Chicago to Mississippi

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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...


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 … read the rest...