October 5, Thursday, to Ottawa, IL
Well, the Marseilles (pronounced Marsails here) lock that has been closed for the last few days is now open, but our timing was just off about two hours again. We had to wait for a large barge but it was alright because we dropped anchor and did some paperwork. However it turns out we aren’t supposed to anchor near the locks without permission but we’ve gotten away with it twice. I think the issue is that if a really large barge comes toward us we might not be able to move fast enough if anchored out.
In the lock we tied up to a floating bollard – a pole with a top that goes up or down as the water in the lock goes up or down. This one happened to be autographed, so we added our boat to it.
The Ottawa Heritage Marina where we staying tonight is quite nice and the lockmaster provides a river update daily at 4pm. I had made a tentative plan for the next 7 days or so, and he let us know that some of the popular anchoring spots are too shallow right now – the water level in the river is unusually low. Very useful. They also have a courtesy car we could use to pick up a few more groceries – veggies for me and seltzer and some protein for Dirk! We also drove back to yesterday’s marina where we had again forgotten our steps. We need those steps to get on/off the boat on some docks and walls.
Above is a map from the Waterway Guide that might help follow our route as we head south to the Gulf Coast. It is missing details but gives you an idea of the cities and states we will be passing or staying in along the way. We are on the Illinois River now, and then will join the Mississippi near Grafton IL and the river will become much wider. And then before St. Louis, the Missouri River comes into the game, and the river width and the traffic increases. But I’m getting too far ahead – I’ll stop now for now 🙂
Here’s another map from Chicago south, with red dots on some of the areas mentioned in upcoming posts.