Beardstown to Grafton

Bright and early (before sun-up) this morning, we communicated with the other seventeen loopers who were either tied up on the barge with us, or in a nearby anchorage, and devised a strategy to get us all through the LaGrange Lock before it closed for 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!

The three-deep row in front of us in LaGrange Lock. Larger boats on the lock wall, smaller ones rafted off to the left. R&R’s bow is in the bottom right corner.

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. Since there were lots and lots of lock workers on-site today for the repair, we were able to share some snacks as our thanks for the lockage….we threw candy and cookies up to the guys and one said “it’s like a parade!” And, 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! 🙂 About 5:00 PM we were happy to see Grafton Harbor come into view on our port (left) side. This was our home for the night and we tied up easily with the help of some friendly dock hands.

On our way to dinner across the street from the marina, Rick wanted to see if we could find Mike Kohlmiller, the “Ambassador of Grafton” who Rick met with Captain Danny Meadows on the May 2019 trip when Danny and Rick delivered R&R from Nashville to Holland. We walked into a new 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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