[Rick] The weather was wonderful, a little fog in the morning, as we made our way from Peoria, IL to Beardstown, IL, a distance of 80 miles. We passed several tows and saw about one egret per 200 yards. The lock, our seventh on the Illinois, was closed when we arrived at 1030. But, by 1145, we were through and on the way. For the others, some waited 2-3 hours, as they had left the marina over an hour before we did. Here is a picture of the boats waiting for the lock. There were 8 of them in total, with us being the last to arrive.
Since we are faster than the other boats we headed for Beardstown, whereas the other boats only went about 40 miles to Tall Timbers Marina. We arrived in Beardstown, a delightful river town, to find the town dock is GONE. Loopers rely on cruising guides to tell them where to stay, and all guides indicate there is a free town dock here. Betsy sent an e-mail to those following us. Rather than recreate the message, I am copying the email verbatim with attribution to Betsy. Here it is.
[Betsy] This is for anyone planning to tie up to the BEARDSTOWN, IL town dock at mile 88.5. Due to extremely low water, the town dock IS NOT THERE!!! The only choice is to ask permission to tie up to one of Logsdon Tug Service's tow boats, or perhaps to a barge at their location if there is one that will be staying overnight. Try calling Logsdon at 217-323-1290. As expected, there are no facilities, and Logsdon will probably charge $1 per foot. As the only pleasure craft here and being small, we were able to pull around on the landward side of the Tugboat Clyde so we are protected from the river traffic. I would recommend this for Pookie or Quotidian...there was a barge behind (not attached to) the tug that they said would be leaving in the middle of the night so it was a tight fit and larger boats probably would not be able to maneuver this if they put another barge there tomorrow. Too bad, because I love Beardstown! It is truly an old river town with no touristy frills. Wonderful architecture both in its buildings and old homes. There is a charming "town square" complete with bandstand, a river walk where the towndock should be, and another small park with "Mile 88" spelled out in pruned shrubs. There is a small museum but it was already closed by the time we walked into town and doesn't open until 10AM (open 10-4), and we'll probably be gone by then. There are several of the "Looking for Lincoln" plaques explaining his time here as a lawyer and the famous Almanac Trial that took place here. We had a wonderful dinner at the "Cafe from Yesterday"...which was sort of like an old saloon complete with honky tonk player piano music in the background...directions: Go over the levee wall at Logsdon, head north on Main Street to State Street, then go right to 2nd street. Across 2nd street and just slightly north is the cafe. So if you can make this stop and want to see a "real" town, do it! Rick and I are loving it being here with the working guys on the tug. This is one of those true Western Rivers experiences that we live for! Since I'm not going to lug Beamer up the very steep steps over the wall, she'll have to "go on the tow" that we cross over to get to the steps!
[Rick] After our walking tour of town, we returned to the boat for the evening. Betsy sat out on the tow and read her book.
Tomorrow we go 88 more miles and one more lock to Grafton, and mile 0 of the Illinois River. From there, the Mighty Mississippi awaits.