Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 13 - 22, 2011 . . . Chicago to Hoppies on the Mississippi

Charlie and Bonnie in Chicago . . . preparing for our departure down the Illinois.

As SONATA departs her slip in DuSable Marina we take a photo review of the Chicago skyline, the marina, the boats, the waterway to the Chicago Lock.

Bonnie at the wheel, SONATA approaches the Chicago Lock to lock through with a Chicago Fire Boat.

Thru the Chicago Lock, into the Sanitary Canal and now westward into downtown Chicago and under the bridges.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, historically known as the Chicago Drainage Canal, is the only shipping link between the Great Lakes (specifically Lake Michigan by way of either the Chicago River or the Calumet-Saganashkee (Cal-Sag) Channel) and the Mississippi River system, by way of the Illinois and Des Plaines Rivers. The canal also carries Chicago's treated sewage into the Des Plaines River. Before completion of the canal in 1900, the sewage in the Chicago River flowed into Lake Michigan, the city's drinking water supply. The canal is part of the Chicago Wastewater System, operated by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

Lake Shore Drive, then

the underside of the bridge, then

Columbus Avenue, and on to



State and then some more bridges.

Then SONATA turns south under the Washington Boulevard bridge and we are then leaving Chicago.

Down the Illinois with its gravel barges, industry, and then into the down river landscape.

The Sanitary Canal, that spills into, connects with, Illinois River, here shows the original limestone walls.

After several miles of travel we meet up with the joining point of the Cal-Sag Canal which travel to the south of Chicago. Some of the loopers that cannot lower their air draft to below 17' must travel this route from Lake Michigan.

Traveling down river it is not uncommon to squeeze between the barges and tugs in the crowded and shared waterway.

More from Wikipidia: On November 20, 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that a single sample of DNA from Asian carp had been found above the electric barrier that had been constructed in the canal in an attempt to prevent them from migrating into the Great Lakes. The silver carp, also known as the flying carp, has migrated through the Mississippi, and could possibly make its way into the Great Lakes. The carp can grow to 50 or more pounds, and is noted for its jumping above water. Ironically, the carp were first introduced with the blessing of the EPA in the 1970s to help remove algae from catfish farms in Arkansas. The carp have escaped the farms and migrated up the Mississippi River system. They now threaten to enter the Great Lakes through the man made canal connecting the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River water shed. The carp displace native species of fish by filter feeding and removing the bottom of the food chain for indigenous species.

On December 2, 2009, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal closed, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) began applying a fish poison, rotenone, in an effort to kill Asian carp north of Lockport. Although no Asian carp were found in the two months of commercial and electrofishing, the massive fish kill did discover a single carp.

On December 21, 2009, Michigan State Attorney General Mike Cox filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking the immediate closure of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan. The state of Illinois and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which constructed the Canal, are co-defendants in the lawsuit.

In response to the Michigan lawsuit, on January 5, 2010, Illinois State Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a counter-suit with the U.S. Supreme Court requesting that it reject Michigan’s claims. Siding with the State of Illinois, both the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and The American Waterways Operators have filed affidavits, arguing that closing the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal would upset the movement of millions of tons of vital shipments of iron ore, coal, grain and other cargo, totaling more than $1.5 billion a year, and contribute to the loss of hundreds, perhaps thousands of jobs. However, Michigan along with several other Great Lakes states argue that the sport and commercial fishery and tourism associated with the fishery of the entire Great Lakes region is estimated at $7 billion a year, and impacts the economies of all Great Lakes states and Canada.

On January 19, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the request for a preliminary injunction closing the canal.

SONATA traveled through the barrier without any difficulty.

At the Lockport Lock, the first lock south of Chicago, DOVEKIE waits with us for the lockdown. SALTY PAWS is alongside and LAST DANCE is in the background and COCONUTS is astern, all waiting.

The barges and tug complete their lock up and once they are clear and the lock is ready to receive us, we will lock down.

Dick and Charlie make SONATA secure in the lock before we depart for Harborside Marina.

We incur a "fender casualty" at Harborsprings . . . they had bolts sticking out of the side of their piers and the fender, doing its job, kept SONATA from stricking these projections . . . without damaging the side of the vessel . . . poor design and maintenance on the part of Harborsprings.

South of Harborsprings and before arriving at the Starved Rock Marina we encountered a string of red bouys on the port side, green bouys on the starboard side. It appears that one green bouy broke loose and went to the "red-side-of-the-channel" and this boat tried to take the green bouy to the starboard side of his boat . . . he found himself in just a few inches of water and hard aground.

Dick is serious while piloting SONATA.

Departure from Starved Rock Marina and traveling on down the Illinois to Hennepin.

We arrived in Hennepin, toured the town and then prepared for dinner at Ray's Place.

We enjoyed a great dinner at Ray's Place and we were happy to see Pauline, owner of Ray's, and her sister Shirley. We had been greeted by Andrea Minyard, Pauline's granddaughter and restaurant manager. We had visited Ray's Place while completing the Loop in 2007-2008 and Andrea kindly send us an email regarding our blog and invited us to visit them again.

One of the highlights of the Loop is meeting new enjoyable and terrific people like Andrea . . . and then seeing them again.

On deck the next day, the 16th, we, Dick, found thousands of Caddis Flys. A broom was the only way to clean up the expired creatures.

We had wanted to stop again at Chillicothe but the dock we used before was reportedly closed. The city officials reported they intend to build a dock in the neighborhood of the piles there so that possibly the next time we can stop there.

The next town is Peoria and they have dockage down town . . . but do not want boats to stop there and spend money. What a strange conflict, one town has no space and wants the boats to stop, the next has space and does not want boats to stop. The SPIRIT OF PEORIA was in Peoria and starting its cruise to St. Louis.

In planning our travel we intended to stop at the Tall Timbers Marina and spoke a number of times with their accomodating staff. The water was just too shallow, the river is down, and we had to pass on by.

We continued south past Havana, past the Bath Chute, and spent the overnight alongside a grain barge at the Logsdon Barge Service in Beardstown.

Leaving Beardstown and passing about MM86 we came upon a number of other loopers that had anchored behind Bar Island.

The evening found us alongside the Riverdock Restaurant and dinner with DOCKER'S INN and SALTY PAWS.

On the 19th we started our last day on the Illinois with calm waters and a short trip to Alton Marina on the Mississipi River.

After a few hours we passed Grafton, Illinois, and entered the mighty Mississippi River.

The bridge that crosses the Mississippi at Alton borders on the southern side of the Alton Marina were we spent two days.

Looking aft in the Mel Price Lock, SONATA's first lock on the Mississippi; this trip.

Dick reports SONATA all secure in the Mel Price Lock.

The doors open and SONATA continues down the Mississippi through St. Louis on the way to Hoppie's Marina.

SONATA passes St. Louis, the arch, and then we have Betty and Dick under the arch.

Hoppie's. We tie up to the first barge.

We are met by Hoppie and his wife Fern. Fern then later gives the lecture, her presentation, on how each of us should proceed down the river and through the rivers to the Gulf.

We all enjoy a terrific lunch at the Blue Owl Restaruant.

Dick and Betty wait for the taxi that is to take them from SONATA . . . and after a wait the taxi arrives and SONATA sits in the fog after their departure. We have enjoyed their stay aboard and the travel together.

The fog lifts and SONATA departs Hoppie's for the Kaskaskia Lock.