Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Harborside Marina, Wilmington, IL to Heritage Harbor, Ottawa, IL — September 21, 2013

Good sunny morning with the river ready for us.  It was cool this morning but not real cold. We called the 1st lock before we left the dock as it was only 2 miles downriver.  They indicated they had no traffic and to call them back when we were in site of the lock.

All went well at the first lock and there were no delays.  The travel down the river was great with minimal boat traffic on the river for a Saturday.  We did not see any tows or pass any along the way.  We contacted the next lock when we were a couple of miles away so they could hold the lock if there was down bound traffic.  Again they said to call them when we were in site of the lock. When we arrived at the next lock we heard the lock master call to the “pleasure craft down bound”.  We called him on the radio and he said he was trying to contact the boat in front of the lock door where the kids were swimming.  They responded and he told them to have the kids get back in the boat because they were filling the lock and they did not want the kids getting sucked into the valves (honest – his words).  Needless to say the kids scrambled back into the boat in a hurry.  It was a 18′ runabout with 3 adults and 2 kids aboard that had passed us on the river about 45 minutes before. The locking was uneventful after the swimming.

We arrived at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa IL, that is just a few miles above the Starved Rock Lock.  We had help from some of the local boaters in getting tied up.  Lots of friendly people on the dock.  Being a nice sunny weekend there were quite a few of the boaters at their boats to enjoy some of the final good weather for the season.  They had a dock party in the early evening and there were a lot of good stories form them and they asked a lot of questions about the loop, especially when they found out this was our 2nd loop. I left the dock party about 8 but it continued for another hour or so as the evening was getting pretty chilly.

Sunday we had a visit from friend we made last year, Don and Kate from Fandango.  We had traveled with them on the Mississippi last year and then saw them again in Belhaven NC.  We traveled with them from the Dismal Swamp to Norfolk and were going to meet up wit them again in Canada but the closing of the Erie Canal had them on the Hudson River side of the closure. They live in Wisconsin and drove down for the day.   We had a nice brunch at the Starved Rock Lodge.

We decided to stay Monday so we could do laundry in town.  They have a courtesy car at the marina so it is easy to get into town.