Beardstown to Grafton

Before sunrise this morning we communicated by VHF radio with the other seventeen loopers tied up near us on Logsdon Tug Service barges or in a nearby anchorage, and devised a strategy to get us all through the LaGrange Lock today before it closed for scheduled repairs. If we didn’t make it through the only southbound lockage of the day, we’d be enjoying the bustling metropolis of Beardstown for another day, so we were determined!

Early morning in Beardstown
Rafting off of other boats in the LaGrange Lock.

Well….we made it through! And in a very orderly fashion (it was amazing, actually) we loaded the lock, rafting three boats across, for the 4 foot drop. You make great friends in the locks because you’re close enough to visit on the “ride” down. There were many workmen on-site today for lock repairs, and the Loopers tossed candy and cookies up to them. One worker laughed and said “it’s like a parade!” With that many boats, it was a parade! Thanks to my friend Susan who taught me years ago to always be prepared with snacks!

Our flotilla heading down the Illinois River

The rest of the day we cruised south along the Illinois River with the rest of the flotilla at about 10 mph…it was a long, hot day without much visual interest. I’m thinking the first law of the Yukon also applies to river boating…the scenery only changes for the lead boat! 🙂

Grafton, Illinois, the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, was today’s destination. Around 5:00PM we were happy to see Grafton Harbor come into view on our port (left) side. Overcoming steady currents in the riverside marina, we tied up with the help of some friendly dock hands.

On our way to dinner across the street from the marina, Rick wanted to find Mike Kohlmiller, the unofficial “Ambassador of Grafton” who Rick met with Captain Danny Meadows on their May 2019 trip when Danny and Rick delivered R&R from Nashville to Holland. We walked into a restaurant and asked the bartender if he knew Mike Kohlmiller. From across the room, someone said “I am Mike Kohlmiller!” And we have the picture to prove it! It was a fun reunion.

The Ambassador of Grafton

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