September 9, 2012

September 9, 2012  Day 121         Joliet, IL            Total miles to date:  2471.6

Well this was quite the day!  We were not sure if we would leave our marina in Chicago and go to a different one, or if we would go to Joliet which was about 58 miles away.  The big concern was Lake Michigan with a forecast of 3-4’ waves – been there, done that.  By the time we left, it was after 8:30, but we made the decision to go to Joliet. That meant venturing out into Lake Michigan for almost 2 hours before entering the Calumet River. Lake Michigan did not disappoint the forecaster – the waves were three feet at first then increased to five feet, and we experienced a great deal of rolling because of the direction of the wind.  We found things on the floor that have never fallen before! Fortunately, nothing was broken, no one got seasick, and we survived.

Entering the Calumet River
One of many bridges
Industry here!
We left our marina with its towering buildings and beautiful parks nearby, and people out walking, jogging, or riding bikes and segways, and we entered a very industrial river system with coal, steel, grain, and more all ready to be loaded onto barges and pushed up or down river by the towboats. We were on the Calumet River, the Cal Sag Channel, the Chicago Sanitary Shipping Canal, and the DesPlaines River today.  We finally realized that since it was Sunday we were seeing very little commercial boat traffic.  We did go through two locks today. We entered the first one as soon as we arrived, but waited about 45 minutes for the second one. In the first lock we just floated in the middle without tying up, but tied up to a floating bollard in the second lock which lowered us 40 feet.  We also entered the area of the Fish Barrier which puts electrical currents into the water to prevent the Asian Carp from entering Lake Michigan. We will see these fish soon enough on the Illinois River!  We went under many bridges and had already taken our radar and antennas down so we could get under them. (We could not get low enough for the bridges on the Chicago River, or we would have gone that way).
More industry
Train over the river!
This tow boat went right by us pushing a barge after we were
docked on the wall in Joliet. We will see many of them!

Keeping the Asian Carp out of
Chicago and Lake Michigan

 By 5:30 we arrived in Joliet and were immediately greeted by two Looper boats Northern Spirit (Toronto) and Tango (Montreal) who helped us with our lines.  Then we were greeted by local AGLCA Harbor Hosts, Dale and Brenda Karlson, who stopped by to welcome us to Joliet and answer any questions we had.  It was very nice to meet friendly people after our long and tiring day!

We had some wine, had a late dinner on board, and watched the Broncos-Steelers football game. 

We have decided to spend two nights here on the wall at Joliet. It is free, and we have 30 amps for power, and we have free wifi!   We need to get some work done on the boat and also figure out our schedule for the next few weeks so we can get ready for more company in Kentucky. Sometimes it is just better to stay put! 

(We have many photos of our trip today and will try and get them posted tomorrow.)
Happy Birthday to our son, Bill!