Hammond/Chicago (Day 36)

As I write this, music is blasting us from both sides at midnight. This marina apparently doesn’t have quiet hours — or if it does, there’s no way to enforce it.

To be fair, it is Labor Day weekend in one of the largest marinas in the Midwest. And we seem to be in the noisy part of it. Other docks are quiet. We are apparently in “the party district” here on S dock.

We chose this marina partly to avoid the high fees in Chicago — about $90 per night for our boat. The fee here, about 12 nautical miles south of Chicago, is $40. I’m wondering if it was worth it.

I’ll try to block out the music and remember the pleasant parts of our day — such as the welcome arrival here by our new friends Tasha and Sebastian on Kittywake (see St. Joe’s post), and our delightful tour of The Windy City. The biggest challenge was getting there. I did an Internet search for the closest Amtrak station and put that address into my Uber request, but when we got there, the station was deserted. Grass was growing in cracks in the parking lot! The driver kindly took us to (he said) the next-closest station. Once on the train, though, we learned that it wasn’t the closest — there was another much closer. Maybe he wanted the extra fare. Maybe he didn’t know. Anyway. We’re tourists here. Tourists make mistakes sometimes. I should have done better research.

The rest of the day went better. The train deposited us just where we wanted to be, in the center of walk-able Chicago. (I’ve had a lot of practice in Washington D.C. navigating train schedules and large stations, but I did feel a little rusty since I’ve been retired for years.) The city wasn’t as busy as we expected, and easy to explore. We got a good look at the Chicago River, which we will be navigating soon, and other major sites. The day ended with “docktails” with our fellow Loopers. (That’s the term Loopers use for cocktails on the dock — or, more generally, social hour.)

As the bass continues to boom from the boat in front of us, I’m remembering that things could be worse. I haven’t dropped my phone in the water (one of my major fears). We haven’t crashed into anything. We haven’t been robbed. It’s a useful phrase to remember: “Things could be worse!”

But I also want you who think of boating as glamorous or relaxing to know the other side of things.

And yes, I am privileged to have this experience. Even with the quirks of a boat toilet. The challenges of shopping without a car and cooking on the move. The occasional nausea and sleepless nights at anchor. Washing laundry in the sink. Noisy neighbors after midnight. And the lack of privacy that introverts need.

Yes, it’s all worth it. So far. πŸ™‚

Photos and captions below.

The sight of commerce moving. We waited at this railroad crossing for a long time in our Uber. (The driver said trains cross here every 10 or 20 minutes. I guess the locals plan it into their schedule.) We could smell the oil refineries nearby. Average Americans count on this industry, but most are glad they don’t live near it.
We heard a tour guide on a passing boat explain that the blue skyscraper on the right uses water ballasts to stay level. I wonder how that works??
This sailboat advertising beer on its sails passed boldly close to Navy Pier. Show-off! (It was a man at the helm, and a “bevy of beauties” on the bow. Sigh. Some stereotypes endure….)
This sculpture by Indian-born British artist Sir Anish Kapoor is named Cloud Gate, but most people call it “the bean.” The artist was inspired by mercury. You can see why.
Walking into the gate — or “under the bean” — is a peculiar sensation because of the reflections.
Another view from inside “the bean.”
After a brief rain, we toured Millenium Park.
Summer flowers are starting to wilt but still provide a nice foreground for the Chicago River.
Back at our marina, we enjoyed evening “docktails” with Loren from Das Boot (a trawler) and Sebastian and Tasha from Kittiwake (a C-Dory.) Loren travels alone. He suffered a serious illness after a tick bite but he is back to complete The Loop. His dog Zoey, asleep on the dock, travels with him.

2 thoughts on “Hammond/Chicago (Day 36)

  1. You certainly are giving us a balanced view of your adventure! And your photos are fabulous. I love The Bean; it must be quite the sight in real life!
    Be safe,


    1. It’s my reporter training I guess. Balance the story! πŸ™‚ Tonight, it’s a large and loud outdoor TV on someone’s boat near us that i hear at midnight. Oh well. Moving on tomorrow. πŸ™‚


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