We are back on our Island Office after a whirlwind of a weekend at home in Winter Park. We got to see family and some friends, and we are grateful for those playing chauffer and ferrying us to and from the airport. We are especially grateful to our very good friends & neighbors the Medei’s who have kept watch over our home and advised us when things were amiss. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness.
We are also grateful for Elaine (Mark’s mom) who is handling our business mail and doing an awesome job! Thanks Mom!
Denise feels renewed after getting a haircut and getting in a few runs with her running buddies. Mark was able to take care of all the business technical infrastructure issues, including installing a new computer and getting Brighthouse Networks to replace a bad router for our internet access. And then together we were able to visit the dentist, take care of some needed yard work, and celebrate Elaine’s 86th birthday with the Bailey’s (Mark’s sister & husband). We are so lucky to have her around and we really enjoy our time together.
Monday (9/14) – Havana, IL – We left Illinois Valley Yacht Club (“IVY”) in Peoria this morning shortly after 9:00am right after Looper boats “Pearl” and “Melinda B” left following “Ivory Lady” and “Next Chapter” from another marina. We wanted to jump in with them all to get through the Peoria Lock, but fearing issues with getting fuel further down the river, we opted instead to pull into East Port marina for some added diesel and a pump out.
Of course this means we missed the lock opening with the rest of the fleet and had to tie up to the only place near the lock; a restaurant called “Kuchie’s On the Water”. Being good citizens, we ordered a to-go salad for Denise for free use of their dock while waiting to be allowed through.
Finally, after 2 hours the Lock Master called and advised us to pull up towards the lock while the up-bound tow was being re-assembled. We had to negotiate around several other tows that were staged before the lock, not run into the wicket dams on the right side of the lock, and keep the boat stable in a wind blowing about 20 knots. Mark handled the challenge beautifully and drove us successfully into the lock which we had all to ourselves. This huge lock took us 8 feet down and then had a tow waiting to go back up once we left the lock.
Once under way we had very little delays and made good progress down the river. This part of the Illinois River is very rural with a few industrial sites scattered throughout. We passed refineries, power plants, food processing facilities, and other unknown facilities which we tried to guess what they were. Sometimes Google will tell you, but most of the time it doesn’t know either. We did however get to see a handful of bald eagles today, and the Asian carp were jumping like crazy in the very shallow waters along the river banks. We also got to see the Spirit of Peoria; an old style paddle tour boat.
We ended up tying up to a free town dock in the small town of Havana. There is only one marina here (Tall Timbers) and it was full up, mostly with many of our Looper friends. After getting the boat settled we walked over to the marina and met new Loopers Brian and Janice (“Fugitive”) who let us through the gate once we told them we too were Loopers. Then we went over to “Ivory Lady” and spoke with Jann & Bill for a while; sharing Chicago stories and our plans for the upcoming days. We walked back to the boat and ate leftovers from the freezer for dinner.
Tomorrow we are headed down the Illinois River for what we hope will be our last full day, and last Illinois River lock. We will most likely anchor out tomorrow night as there are no marinas until Grafton, IL just before the mighty Mississippi.
Stay tuned for more adventures!