A call to the lockmaster indicated that he was locking through a tow, had another one in waiting but if we could get there in about 2 hours and before any more tows showed up we could lock through. It was an 11 mile run to the locks from the IVY Club so we determined to cast off as soon as we could. While firing all boat systems up I checked the AIS to find another tow coming down the lake toward us. I wanted to get out ahead of that tow. The tows usually travel somewhere between four and five miles an hour. We were running at about eight miles an hour so we could put some distance between ourselves and that tow and hopefully arrive in time to be locked through.
We cast off at 0710. In leaving the harbor I thought I headed toward the main channel in the right direction but found that I had gone south just a little too much and was touching bottom for a short distance. Jim kept Namastè a little to the north and got out without a problem. The approaching tow was at the harbor entrance so when we met the channel we were right alongside. With a small amount of room between the tow and the channel markers we were able to slip into the channel and accelerate to the exhilarating speed of 8 mph and slowly out distance the tow.
Our course took us through down town Peoria, home of Caterpillar. I would have loved to stop and get a tour of the plant to see the big equipment being made but it will have to wait for another time. It was still fun to observe the waterfront. We ran into a couple of sport boats out netting Asian carp right in the downtown area.
About 1.5 miles out I called the lock to determine the latest status and found that we were not going to be slipped in between tows and it would be another two hour wait. Vicki had read about Kuchies Restaurant and Bar just north of the lock that had a dock and might allow you to tie up. We found Kuchies and took a spot on the dock. Vicki walked up to see if anyone was there (it was just before 9:00 AM) and found one lady opening the place. She said it was fine for us to moor there and that she would put the coffee pot on. I was able to buy three bags of ice to keep the cooler going though a few more hot days.
Soon after, along came Reunion, Gemini and Blue Haven. There was room at the dock for two more boats and so Gemini rafted on the outside of Reunion. About 20 minutes later two more boats came along and milled around in the river for a while. They were not looper boats and we had not seen them before. A couple of times the circled in near Kochies so the second time I yelled over to see if they wanted to raft. They did so we took one alongside Sea To See and one went alongside Blue Haven.
Everybody went up to the restaurant for coffee and it became a party. Group pictures were taken in front of the Kuchies sign and stories were told. At 1000 hrs Dennis from Reunion called down for another lock report and told the lockmaster there were now seven boats waiting at Kochies. The lock master said to stay there and he would give us a call when we could go through. The cook was coming in at 10:00 AM so we all determined to order hamburgers from Kochies for us and an extra four more for the lock crew.
We were called when the hamburgers were just put on the grill so we staggered off of the docks one at a time as the hamburgers were finished and locked through together. The locking crew was very appreciative of the hamburgers. And they were good!
After the Peoria Lock and Dam it was a 36.3 mile run to our anchorage for the night at Quiver Island. At one point in the river as we were rounding a bend to the right we met a 5×3 tow coming up river on the bend. We took the track on the inside of the bend which was the right thing to do but the tow cut the corner pretty close, as they need to do to maneuver the corners. We were only about 40 feet from the barges and tow boat as it went buy. The towboat has huge engines and props and can kick up quite a bit of turbulence while pushing the barges. Just as we came alongside of the towboat, about 50 feet away, the Asian carp started jumping like mad caused by his turbulence. Unfortunately they were jumping all around us and several smacked into the sides of the boat. Three made it into the cockpit where they proceeded to flop all around spreading blood everywhere. On the floor, the cockpit sides, the YETI cooler, the chairs and the mooring lines. What a mess.
I had learned from the previous carp that waiting for them to die before throwing them back was not a good way to go. This time I took a big sharp knife and pithed each one in the head. Now they were slowed down enough that I could slip a screwdriver into the gills and lift and flip them overboard. When we found a straight stretch in the river where Otto could steer for awhile I took the deck brush and continuously dipped it into the river and scrubbed on the blood all over hoping to dilute it enough so that we could give it a proper scrubbing with boat soap once we were moored.
On top of carp the flies were awful today. It was hot out so we traveled with doors and windows open. The side windows are screened but the front window and the back door are not. Flies came in constantly and these were the biting kind. They managed to bite both of us in several places and, once again, they went for my ankles big time. Now there are bug bite welts all over.
We planned to go to Tall Timber Marina for the night but the depth at the docks was not enough for Namaste so we went on to the anchorage behind Quiver Island. It turned out to be a very nice place to stay. When we arrived we found Reunion, Gemini and Blue Haven already anchored there.
After giving the cockpit a thorough scrubbing we were invited to happy hour aboard Gemini.