Category Archive: Uncategorized

The Dirty Ohio

maria | October 6, 2013 | COMMENTS:Comments Closed
Ohio River Traffic

Ohio River Traffic

Beginning Location: Little Diversion Canal
Ending Location: Olmstead, Ohio

Miles Traveled: 67
Stayed at: Pulled over to the side of the road near the new Olmstead Lock

On Sunday, October 6 we finished our last 50 downstream miles on the Mississippi and made the turn upstream on the Ohio. While the Mississippi current gave us a 3 and sometime 4 mph push, the Ohio slowed us down 2 to 3.5 miles per hour. Although we only had 60 miles to travel, we knew it was going to be a long 60 miles.

The current was up a bit in the river and the water was a kind of muddy yellow color. We later found out this was because of flooding upstream in Louisville.

The Ohio River truly is a main artery of American commerce. It is a staging area for cargo going up and down the Mississippi or over to the East Coast. The river is wide, so getting around barges wasn’t a problem, but they were everywhere!

The first day on the Ohio, we traveled 17 miles upstream and anchored just out of the navigation channel across from a new lock that is under construction. It wasn’t the most peaceful spot, but we got a good view of the huge construction project underway.

Captain Pudgy on watch

Captain Pudgy on watch

The new Olmstead Lock under construction. Kinda reminds us of Hammond.

The new Olmstead Lock under construction. Kinda reminds us of Hammond.


Category: Uncategorized

A Three Lock Day

maria | September 6, 2013 | COMMENTS:Comments Closed
Improbable under way

Improbable under way

Beginning Location: Joliet, IL
Ending Location: Ottawa, IL
Miles Traveled: 46
Locks: 3!!!!
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.

Scary stuff!!

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.

Category: Uncategorized

Mordor? Nah, it’s just Hammond

This could very well be the armpit of America

This could very well be the armpit of America

Beginning Location: Michigan City, IN
End Location: Hammond, IN
Miles Traveled: 32
Weather: North swell, hitting from the side all day
Stayed at: Hammond Marina ($70 for 3 nights)

On Sunday morning, the first day of September, we started our last run in Lake Michigan. We are both quite happy to be done with this portion of the trip. Lake Michigan has been pretty wild this summer, and it seems like we made it to the rivers just in time!

The trip from Michigan City to Hammond essentially cuts the corner of the bathtub that is the south end of the lake. It may also be the ugliest place I’ve ever been. What we could see of the shoreline is industrial wasteland. Fortunately it was really hazy, so we couldn’t see much. Unfortunately the black flies got one more shot at us!

We are in Hammond until Wednesday, August 4 when we have our mast taken down. In order to get to the Illinois River, we have to go under some low bridges that don’t open, so all sailboaters have to remove their masts. Luckily, we are able to ship our mast with 5 others all the way to Mobile, Alabama for a very reasonable rate. This saves us from having to carry the mast on our deck where we surely would be whacking our heads and possibly running it into things! The mast is longer than our boat, so it would make navigating in close quarters a real problem.

We were hoping to get a lot of work and blogging done while we are here, but the wifi situation is terrible. I can only write this now because the marina is pretty much empty. Over the weekend the network was completely overloaded and unusable. This is the first time on the trip where internet access has been a real issue, and it unfortunately caused us some job related issues. This would not be a big deal if you could just grab the computer and walk to McDonald’s or a library, but you’re kind of stuck at the marina here. For all the working Loopers who may read this, be aware that Verizon doesn’t really work in this marina and wifi is a major issue on weekends.

Now it’s time to clean the boat (which is still covered in dead black flies and our own blood!) and take care of a few other items before we start the next part of this adventure.

Category: Uncategorized

Still in Grand Haven

maria | August 26, 2013 | COMMENTS:2 Comments »

Riddle me this: 90% of the time, the wind on Lake Michigan blows from North or Northwest. In the last two weeks, 10 out of 14 days the wind has been South or Southwest. WHY?!!

As you can tell, we’re a little frustrated. Fortunately Grand Haven is a nice town and Maria’s sister and brother in law live here, so we have built in transportation and free laundry.

If anyone has any pull, do what you can for 5-10 knot winds from the North and waves of 2 feet or less.

Category: Uncategorized