Tuesday, July 29, 2008
7/28/08---Looking at the waterway charts it becomes very clear that our boat height is to much for passage thru Joliet and downtown Chicago. We got up early and laid over the radar arch and bimini top to get the measured height above water from 20' down to 15.5'. We pulled away from Harborside Marina at 7:30 a.m. knowing it would be a long day. The water was very calm this morning and it was easy traveling at 10.5 MPH. We reached the Brandon Road lock & Dam (mi 286) and had to wait for the tow we had passed to catch up with us. Commercial traffic has priority over pleasure craft. It was a single barge of coal and there was plenty of room to pull into the chamber behind the Eileen C. They let us out of the lock first and we continued on thru Joliet. The channel from now on is quite narrow and most of the next 40 miles is a no wake zone. There are so many tugs moving barges there is barely room to pass in some spots. We stayed only a short way ahead of the Eileen C tow. We reached the Lockport Lock & Dam at mile marker 291. Again the tow was allowed to catch up and enter first. There is not a lot of room in this chamber, so the lock master asked us to tie up to the coal barge. This lock raised us the most of any, a 40' rise. We thanked the tow Captain for the tie up as we left the chamber. Much of our travel was made at 4.5 MPH. The bridges were low as expected. Several were 16' 5" and 16' 6". We cleared with no problem. However, operating the boat from the fly bridge made a person want to duck when going under the noisy railroad and highway bridges. There was one old bridge that was really low. After four Amtrac trains went speeding by, the bridge was raised so we could pass. At last we got a good view of downtown Chicago! What a sight, as the tall buildings seemed to dwarf us as we passed thru the city. There were an unbelievable number of sight seeing boats on the Chicago river. They were a little anxious if we were in their way. Their time schedule is probably a lot tighter than ours. We reached the final lock. This is the Chicago Harbor lock that lifted us about 2' to get into Lake Michigan. The tour boats of course went first. Wow! What a change from calm canal waters to the big open lake water with a pretty good wind. It bounced us around a little as we proceeded north looking for a marina. We had made arrangements by phone with the Diversey Harbor. Don't go there with a house boat! After we got into their calm water there was an entry bridge with maybe 12 feet of clearance. We had quite a time getting backed out of the narrow area. We contined north another 1/2 mile or so and went into the Belmont Harbor. Of course it is closed, but we tied up to the fuel dock & were very happy to be there as it is now 7:45 p.m. A new first was set. This was a 12 hour day--that is plenty. Keith & Maryann's son James came to visit with his girl friend. We had a good time, and after they left about midnight we nestled in for the night.