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Day 7

Day 7

Location: Hennepin, Illinois — Mile 207.5 of the Illinois River

Distance travelled today: 71 Nautical Miles

Total Trip Distance: 325 Nautical Miles

We departed Joliet, Illinois at 7:15 this morning. It was a beautiful day, hazy clouds, temperatures in the 50’s. Unsure about locks after yesterday’s three-hour delay, we called the first lock before getting underway. He told us to bring it on and we could get right through before a barge which had to disconnect everything and would take about three hours. Our luck stayed with us all day and we passed through three locks with no delays at all. We have only one more lock between here and St. Louis.

We had left the industrial areas and there was less barge traffic and more and more beautiful countryside. Fifteen miles down the Des Plaines River, it joined the Kankakee River to form the Illinois River which we will follow all the way to the Mississippi River just north of St. Louis. We made great time today moving from Mile 288 at Joliet to Mile 207.5 at Hennepin.

We passed any number of duck hunters in blinds along the river throughout the morning with decoys out and little wings circling above their blinds to draw in the ducks. We saw brilliant flashes of fall colors in a few areas with Maple trees being the most colorful.

Late in the day, around 4:30 pm, the sky clouded up and it began to rain. We understand that tomorrow is forecast to be rainy or snowy and turning colder. However, we are snug and dry in our pilothouse and only notice the weather when we have to get outside to dock or go through a lock.

We had read that Hennepin had a free town dock we could use. When we arrived, we discovered it was a few little slips for small boats on a floating dock about one foot above the water. No matter, it was almost dark and we had little choice but to make do in Hennepin. We docked up against the outside of the little slips so that our boat is at the end of the three little finger piers. We are tied up to both the floating dock and the old bollards along the shore. I think we’re safe for the night but it is a funny sight.

Right at six pm, I ran up the steps to find the little grocery here locked and closing up. I begged for mercy and they let me in to get a few emergency provisions. Our sandwich bread from Sturgeon Bay had molded and we needed a few other items to get through the next couple of days. Later, we climbed the stairs again and went to “Rays” bar and restaurant for dinner. We sat at the bar and got to be friends with Ray’s widow who now operates the place. We both felt as if we were in the Twilight Zone as the bar and everyone there appeared to be frozen in time 30 or 40 years ago. The food was digustingly unhealthy but nevertheless tasty. They served fried chicken and pastas on top of bread and smothered with cheese.

It’s looking now as if we’ll arrive in St. Louis Tuesday or Wednesday where Deckhand will head home and I’ll have to lay over a few days waiting for the lovely Laura Lee who cannot join me until Sunday. That’s OK. It will give me a few days to work on the boat and clean up. Besides, maybe I can attend a World Series game.

We’ll continue rolling down the river and posting the daily log. Please leave a comment if you’re following us. Later…

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Reader Comments (6)

Hey daddy and deckhand,
It seems that you are having a great time, an interesting time, but a good time. I wish I was there to be embarking on this great adventure. For some reason I always seem to be left out of this adventures, but maybe Steel Magnolia will let me come play. I wish I was there. Hope the weather picks up to be better....I bet Daniel wished he was with the hunters in the water...love you daddy,
October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

I'm really enjoying your blog. Sounds like things are going fine and you are having a good time! I left Guntersville on November 1 last year bound for Mobile and the changing of the leaves was fantastic. It seems that the leaves are turning a little early here in B'ham, so hopefully you'll be following it down and have the changing the whole time.

Be safe!

Don Coleman In Pell City
October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDon Coleman
Hi John,

You are a braver man that I! My limit to roughing it is B&R I think after reading all these adventures (hey - I cycled in the RAIN!). Though the cuisine sounds, um, spectacular (-ish)! Very similar to that of Burgundy.....well, there is cheese.

Cheers, and travel safe!

"Rollin, rollin, rollin on the river! Hey John; just wanted you to know I am of course tracking your progress thru your blog postings I set up the postings to be forwarded to my email, but they are so far behind the actual posting I just go straight to the blog. Hope deckhand Jaames and you are enjoying yourselves. From your postings, obviously you are!

October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle
Just a quick note to tell you I am enjoying your adventure tremendously. It makes me want to become a boatboy. I have always been curious about the canals and river route to the Mighty Mississippi. Best to Jaames and Laura Lee!

October 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJim Kyle
John, do you and Perfect Deckhand have another anchor pin, or is that something I need to pick up and give The Lovely Laura Lee to bring with her when she joins you?

Let me know.
October 24, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUncle

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