Friday, September 8, 2017

Bye, bye Big City...HELLO River!

Bridges, Barges and Beautiful Skies in Illinois

Reality happened and we are in the flowing waters of the Illinois River! However, we are still having a GREAT time and believe it or not, STILL meeting new loopers!!  Just when you think you’ve met everyone…a new crop of loopers start the journey – from Canada and Michigan!  Time to pay forward the kindness and patience we were shown over 10 months ago – happy, happy, happy.

Loopers on the Joliet IL free Wall
We spent two nights on the FREE wall in Joliet IL. Experienced a truly Latin inspired grocery store – cactus petals for dinner – and met several new couples within their first month/days of The Great Loop.

Mike (L) & Pat enjoy a little "rest" in the Wake Crossing chairs!
We’ve had to adjust to “River Travel” quickly.  Our days and planning now require calling locks and bridges for opening times, maintenance closures and barge traffic. For instance, Thursday morning we were up early (5:30) and called the next lock for a barge report because if we didn’t clear the initial bridge by 7:15 it wouldn’t open again until 8:00 AND we really didn’t want to follow a barge all day.  Yes, the mind must think in abstract directions and four steps ahead. In a nut shell, we cleared the bridge before the rush hour closure and didn’t have to wait very long for the lock to open…WHEW!

...and then there is this...
A lockful of Loopers in Dresden Island
The next 16 +/- miles were uneventful but required an attentive posture & hospitable cooperation…barge, barge, barge.  THEN we reached the Marseilles Lock and Dam…GULP!!! A mere THREE hours later we were locked through and 2 miles later we were docked at Heritage Harbor Marina in Ottawa IL.  SIGH!!!!!  Yes, a L O N G day but we need to get used to it – this will be our “new normal” as long as we travel the rivers!

Loopers stacked up waiting for the lock to open...
The marina is great – they have a courtesy car and we have used it!  Friday morning Ann, Lorrie & I headed to the Laundromat for a marathon clothes washing session!  It was much needed and we are happy that “fun” is over for a week or so. 

A little taste of home...ready for Saturday!
As the weekend approaches we continue to watch the tropical weather and the lagging effects it will have on the rest of the country.  Our prayers are with all those in the path as well as the first responders.

God Bless

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