09-08-09 Peoria, IL IVY Marina.

[Rick] We began about 0800 travelling with two other loopers (Still Busy and Meander) to the first lock (the sixth on the Illinois River) from Heritage Harbor. HH is a first class marina, and we really liked it, but it was time to move on. We made it to the lock just as the lock was opening, so we had no wait. This is really good, as some people wait 5-6 hours if there is much commercial traffic. The trip to Peoria was 73 miles.

Along the way, we passed several tows, and the had the highlight of the day: we saw Asian Carp jumping. Betsy took some photos and video. They were jumping in our wake. It was incredible. Our friend Jack, aboard Still Busy, saw a teenage boy hit in the face by a carp as they passed the boy and his father fishing in a small boat.

We arrived at the IVY (Illinois Valley Yacht) Marina at about 1430. This is a private club that accepts transients. We get to use all of the facilities, marina, pool, laundry, bar, etc for only $1.00 per foot per night. Quite a deal. We were supposed to be by ourselves, with the other three boats stopping behind us. But, the marina where they were to stop was a dump. So, they called us and we found space for them here at IVY. They came in about 1600.

After everyone, now 4 boats, was tied up and after docktails, we went across the street to a bar and grill for supper. They had a very wide menu and we had a great meal. By 2100, we were all back at our boats, doing whatever.

We plan to stay here for two days. Then, move on down the river. The Illinois River is not particularly pretty. It is very heavy with barge traffic, and while it is better than Lake Michigan, it is a blue highway to get us to the Mississippi and the Tennessee Rivers, and on down to Mobile Bay.

Betsy adds: I think the Illinois River is quite beautiful, and peaceful. Yes, we passed a few barges, but in between them was pure American heartland. We saw many blue heron, a few snowy egrets, and tons of white pelicans. I thought the white pelicans were interesting because we don’t see them in North Carolina. The only time we’ve seen them before was on the Atchafalaya River in Louisiana several years ago. So they must migrate from here to there without stopping on the east coast.

Seeing the jumping Asian Carp was too cool! Our videos may not rival the ones on Youtube, but they do prove we saw them. The other 3 loopers missed seeing them somehow, except the one that hit the boy fishing.

Overall I thought it was a great day. As I rode on the bow (playing my part as hood ornament) I was thinking “this is what the loop is all about…this is what I was expecting and hoping for.”

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