Tuesday —- Illinois River MM 88 Beardstown Southbound

September 7th, 2010 john Posted in The Loop Part II | No Comments »

Day: 448   Miles Today: 68   Locks Today:  01   Total Miles:  5057   Total Locks: 141

Up at 5:00 a.m. and waiting for first light.  This was planned to be about a 65 mile day with one lock.  Anytime you have a lock, you are unsure of your travel time.

As I was signing on to my computer waiting for first light, a towboat passed by heading south.  Since the lock was only 8 miles away I knew he would beat us to the lock and would have preference.  I followed him on the chart-plotter via my AIS system as he approached the lock and told my crew to stay in bed.  No use leaving at first light.

I also checked the web for the backlog at the lock and saw that when they started locking him through that he would make it through on one pass.  Everybody up!  It’s time to push off.  Another day and on our way!

The wind had died down and the morning was brisk but clear.  I called the lock when I was about two miles away and he had it ready for us to drive right in.  We had it to ourselves.  They closed the door and Jack the lock dog entertained us as we descended the eight feet.

Doors opened and we were running down stream with the current giving us a little push.

The day was uneventful.  All the low bridges were open and the only excitement was passing several upstream and downstream barges on the way.

There was a little car ferry in Kampsville IL that crossed right in front of us, but no problem.

A couple of days ago I was super impressed with the amount of water birds.  They were just lined up on the edge of the river for miles and miles.  It was like they were watching us parade down the river.  We even saw two bald eagles; one in flight landing on a limb of a tree and one sitting on his nest way at the top of the tallest tree.

But today it has been different.  There were not many birds at all.  The only thing we saw was an occasional Asian Carp jumping into the air.

At 2:00 p.m. we pulled into a little dock along side of the river.  It belongs to the Illinois Riverdock Restaurant; known to locals as Mel’s place.  We sat on the stern with a cigar and a beer enjoying the warn afternoon and the slight breeze.  About an hour after we arrived three of the other looper boats that were with us this morning pulled in.  We look forward to a good dinner at Mel’s.

It is starting to get sad for me.  We are getting close to home which is great, but the trip is coming to and end which is sad. (Maybe I will just keep on going and do it again.)  I did a real rough calculation and it looks like we will be home in a couple weeks.

We crossed the 5000 mile barrier today.  What a trip.

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