Today, we planned to leave Heritage Harbor Marina at 2:00 PM with a pack of boats hoping to lock through the Starved Rock Lock when construction ended late in the afternoon. But (being curious and impatient) around 9:30 AM I called the Starved Rock lockmaster, who told me that if got there in an hour he could lock us right through. So we and another boat (“God’s Grace”) jumped on it, loosened our lines, and locked through quickly and easily.
We hoped to get from Ottawa to the IVY Club (Illinois Valley Yacht Club) in Peoria, about a 70 mile run. We were blessed to have little boat traffic, so we moved along most of the time at around 18 MPG. (There was one short delay when a push-boat and his barges got crossways and blocked the entire river. “I’ll get ‘er straightened out here in a bit, Cap”.)
We were about ten miles North of Peoria when Rhonda got a call from good friend Kim. Kim asked about our Great Loop route and where we were right then. Rhonda told her we were passing under a railroad bridge on the Illinois River North of Peoria. Kim asked if there were orange and black railroad cars on the bridge! Rhonda said “YES”. Kim said that while visiting her parents in a town North of Peoria, on a whim she drove to the Illinois River to see if we might be there. We slowed down and tooted our air horns at her on the shore! She then drove to the IVY Club and met us when we docked. What an amazing and unexpected blessing to meet and hug a good friend at a completely unexpected place and time.
We plan to travel to Lafayette for meetings and return here next week. Stay tuned!