Where Rivers Meet (Grafton, Day 47-48)

Illinois meets Mississippi We aren't quite there yet, but we're close. "There" is another milestone on The Great Loop: The Mighty Mississippi. You hear about it for months in advance. You worry about it a bit (at least I do) ... the giant barges and the big currents. We got a glimpse of it when … Continue reading Where Rivers Meet (Grafton, Day 47-48)

To Quiver Island (Day 45)

The water level is down. More on that later. First, the eagles. I see bald eagles often at my rustic camp on Lake Superior. I hear them even more often. I've missed that, so it was cool to hear and see them today at our anchorage just inside Quiver Island after covering 43 miles of … Continue reading To Quiver Island (Day 45)

To Peoria (Day 44)

Ah, Peoria ... Main Street America! It's 2200 (10 p.m.) on Saturday night, still about 80 degrees. I'm writing this from the free city dock alongside the waterfront park, where an outdoor band is playing. It's a pretty bad band. This amuses rather than irritates me. On any typical warm Saturday night in any typical … Continue reading To Peoria (Day 44)

Old Locks and Asian Carp (Day 43)

Another first. The Mainship Many Moons rests tonight against the 150-year-old remains of an old lock in the small town of Henry, Ill. We're tied up to loops of rebar, a metal reinforcement put into concrete. The crumbling wall creates steps to get on and off the boat. We have electricity here, and a porta-pottie, … Continue reading Old Locks and Asian Carp (Day 43)

Heartland History (Day 42)

One of our goals for The Great Loop is to get to know America better, and remember its history. We have entered "America's heartland." We are in Ottowa, Ill., the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate. Seven debates took place between the two men vying for the Republican nomination. Abe Lincoln won and became one … Continue reading Heartland History (Day 42)

Close Encounters and Homemade Cleats (Day 41)

You thought river travel would be relaxing? Um, no, not so far! Interesting? Yes indeed. The graphic on the right shows our blue track into lock #5 of our trip. It looks like we drove right over the round concrete pier. Nope, just bumped it. But yes, that's how we entered the lock. That's where … Continue reading Close Encounters and Homemade Cleats (Day 41)

Alone On The River (Day 40)

And then the time comes to fly solo. Many Loopers travel together, sometimes by design and sometimes by happenstance. I was glad that veteran Loopers lead the way yesterday, our first "river day" -- just as I was glad for a buddy boat in Lake Superior. Today, we felt ready to go it alone. There … Continue reading Alone On The River (Day 40)

Now, The Rivers (Day 39)

This is the day we left the Great Lakes and headed into the inland waterway system. Passed under dozens of Chicago bridges. Went through our first river lock. Met our first barge. Learned about floating bollards and prop-washes and tight river turns. There's so much to absorb on each day of travel ... sites to … Continue reading Now, The Rivers (Day 39)