October 14, 2014
Hammond, IN to Harborside Marina (Channahon, IL)
We left Hammond harbor around 7:30am to enter the Cal Sag channel ( through a heavy industrial area,)to enter the O’Brien lock – our first lock of the trip. We locked through with a barge and they let us float in the center of the channel next to him with about 3′ on each side of us to spare.
We continued cruising down the Cal Sag until 127th street where our good friend Mike Matutis came to see us off. Our next challenge was the Asian carp electric fish barrier. Ten minutes prior to our arrival they shut down the barrier for 3.5 hours to perform maintenance on the barrier.
Shortly after we passed the electrical barrier, was the famed 19’1” fixed railroad bridge in Lemont, IL. We made it under with about a foot to spare! This was the lowest fixed bridge we will have to traverse under our entire trip. Continuing on to the Lockport lock, the lock master let us tie up on a wall to wait for it to open. Once inside, we dropped down 40’ as the sole pleasure boat in the lock.
Our next leg led us through Joliet, IL with a number of bridges that opened in succession to lead us to the Brandon road Lock and dam. This is where things started getting a little hectic with a 2.5 wait, idling outside the lock with nowhere to tie up! The Brandon road lock dropped us down another 35’. Once out of the lock, we had a 14 mile trek in total darkness. With me (Ray) at the helm glued to the chart plotter and Audrey on the bow with a handheld search light searching for markers and debris, the rain never let up. Thankfully, our Ray Marine chart plotter that Rob Cook installed has been 100% spot on every time. Thanks Rob! Finally pulled into harbor side marina around 11:00pm CST with a strong down bound current pinning us to the dock. We tied up successfully and started to hook up for the night. Once tied up with the cable master out, the generator shut itself down within seconds of plugging in! We finally found the proper amount of power for Nightingale and began investigating why the generator shut down. Alas, around 1:00am I had troubleshot the generator to start. By 6:00am the next morning I was down in the generator room and by 7:30am we had left port for our next leg of the trip. All is well!