Chicago to Mississippi

Goin through a lock1

Locking through, a brief tutorial on lock edicate and maneuvering

Before our journey from Chicago, IL to Mobile, AL, the idea of traversing 40+ locks was daunting. Now, after locking through all of them in different times of  day/night and types of weather, we have realized that not knowing what to expect can make locks scarier than they actually are. So below, we have included some advice based on our own experiences.

When approaching the lock, hail them through the VHF radio. We found that the hailing channel used changes depending on the area. So, before taking off on your trip make sure you know on what channel or channels you can find the lock master. If you have no information going in, ask a tow captain or other boater by radio, earlier in the day.

When addressing the lock master, you can mention the lock name through the radio, repeat the name twice, state who is calling and where you are headed (example: Pickwick Lock, Pickwick Lock, this is Southbound pleasure craft, Surkha, over) and wait for a response. If you obtain none, try another channel. If the other recommended channel does not work, then wait because they might be busy. If communication fails, follow the red, yellow and green lights, which just as traffic signals, indicate if the lock is ready for you.

If you do get a hold of the lock master, tell them what kind of vessel you are, if you are just cruising, you are a “pleasure craft”, let them know your direction, South or North bound, state your location (river or channel mile) and your estimated time of arrival. Commercial and governmental vessels have priority always, in some locks you might have to wait for hours or even overnight, so consider that when planning your schedule. If you think your day is going to be tight, call the lock master the night before and ask him or her about their schedule and they will usually tell you when would be a good time to arrive.

Once you are inside the lock, have a line ready on your mid-ship cleat and fenders in whichever side you prefer to tie on. We had four fenders hanging on our port side our whole trip from Chicago to Mobile. Only once did a lock master asked us to tie on our starboard side. Most locks will have “floaters”, shown in the photo below, which will float down or up with you. This is where you wrap your line. When tying to the floater, make sure you pull hard, so that your vessel’s fenders are pressed lightly against the wall, this will prevent you from scratching your boat. In some states, such as Mississippi and Alabama, it is a requirement that anyone handling the lines wear a life jacket, so have one or two ready just in case. Some locks ask for your registration number, so keep it close by. During our trip, we did encounter a lock that tossed us two lines to hold on to while lowering us. If this is the case and there is any wind or current, make sure that the strongest of your crew members is at the side of the boat from where the force is coming from. In some smaller locks you wrap your line around a fixed circular cleat and hold on, letting go gradually as your being lowered.

Once your lines are secure, call the lock master and let them know you are ready, some will wait to close the lock door until you are ready, some do not care. A whistle or horn will sound once they start dropping or raising the water level. Once the process is done and the doors open, another alarm will sound. Remember locks are no wake zones, so keep your speed down coming in and leaving. It is always good form to thank the lock master when exiting. If its foggy, dark or you a do not have AIS onboard, you can ask the lock masters if they know of any tow boats coming your way. They will often tell you locations, names and speeds for up to 30 miles of traffic.

From Chicago to Mobile, we met only three female lock masters, so make sure you let them know how cool it is to hear a female voice on the radio, for the majority of tow captains and lock masters are men.

PS: Do not forget that next to every lock there is a damp and if you go closer to 800 ft, not only will you be violating the law but endangering yourself.

Sailing South Mississippi04

Goodbye Grafton, IL – Mississippi day one

As you may have noticed (we certainly did), our stay in Grafton, IL lasted a bit longer than we anticipated. Without going too much further into the details than Caye already has, let’s just say that we were happy get underway this morning. We left the Grafton Marina just as the sun was peaking above the horizon and were then made audience to one of the top-5 sunrises I have seen anytime, anywhere. The color was your run-of-the-mill mix of breathtaking oranges, purples, pinks, blues and yellows – but what really made this one a doozy was the moisture and possibly pollution in the lower atmosphere towards St. Louis. The mix of colors from the farther away atmospheric debris and the nearby particulate cloud, meant a colorful but dim show, in which we could look directly at this big glowing disc for at least 10 minutes. Incredible. The weather degenerated a bit after that and managed to get windier and windier every hour until we were finally battling 20+ mph headwinds and the inevitable 1-3 foot waves/whitecaps that follow. By the time we pulled in to Hoppy’s Marina, or just Hoppy’s to the dozens of people that have recommended this stop to us, we were well-drenched from spray and dog tired…

A few other things of note happened along the way today. Most profound probably, was joining up with both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Our new mega-tri-river-monster is bigger, better, and badder than the diminutive Illinois River of yesteryear. In fact, this section of the Mississippi is adding 5+ mph to our overall speed. A pretty fantastic boost, considering that this just about doubles our potential range for a day of motoring. It also dwarfs the 1-2mph currents of all previous rivers of the trip.  Of secondary note, we sailed right through St. Louis around noon and admired the city’s nearly non-existent waterfront. Seriously though, St. Louis we need to talk… why don’t you take a quick sail on up the Illinois River and visit our good pal Chicago – she could give you a bit of schooling in what a nice skyline looks like and how a city outta treat a cruiser…  St. Louis has nothing for cruisers. Rather than marinas or a beautified waterfront, they’ve chosen to create a post-apocalyptic, hyper-industrial, concrete mega-barge water-slide. It’s pretty damn dismal. Iconic of the whole experience was a little installation art piece – a life-size bronze sculpture of a little girl plopped in the middle of huge, half-submerged, off-kilter slab of concrete – maybe 500 feet long by 200 feet wide – that I imagine was placed there to prevent erosion or flooding. No photo of the statue. We’re lacking the telephoto lens needed for long shots like that. If anyone has a spare or wants to earmark a donation – we’re all smiles and thanks:)

So, now we’re huddled down on the second of 4 derelict, tied-together, barges that act as the floating dock for Hoppy’s. This place absolutely deserves a post to itself and will get one in short order. Until then, suffice it to say that these folks have been a fixture for everyone passing up or down the river since the early 1930s and they have seen a lot in that time. Caye’s working on an Andean potato soup called Locro and I’m chugging away at resolving this miserable hacking situation at work and finally getting glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hope everyone is well and enjoying your early winter in some cases:)

Mississippi Before1

Tomorrow, the Mississippi. What next?

Our day was spent getting the boat ready for the next four days, which will be spent getting through the Mississippi and into the Ohio River. We have downloaded 10 free classic audiobooks from LibriVox, titles such as Walden, Beyond Good and Evil, Uncle’s Tom Cabin, Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn, The Communist Manifesto and others. The only book we paid for was Charles C. Mann’s piece, 1491. Taking advantage of the Grafton’s marina fast internet, we also downloaded close to 20 TED talks and some iTunes U talks on journalism and other subjects of our interest. We do not really know what to expect from the following weeks, but we assume we wont be stopping in many places, not due to a lacking scenery but rather because in one month and a week we need to be in the Miami airport flying to Ecuador.

We will spend two months in my beautiful country and then we’ll come back and figure out what’s next. In the last couple of days, Jax and I have been realizing that soon this transitional part of our life will end. We will no longer be trying to get the boat out of USA waters and into Latin America and beyond. Soon we’ll have to make decisions about our careers as travelers, journalists, cinematographers, photographers or whatever we chose to be. As many people around our age, we are a little confused as to our path. We have a few things clear, or at least I do. I have a passion for women’s rights, with a focus on maternity, I enjoy working with film and photography and writing relaxes me. So, I don’t know what will follow once we get into the Caribbean but at least I will try to blend my passions and make something useful out of them. As for Jax, he’s an entrepreneur, he’ll probably start multiple companies while pushing the limits of what people think is possible while traveling and at some point find a focus that he thinks deserves his attention.

Anyway, we are now getting ready to go to bed. Jax installed his new screen, but unfortunately it is not displaying any images yet so he might have to put it back together and try again tomorrow.

project day4

Business cards, name change, project day

Yesterday and Today, Jax and I have been finishing work and boat projects left and right. We thought we were leaving tomorrow very early in the morning, but there has been a delay because FedEx did not drop off Jaxon’s screen. After a quick phone call, Jax arranged to make sure that the screen would get dropped off tomorrow, regardless of our presence.

Some of the projects we can now cross off of our to-do list, are: switches wired for the bilge pump, headlights and anchor light, business cards have been cut and stamped, Kate’s name replaced by Surkha on the transom, spice rack cut, laundry washed, dishes done and thru-hull for the bilge installed. We still have lots to do, but it feels good to get some stuff done.

Hopefully Jaxon’s screen will get here tomorrow and we can leave Wednesday, before the temperature drops once again.

I am a little tired, so I’ll just leave you with this small update and some project photos, good night.


Heat or no Heat? Grafton’s pleasing downtown

Today we toured Grafton, IL, well at least the downtown which is incredibly cute and cool. Wineries, bars, bakeries and little independent shops dress both sides of downtown’s main street. After walking a couple blocks, visiting two antique stores and buying a doughnut, we stopped at the “Barber-n-Book Shoppe”, owned by Teri and Ken (also owners of a neighboring boat – Abby Normal). We had met Ken and Terri a week ago, when they and some friends went out on Abby Normal to watch the sunset. After not seeing much of him, we took the liberty of ordering Jaxon’s new screen to their address, for lack of a better plan. So, yesterday Jax stopped by to ask Terri and Ken if it was okay, Ken wasn’t there but Terri gave her stamp of approval (Thank you!). I had barely talked to either of them the day we met, so today, we decided to stopped by, say hi, buy some books, rent some movies and say thank you again.

When we arrived, we were greeted by the only cute miniature dog I ever seen – it turned out that the “puppy” was actually 12 years old, which probably added to his character. Anyway, Jax and I spent around 2 hours there, looking at their wonderful book collection, sorting through their movies, talking to Ken and some of their customers and admiring Terri, as she continually pleased  one customer after another receiving their haircuts – for sure the most smiles I have seen coming out of a barber shop. We walked out with three rentals; Surf’s Up – a Columbia Pictures animation about surfing penguins (awesome), Volver – a Diego Almodovar film with Penelope Cruz, which is a tribute to women (because we are amazing) and The King’s Speech, which I imagine most of you have heard about.

The “Book -n- Barber Shoppe” website:

When we got back to the boat, we decided we needed to go stock up on food, which we should have done when Mark and Ellen were visiting, but we failed to do so when we stopped at a co-op. So, we made use of the very convenient courtesy truck (a huge Ford) from the Grafton Marina! We could only drive to Jerseyville, do to policy, so we did. There we inevitably stopped at the Walmart, after attempting to do our shopping at a local store and finding it unsatisfactory. Jax and I, are not fans of Walmart, but I do have to say their stock is amazing and when you are a cruiser and have limited resources to get around, having lots of things in one place is a premium. We got all our shopping done, buying mostly organic stuff that we usually find at a co-op – although the feeling of supporting the cause is not the same…

After we were done food shopping, we toured around trying to think of what else we needed, because it is unlikely we will be in such a convenient location until we get South. Surprisingly, after checking and re-checking old to-do/buy lists, we ended up with just a couple of bucks added to our cart. Then we walked to the heating aisle and we saw Buddy, a small, light weight, rose red propane space heater…

Our friend Bob, recommended we get this heater a couple weeks ago, but we had not been faced with the decision due to our lack of proximity to any store. After discussing the pros and cons of being cold and saving that money for something more important in the future, we decided to screw future planing, assume that we’ll be fine and enjoy the present and replace the stove-warmed cast iron pan with Buddy. We also picked up an extra 7 gallon jug for emergency water, two big lights so that night sailing could possible in case of an emergency and we were on our way home. Now, Jax is talking to his parents, I am trying to communicate with mine and a movie will follow.

No Halloween or Dia de los Muertos plans this year, just relaxing, although I am sure Jax is missing some candy in his stomach and I am craving a guagua de pan and colada morada!

Photo excuses:

Some of the photos of the day are lacking essence, substance and context, in regards to the words above. Jax and I decided to take our 50mm lens from the 70s, which often behaves poorly indoors and embraces an specific type of photography, which is great when one is just out to take photos, but when trying to capture images fast, it is terribly inconvenient. Summary, no good photos of “Book-n-Barber Shoppe”.


Last days in Saint Louis, MO and plans until Monday

Our last day in Saint Louis was spent visiting the City Museum of Saint Louis and Cahokia, both incredible sites.

Three very good things came out of our trip to Saint Louis, other of seeing Mark and Ellen of course. One, we got a beautiful hot water kettle at Goodwill for $4. Mark and Ellen gave us our mail, which contained two very important things: Our business card stamp and the new stickers for our Ranger 28, that Morgan Pease very kindly printed with his vinyl cutter! Thanks Morgy!! By the way Morgan and his girlfriend Jena are touring the country in their Pruis and have an awesome blog, that you should totally check out. Tiger in our Car.

Jaxon, finally got around ordering his new computer screen, which will be arriving to Grafton Monday. So, we plan to stay at this marina and get lots of stuff done before heading down the Mississippi Tuesday morning.

IL to MO10

Touring Grafton and beyond – IL to MO

I am sitting in the back of Mark and Ellen’s Prius, eating French fries, chocolate sundaes and kettle popcorn as we drive around Illinois trying to find the ferry that will take us to Missouri. Our week with Mark and Ellen started last night and less than 24 hour later we’ve already landed in a pretty cool site. the Golden Eagle Country Store, that caught our eye due to a giant “EAT HERE” and “soda bar” sign. For a moment we almost passed it, but Ellen wanted something cold to drink so we decided to take a look.

My expectations were not high for a store by the side of the road, so with very little anticipation I started exploring the quilts that hung outside the store, thinking they would be the only photogenic objects in the adventure. After hearing some explanations about quilts from Ellen and a rather intense quilt lady, I decided to mingle around the store. As soon as my foot was in the door, I was confused! It seemed like I had travelled through time to rural America in the early thirties. There was an actual soda bar, where you could order malts, sundaes, ice cream, soda and floats. The store/restaurant/soda fountain/bar and stage had been satisfying stomachs since 1910 and it displayed all kinds of main stream objects from different eras. The whole place was weird, yet magical and enchanted by the scene we decided to go all the way and get some souvenirs for our stomachs, which have now been eating – causing Jaxon’s a stomach ache.

Tonight we will be Hermann, MO, visiting Peter, a friend of the Davis/Klein family.

This week we’ll treat you to land photos only 🙂 excited?

Twin Islands IL7

Tonight Grafton, 0.6 miles from Mississippi and next week’s plans

I write this post on a beautiful windless, sunny day. Calm waters accompany us and a cool October bliss reminds us that the warmth felt, will not last long. Our last couple of days have been focused on getting to Grafton, IL, where we will meet Jaxon’s parents, Mark and Ellen, for a week. In the last two days we have put on over 90 miles. I have been mainly handling the tiller, while Jaxon works below deck or by my side in the cockpit.

Temperatures have been averaging between 30-45˚F, 5-10˚C, which has meant that we have needed to find creative way to stay warm. Two days ago, we made a giant pot of chili in our new pressure cooker with some cornbread, by the end we were sweating from all the heat in the cabin. Yesterday, we heated up our cast iron pan and put it in bed with us. Tonight, we’ll probably take very warm showers at the Grafton Harbor Marina and hop in bed. It’s crazy how much this trip has made me do things I thought I would never do, like not shower for a week, deal with human waist, sail in cold weather without a heater, wear full rain gear, eat spoonfuls of peanut butter, crave oatmeal and sleep with socks. Some of the things might seem a little silly, but what can I say, they’re all true.

The coming week will be very exciting. For starters we are going to see Mark and Ellen and they are going to take us to turistear (aka the verb of being a tourist in Spanish) the area of Saint Louis, MO and beyond. About 6 months into my relationship with Jaxon, Mark and Ellen invited me to London and Greece for spring break. It was going to be my first time in Europe and first long-trip with a boyfriend and his family, so as you can imagine I was quite nervous. In my life, I had only traveled with my parents, especially with my mom, who has a deep appreciation for walking, good food and museum. When we got to London, I quickly discovered that Jaxon’s family was very similar to mine – good food, lots of exploring and museums. The only difference was that my family had a salty tooth, we look forward to lunch and dinner, while Jaxon’s family cherishes breakfast, pastries, chocolate and any good sweet. So, this coming week, we’ll be exploring the area, in a sugar high but burning every calorie as we stroll around.


Quiver Island8

Under six layers of clothes, we made it to Quiver Island

Yep, it was cold today. However, I was not shivering all day because I overdressed my self to the point of immobility. I wore: three types of pants, six upper-body layers, three socks, two gloves, two scarfs and three types of head-warming articles. Overkill? maybe, but I knew that I had to stay warm because I was the only available skipper, plus I was even a little cold towards the end, fortunately Jaxon gave me blanket.

Nothing too exciting happened today, we encountered only two barges and had to wait above the Peoria lock as the lock master cleared a slot in the busy commercial traffic schedule. I studied French most of the 8 hours and drank lots of tea. The scenery was ni fu ni fa as I would say in Spanish, meaning it was eh… you know, average. Lots of beautiful nature, that was often cut by industrial sites like gas pipes, abandoned barges, big electrical towers – all containing a certain type of beauty but nothing worth describing.

We dropped our Danfort anchor at around 4:30 pm and now I am getting ready to make some dinner, while my beautiful amour works. I think tonight we will have Chicago-style pizza, I need some fat to keep me warm! A movie might follow – it all depends on Jaxon’s work schedule and if I can find a French movie in our hard drive, which I bet Jax will not be too excited about!

The other day, we woke up and I turned to Jax and said, “Bonjour” he looked at me and said “Aaaa! is like you are trying to ruin my life slowly through language!” then we both laughed. With me learning French, means Jaxon needs to focus on his Spanish, because in this boat there is only space for two languages… guess which two 😉

D’accord mon amour commencer, s’il vous plait! je t’aime beaucoup.


Heading south with Pelicans, Peoria to Quiver Island

It is 6:00 am and we are getting ready for a 48 mile day, aka 8-9 hours of motoring, that will take us from Peoria to the next anchoring spot, mile 168 to 120. After having had one failed intent yesterday, we try again.

The last couple of days have been hectic at work, to say the least, so I have not been able to post anything on the blog. Not due to lack of time, but rather a priority call on who gets the computer. With Jaxon’s screen broken, we both decided that my computer can be his whenever needed for work emergencies, etc. I do not mind not having a computer much because it gives me time to focus on my French! Which is coming along. Hopefully, I can get it to good enough level to use it in Haiti when we get to the Caribbean.

Our last days have been spent in beautiful Lake Peoria. We arrived Sunday afternoon and we anchored right outside the shipping channel, the only place deep enough for our keel. After being scared by a couple of huge barges at night, we sailed off the next morning at around 7:00 am. After 20 miles of motoring we got to Peoria, only to realize that we could not get fuel at any of the marinas in town due to our keel depth! In our guide book and internet references we found that the depth was suppose to be 6ft, we draw 4.5 – 5, but apparently water levels are way down. So, we had to motored back to a marina only a few miles from where we started our day. The depth of National Marina’s fueling dock, mile 168, was suppose to be 6ft, but we ran aground. So, we took down the dinghy and rowed there. The dock master was very nice and gave us the only 4 gallons of diesel he had in a kerosene tank – a full fuel can plus our primary fuel tank will get us to Grafton, last town before Mississippi and only Diesel stop in next 160 miles. As we were rowing back to the boat, it began to rain. Jackson had been doing work related stuff in the cabin all morning and he still had close to 10 hours more to do, so we decided to motor our way into the yacht club, next to National Marina. After “plowing” through 20ft of silt, we were successful.

After tying to one of their only vacant spots we started our French and work marathon which lasted until 10:00 pm. It could have been a lot faster if I could have been helping Jaxon at work, but with only one screen between us, it meant that Jax and one of our employees had to manage it all.

Today, I will handle the tiller for most of the day. The temperature has continued to drop, so I am anxious to get South. However, cold or not, the scenery is embracingly beautiful and we have been seeing lots of beautiful birds that constantly fly next us, as we both cruise along. We have even encountered scores of migrating Pelicans!

If you want to read more about Pelicans in Illinois follow this link:

Hennepin IL7

Bow and stern anchor, we start our descent

We have arrived at our anchoring spot, Lower Twin Sisters Island (mile 202.5), for the night. For the first time, we have set a bow and stern anchor, which took us close to 45 min to do.

The whole day we fought the wind as we headed West, waves splashed our deck and the temperature was cool, but overall it felt like a swimming pool after having sailed in Lake Michigan in similar wind. The scenery, was simply mind-blowing. We were constantly surrounded by forest, desolate beaches and the occasional half-sunken barge. The air felt fresh and the sewage smell that surrounded up to Joliet, is no longer present. As we motored through Starved Rock State Park and the surrounding area, I handled the tiller most of the 37.1 miles, while Jax did business stuff in the cabin. Time flew by as I practiced/learned French with Coffe Break French’s podcasts, which I highly recommend, and read about the history of this state park and the origin of it’s name.

Tomorrow we will be arriving at Peoria, IL. We would love to anchor somewhere in the area, but our guide book shows no feasible spaces for another 40 miles beyond the city! Maybe, we will have to stay at a marina. If anyone knows of potential anchorages, please send us a note. We looked at a map and it shows lots of beautiful lakes, parks and wildlife reserves! Probably Waterway Guide, has a deal with the marinas in the area – mmm weird!

Jackson is now installing our anchor-light and antenna on a pretend mast, aka a 1×4 piece of pine that is now screwed to the stack of 1x4s that support our mast – adding to our river rat look. We expect a good night’s sleep tonight and a long or very short day tomorrow. The descent has begun, from now on no more West heading only South!

Buenas noches 🙂 (Good night)

PS: for those of you who speak Spanish, saludos desde la piedra desnutrida jaja.

NOTE: Still workinf on solving photo-color problem on post. If you want full effect, click on the photo and watch it in the gallery, thanks.


Arrived at Lower Twin Sister Island

We arrived at Lower Twin Sisters Island – Mile 202.5, at around 6:30pm. We fought a head wind the whole day, but the scenery made up for the waves and cold bliss. It took us close to 45 min to get our bow and stern anchor set! Now we are getting ready to make some dinner and plan tomorrow’s itinerary.


Ottawa 11

Ottawa, best town in Illinois?

We got into Ottawa around three o’clock yesterday. The previous seven hours of sailing were spectacular. Caye and I had our breath taken away at every bend in the narrow Illinois River. Bald Eagles and Grey and Blue Herons were our company, as we encountered less than 10 barges and only 2 small pleasure craft during the whole day – likely due to the 20-35mph winds. The unique access to the beautiful stream and its dripping fall colors had us both in a great mood and the whole trip was accompanied with a certain romantic autumn feel.

Before leaving our anchorage in the morning, we performed our weather-planning/checking ritual and decided to give the windy day a shot. In exchange for this gamble, we also chose a number of contingency anchorages and marinas along the route if the wind turned out to be too uncomfortable or scary. In the end, 20-30mph wind was way less intense in a narrow little river than big Lake Michigan and we were happy to have made that call. The big differences between the two settings were; much smaller waves and the phenomenon that wind from 90 degrees port to 90 degrees starboard all funnels into the river and becomes a headwind – hence headwind all day for us. In order to get a little extra speed from our engine, we pulled the dinghy onto the foredeck and lashed it down. Slowly morphing our style from “cruisers” to “river rats”.

Our guide book mentioned that Ottawa had small city free dock with room for two boats. Needless to say, we were on that like white on rice. The dock was right next to downtown and is home to the ongoing construction of a large, terraced, prairie-land restoration and trail project. After a thorough cleaning and reorganization of the cabin under the watch of the local gardening youth and cockpit wash-down, we were off on a laundry/hardware/grocery trip.

As it turns out, Ottawa is this incredibly neat town. It is home to only 18,000 people, but has a huge thriving, historic downtown. It was like looking at a classic downtown before the days of Walmart, Target, blah blah blah (not that I was alive in “those” days). We saw no less than 6 independent clothing stores, 2 large independent pharmacies, 1 huge independent grocery and by far, the largest, independent hardware store I have seen anywhere – all downtown. This along with a great assortment of coffee shops, restaurants, children’s play areas (imagine an independent Chucky Cheese) and of course, antique stores. Everyone we met was very personable and seemed happy to have us. The whole cosiness of the place was almost uncanny… and did I mention that there were actually lots of people walking around and shopping? What a novel concept. AND there actually is a Wallmart and other big box stores on the outskirts of town.

The only problem to report about the town is that the hardware store was simply too large and well-stocked, which meant we spent entirely more than our daily budget for knickknacks, fasteners, fittings, doodads, etc. On the other hand, we now have everything we need to finish up our running water and bilge systems. Great.

ottowa, IL5

Winds of change, on our way to Ottawa

As we motor through a beautiful scenery of color-changing trees, I take a moment to report. Our morning started kind of late at 6:30am, not intentionally though, we had the alarm set for 4:00am but it never went off -maybe for the better. Once we woke up we got going right away. The temperature dropped 10˚F or 12.2˚C overnight. With the weather change, a gust of wind comes from the West that will be blowing 15 to 20 mph in our area. The next days will get even colder, down to 30˚F or -1˚C, which makes Jaxon very happy, because fall is his favorite season.

We are dressed warm, so what could potentially be a very cold day is rather an embracing experience. Yesterday, we made lots of delicious food, curry, Ugandan rice, paratha bread, carrot cake and the highland of our morning, granola bars. We are drinking coffee and have chamomile tea ready. Everything is going great and I can tell that today is the day where being in the river is no longer a weird and new experience, but rather a scenery we recognize that could present challenges. When we started sailing in Lake Michigan we had a similar experience, the first two days were not as great and the third one was just perfect, preparing us for the following weeks.

We hope to make it to Ottowa today, mile 239, however we have our eye on some other closer docking and anchoring spots just in case the wind gets too intense.

NOTE: We recently realized that our photos are loosing a lot of their color when inserted into the post! We will work on making it better, for now to enjoy the full effect you can click on them.


Anchored for the night and eliminating refrigeration

Hola, beautiful people. At around 2:00pm we dropped anchor at mile 271.5, Dresden Island lock, and called it quits for the day, after motoring for only 13 of the 40 miles planned . Since then, we have been working, getting the cabin picked up and now we are getting ready to do some cooking.

For a couple weeks now, we have been thinking about eliminating refrigeration from our life, at least for now. Having a cooler that requires a change of bagged ice every three days has made us realize that the practice is not sustainable, a waste of money and too much plastic pollution. Bob, at Crowley’s Yacht Yard, gave us some tips on how to store food that requires refrigeration, like putting cheese in olive oil – which we did yesterday (hope it works). Today, we plan to use the rest of our yogurt in a curry and a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. After these two ingredients, we will only need refrigeration for our Earth Balance butter, which we have decided not to buy any more and some fake bacon, which we will have tomorrow for breakfast.

After that, it is time to get creative! Plan meals well so that we do not have many leftovers and replace some of our refrigerated favorites for something else. Before moving to the boat, we thought that we would never be able to live without ice cream, three months later we have replaced the ice cream on movie nights with cookies or chocolate and it works just fine. Humans can always adjust, that’s part of our nature.

If the food ends up looking pretty, I will post photos.