|To: ALL Interested Parties
SMELLIN da ROSES, Part 2-m.
Monday, 28 July (continued). The rest of the day Monday was spent resting and getting things ready to go cruising again on Tuesday (Two J's gassed up and pumped out, etc.) and made slip reservations for Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Burham Park Harbor Marina (owned by the city of Chicago).
Tuesday, 29 July. The weather report was good for today, so we got up early and were on our way by 7:30 AM. for the 63 mile trip across the bottom of Lake Michigan. The waves were supposed to be 1-3 feet and less within 5 miles of Chicago. They were not much above that, but there was more of a cross chop versus the gentle roll we have been experiencing. Still we made good time and arrived here in just about 6 hours. There was a little mix up in our slip assignments because the slip assigned to the Two J's was filled by a permanent slip holder who was expected to be gone and the next slip they were assigned was too small, so they had to move to another slip. For the first time, we are quite a distance apart with the Marge's Barge on G dock and the Two J's on P dock the docks go to "S"). Burham Park Harbor is a new marina located between the former Meigs Field (lakefront airport) and the new Soldier's Field (football stadium) and a little West of McCormick Place (exhibition hall) and about 2 miles south of the Chicago River lock.
After getting settled, we got together and took the FREE Trolly(s) to the Navy Pier (had to change trolly's twice with a long wait in line, each time - total trip took more than 2.5 hours). This is an amusement and restaurant venue on the old Navy pier and the location for the Tall Ships festival in Chicago this weekend (most were already docked and we watched a couple sail in). Ate dinner in one of restaurants on the Navy Pier and then took a taxi (10 minute ride) back to the marina.
Howard is feeling better and is down to only half of a pain pill once or twice a day. He says that one of the other pills makes him constipated and the other gives him diarrhea (it's not funny). The trip across the Lake was a little hard for him and Maggie drove most of the way.
Wednesday, 30 July. Today we decided to go to the Sears Tower (world's tallest building -not tower) and up to the Skydeck (103rd floor) which offers spectacular views of the city and the Lake. It was a bit hazy, so we only had about 5 to 8 miles visibility, but we could see the lakefront with its many marinas and the channel into the Chicago Canal System Lock and the Chicago River which we will traverse tomorrow (good photos). Had lunch in town - Chicago deep dish - stuffed pizza (good but so filling no one wants dinner tonight - perhaps soup, a sandwich or fruit)!
Originally we had hoped to stay in Chicago another day, but there is also a Venetian Boat Festival and Parade this Saturday so everything - slips and mooring buoys are all filled to capacity. We think we will be just as happy to leave tomorrow morning to get off the Great Lakes and on our way South down the rivers.
The good news for today was that our calls to Harbortown Marina in Ft. Pierce, Florida had a positive result and both the Marge's Barge and the Two J's know where we will be docking our boats when we arrive there this Fall.
Oh, we almost forgot to mention that Chicago has a fire works display every Wednesday and Saturday, so we had a little treat at about 9:30 PM before retiring for the night.
Thursday, 31 July. We are finally off the Great Lakes - Hooray!!! We decided on getting an early start because we had to go 61 miles from Burham Park Harbor marina in Chicago to the Harborside Marina in Wilmington, Illinois. Left the marina at 7:15 AM and entered the lock at Chicago at 7:45 AM. It took us 9-1/2 hours to go 61 miles today and there is precious little between here and there! We went right through downtown Chicago, down the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, down the Des Plaines River to the beginning of the Illinois River which starts here in Wilmington, IL.(lots or barge's and tug traffic and industry along the river banks). We did not do the Cal-Sag or Calumet River route. We traversed two locks which took 45 minutes and 75 minutes and a rail road bridge which did not respond to VHF radio calls or horn signals (Judy
finally called the Coast Guard which got them to respond and open the bridge after a little train traffic.
Tonight, the Marge's Barge is on a dock right next to the fuel dock where the Two J's are tied up. Both have full electric and water and the Marge's Barge even has cable TV. It is fine with us, because the Two J's V needs gas in the morning and will not have to move to fill up! If weather permits, we will be on our way again tomorrow as the next marina is listed as having more amenities and we plan to stay there the weekend (we have found that it is wise to find a good place and stay there over the weekends in the height of the boating season).
After all the hassle at the marina in Chicago (and some of the Michigan marinas) over overall boat length and they way they measure boats in this part of the country (they charge for bow pulpits; anchors extending out from the bow pulpit, swim platforms, dinghy's extending aft of the swim platform or on davits; outboard motors and outdrives - talk about knit picking). John decided to take a tape measure and come up with an accurate overall length for the Two J's V. We want everyone to know and be impressed that we now have a 41 foot - 7-1/2 inch long boat even if it is documented as being only 35.6 feet!!!
Friday, 1 August. We had thunder and lightening storms last night - 11:00 PM and 4:30 AM, but got up at early because the Two J's V was tied up at the fuel dock and it opened for business at 8:00 AM with one other boater already waiting. We were on our way South by 8:30 with only one lock just a mile a way and only a planned 21 mile run. We had a minimal wait at the lock (we had called the lock from the marina to see what the boat traffic status was) and with a couple of mile current pushing us along, we were here at the Spring Brook Marina (the largest Carver dealer in the country) before Noon. Howard and Maggie took a walk and John and Judy took a tour of the new 42 foot Mariner - a nice boat with only two small steps inside, but narrow walkways along the bridge sides and no access from the port side walkway to the helm. It has a side cabin with two single berths that can be made into a king sized bed using a filler cushion. John was able to buy a spare gas cap - just in case one goes overboard when removing it for fueling and Howard bought boat soap - he thinks he is going to wash the boat.
We are not sure what the weather will be like tomorrow, so no decision has been made whether to stay another day (marinas fill up early on weekends). So depending on the weather and availability of transient slips we may be here another day. The sky is dark and it is thundering now - 4:00 PM. At about 5:00 PM we had a terrific thunder and lighting storm with pea sized hail. The storm knocked out the electricity for the whole town and marina which also shut off the dockside water. We had to run our generators to make dinner and use on board water - shades of being tied up at a lock wall in Canada last summer.
TWO J's V -- John and Judy Gill
MARGE'S BARGE -- Howard and Maggie Daniels