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.|
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.
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.