Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Headed west, waiting out the water in Joliet

Hello all: Now we're traveling on the rivers.... the Chicago River, the Des Plaines River, and soon the Illinois River... but we have only made it as far as Joliet (link to GoogleMap) where we've stayed the last two days (and probably one more), waiting for the crest of flooding to pass beyond where we'll be after a day's journey further west.
Downtown Chicago has a lot of tall buildings & bridges; heading west from the city we saw a lot more bridges... including a lot of railroad trestles... and an increasing amount of industry & support businesses that rely on water transport. This view shows four bridges ahead of us!

Here is a photo of the Sears Tower from the south west side of the city; we were headed down (you are looking up) the river. We don't know what the brick building on the left is, but it looks like some care & thought went into its architecture.

This landmark... OK maybe a watermark... is the junction of the two canals from Lake Michigan heading west to the Des Plaines River. This view is looking north-east toward the lake; on the right (south) is the "Cal-Sag" waterway (the Calumet and Little Calumet Rivers and Calumat-Sag Channel) which starts at Calumet Harbor on Lake Michigan . On the left is the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal which starts near the Navy Pier in Chicago. The Chicago route has a limited vertical clearance (about 17.5'), so larger/taller boats take the Cal-Sag.

Ever look at a feature on the map, like an island or the spot where two rivers come together, and wonder what it looks like? This is the junction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal with the Des Plaines River. The Des Plaines has been flooding but is not at a high stage, but you can still see the powerful current.

Along the left, you can see a railroad bridge carrying a freight train with shipping containers stacked double.

Here is some scenery in downtown Joliet: a mural celebrating the towns history, including a depiction of the limestone bluffs that gave the town its start in the quarrying business... at left, you can see a real bluff (I don't know if the photo is clear enough that you can zoom in and see the chisel marks).

Another sight to see in Joliet- the oldest remaining construction in town. This vault was built in 1837 to store bottles. Joliet was where the carbonated drink... soda pop... was invented, and this was the storage vault below the buildings on Bluff Street, the main business street in the 1830s.

And here we are! These boats are cruising the Great Loop, waiting for navigation conditions to improve downstream. Of course we do a fair amount of socializing, and any who need help get ample assistance; for example, someone who rented a car took reps from every boat to the grocery store today (a big highlight for Kathie). Gatherings like this are one of the attractions of cruising.
Doug spent the day repairing the air conditioner (92 degrees here today); after much detective work, he found that debris had clogged the seacock for cooling water, causing overheating and tripping the breaker.

Our best regards to you all,
Doug & Kathie

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