Friday, October 02, 2015

August 31 - September 18, 2015 ::: Chicago. down the Illinois, Mississippi, up the Ohio, Cumberland to Green Turtle Bay




Past the Chicago entrance light, around the stern of the Columbia Yacht Club (Ship Clubhouse), and into DuSable Marina for our slip for the next week or so.  The next day Charlie off on his bike, Anne and Bonnie off to tour the town.


Some of the Chicago Highlights, statutes, buildings, the Navy Pier, fireworks, and  of
course Chicago Deep Dish Pizza....Yum!!! 

Anne departs for Denver to visit with her son Scott ... and Charlie's Scott and Fonda arrive for the trip down the Illinois and Mississippi to Hoppies.


More touring of Chicago, with the new crowd, then and evening show (Million Dollar Quartet)  and dinner ... now it's time to depart down the Sanitary Canal (Chicago River), to the Illinois and Mississippi.

Bonnie and Fonda took the bridge level to take SONATA into the Lake Michigan Lock into the Sanitary Canal, while Charlie and Scott became "line-handlers".  Then off to our first bridges ... air draft clearance on SONATA is 16' ... the bridges reportedly exceed 17' in height. They look scary low!

Down the Sanitary Canal and successfully under the many bridges until we arrive at the AMTRAK bridge which must open for us to pass ... clearance is only 10' while the bridge is down.


Father and son at the helm!  Through the first lock and past the Electric Fish Barrier (to deter the Asian Carp from going to Chicago and into Lake Michigan); then the first stop at Joliet city wall and a looper get-together on the dock.

Down the river with a crowd of boats, all of us into a lock where Fonda and Scott hold SONATA alongside the lock wall, then out into the river down-bound in a strong rainstorm.

Many immature and mature eagles alongside the Illinois River..  Always fun to sight these beautiful birds!

After one night at Heritage Harbor we stopped at Hennepin (we tie up overnight to an old barge that has been made into a dock)  so that we could re-visit Ray's Restaurant.  Sadly, found Ray's to be closed, for sale.  The ANDREW CANNAVA tied up off our bow for a crew change.  This little tug is as wide as we are long....


More locks, more tugs and barges, all with white pelicans flying overhead  ... We arrive at the Illinois Valley Yacht Club in Peoria where we stay overnight.

The bridge at Alton where we stayed on the Mississippi for a day then off to the Mel Price and Chain of Rocks Locks, two locks, before St. Louis. We  pass the Arch in St. Louis and arrive at Hoppies.
A little information provided by the Mel Price Lock Office; One loaded covered hopper barge carries 58,333 bushels of wheat, enough to make almost 2.5 million loaves of bread.  It would take 16 rail cars to do the same, and/or 70 large semi tractor-trailer trucks.  A loaded tank barge carries 27,500 barrels of gasoline, enough to keep about 2,500 automobiles running for an entire year.  The same cargo moved by rail or truck would be 46 rail cars or 144 trucks.

Charlie conferring with Fern on how to travel down the Mighty Mississippi ... one must wonder who is telling the biggest tales.


Charlie and Fern together at Hoppies.  Fern is a legend in her own time ... She meets with the Loopers and gives explicit instructions on how to traverse the Mississippi and everyone listens! We mosey around town and head for the Blue Owl CafĂ© to celebrate Bonnie's birthday.  Great lunch ... but then desert is the best way to go.  Scott and Fonda departed in the afternoon for home ... Bonnie and Charlie are now alone for the trip to Kaskaskia Lock and Little Diversion Creek on the Mississippi.  We miss our traveling companions!

Hoppies  to Green Turtle Bay, the next stop.

Down the Mississippi the current is so strong that the bouys sometimes seem to struggle for air shouting "help, I'm drowning".  SONATA is moving at 12.1 knots (we hit a high of 13 knots!)  ... normal speed is 8.5 knots.  We get an extra push now, will pay for it later going up the Ohio and the Tennessee.

SONATA passes Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on the way to Little Diversion Channel for an overnight anchorage with AMERICAN PIE, MANANA, CORSAIR. 

Early morning sunrise, God's daily blessing, as we depart Little Diversion Channel  for the Ohio River and our journey on to Green Turtle Bay. 
The Mississippi River meets the Ohio river...BIG change in water color! The Olmstead Lock.  Construction started in 1992 and for some reason ... (government contract) has not been completed ... believe it is now 2015 ... some 20+ years later.  It is hard to believe the delay that has occurred here for so many years?!??

Following several long waits, first at the Olmstead Lock, just waiting to be escorted through the open lock chamber, a couple of hours just cutting holes in the water going in circles ... then up to Lock 52 where we raced to catch up with the USCG CHIPPEWA.  We, SONATA, CORSAIR, MANANA, and AMERICAN PIE, were told if we could catch up with CHIPPEWA we could lock through Lock 52 with her ... we "raced" to the lock only to wait some 3 hours to be locked through around 9:00 pm.  After clearing the lock we proceeded to Paducah and docked on the City's dock overnight.  A beautiful departure the next AM. The Tennessee River flows into the Ohio River at Paducah. We will be traveling from here where the Tennessee ends to Knoxville to where it begins.

The wall on the waterfront of Paducah is painted with murals of the history of the Ohio river and Paducah
On the way up the Cumberland River we were given our own air show ... an Army helicopter being refueled in flight.  The flight circled our parade of four boats at least twice.  A nice relaxing trip up the river to the Barkley Lock.

We contacted the Barkley Lock for a lock up to Green Turtle and they promptly brought the lock to the proper level opened the doors and let us in ... raised the water to bring us up to the level of the Barkley Lake, some 57 feet, and let us free.

 Green Turtle Bay Resort!  What a magnificent stay, for a full week.  We enjoyed wonderful neighbors, all loopers ... some 25-35 boats at Green Turtle, looper meetings on the docks, "dock-tails," good food at the marina and in town, a courtesy car to go shopping, and a terrific Spa that made Charlie "well."  Could not have asked for anything better. We leave Green Turtle and begin our trip on the Tennessee River.