraine


On Saturday, we went in 95 degree temps to an outdoor flea market with Jess, Josh, Lorraine, and friends Denny and JoAnn.  Jessica grilled dinner for all of us that evening.  She is a real trooper and the pregnancy has not stopped her whatsoever. 

On Sunday, Josh, Jess, Lorraine, Tara and I went to a nearby winery and spent a lovely afternoon there. 

The baby shower was catered by a friend's brother.  The food was outstanding and it was fun to see many of Josh's old friends. 

I returned to Milwaukee mid-day Monday.  While I was gone, Ron had gone to a car show near the marina.  The rest of the time, he and Duke hung out at the boat.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8/17/14 Port Washington

Last evening, the cold front came through with some really strong winds.  We were so glad to be in port today, because beyond the breakwater looked very rough. 

We climbed the steep hill to St. Mary's this morning.

  Jeanne Beach would have been impressed...they had two horns accompanying the organist today.

After church, we headed back down the hill to town and got coffee and a sweet roll.  This marina has a nice lounge where you can wait while you use the laundry facilities.  Clean sheets again...YEAH!

One of my old friends from Pekin, IL lives in Port Washington and we were able to connect for dinner tonight.  Jeanne and Dennis met us at a restaurant adjacent to the marina where we were able to catch up on old friends and good times.