Ottawa IL - Peoria IL, Municipal Docks
- Start 7:04 AM
- End 3:40 PM
- Underway 5:04 Hours
- Distance 8:04 miles
- Total Miles on Trip 1969
- Av Speed 8.5 knots
- Locks 1
- Weather Sunny 85 Degrees
We left Heritage Harbor Marina, at 7:00am four other loopers, so we could all go through the Starved Rock Lock together. Happiness Is, called the lock before we left to confirm there was no commercial traffic in the lock.
As we were arriving at the lock, a tug with 15 barges arrived asking for an upbound passage. (We are going downbound). The lockmaster asked the tug, if he minded waiting while he locked us through first, as the lock was filled and waiting for us. Fortunately the tug did not mind waiting. It was nice to get to the lock and have the gates open and ready for us, no waiting at all.
Our original plan was to travel about 50 miles and anchor out behind Lower Henry Island with a few other loopers, but with the weather being so nice and us trying to meet up with Mark & Karen (Kay Dee) we decided to push on to Peoria IL. Peoria has a free municipal marina but there is only one spot big enough for our boat. The spots are first come first serve, and technically you cannot stay past 11pm. Other loopers have told us that they do not enforce it. We were also told the electric may or may not work.
Angel tends to think that the long runs down the rivers are "boring" while I find them fascinating. There was not much commercial traffic on the river today (Saturday), but even just passing the fleeting areas where they store the barges is fun. The barges are stacked two to five deep, and up to twenty long, along the shoreline. They are just tied there in what seems like the middle of nowhere. Then every few miles you come across the barge loading areas. Some of them are grain silos, with chutes to load the barges, so are bulk material such as crushed stone, dirt, or mulch. In one town there was a cement plant with barges on either side of a marina.
I also spotted several eagles, and a few Asian Carp, jumping out of the water. The first half of the day was filled with fisherman, both boats and along the shore line. Later in the day there were many more pleasure boaters, we even passed five or six sand bars, with boats beached on them and people swimming, drinking and partying. It felt just like home. As hot as it was, we wanted to beach our boat and join them.
When we got to Peoria, most of the slips were open, including the one we needed. The electric in that slip worked as well. The one thing the marina does not have is water. For the next two or three stops we will not have water. We will have to make do with the 140 gallons that we carry on board. While it sounds hard, in the winter we could make it 5 or 6 days with 140 gallons of water.
As we got to Peoria we could see a festival in the waterfront park and decided to walk up to it. It turns out Peoria has a very large German population and it was the local Oktoberfest. The best part of it was one of the food trucks was selling Vodka Snowcones!!!!
Tomorrow we are going to try to do another 70-80 miles. Depending on where we can find to spend the night. It will either be an anchorage, or one of the tug services allows loopers to tie off one of their barges if there is room.