We left Peoria IL and continued down the Illinois river. Once away from Peoria, the area became very rural with not much to see along the river. There also was very little connectivity, and was the longest time I have seen my phone with just 1x for data services. We tied to a wall in Havana Illinois one night and anchored just south of Big Blue Island the next night. While finishing the Illinois river and arriving on the Mississippi river, the change in scenery was dramatic. It went from just flat land and trees to fancy mansions on high limestone bluffs. We’ll be staying at a marina in Alton for a few nights before we continue down the Mississippi river.
Day #9 of The Great Loop Experience—September 11 & 12, 2016
Last evening, we landed in Peoria at Eastport Marina. Very nice location with free ice and laundry facilities! That’s a first for us. We climbed the tower attached to the marina office and could see for miles around. Bridges can be seen in either direction. Some we’ve cruised under and others we have yet to go under. We did not do much the remainder of the evening other than computer work back at our boats. No decision has been made if we’ll stay another night here or move southward. On the dock, we met Becky from True North. They left Ludington last week too, but ended up hitting a rock while temporarily tied up next to a barge while awaiting a lock opening. They plan to travel on until they reach Kentucky Lakes to haul her out and repair the propeller.
We are staying one more night in Peoria which is perfectly fine. Today, we’re re-organizing stuff on Sanctuary, cleaning, laundry, injector pump oil change, and other projects. We watched Life’s Travails offload their scooter from a DeFever 44 topper with a lift. They also have a very nice dinghy on the upper deck with a wheel which they use the lift for also. Fixed scrambled eggs with sausage and waffles for breakfast.
Day #12 of The Great Loop Experience—September 13 & 14, 2016
Basics of Life. Stayed on Havana city docks right in front of the Havana Nature Center. Quiet evening after walking into town. Visited an Ace Hardware store. Purchases: replacement hose for one Steve used that more closely resembled a water soaker hose, replacement faucets for our head sink (happy, happy: no more leaky faucets and water all over the counter top), and a scrub brush for the tub. Next stop: Dollar General. Believe it or not, I was excited to walk down all the aisles just to see what there was to see. Purchases: cranberry juice, walnuts, and a package of hamburger! Yes, the Dollar Store does carry hamburger. After being on the boat all day, we all were excited for our feet to touch land and temporarily become a dirt-dweller. Put some eggs to boil before we left our free, non-electric dock. Egg salad for lunch maybe? And then one hard-boiled egg for breakfast another day.
Confession: two days ago our friends from Life’s Travails rented a car to pick their pastor-friend up from the airport. They also made a run to Costco asking us if we’d like any supplies. Four items: case of water, batteries, paper towels, and salmon. Boy, was that salmon tasty. Steve sprinkled Old Bay seasoning on them, had red beans and rice with salad (which Karen made).
I have not been to a Kohl’s, Meijer, Walgreens, or any other retail store for 12 days now. Nor have I driven or rode in a car. Feeling a bit of a withdrawal, but embracing the simpler life. Daily life now consists of:
- Rise & Shine. Put coffee pot on to boil or prepare coffee in Keurig if have power. Otherwise, coffee in peculator on stove. Dress
- Quick breakfast: oatmeal/cereal/toast & egg
- Put away dishes and any loose items in preparation for travel
- Dispose of trash if receptacle nearby. Bathroom duties.
- Carry navigational tools, personal items up to bridge.
- Research & talk to other Loopers regarding next good review destination
- Dock/slip/anchor for the night.
- Dinner preparations.
- Back to the beginning
Day #13 of the Great Loop Experience—September 15, 2016
Spent a quiet evening at anchor rafted off Last Call. The four of us went on a dinghy ride around the island of Big Blue Island just off the Illinois River on the way to Grafton/Alton. Our biggest surprise and terror came in the form of a lively Asian Carp of over 16-20 inches who decided he wanted to make his presence known. The fish slapped Scott on the shoulder splashing everyone in the boat causing Karen (in front of him) to scream and grab me causing me to scream bloody murder too. We have now decided that dinghy rides are a full contact sport requiring helmets, goggles and other protective gear.
Made reservations at Alton Marina for at least one night. We can provision, get fuel, and take on water at that destination. The Illinois River was flat today. We’re seeing farms, fields, farm equipment, and homes on stilts to avoid being flooded. River’s still high but seems to be coming down in height. Weather mild, sunny. Pearl Bridge operator spotted us on the river, contacted us, and let us know he sees us and opening bridge for us now.