Illinois River and the Locks from Chicago to Peoria


172 miles  in three days down the Illinois river proved to be exiting, tiring, scenic, challenging, and luckily safe.  I agreed to take Val home since she just about had enough, so we are on our way back right now, the long way.  See you in 47 weeks.  

After getting a late 11 AM start on Tuesday, it was an easy first lock to maneuver at the Nay Pier from Lake Michigan.  The trip down the heart of Chicago was a sight to be seen.  Our second lock was in the rain and it was different than the first because  Val had to put our mid ship line around a floating bollard and tie it off to the boat as we went down 60'.  All the following locks were the same and it was interesting coming into them with other pleasure craft and tugs as well. We made it all the way to Harbor Side Marina after an 8 hour 33 mile trip.

The next morning was a 3 hour 31 mile trip to Spring Brook Marina which was 7 miles north of the Marseilles lock.  The next two locks only allowed pleasure craft through at 5 AM since they had crews working on them during the day.

Wednesday morning at 3:45 AM, we travelled with Biddle Bunch, RPad, and Meraki. I took point and we arrived at the Marseilles lock at 5 AM traveling in Patchy fog.  This was the first time I operated our boat at night.  Using our Garmin chart plotter, Navioncs Chart Plotter on MacBook, radar, and the front spot light, was exciting for me and nerve wracking for Val. 

Allie from Meraki had a great radio voice and communicated with the locks at Marseilles and Starved Rock with clarity and conviction.  Allie arranged to get us through Starved lock by 11AM that same day and we made it all the way to the IVY Yacht Club in Peoria instead of spending the night at Spring Brook and doing the 5AM again. It was a 3:45 AM until 4:30 PM ,13 hour, 107 mile day with a 3 hour layover at Spring Brook Marina.

We are now catching our breath and chilling out here for 4 nights. This may be the nicest place we will be for the rest of our trip down the rivers.

Goodbye from Chicago

After our first lock and heading into Chicago

Feeling small coming through the heart of the city.

Coming out of our third lock of the first day.

Sunset at Harbor Springs Marina

Sharing the river with countless tows and barges.
3:45 AM, coming out of our harbor for a 7 mile run to the Marseilles Lock

Marseilles Lock with Biddle Bunch, RPad, and Meraki.
Illinois River
Coming out of the Starved Rock Lock.

This tug is pushing 10 barges down the river
Can I interest you into camping in a caboose

The Illinois River opens up in Peoria

Illinois River Yacht Club, IVY


1 thought on “Illinois River and the Locks from Chicago to Peoria”

  1. Facebook Comments:

    Bud Pennington Great pics of your trip!
    Thanks for sharing them!!!! ???

    Cindy Yassay In the hospital?? WTF?

    Tama Feigley Who is in the hospital?

    Valerie Mamo Dave had a four hour visit. On the mend.

    Carmen Mamo Is David ok? What happened?

    Bob Wilson You look cold kid nice write up on trip

    Valerie Mamo Yep. Pouring rain also in the slimy lock. Fun

    Bud Pennington I can tell by the look on your face that you are enjoying yourself…. ????

    Valerie Mamo Locks are the worst. Especially in the rain ?

    Jeanne Wunderle Oh, wish we could have seen you!

    Barbara Henk Looks like so much fun ?

    Bud Pennington Did you see the Asian Carp jumping in the Chicago river????

    Carmen Mamo Hope all is well. You are a good sport. That’s a long trip. Be safe

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