We left Tall Timber with 138 miles to go to Alton. Forty miles from Tall Timber we hit the LaGrange lock. As with all locks, we called in advance. They told us to come ahead. We got there and went right in and locked down while floating in the middle with another trawler tied up at the front left. As we left the lock there was a tow approaching. It was slowing for the lock and would take another ten minutes to reach it, so we made it through just in time. This was the last Cal Sag – Illinois river lock for us. We were fortunate that we never waited more than ten minutes for any of them. We had gone from Lake Michigan’s 577′ elevation down to 419′ where the Illinois River meets the Mississippi.
There was no obvious place to stay between Havana and Alton. At first I thought about tying up at the LaGrange Lock 58 miles from Tall Timber. They sometimes have barges above where boaters can tie up, or allow anchoring in the area below the dam. I called them and found that there were no tie up places above and the currents below were too strong for anchoring. A couple of times along the way we saw barges on the bank where we might tie up. We called a nearby towboat and asked about one and found we could use it but would be thrown off at 6 AM when it was to be loaded. The second time we found a candidate its company did not allow tying up.
By this time we had gone far enough that we decided to try for the Riverdock restaurant’s dock. That would give us a total 100 mile run for the day. This was doable since we had no more locks where we could have a possible delay and the restaurant has a good reputation as well. I called them but just got a machine with a simple “leave a message” that did not seem quite right. A check on the internet showed the Riverdock restaurant had burned down June 5, 2015. Was their dock still there? Since it probably did not burn down with the restaurant we decided to go for it.
On our way there we got a call back from the Riverdock’s owner. She had received my message and said the dock was still there and invited us to use if for free. Soon after that we arrived and tied off. Another looper who had also left Tall Timber that morning arrived shortly afterwards and Jim and I helped them to tie up behind us. We were now 39 miles from Alton Marina. We would easily get there tomorrow, a day early. That would give us much of Tuesday as well as all day Wednesday to see St Louis.