Three-and-a-half miles down the river is an Amtrak railroad bridge that has to open for us to pass – it has a clearance when closed of just 10 feet. This bridge won’t open during rush hour, but after that will open for pleasures boats as long as a train isn’t coming. We called to the bridge operator and after waiting for two trains we passed through. The scenery changes quite dramatically after this bridge, going from skyscrapers to industry to trees and barge terminals.
About 24 miles after leaving the Chicago Harbor Lock, the Chicago Sanitary Canal and the Calumet Sag Channel (Cal-Sag) join. Boats that can’t get under the 17’ air draft requirement take the Cal-Sag. The next five or so miles is a large towboat and barge parking area. It is very difficult to pass in this area; barges are tied to the shore edges leaving just enough room for an oncoming barge to pass. We encountered a towboat pushing 9 barges in this area and spent about 30 minutes hanging out very close to the canal wall while he passed. Fred did a great job handling the boat while the barges went by.
Finally we arrived at our first really big lock, the Lockport Lock. This lock lowers the boat over 40 feet. I was quite nervous about how everything would work, but Tyrone the lockmaster was extremely helpful. All six of the boats in the lock with us were pleasure boats. We were assigned the farthest back floating bollard on the starboard side of the lock and they asked Brandy IV to raft off of us. So, we put fenders out on both sides of the boat and Tyrone helped me get a line around the bollard – two wraps and then cleated back on the mid-cleat of the boat. The floating bollard was great; I basically stood near it and monitored our progress down. The boat pivoted on the mid-cleat and the bumpers kept us off the lock wall. Forty feet down is a lot, but it only took about 15 minutes. It is hard for me to imagine what some of the locks on the Tennessee River will be like with changes in elevation of over 80 feet.
We decided to save the next lock for tomorrow and are tied up at a park wall in Joliet. This is a free dock sponsored by the city. The wall is a bit rough, but there are 30amp outlets mounted into the concrete pillars of the seawall so we were able to cool off and cook dinner without running the generator.
Miles: 36.7 Bridges: 65 Locks: 2
|Boreas with the radar down and the cockpit canvas removed so|
that we can easily get under the bridges in Chicago
|Boreas all set to begin the trip down the Chicago River|
|Boreas just before we depart from DuSable Harbor in Chicago|
|the entrance to the Chicago Harbor Lock - our first lock!|
|a boat leaving the Chicago Harbor Lock just before we enter|
|we are through the Chicago Harbor Lock and heading for the|
first bridge at Lake Shore Drive
|we have passed under the first bridge and are looking|
down the river toward Trump Tower Chicago
|we traveled under 65 bridges today, most of them in the|
first few miles through downtown Chicago
|bridges in Chicago|
|65 bridges is a lot - here are a few more of them|
|just in case you thought we were kidding about|
all the bridges, here are a few more
|the Amtrak Rail Road Bridge beginning to open|
|once you leave the city of Chicago, this is what the river begins|
to look like
|aeration falls at the water treatment plant where the Chicago Sanitary|
and Ship Canal meets the Cal-Sag Channel
|barges line the banks of the river waiting to be picked up by a tow and moved|
|these were some of the tows waiting for that very large barge to pass|
|in the Lockport Lock tied up and waiting to go down|
|in the Lockport Lock, we are all the way down and the gates|
are starting to open
|in the Lockport Lock, the gates are fully open and we are|