Sept 4

The USCG base next to our marina does a flag ceremony with music & all when raising & lowering the flag, and we can hear it as we depart. Nice! Off to port we pass Gary, IN & East Chicago. 15 miles out the skyscrapers of Chicago poke through what looks like a haze on the city. 6 miles off-shore we run into the fog bank. A call to the marina says they are clear of fog so we slowed our pace and crept forward. Watching the radar & dodging the other boats as we come into a busy harbor, we radio our position but many small boats don’t have radar or radio so we blow the fog signal on our horn. My plan to photograph the city skyline didn’t quite work out as planned.  It lifted 1/2 mi. out. Burnham Marina is right in front of Soilder Field & just behind Shedd Aquarium. There is a great bicycle path so we biked up to Grant Park where there is a free Jazz Festival all weekend, then over to the Chicago River. Other loopers, “Carolyn Ann” & “Biddi & the Beast” arrived just after us. This is the homeport for "Reverie" and they stopped by for a visit. Should be a fun weekend.

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Sept 5

Chicago, more than any other American city, is amazing when it comes to architecture.

Today we spent the day doing the city tour & seeing all the impressive buildings that have been constructed here through the years.  Perfect weather, lots of activity in the city, many choices in food (we chose Greek), street performers, weddings everywhere, jazz festival, lots of boat traffic, beaches, and more than we could do in just one day!  Good thing we have more days to spend here before we head down the Mississippi!

 

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Sept 6

Nice weather holds & everyone is out in the parks & on the water enjoying it. This Chi-Town marina may be the busiest marina we have ever seen with boats coming in and departing around the clock. Most marinas quiet down after dark. Maybe it is their last chance to enjoy as most of these boats will be pulled and winter stored in the next 3 weeks.  Glad we live where there is year round boating. We biked a mile to the grocery with our back packs and brought our load of supplies home. Brad’s cousin, Jay Salvage and his wife Jo drove all the way from Toledo,Ohio to visit with us this afternoon. What a great Salvage Reunion we had. We enjoyed a great dinner together and we wish they could have stayed longer. More plans for visiting again later are made. I Love New York! But there is something about Chicago that is so friendly & welcoming. It’s way up there for being one of our favorite “big cities”!!

 

 

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Sept 7

Happy Labor Day! From The “Windy City”! That nickname didn’t come from weather conditions but rather from the “hot air” emitted by local politicians in the late 1800’s.

Someone needs to clue the current politicians that they don’t have to keep earning the name! Spent some time this morning working on the “Current Carp Conditions for Cruisers”. The AGLCA has worked out a deal for a discount and the current ransom will be a discounted $495 if you pay through our Assn. SOLD! We are scheduling for Friday passage and hoping there won’t be any commercial traffic delays or so many boats there at the same time because the passage is narrow and it could be unsafe to be “treading water” there for 4-5 hours (no where to dock) while awaiting our turn. Let’s keep our fingers crossed! It was a fabulous day weather wise and we did the 95th floor of the John Hancock Bldg. Walked all the way down Michigan through Oprahland (she had half of Michigan Ave shut down for her Season Opener) had wine on the Riverwalk and back up to Carmine’s on Rush for an Italian Dinner! Fine!

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Sept 8

“The Second City” refers to the fact that the whole city burned down after Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked a lamp over and Mr Burnham had to plan the layout of the city a second time. This time they built w/non-flammable materials! We experienced the phenomenal hospitality of fellow Loopers this morning when “Biddi & the Beast’s” visiting guest from St. Louis loaded us up in their van & took us to the Jewel to load up on the items we can’t carry on our bikes (like beer, wine, water & cokes).  We are happy to report that our fluid levels are back up to par. We biked down to DuSable Harbor & visited with Terry & Sue on “Final Decision” then ran up to Oprah’s Party on Michigan Ave.  Saw Oprah, Rascal Flatts, & Black-eyed Peas!! James Taylor was coming next, but we got hungry! So we sneaked out (the crowds hardly missed us) and went to Greek Town. Years ago (13-15) I was here for a CRB Class (Certified Real Estate Broker Designation) & Brad came up for the weekend. It was my birthday and my brother, sister, brother in law and good friends Fletcher & Linda all showed up here in Chicago for a surprise birthday party. I will always remember that. It was so cool & the best Birthday surprise ever. Tonight we went back to “The Parthenon” in Greek town where we celebrated that birthday! It was awesome! Again!

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Sept 9

Last day in the 3rd largest city in the U.S. Everyone here is waiting to hear in the next few weeks if Chicago was successful in getting the 2016 Olympics. We spent the day making one last loop of the city to try to catch anything we may have missed. We will be leaving sometime tomorrow morning (depending on the fog that is still lingering in the AM hours. We will head south in Lake Michigan for about 10 miles then enter the Calumet River leading to the Sanitary & Ship Canal. We will stop for the night 30 miles short of the “Carp Caper” & the lowest bridge of the trip (19’1”) to prepare for those two challenges.  Friday looks like the day we will tackle those two obstacles!! Chicago has been a blast!

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Sept 10

Wow! The most fog free morning we have had since we arrived here. We wave goodbye to Chicago and head out on Lake Michigan for the last time. She is having a good morning & it has seemed like we have recaptured our “weather bubble” for the last 2 weeks. We entered the Calumet River & did 9 miles, 1 two-foot lock & 16 bridges (6 had to be opened). Arrived Dolton, IL just after Noon.  The Sanitary & Ship Canal is aptly named. The treated sewage of Chicago is sent down the Illinois R, Mississippi R & empties into the Gulf. The 2 foot lock is to make sure it doesn’t try to head in the direction of Lake Michigan. Guess it’s true what they say about “**it” rolling downhill!!!!! We will lower anchor light & radar this afternoon for the low bridge tomorrow. Also make sure battery connections can be easily taken off for our “dead tow”. Still don’t like the sound of that term, but that’s officially what we will be!!!!! This marina has a courtesy clunker so we headed into town for a wild shopping spree at CVS & Jewel. Visited with other loopers on the dock and dinner on board.

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Sept 11

Five Looper boats planned to be towed through the “fried carp carcasses” on Friday  afternoon, so we got up & out at 6:30am to beat the rush. Two miles before the “NetsRUs Incarperated”, we went under the lowest bridge on the Loop. It is THE defining air draft that determines whether your vessel can do the Loop or not. I got on the internet just prior to going under to make sure the pool level would allow us to transit. Then we radioed the tow, met him in the channel & tied up, unhooked batteries & boarded the tow. We made it safely through with the help of the crew on MV Buster White who made every effort to make it as painless as possible.  Then we tied to the wall above the lock & waited over an hour for commercial traffic to move through our one lock for the day. We broke 3 personal Loop records today.  We traveled for 7 hours and only went 32 miles. We paid $495 plus normal cruising expenses to travel 7/10th of a mile. So we 1) made it under our lowest bridge, 2)paid for our most expensive mile out of about 7,000 miles,  and 3) traveled the longest time for the fewest number of miles gained.  But on the bright side, when were we ever going to catch a ride on a working tow? Glad to be tied up to the town dock in Joliet! Oh yeah, got an e-mail after 5 pm, tomorrow the ban will be lifted and everyone else will be able to transit through without any problem, no tow, no expense!   JUST SHOOT US!!!!!!! But glad that a resolution was reached for the long term…….yes, timing is everything!

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Sept 12

A nice day in Joliet, 40 miles SW of Chicago (& it took us 2 days to get here)! It is home of the first Dairy Queen and the card game UNO (no doubt invented in the winter months)! We enjoyed our day touring by bike and seeing all the sights! Several Looper boats left this morning & several more have come in this afternoon, all headed south like us! We think we will walk over to Harrah’s this afternoon and see if we can win back some of our carp money by shooting crap! (Thanks for that suggestion DK!) Moving to Ottawa tomorrow!

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