July 22

Repairs complete. We left Hammond Marina at 6:30 a.m. July 20.

14 miles at cruising speed across a rolling Lake Michigan, and 2.5 hours later we reached Chicago Harbor. amazing. Just amazing.

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Entering Chicago. Trump Tower dominates the skyline here.

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The scenic route is through downtown Chicago on the south branch of the Chicago River passing through the granite obelisks and passing under more than 40 bridges in 5 miles.

Because of our launch delay we hurried through this gorgeous city. There is so much to see and do, but we will wait until our return when crossing our wake in summer of 2017. The city is clean and very friendly. Everyone waves and asks if we’re on the loop.

Numerous shops, cafe’s, and marinas cling to the river’s edge. A boat can tie to the wall and walk around easily. So cool!

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Leaving the city we saw many beautiful riverside parks including this Pagoda in Ping Tom Memorial Park…very serene.

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The Illinois Waterway downstream from the city is…well…ugly. It turns into a narrow stone lined canal for 30 plus miles of NOISY industry. Gravel pits, refineries, scrap metal yards, chemical plants, asphalt manufacturers, mammoth factories of every kind. Enormous barges everywhere. Amazing to see what makes America work. Manly men handling massive machines. Danger everywhere. Boaters are warned every 1/4 mile to stay aboard. NO stopping. NO mooring. Poor Inky had to hold his water for hours. We could not find one spot to tie up and get him to shore.

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Arrived in Joliet mid afternoon. Exhausted. The heat index with 80% humidity was 109. Dehydration and has been a serious issue for us. We tied to the Joliet wall at their beautiful city park where there is water and power. We were the only boat, but it was safe and people came by to chat. We called  taxi to get to a grocery.  Nighttime was hilarious. The park was lighted like a truck terminal and we were sandwiched between a state highway bridge and a railroad bridge…both were busy all night long. Then there was the never ending barge traffic. These ships are MASSIVE yet silent and they throw a large wake that rocked us against the wall all night. Our tie up ropes were nearly frayed in two. Yikes. We’re learning.

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It’s like the Old West…there are no services between stops so we must scurry along to get to safe harbor before dark and it takes pre-planning to determine how far to the next fuel and fresh water marina…not all marinas provide services. Really, it is hard work so when we get to a nice marina we sit tight for a few days to regain energy.

Here in Harborside Marina at Wilmington, IL it is lovely. The river opened up into gorgeous tree lined banks dotted with parks and billion dollar homes and miles of giant lily pads. There is a pool here and we spend many hours in it escaping the punishing heat. The facility is very dog friendly and the owners are nice. Plus, they have an excellent restaurant and boaters come from all over to sit and enjoy great food.

 

 

 

 

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