We are finally leaning in to this Looper lifestyle. After a couple of down days, meaning we stayed in a harbor and did not travel, Dorothy and I feel re-energized. We spent the first Day at Heritage Harbor Marina not doing much of anything. We borrowed a courtesy car from the marina and did laundry and lunch in town ( not at the same place). Then we just relaxed and talked with other boaters. Day 2 was project catch-up day. We wrapped up a bunch of loose ends from our departure in Milwaukee.
“Timing is everything”. One of the busiest locks on the Illinois River is Starved Rock Lock. This is the first lock we would encounter on our leg south today. I called the lock master at 7am in the morning and he told me they were backed up with large tow barges. He advised a call back in a couple of hours. At 9am, I called back and the lock master told us if we would get there in an hour and a half he would put us through, otherwise it would be a six hour wait. I contacted SOUTHERN STYLE, another boat in the Marina who was heading south also and we scrambled to get underway to get to the lock. The trip would take us an hour and 15 minutes at our top speed of 10 knots. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare and as soon as the tow left the lock, we entered the lock with 3 other pleasure craft. After we locked through there were 7 tows waiting to go through the locks. Great Timing!
We had a very nice sunny and warm travel day down the Illinois River. A “convocation” of 6 Bald Eagles were souring overhead. (Yup, I had to Google that one) Also our first Asian Carp sighting jumping out of the water behind us.
We are spending the night tied to the remnants of The 1870 Henry lock with two other boats. It was the first lock built on the Illinois River and was abandoned in 1930. “https://www.cityofhenryil.org/history-of-locks-dam-and-henry-bridge ” On the inner lock wall there are eyes to tie our lines to and electricity for the boats. Its kind of nostalgic to think of all the old river traffic that passed through this lock like Steam paddle-wheelers, grain and livestock barges.