XXX Sugar Island to Ottawa Illinois

Monday September 15, 2014

This morning we awoke in a beautiful backwater of the Illinois River behind Sugar Island. No shit, Sugar Island. Notwithstanding the fact that we are out of Kicking Horse Coffee, it was a pretty nice morning. But and it’s a big butt. It was cold, gray and rainy. But, I could see Egrets, Cranes and Bald Eagles everywhere. Possibly the biggest, baldest and badest bald eagle I have ever seen. He was huge, the tree was sagging from his weight and stature. Something about the U.S.A. and their Eagle. Sorry no pictures.

Fish pop to the surface all over the place. The river water is very let’s call it murky…ranging to muddy. I think the fish pop up from time to time to see where the hell they are.

I think I’m beginning to like this river stuff…except the locks. I’m not a guy who can throw it into neutral and wait 5 or 6 hours for my chance in line to go through. I totally understand the rationale that commerce trumps retirees trying to follow the sun south. I find the waiting more stressful than the movement.

The guys at Marseille lock did their best…however, when I get to the Caribbean don’t put a lock between me and my rum. Along our river run we have crossed paths with canoeists on their way to St. Louis. Three canoes, today very wet, very cold but full of energy. We finally locked through with the canoes and the lockmaster blew the horn in the basically empty cell it was extremely loud and did the reverb thing. The canoes nearly upset…and then they all laughed. You have two choices when faced with wet, cold and waiting. You can get angry… but it’s totally non-productive and serves no purpose. It does feel good momentarily though. Or you can laugh. You all know the feeling…everyone looks at each other and there’s a group decision “it’s ok, laugh”.

We are using Active Captain as our main resource on where to park each day. We also use advice from our friends and trailblazers DevOcean and Bliss who suggested start early and stop early. Don’t be looking for your end mooring in the dark. They also said listen to what everyone says and then make your own decisions. All good advice.

After a regular workday on the water we stopped at 15:25 central in Ottawa Illinois. They have a free dock with power and water. There is enough room for another Fracas and nobody else. They have a nice sign board welcoming you and identifying where the shopping lives. We went inland and found some groceries. There is lots of great architecture in these towns. I will try to go back uptown tomorrow morning and take some pictures if there is some light. We have another lock just downriver a ways likely 5 or 6 hours again. Oh well.

We did manage to find some Goslings for 18 bucks a jug. Also picked up a jug of scotch…some Laphroaig for my sipping enjoyment. I find Laphroaig just as good as some twice as costly.But Rum in still my fav.

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