Saturday, September 8, 2018

Junk Yard Landings and Eagles Everywhere

We were glad to leave our wretched black & white (no color) National Marina in Peoria, IL.  Viridian sailed down a groove in the mud, listing about 20 deg to starboard as the keel tried to ride up the ditch, to get back into the channel and head south to what had to be a better place to spend the night in Beardstown at Logsdon's Tug.  Now, the fact that it didn't have the word marina in the title should have been a clue as to what we were heading for.  The only other place to stay off the river at night was a place called Tall Timbers Marina.  We laughed when we saw how tiny it was and how hard it would have been to get into a slip as we cruised on by.  We decided to keep going south for 30 more miles, skip Timbers and head for Logsdon's.  How could it be any worse than National Marina?  A lot worse.  I have to take back all the negative stuff I said about National after getting tied up at Logsdon's Tug.  What we are tied to, on the bank of the Illinois River, is a rusted hulk of an old dead barge with rust holes in the deck and discarded heavy hardware laying scattered among creocote 12x12 timbers tangled up in rusty 1" diameter steel cables.  That was our pier.  No power,  No cleats, except for one that was the size of a small car. We tied to pieces of angle iron welded to the barge and tangled in odd shapes. The only way to get to land was to jump across the ghost barge, onto another barge, shimmy along a narrow ledge then jump down to another flat barge and finally to a platform.  Then a climb up a steep set of steel stairs about 30 feet above the water and step off into a gravel parking lot.  It reminds me of one of those Japanese obstacle courses that nobody ever completes.  We could have anchored out but the water is running fast and barge traffic is non stop and a good night's sleep is probably not to be had.  I thought the Tenn-Tom was remote but this river has it beat by a long shot.

The good news is that since it is such a remote area the scenery along the river can't be beat.  There are bald eagles everywhere along this stretch.  We saw eagles fighting in the air with one another and every other dead tree had a pair of bald eagles, sitting on branches, watching us with serious eyes as we passed below.  There were some other kinds of eagles too, mostly dark brown, that were the same size as the bald eagles.  Maybe juvenile balds?  The land is mostly flat with thick trees on the banks and flooded fields beyond the trees shined between the trunks like mirrors.  Barge traffic was constant for the first 50 miles or so but soon we began to wonder if they had all stopped until one could be seen coming around the bend ahead of us.

All in all it was a good day to travel the river.  The sky was overcast and the high was 69 degrees and the down river current was at least 2 knots, making us run at about 10 MPH all day long.  The remainder of the tropical depression spun just southeast of us and we didn't see a drop of rain until after the sunset.

That's the news and here's the views:

We are here

Today's route from Peoria to Beardstown, IL

Chugging along

Gordon misses us to the east and front weather to the west

There were a couple of these towers along the way

We were being watched

Our cozy spot for the night

Can u find Viridian?

Isolated from land

Making sure we stay put!

Silent tonnage in the night 

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