7/24/08---A long travel day ahead. After some fine pancakes at Mel’s we left Hardin at 10:30 a.m. There was a light drizzle to keep us wet on the fly bridge. After a while we chose to operate from inside the cabin. The twin Yanmar diesels purrrrred with a deep guttural tone as we cruised up the Illinois River. This turned out to be a day of firsts. Our radio worked great as we communicated the first time with the tugs to find out which side they preferred we pass. At 12:30 pm another first occurred. The river is still about 3’ above pool stage so the Gateway Western Railroad Bridge at mile 43 had to be raised for us to pass. The next first occurred at 1:45 pm when we had to call for the Florance Highway Bridge to be raised at mile marker 56. This bridge is on Highway 100/106. Arriving at the LaGrange Lock & Dam there was a short wait because the lock tender was having radio trouble. When he could finally be heard we learned that because of the water level there was no need to lock thru. We were instructed to stay in the main channel and continue up the river. Thinking that an early stop might be good (5:30 pm), we attempted to tie up the Beardstown Municipal dock. This is nothing more than a barge secured to a retaining wall. The name of the town (Beardstown) was painted in large letters on a building on the barge and a stairway leading to the top of the wall made the place look okay. The current was strong and the water depth to shallow. After putting a slight bend in a short section of the railing on the starboard side of our boat, it was determined the location was not acceptable. There are no services on this part of the river so we continued on looking for a desirable spot to anchor. Carol spotted a deer along the bank. One area was tried with a single anchor, but the water was shallow and the passage way narrow. We continued upriver. As Keith operated the boat I (Allen) got down in the hold and took out a brand new Fortress Anchor. Carol helped me get the 200’ of rope attached to 20’ of 5/16” chain, and to the anchor, with swivels and shackles. A nice wide area was found at the outlet of Jack Lake (106.9 mile marker) just out of the main part of the river. This is a fine spot with about 8’ of water. Maryann helped me with the rope as I dropped the anchor off the port side at the stern. I had Keith pull forward as rope was let out. Maryann dropped the plow anchor on the bow with the windless. As the boat moved back I picked up on the line at the stern. Once the bow anchor dug in I tied off the stern and the boat settled between the two well placed anchors. Another first-anchored out for the night. Now that the anchors are in service we remind ourselves the rope is actually called “rode” when used on an anchor. Thank goodness the boat is secure for it is now 8:30 pm and having travel 86 miles in 10 hours it is time to relax. That is also a first--the most hours traveled in a single day. We plan to reach Peoria tomorrow.