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An Uneventful Day

Location: Joliet, Illinois, Mile 288 on the Des Plains River

Distance traveled today: 30 nautical miles

Total trip distance: 254 nautical miles

Deckhand arrived on schedule last night and we had dinner and many drinks at the Riverdale Marina. We awoke to a beautiful day, although a little cold. We departed at 7:15 and made our way down what is known at the Calumet Sag Channel which is a combination of the Calumet River and some areas that are dredged out man-made canals. After some 25 bridges and 17 statute miles, we joined the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. For the next 5 miles, we were in a heavy barge traffic area. At one point, we had to pull off to the side for nearly 30 minutes while one tug turned in to park his barge and another tug waited to get through going north. Later we passed under the lowest fixed bridge we will see at 19 feet (when the water is high). Our mast is folded down and we cleared it by about a foot and a half.

At Lockport Lock and Dam, we were held up for about three hours while one tug with six barges was locked up and had to reassemble his barges before exiting, After he got moving, another tug with barges was scheduled to lock down and we had to wait for him to arrive. We rafted up beside him and came on down.

Just below Lockport, we joined the Des Plains River where we came a few more miles and stopped for the night at the free town docks in Joliet.

A word about mileage: I keep track of the total mileage of the boat in nautical miles since that is commonly used at sea. These are the numbers you see at the top of each log entry. However, the guidebooks and charts for the rivers use statute miles and I will commonly use these mile markers to refer to where we are. For example, I entered the Calumet Sag channel at mile 333.4. I spent the last two nights in Riverdale at mile 320. Joliet, Illinois is at Mile 288. We will reach the Mississippi River when we get to Mile 0 just above St. Louis. Even if you translate nautical to statute miles, the distances will not always agree since I’m measuring nautical miles from our GPS and the statute miles are actual exact mileage along the river path. Just ignore the nautical nonsense at the top of each entry and follow the statute river miles to see where we are. I’ve come from 333 down to 288 and the Mississippi River will be at Mile 0. We need to average about 60 statute miles per day to get down near St. Louis by next Thursday when Deckhand wants to head home. Then, a couple of days later, the lovely Laura Lee plans to join me for the next leg.

Deckhand is preparing a fabulous meal of grilled chicken breasts along with some mushrooms and grilled onions. We may even have a glass of wine with it. Tomorrow, we hope to cover a good bit more distance and hope for few delays at the locks.

We’re having a good time. The pace is slow and comfortable, the boat is running well, the food is good, and all is right with the world. The World Series starts Saturday and St. Louis is in the game. Perhaps I can get a ticket for one of the games while I’m there. 

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