Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ottowa to Henry

Another early day. We'd made plans with As You Wish (who we caught up to last night) to start early. Like dawn's-early-light early. Lines off at 6:15 am. Sunrise is around 6:45.

When we woke at 5 am Russ contacted the Starved Rock Lock, the last one scheduled for closure. Get through that it's smooth sailing down the rivers. The lockmaster said no problems, just come on down.

The lock was 10 miles downriver. When we got there he was waiting for a coast guard tug. He would lock them up, then us down. He invited us to tie up on one of the cells. We liked him instantly.

Storks! I've never seen so many. They were everywhere.
We tied up and As You Wish rafted to us. The wait was about 45 minutes in total. By then we were joined by a larger group of loopers who left our marina later. Then we all loaded into the lock, with instructions on who would be where and who would raft to who. We had 3 boats tied to us (so four in a raft), then another 4 behind us, then two. All ten of us locked down.

The river locks are the longest waits, but the easiest to use. Unlike previous locks, where you had to hold onto slimy lines and mind them as you go up or down, these locks have floating ballards. We tie to those only, and they go up and down. You still need to watch, but less work and mess. As a result, there is much more chat time with the other boats you're with. Kinda fun.

During that chatter, however, it became clear to us that we were NOT out of the woods. From this point on marinas and anchorages are few and far between. Top that off with LOTS OF BOATS trying to get down the river before the closure and we were a bit behind. Our buddy boaters had the foresight to make reservations. We were just fixated on getting through locks.

Much of the cruise on the Illinois is like this. Wide
water, blue sky, lots of trees. Lovely.
Thankfully, the little marina in a town called Henry (and I cannot stress how little) had one space for us. We took it.

We're discussing staying here for a couple of days, letting the clog of boaters get down river a bit and out of our way. The locks close this weekend, so no one else will be coming down after that. We should have the pick of our placed to stay.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Not ours anymore

There's a saying in the boating world, that the happiest days of a boater life is the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. This...