Along the Illinois Waterway–Part Two

After escaping Ottawa and the flooding Fox River, we headed south towards the first available marina. Hopefully one with floating docks because the whole Illinois Waterway is experiencing high water and high currents. Logs and all kinds of debris were creating quite an obstacle course as we got a push from the current down river. We were flying at 11 MPH.

Floating debris.

En route, I called the Spring Valley Boat Club and was welcomed with open arms.

The Spring Valley Boat Club fuel dock.

The Spring Valley Boat Club is a private facility, but they invite transients to stay at the fuel dock. There is probably room for 2 boats. When we arrived, a couple of members helped us tie up.
“You’re welcome to full use of everything,” one of the guys said. “The bar, the showers, bathrooms, pump out, everything.”
“You had me at bar,” I gushed.

The awesome bar and the awesome bartender Nora. We arrived just in time for Sunday football!

Ok, on the same day, we went from escaping a scary flood, to having pizza, beer, and Sunday football on a big screen TV. I wanna move into this place, but we have to keep moving south. It’s starting to get chilly at night.

Bye bye Spring Valley Boat Club.

We travelled on to Peoria, Illinois. At the Eastport Marina, we fuelled up, pumped out, and stayed the night.

Eastport Marina, near Peoria, Illinois.

“The wickets are down!” I exclaimed after talking to the Lockmaster on the phone. This is big news! The next lock a few miles away is a wicket dam. This means that in high water situations, like we have now, you don’t have to go through the lock. You simply drive around it. It’s like a free pass!

Leaving industrial Peoria.

Going around the lock (on the left side of the photo) and over the wickets.

Passing a huge tow. They were doing 7, we were doing 10. It seemed like it took forever.

Passing the family we met in Ottawa on Love and Luck.

Again, en route on the Waterway, I called The Tall Timbers Marina in Havana, Illinois. A guy named Bob answered.
“Good morning. Do you have room for a 32 footer,” I asked.
“Sure do. C’mon in. I wont be there, but make yourself at home. Call me when you get settled and I’ll give you the gate and WiFi code,” he said.

Settled in at the Tall Timbers Marina.

We decided this was a nice place to stay long enough to get a couple of packages delivered.

Package number one, a new windlass from Good Automatic Windlass Company in New Jersey. The tired old one shown one next to it.

Package number two,  high-tech headsets from Cruising Solutions. They allow the XO and I to have constant two-way communication during docking and stuff. The clunky old, static filled ones shown on top.

Convicts working on the Havana Common.

It was a great 4 night stay in Havana, Illinois. Everything a boater needs is within walking distance.
We left on a warm sunny morning, cruised 35 miles, and anchored behind Bar Island.

Anchored behind Bar Island. It’s really isolated and quiet.

Good news! The wickets are down for our next lock in La Grange. Yay!
Once again, we sailed right over the wicket dam and cruised 39 miles to another anchorage behind Buckhorn Island. That means we have one more long cruise to mile 0 and the end of the Illinois Waterway. Jeez! I was just getting used to this waterway and all its peculiarities.

Twilight at anchor behind Buckhorn Island.

We left Buckhorn Island on another unseasonably warm morning. The sun was shining and the current was strong and in our favor. Suddenly, the bilge pump light came on. This is not so unusual for a boat with 4 stuffing boxes that are actually designed to leak a little in order to lubricate the prop and rudder shafts as they turn. But this time the bilge pump stayed on a little too long. I immediately opened the bilge access door to have a closer look.
“Uh oh.”
“What’s up?” the XO asked.
“There’s transmission fluid in the bilge water…” SOCOBO 11/3/17


2 thoughts on “Along the Illinois Waterway–Part Two

  1. Hey there, we just made it to Alton Marina just past Grafton last night. Its has bathrooms /showers/ & laundry still open by the office. Were staying through today with the thunderstorm and trying our luck through both locks tomorrow. Nice to know someone else is late to the party with us 🙂

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