On the Way

As a cold front passes, fall like weather arrives at the illinois river. First time wearing fleece and fall weather gear since end of may.
First time I have to wear fleece and fall weather gear since end of may

The first hundred miles of river disappeared in Paulinchens keel wake and it looks like it is time to speed up a little on the way south. Storms and rain made the last trip to Ottawa, Illinois a little less comfortable.

But I appreciate the weatherchange as every drop of rain raises the water level a little bit. And that is more important than I thought in the beginning. Doing all the research I before heading this way I was tempted by reading the about a controlled depth of nine feet all the way down. Now I found what I have overseen in the planning. This does not apply to the facilities for pleasure craft.

No chance to get to the docks at Ottawa,IL. I have to anchor out about 150 feet off the docks and dinghy ashore
In Ottawa I have to anchor out about 150 feet off the docks and dinghy ashore

Ottawa was the second stop on the rivers and turned out to be the first I could not go ashore at. More then 150 feet off the next dock Paulinchen stuck in the mud. Not too deep and so I could just drop my anchor a little back the way and dinghy ashore the next day.

But this experience changes a little how I have to handle this river passage. Looking up the „free town docks“ and many of the marinas along My way it showed that many of them are charted 5 to 7 feet at normal pool level. And currently this part of the river seems to be about two or three below. So I made a few decisions: No, I will not turn back!

Tomorrow, on Monday, I will stock up the amount of diesel-jugs and also buy one more for fresh water. Yesterday I did already a major Bahamas-Style-Shopping. So from now on I return to „independent mode“. The dinghy will be the primary land connection even if tons of free docks are in range. But I can fill up diesel that way and do not have to get to town docks at all. Power is not a problem as I have to run the engine all the time traveling the rivers anyways. Only, I will not use the water maker as the river still is 70% chicago‘s sanitary canal and looks muddy and brown.

Locking with Northstar and Ibis in Dresden Lock, Illinois
Locking with Northstar and Ibis. Most of the „Loopers“ are powerboats and do not cary a few extra feet of weight under the boat

This way I think even if the low water persists I will be able to make it along the planned route down the the Illinois River into the Mississippi and via Ohio-River and the Ten-Tom-System down to mobile this fall. And maybe I find more helpful Loopers like Fred and Mark who assisted getting off the mud and into a safe anchorage in case I will burry my keel again.

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