Making our way towards the Lake fuel was still very much on my mind. As I pondered our situation another possible solution did come to mind. It seem logical that if we didn't find fuel along the river we could lock out on to the lake make our way to one of the marinas along the shore. On our Saturday trip we had seen a couple large marinas and surely they sold gas. I decided if necessary I would take a chance and continue beyond my chosen turn around point.
Yea, I was feeling lucky and today and for a change we were. At mile marker 323 we came upon South Bend Marina and they sold gas. The fact that we had to wait in line for two other boats and a couple of jet skis to fill were of little concern. I was just happy to put the added stress of running low on fuel out of my mind. It didn't come cheap though as the pump price was $2.50 a gallon (when we left home the local quick mart was $1.43.). After we thought about it though that really wasn't bad. The prices we had seen around the city were right at $2.00 and I don't consider a $.50 bump too bad for most marinas.
We were back on course with full tanks and I am now ready to enjoy the trip. Even enduring the unpleasantness of the air a few miles back was well worth it as we entered the downtown area. The spectacle of floating by these huge structures in my lowly little watercraft was awesome.
And we weren’t alone. It was now about noon on Sunday and the narrow river was alive with activity. There were pleasure boats galore and numerous commercial passenger cruisers showing visitors the sights and sounds of the Chicago River. People were out for the afternoon walking and sitting along the concrete walls that formed the shoreline. Although this was a "no wake" area the water was rough as result of being churned by all the traffic. All in all, quite a unique experience for an old backwater river pilot.
We continued up to the lock but decided not to take the time to lock out and then back in. Instead we moved to the side and dropped anchor and had lunch. As we sat eating our ham sandwiches and chips we marveled at the skyline, clean water and the hustling activity of the city and waterfront.
I was extremely happy I had made the decision to complete this ride
to the lake as it was well worth the time. A truly unique experience.
But time was passing and there was now an extra 30 miles of river to cover
while retracing our wake. Let the journey begin as we point the bow downstream.