Rollin Down the River

Unlike Lake Michigan, the Calumet River sees heavy barge traffic, with very few pleasure crafts.



Surrounded by industrial operations, scrap metal and sewage plants, it was surprising to see lovely green hillsides …


Upon closer inspection, we realized they were massive land fills, with methane venting.

Little Calumet River Marine Services

We spent our first night on the river in a very small marina, surrounded by some of the nicest local boaters, celebrating life.



But the flame across from our dock was from another land fill, a very unsettling experience that may have caused a rough night’s sleep filled with strange dreams.

Joliet City Wall

We reunited with Sea Trek in Joliet, tying up to the City Wall together, along with It’s Someday.



Ottawa – Heritage Harbor

As a storm continued to build, we found refuge at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa.




Henry – Lock Walls

Yet another unique experience, we tied off to the rock walls of a former lock.


Power was found about 5 feet off the ground, in anticipation of flooding.


Electrical expert, Dale Morgan, cringed at this photo!

Loopy Loopers

After securing our boats to the rocks, we gathered at Henry’s Lakeside Tavern.


None of the Looper ladies were willing to contribute to the decor.


Five Looper Boats (10 people) closed the bar at Henry’s after a highly competitive game of pool.

Peoria – Illinois Valley “Ivy” Club


The invasion of loopers grew to more than a dozen boats at Peoria.

Peoria, Illinois


The American Queen in front of the Mark Twain Hotel.

Havana – Tall Timbers

One of Rick’s Bucket List items is a visit to Havana.  Something about the romance of a certain spring holiday in 1957, his parents, on a beach, you get the idea. Although we have not made it to Cuba, yet; Havana, Illinois was a little slice of heaven.


Tall Timbers Marina
Exhale, Sea Trek and It’s Someday in Havana


Polka, polka
Steve and Bonnie from It’s Someday enjoying the polka festival Beer and Brats!

Beardstown, Logsdon Tug Service – Rafting to a Barge

It was a unique experience, tying off to a barge for the night.  At Mile 88 we stopped at Logsdon, along with Sea Trek and It’s Someday.  



Although it was a little tricky getting on and off the boat, the guys were delighted to get a private tour of the engine room.  Yep, that’s a Cummins 1700hp – the tug has two of them. It’s just a little bigger than the 355hp in Exhale.


Slang from the tugs and barges

Most of the seasoned tug operators seem to talk with a gruff voice and a unique slang, that can be entertaining:

Meet up on the one whistle – when two crafts encounter one another, each staying in their far right lane of traffic

On the twos – when two crafts stay in the far left lane of traffic (yes, it seems backwards, like going up the down staircase)

This one goes ’bout twice across – a double width barge

Knock the rust off it – getting close enough to a navigational buoy that you could scrape the rusted paint off it.

Com on o’er it – come on over closer

Throw Down the Dam! We had heard the tugs say repeatedly, “gotta wait for the lock cause “they done throw down the dam” ???   The marina said the Peoria lock and dam was closed for maintenance, as the “wickets were down”, but you could continue south on the Rivers by going “over” the dam.  The fear of going over a dam turned into a hearty chuckle for all of us when we learned the “wickets” were gates that had been dropped into the water, making the dam virtually undetectable.



Some of the tug names are very difficult to pronounce.  These two were familiar.

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 132 plus 1 dam, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet and Illinois River: 6 plus 1 dam

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Author: Exhale49

North Pacific Trawler euro style

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