Beginning Location: Joliet, IL
Ending Location: Ottawa, IL
Miles Traveled: 46
Weather: Warm and summery
Stayed at: Heritage Harbor ($30)
Today was a banner day. After yesterday’s 3 hour wait at Lockport, we were really concerned that we would NEVER make it through the 3 locks we hoped to cover today. We called Brandon Road Lock at 7am and were told to “come on down.” We were in and out of that lock with only a 15 minute wait.
Our good luck held for the rest of the day and we breezed through Dresden Lock well before lunch time. At that point we were officially in the Illinois River and the landscape started to get prettier. You can see a notable absence of chemical plants in the photo of Improbable under way. Loretta of Carol Anne kindly took this photo as their faster trawler overtook us shortly after Brandon Road.
Our third and final lock of the day was Marseilles, where we watched an incident between a tow and another pleasure craft (PC in river talk). We had about a 45 minute wait, so we attempted to tie up to a big round pillar normally used by the barges. That was not working for us, so we were turning circles as the tow locked up. When the tow came out of the lock, we asked the captain where he wanted us (“By those cells on the LDB.”) and we scooted our little selves over there.
While this was going on, the large, beautiful trawler came tearing up the channel, trying to make the lock with us. They either did not have their radio on, or it was on the wrong channel. On the Illinois, tows use Channel 13 and locks use Channel 14. Either would have worked to hear the tow captain screaming! The tow eventually had to push its front end out of the channel and actually ran over a buoy, so he wouldn’t smash the PC to bits.
As a “punishment” the lock workers made the trawler lock down using lines instead of a floating bollard. It’s not a big deal, but it is a little more difficult.
All the excitement behind us, we pulled into Heritage Harbor Marina just outside Ottawa, IL for the night. We heard a good “thump” as our keel hit a sandbank or maybe a log going in, but we got in safely and enjoyed an evening at their pool and restaurant.