Peoria to Beardstown, an Illinois Odyssey

Yesterday we drove our rental car back from Lafayette, Indiana to the Ivy Club in Peoria, Illinois. Craig and Nikki, Looper friends we met at Heritage Harbor marina, had passed through the Ivy Club while we were gone and, with our permission, checked and tightened R&R’s dock lines. (We are learning that Loopers look out for each other.)

A couple of Walmart runs later, we were supplied for the next leg of our voyage. We again met friendly people on the docks, all on the Great Loop from many other starting points and with far more experience than we.

This morning Rhonda returned the Enterprise rental car while I went through my daily pre-cruise engine room checks and boat prep. Beans, the friendly Enterprise guy, drove Rhonda back to the marina, and we left the dock heading southbound around 9 AM.

Many of the other Loopers had left earlier in the morning and traveled slowly. (I’m still trying to learn that.) We passed many of them during the day. We hoped to get through the LaGrange Lock 8 miles South of Beardstown and continue on, but the lock was under repair so the Admiral decided we should return to Beardstown for the night. Most of the slow boats beat us to Logsdon Tug Service in Beardstown, Illinois, a somewhat disorganized and marginally dangerous group of barges tied together at the side of the river, where LTS generously provides overnight tie-ups. After the storm (more on that later) we tied up safely to a barge loaded with rusty salvaged steel.

Our Beardstown Marina

We clambered over a few barges, across the gangplank, and up a steep stairway over the floodwall to shore, and walked into town for dinner at local dining establishment above a former bowling alley. They were short-staffed on servers that evening, so one of the Looper women stepped in, took the group’s order, and helped kitchen staff deliver it to our table. The manager asked her to return the next day!

River Port, Beardstown dining with follow Loopers.

From Rhonda:

Ya’ll know what a storm-phobe I am….

Conversation just before we got to Logsdon Tug service…

Me: Was that lightning??!!??

Captain: Uh, I dunno. Was it?


Me: Guess it was….

Back to frantically crocheting….and trying to keep calm. 🤐

There are 11 or 12 boats tied to the LTS barges tonight. An unofficial flotilla admiral volunteered to get up early, call the LaGrange Lock, and coordinate with everyone by VHF radio at 6AM tomorrow to get our flotilla through the lock tomorrow morning on our way to Grafton, Illinois.

A long, warm, stormy, but good day!