Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Staying & Going on the Illinois River

Hello all: Yesterday we were treated to a nice visit with some of the folks who have been cruising on parallel courses for the past 4 months. We all tied up to the town dock at Beardstown, Illinois (link to GoogleMap). Five boats on the Great Loop cruise stopped here yesterday afternoon & stayed the night.
We remained for most of this morning so we could learn more about the town.
Clockwise from left: Karma, the Winnie W, Second Wind (behind the white structure), Our Time, and Happy Destiny.

Beardstown, like many places we've stopped, has a very interesting history. Illinois is the "Land of Lincoln" (link to excellent short bio) and the park in the center of town commemorates Abraham Lincoln giving a speech here as a candidate for the US Senate. His opponent, Stephen Douglas, is also commemorated here; they have separate memorials because Lincoln refused to speak in the same spot that Douglas had spoken three days before!

Before he became a political candidate, Lincoln defended a man accused of murder here in Beardstown. The courtroom where this "Almanac Trial" (link) was heard is still used as a court, the only courtroom still existing where President Lincoln practiced law.

Here is a photo of Doug in the lock-up where Duff Armstrong was kept. This was used as the city jail until the 1960s!

Shown standing in front of a huge collection of stone tools & arrowheads, Susie was our guide to the old City Hall and Museum in Beardstown. She is very knowledgeable and generous with her time. Thank you!

Here is a navigation problem- what does it mean when you see a red nun buoy tied up to a green can buoy? Which way is the safe channel? What about the debris attached to both markers? The answer is that one or perhaps both of the marks have been dragged out of place by the flood.
We have seen many misplaced markers along the sides of the rivers and out of place in the navigation channels.

Usually we have enough clearance to go right under bridges, but the 20.1 ft Gateway Western Railway near Pearl, Illinois, has enough flood water under it that we asked them to lift it for us.
(For 2 prior bridges, Kathie got on the roof of the pilothouse and determined whether we'd make it under! Our "air draft" is 12 ft with our mast and antennas down; ex., one bridge was supposed to be 26 ft but the flood water is 10 ft above normal; we went under with 2 ft to spare!)

In the sky to the left you can see the beginning of a weather front that stormed on us a short time later; we had gusty winds (approx 35mph) and hard rain... not really a problem on these sheltered waters but we were hoping to not meet an up-bound tow in limited visibility... luck was with us and we didn't see any traffic.

We reached an anchorage behind Diamond Island (link to GoogleMap); the rain has tapered off and we are snug & secure.... chasing a couple of mosquitos that got in before we closed up the screens. As you can see, we don't have far to go to reach the Mississippi River!

Best wishes to you all
Doug & Kathie

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