FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20th
Our adventure beginsâ€¦â€¦..we departed the St. Joe pierhead at 11:30 a.m. We left with another boat from St.
Joeâ€¦..a 50 foot Bertram Sport Fish, "Nitz' Landing" â€“ owners: Ken and Ginger Nitz. On board with them:
Carl and Pat Heald.
We had planned on crossing the big lake and spending the first night in Hammond, Indiana. It was a gloomy, rainy
day with two footers out of the south â€“ no problem. We were approximately four miles out in the lake when
Ken called us on the radio that he didn't like the way his dinghy was riding (it was mounted out over the stern of his
boat) and felt he would like to try running the shoreline to see if that would help. We agreed and changed course,
running the shoreline.
After running about forty minutes, our alarm went off and the port engine light came on, indicating our port engine
was "hot". Jim immediately shut the engine down and went below to check it out, already suspecting it was the
water pump impeller that had gone out. That proved to be correct and he tied the shaft down and told the Nitz' to
go on as we were turning back. We limped home on one engine, doing all of seven knots! We and the Nauti Gal
didn't like that much!
We headed back home at 12:25 p.m., and arrived at the pierhead at 1:45 p.m., disappointed but also knowing that
this is part of boating. Things CAN and DO go wrong once in a while.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st
After installing two new water pump impellers (why take a chance ?) we were back in business. We also put two
extra ones on board.
Once again we departed the piers at 1:20 p.m., heading across the lake for Hammond, Indiana. It was a clear
pretty day with temps in mid-high 70's. We had three to four footers on our nose. Jim slowed down some from
our normal cruising speed so we would be more comfortable. The Nauti Gal sliced right through those waves,
throwing water like crazy! What a great, sea-worthy boat she is! About half-way across the lake, the whitecaps
vanished and the rollers began to lay down. At this point, Jim decided to "pour the coal to her" and she took off
like a "scared rabbit"! We arrived in Hammond at 4:30 p.m., and at the marina at 4:45.
The Hammond Marina is right next door to the big gambling boat casino. No, we didn't do any gambling! We
did, however, walk over to the adjacent hotel for dinner and had great steaks. For you that are familiar with the
"Ruth Chris" Steak Houses and also Mr. C's Restaurant in Florida, these steaks were equivalent!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd
The cold front that had been predicted came through Saturday night. The wind blew hard out of the north, and we
were happy that we had crossed the lake when we did. Sunday morning was rainy and the temp was fifty-five
degrees. A trawler that had come into St. Joe in August, on its way south, left Hammond at 8:00 a.m. Very nice
peopleâ€¦.the name of the Trawler is "Kindred Spirit" â€“ the owners: Clark and Libby Baker.
We left Hammond at 9:20 a.m. It is just a hop-skip-jump from there to where you enter the Calumet Sag Canal.
A boat was just ahead of usâ€¦..a forty foot Carver with the name "Bout Time" â€“ owners: Frank and Pam (at
this point, we don't know their last name). We entered the Cal Sag at 9:32 a.m. We got acquainted with Frank
and Pam via the boat radio almost immediately. They are from the Lake Superior area and have also cruised Lake
Michigan. They have never done any river cruising before, so this is a new experience for them. They have been
out cruising for a while, and said they hadn't run into any "new" friends until they met us, so we've been running
together. The boats are quite compatible cruising.
We locked through our first lock in the Cal Sag at 10:25 a.m. â€“ the O'Brien Lock, which is just a small drop.
So far it is very quiet as far as boat traffic. It appears there are many more marinas and boat clubs along the Cal
Sag since we went through a few years ago. How quickly things change!
We have seen a number of fishermen along the way and we, of course, slow down for them so we don't swamp
them with our big wake. So far, barge traffic has not been bad (maybe because it is Sunday?) It has warmed up
to seventy-two degrees.
We locked through our second lock â€“ the Lockport Lock â€“ at 2:05 p.m., and left the lock at 2:35. Four
pleasure craft locked through together. One was the trawler that left Hammond an hour and a half before we did,
the Carver, us, and a Tiara.
It is interesting to note that when you travel through Joliet, Illinois by boat, you actually are ABOVE the town.
Yes, that's what I said! If the walls protecting the city were to ever give way, there would probably no longer be
After going through the Cal Sag Canal, where there is so much industry, it is a pleasure to be on the Illinois Riverâ
€¦.much more to see and a lot prettier.
We locked through the Brandon Lock at 3:00 p.m., and came out at 3:25. The cruiser "Bout Time" is still with us.
Pam and Frank are very nice people. The trawler is now behind us and the Tiara took off like a "scared rabbit".
We were planning to stop at Harborside for the night as we were all getting tired, but decided since we had been
so lucky with the first three locks, maybe we would make it through one more that wasn't too far.
On to the Dresden Lock where we arrived at 4:30 p.m. Then we found out we had to wait for a barge that we
had passed up stream some time earlier. They did allow us in the lock along with the barge. For those of you who
don't know, the barges always have priority over the pleasure craft. Most of the barge captains are very nice;
however, if they want to be mean, they tell the lock master that no one can go in with them.
Just as we went into the lock, the wind came up and we had quite a time. In some locks, they have bollards on the
sides of the walls and you simply wrap your line around the bollard and hang onto it as you ride up or down,
whichever the case might be â€“ in our case, we have been going down. Then, in other locks, like the Dresden
Lock, they throw lines down to you which you grab onto. I was on the bow of the boat and Jim close to the stern
when I realized I had a short line â€“ at least it seemed short to me. Between the wind being so strong, me being
small with arthritic hands, plus a line that wasn't long enough, I almost couldn't hang onto the line as we went down
in the lock. When Jim realized I was having a problem, he quickly changed places with me, and HE even had
trouble - he agreed that the line was short. At the stern of the boat, he had found a bollard in the wall and
wrapped one of our lines around it, which made it easier to keep control. We came out of the lock at 5:35 p.m.
By now we had all had it and headed for the Springbrook Marina in Seneca, Illinois., where we have stayed
before. We really like it better than Harborside Marina. We went to dinner at the marina with our new friends,
Pam and Frank.
When we came back to the boat after dinner, we detected a strong odor. I thought it was a diesel fuel odor but
Jim said he thought it smelled like hot oil. He was wrong. He found the fuel pump in our generator was leaking
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23rd
Jim went up to the parts store at the marina this morning to see if he could get replacement parts for our Onan
generator. They told him they had none because the generator is old. They were nice enough to call the Onan
dealer but got voice mail. Onan did call the marina back and told them the replacement kits were on back order,
but were not reliable anyway (we already knew this as Jim had put one in a year ago). In the meantime, Jim pulled
the fuel pump out and Onan said they would send a new fuel pump out UPS. It should be here no later than noon
tomorrow, Tuesday. Once Jim installs the new pump, we will be on our way again. We told Pam and Frank to go
ahead if they wanted and we would understand. They said no, and they would stick with us, so that was really
nice. So, today was actually quite a restful day which we were all ready for.
Tomorrow we will only have two locks to go throughâ€¦.the Marseilles Lock and the other one at Starved Rock.
If we can get through those in good time, we will probably head for Peoria, another 65 miles.
Just a side noteâ€¦Carl Heald called today from the cruiser "Nitz' Landing" to see where we were. He said they
had just left Starved Rock heading for Peoria. So we had almost caught up to them but now, with the generator
problem, we will lag behind a little bit again.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th
We woke up to a beautiful but chilly morningâ€¦â€¦each morning and each evening has been cool, but it warms up
to the 70's once the sun is out for a while.
The fuel pump for the generator arrived around 1:00 p.m. (I'm going to continue using Michigan time throughout
this log). Jim installed it and the generator started right upâ€¦after a few minutes, it shut down again. Though Jim
thought he had primed it, it had not properly primed. Jim switched over to the aft tank and reprimed it and
everything worked fine. This whole scenario took a while, and Jim was still working on it at 2:20. We told Frank
and Pam to go ahead and they finally said they would. We figured we would either catch them at the next lock, if
they had to wait for it, or in Peoria later on.
Jim and I left the marina at 3:00 and, sure enough, Frank and Pam were waiting at the lock, which was being
repaired. They finally let us all in the lock but didn't actually lock us through until 4:20. We still had one more lock
to goâ€¦Starved Rockâ€¦and then sixty-five more miles to reach Peoria. Jim made a quick decision, which Frank
and Pam agreed with, and that was to spend the night at Starved Rock and go through the lock in the morning.
Jim based his decision on the fact he had just seen a barge go through carrying "hazardous" material. Those tows
NEVER allow pleasure craft to lock through with themâ€¦it's just too dangerous. We knew it would be a long wait
before we could be locked through, and we definitely DO NOT want to run these rivers at night. So we arrived at
the Starved Rock Marina at 5:20 and spent the night.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th
We left Starved Rock Marina at 9:35 a.m. and arrived at the lock at 9:55. There was a tow locking through when
we arrived so we had to wait. We locked through at 10:15 heading for Peoria. No more locks todayâ€¦.hurrah!
We arrived at East Port Marina in Peoria at 3:00 where we are fueling, pumping heads, and I will be doing laundry.
We had a good run, but had to slow down often because of fishermen in boats and on the river banksâ€¦.also
Tomorrow we will have a LONG run so will get up early. We hope to make it to Alton, Illinois, with only two
locks. But it will depend on how long we are tied up at the locks.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26th
It's not so cool this morning, in fact quite pleasant. We have actually been quite fortunate with sunshine most
We left Peoria at 8:00 a.m., and six miles down stream went into our first lock of the day at 8:40 and came out of
the lock at 8:50. Since it was just the two boats and a small drop of 10-11 feet, the lockmaster told us to just get
in the middle of the lock and not even bother tying up â€“ fine with us!
We are on our way again. We ARE going to try to make it to Alton today as we heard that some of the
anchorages between here and there are just too shallow to try anchoring. Most every marina we have been in so
far we have stirred up mud on the bottom. The times we brought the Nauti Gal and the Harris boat up from
Florida, the rivers were over their banks (of course that was also in the spring). This time there is so much beach
showing on the river banks, it is incredible!
A sad side noteâ€¦.The Trawler "Kindred Spirit" is turning around today and heading back north. We talked to the
people yesterday, and the owner of the boat has been so sick on this trip. Before they left home, his doctor
suspected he might have West Nile Virus but still gave him permission to make this trip, even though the test results
were not back yet. In talking to his wife, she said he was feeling worse and was wondering if this had turned into
viral meningitis. They are fortunate to have another boating couple on board with them to handle lines, drive the
We reached the LaGrange Lock at l2:45 but had to wait for a north bound tow and barges that were already in the
lock. We locked in at 2:00 and came out at 2:10 â€“ another 10-11 foot drop. We are through with the locks
Along the way, we have seen a lot of nature's beauty and some very unique white pelicans and egrets.
We arrived at the Alton Marina at 6:45â€¦a long, tiring 11 hour day. SO MUCH FOR TAKING OUR TIME!!!
Seriously though, there really were no places to stop in between.
By the way, we are now in the Mississippi Riverâ€¦.there is a point where the Illinois River and the Mississippi
Rivers come together.
The State of Illinois is on one side of this river and the State of Missouri is on the other side.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27th
Another beautiful morning and warmer as we go. We left the Alton Marina at 11:15 and are waiting at the Melvin
Price Lock (11:30). They are working on the lock so we don't know how long our wait will be. Four boats are
waitingâ€¦.Nauti Gal, Bout Time, Nitz' Landing, and a 56 foot Ocean. Yes, we finally caught up with Nitz'
Landing, but only because she has had some engine trouble. The owner got two so-called experts down to look at
his engines, and he got two different diagnosis. So he decided to try running with us, although he can't run near as
fast because of his engine problems. I doubt if the Ocean will stay with us. There are a lot of places on the river
where you have to run slow, but the people on the Ocean don't slow down too much when they should.
We finally entered the lock at 12:05 and came out at 12:25.
We just passed through where the Missouri River flows into the Mississippi.
We went through the second and last lock of the dayâ€¦The Chain of Rocks at 1:20 and came out at 1:35. We
are just about to pass the big "arch" in St. Louisâ€¦.it is quite a sight!
Another good runâ€¦.we arrived at "Hoppie's Marina" at 3:20. We have been here before when the water was
much, much higher. It seems strange to see all this land. The marina is nothing more than a long string of barges
hooked together, and is right on the main channel of the Mississippi. The people who own the place are very nice,
friendly and accommodating. We (and Pam and Frank) walked at least a quarter of a mile to the only restaurant in
town, but it was worth it. The restaurant is a big, very old log house that dates back to 1770. It hasn't always
been a restaurant either. I believe at one time it was a "stopping off" place for people traveling, plus it was a livery
I finally took some time to clean the inside of the boat, and also spent some time working on myself â€“ that's a full-
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise and got underway at 9:30 a.m. The fourth boat with us, the fifty-six foot Ocean
left around 7:00. We feel they want to travel alone, and that's okayâ€¦they have a home in Harbor Springs
(wonder if they know the Princes and the Palmers?) â€“ they also have a place at Sanibel Island.
It is a bit cool this morning and a little foggy so we turned the radar onâ€¦..I'm sure the sun will eventually burn off
the fog. No locks today â€“ we expect to be at our anchorage in about four or five hours, but it will depend on
how many barges we meet up with. This anchorage is just past Cape Girardeau and off the main channel of the
river. We have anchored there beforeâ€¦.of our group of three boats, I think we are the only ones that have
As we travel along, we see on one side of the river beautiful rock walls, and on the other side are woodland and a
lot of sandy beach.
We just passed a "huge" sandbar that stretched halfway across the river leaving a narrow channel, but the river is
well marked with buoys. Through that narrow channel it was thirty feet deep and the water was boiling â€“ other
areas are only fifteen feet or less deep. So, even though the water level is way down, the current is still very
strong, and you can see and feel whirlpools in the water. We are beginning to see a little debris in the water from
time to time.
We have passed lots and lots of barges today â€“ some northbound and some southbound. It keeps you on your
toes!! When you see a barge coming, you show that tow captain the courtesy of slowing way down and calling
him for permission to pass. You also ask if he would like you to pass on his port side or starboard side, or as they
say, "one whistle" or "two whistles".
We reached our anchorage called the "Little River Diversion Channel", a cut off of the Mississippi â€“ narrow but
with about ten feet of water. We dropped both a bow and a stern anchor. It is 3:15 and we will stay here tonight,
a safe anchorage. Since leaving home, we have now traveled 566 miles.
The good Lord has really blessed us with good weather and has kept us safe from all harm and danger.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th
We pulled anchors at 8:00 a.m. sharp (remember, I'm still using Michigan time) â€“ what's that old saying, "you
can't teach an old dog new tricks"?! The sun came up a few minutes before we left the anchorage and is already
very bright. There is haze this morning so we, at least for the time being, have our radars on.
We have already met and passed three barges and another one is coming. It looks like it may be a busy and
"slow" day for running. We know it's going to be a LONG day as we are heading for Green Turtle Marina at
Kentucky Lake where we have reservations.
It is now 10:26 and we just left the Mississippi River, after rounding a bend in the river. We are now on the Ohio
River. It is hard for me to understand how the Mississippi can be so low and the Ohio River so high. We are now
going UP the Ohio and AGAINST the current instead of with it. The State of Illinois is still to our left and the State
of Kentucky is now on our right.
We had heard that because the Ohio River is so high, that the "wicket" dams would be down which means the two
locks on the Ohio that we would normally go thru we can go right over the tops of them! That is always a plus!
We will now continue "going up" and "against" the current until we get to Kentucky Lake and will continue this way
on the Tennessee River too. After we leave the Tennessee River and start into the Tennessee TomBigBee Canal
or, as some call it the TenTom (a man-made canal) we will once again be going "down stream" all the way to the
We are encountering more debris on the Ohio, the reason being it is so high right now. We ran over a small
submerged log a few minutes ago, but don't think it did any prop damage. Come to find out, the other two boats
we are traveling with also ran over some submerged debris. It's the ones you DON'T see that can be bad!!
We passed a new lock under construction that will eventually replace the two locks that we were able to go over
Side note: The elevation of Lake Michigan is 580 feet â€“ we are now 290 feet below what we were when we
At 2:50 we entered the Cumberland River â€“ it is also very high and flowing faster than the Ohio. It's really pretty
though and what we REALLY LIKE is it is not busy with boat traffic. So far we have passed one trawler heading
for Green Turtle also.
At 4:50 we arrived at Barkley Lock and it was open for us â€“ we locked through at 5:05 and arrived at Green
Turtle Marina at 5:30. We traveled 165 miles today. We have been putting in some long daysâ€¦â€¦nine, ten,
eleven hour days!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30th
We were able to sleep in todayâ€¦â€¦we awoke to cloudy skies, but now the sun is trying to come out. Green
Turtle is a good stopping off place, and we hope to stay here a couple of days before going on. We also don't
care to get to Florida too soon because it is Hurricane Season!
Sally and Stan Nelson (sister and brother-in-law for those of you who don't know) live in Charleston, Missouri,
which is one hour from here, so they are driving here to see us and have lunch with us. We are looking forward to
Jim is finally finding time to give the Nauti Gal a bath this morning. She sure needs it!!!
We are hoping to get our website uploaded while we are here. He managed to upload some of our pictures, so
there has to be a way to also upload this log. Thanks to our daughter-in-law, Jill, she got us started and has put
some neat things on the website for us â€“ but with the program we have, we've been having trouble uploading