Finishing up season three of the Great Loop
30 September 2019
Leaving the Chicago mooring field at dawn we traveled through downtown in fog so heavy that we could not see the top half of the buildings along the river. The views were amazing but the pictures could not due justice to the architecture that towered above us. Once we passed through the city, the rest of the Illinois river was mostly sparsely populated countryside. Over the 330 miles we passed through 8 locks. Some of these held us up for a few hours while others had us literally gliding right over the dam. These latter dams were wicket dams that could be lowered below the waterline allowing boats to pass right over them when water levels allowed.
The mighty Mississippi was not as terrifying as I had feared. The current was strong enough to bump our average speed from 7.5 to 12-13 knots! The downside was the debris that we had to dodge, from small games to large logs, it kept us on our toes. No marinas are available so we pushed hard for 2 days to cover the 218 miles.
Traveling the Ohio was against the current but fortunately we only saw about 1/2 knot. A detour, a marina or two and we were hauled out and heading to the Ford dealership to pick up a car that I had purchased online.
I love this voyage but was ready to spend the winter in our RV Golf community in Texas. It was a good time to end the season as these rivers were my least favorite part of the loop so far. Next season we will spend time on the lovely Tennessee and Tombigbee Waterway and finish up the Florida coast to cross or wake in Fort Myers.
Three seasons of Our Loop is complete. Here is a recap of our adventures so far:
2017: Florida Mini Loop, 590 miles / 95 days
we traveled from Stuart Florida through the Okeechobee Waterway and followed the coast of Southern Florida to return to Stuart.
2018: Bahamas and East Coast, 1700 miles / 146 days
we traveled to the Abacos and then slowly up the east coast to Cape Charles, Chesapeake Bay.
2019: Lake Champlain route, 2720 miles / 145 days
Chesapeake, Cape May to New York, up the hudson, Canada's canal systems with stops at Montréal and Ottawa, to Mackinac Island, lake Michigan, Illinois river to Mississippi river to Ohio river and Tennessee river.
45 @ anchor
48 @ free or Park walls
52 @ marinas
And so we transition from summer Trawler Trash to winter Trailer Trash