In a little over an hour we approach Marseilles and have a short delay at but continue on with no problems. Starved Rock Lock and Dam is next in line and is13 miles away. When we are about a mile out we call on the radio and the lockmaster informs us he is filling the lock and we will be able to enter in a few minutes. While waiting I snap a few shots of Starved Rock which is probably the most scenic state park in Illinois.
The park is best known for its unusual rock formations and the story of its name which it derives from a Native American Legend of injustice and retribution.
In the 1760s, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa tribe upriver from Starved Rock, was slain by an Illiniwek while attending a tribal council in Southern Illinois. During one of the battles that subsequently occurred to avenge the death of Chief Pontiac, a band of Illiniwek was attacked by a band of Potawatomi (allies of the Ottawa). The Illiniwek sought refuge atop a 125-foot sandstone butte. The Potawatomi surrounded the bluff and held their ground until the hapless Illiniwek died of starvation - thus giving rise to the name "Starved Rock."
Today it is one of the most visited parks in Illinois. During the early spring, winter thaw and frequent rains create sparkling waterfalls in all 18 canyons. The vertical walls of moss-covered stone create a setting of natural geologic beauty uncommon in Illinois. A really nice place to visit.
The next lock is near Peoria at the 157 mile marker so we now have a 74 mile run of river. At the 179 marker the river widens and forms Peoria Lake which is the largest body of water along our route. The lake is quite shallow if you venture off the channel so caution is recommended. It is well marked though and following the channel is no problem. On windy days the lake can get rough and today the wind has now increased to about 10 mph. I slow Therapy to about 20 mph and add a healthy amount of trim tabs to smooth out the ride somewhat. Still it is choppy and Aldi abandons me and moves aft sitting in a lawn chair where the ride is much smoother.
As we approach Peoria I swing in to the Detweiller Marina at the 164 mile marker where we top off the tanks again. Gas here is $1.75 per gallon and we add 25 gallon.
From there we travel another mile up to the Peoria Transient Marina. No services are available but public slips provide access to the downtown area. There is a 3 hour tie up limit and a charge of $1.00 per hour. There is a machine on the dock that accepts dollar bills and allows you to enter the amount of time you will spend. It then prints a receipt showing your departure time.
Right on the riverfront just a hundred feet or so from the slips is a Joe’s Crab Shack and a Damon’s steakhouse. It is about 5 PM and we are ready to eat. We decide on seafood at Joe’s and each order the Fisherman’s Platter. It is a nice meal at a reasonable price and once again sure beats ham sandwiches.
With several hours of daylight remaining we continue on downstream to the Peoria Lock & Dam at the 157 mile marker. We are able to immediately enter the lock and drop about 11 feet while talking to the lockmaster.
We once again are on our way and we run until dusk. We find ourselves near Havana, IL and the 121 mile marker and decide to duck in behind Quiver Island and drop anchor for the night. Once situated I begin to notice the effects of being on the water for two full days without a shower. I have this burning desire to get cleaned up a little. Usually at this point I just get in the river with a bar of soap and do the best I can. But I have to say on this trip neither one of us has been anxious to get in the water. We are afraid that we would be dirtier when we got out. But at this point I think I am ready.
I am standing on the bow pondering the situation and then tell Aldi, “ I can’t take it anymore and I’m getting in.” “Really,” he replied. “Maybe you should take a look over there,” pointing to the port side. There in the water it was – yes, another darn condom! I couldn’t believe it. Well, needless to say I suddenly felt much cleaner and decided that a bath in the river really wasn’t necessary.
At this point I must add that I have been on the Illinois River four
or five times previously and never before had I seen this type of stuff
or thought the water was any dirtier than any other river. In fact,
it usually looks much better than the Mississippi.