We’re the only boat sitting here on the free wall in Bicentennial Park in Joliet IL. There were four of us here yesterday, all going through the Lockport lock together and coming here at the same time. We are not in a great hurry now. We’re meeting up with my cousin Jim and his wife Paula on the 10th or 11th and don’t want to be too far from Chicago Midway airport.
We’ve seen maybe 10 large tows come by, passing about 50 feet from us but making very little wake. Other than than our recent mates here, we’ve seen one private boat come by. Those four are the only other private boats we have seen in the entire time on the Cal Sag. This does not appear to be a recreational boating area for anyone but loopers or maybe other long distance travellers.
Tomorrow we’ll go through the Brandon and Dresden locks. One of the two valves is out in Brandon, so it takes 40 instead of 20 minutes to fill. Brandon is only 1½ miles away. The other three boats were leaving today, but were told to wait here by the lockmaster due to a large tow that had to be broken up to get through. They finally left at 11:30. I’m hoping we will get through more quickly tomorrow. Government and commercial boats have priority over us, but lockmasters will normally not make you wait more than three cycles, and can let you in with a tow if there is room and it is safe to do so.
Hopefully more adventures await beyond just long waits at large commercial locks. Certainly what we’ve done so far has always been new to us and very interesting. There have been so many high points it would be hard to pick just one or two. Whatever comes we can always count in it being different.
I think our least favorite part, especially Sue’s, was pounding down Lake Michigan. Most of our times out on that have been a bit rough. In talking with various local boaters we’ve heard that we were just here in a few weeks of bad weather. It can be great for weeks at a time as well. It may well be better for us next year, and with prevailing winds usually from the west, we’ll make it better because next year we’ll come down the Wisconsin side.