Water Warriors

Water Warriors

22-Jun-2021 Tuesday McKinnley Marina, Milwaukee MI to Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall, Joliet IL (112.5 nautical miles 129.5 statute miles)

41°31’24.7″N 88°05’14.4″W
41.523529, -88.087320
Elevation: 538 feet     Elevation change: -41 feet
States (2): Wisconsin, Illinois

Locks (2):
Mile 327.4, Chicago Harbor Lock
Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam

Along the Way

Water Warriors! We were on our way a few minutes before 5:00AM

The sun rose at exactly 5:15am right on the nose as predicted. The sunrise got prettier as the sun climbed. So did its reflection on the city. I’d said my goodbye so the camera stayed at my side while my coffee and I quietly enjoyed it.

When I stood to pour my second cup of coffee I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take a picture. The reflections continued to grow until it was too bright to even look at the city without burning my eyes

On to Chicago!

Lake Michigan took its last licks at us as we headed into the Chicago Harbor. It just had to hit is hard on the beam one last time for measure.

Chicago Water Cribs. The water cribs are structures built to house and protect offshore water intakes used to supply the City of Chicago with drinking water from Lake Michigan. Water is collected and transported through tunnels to pumping stations located onshore, then to water purification plants Jardine Water Purification Plant (the world’s largest) and the Sawyer Water Purification Plant (operating since 1947). The water is treated and pumped to all parts of the city as well as 118 suburbs.

The city has had nine permanent cribs of which six are still standing and two are in active use.

Sailing ships upon the seas

Chicago. The breakwater wall surrounding the Chicago Harbor is surprisingly low! I bet waves just pound over it on windy days.

The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893) was actually moved and altered in the early 20th century. The breakwater was extended in 1918, so the city relocated the lighthouse relocated to new southern tip.

Water Warriors! It was too early in the afternoon to call it a day so we headed into the Chicago Harbor Lock.

Out of the lock and into the city.

We are still checking clearances. The game’s changed a little bit. The dinghy boom and the radar are back up so we need to account for the additional height. Only one bridge will have to open for us (fingers crossed). We’d rather not wait for bridges to open if we can squeak through. Going down the Erie Canal with so many low clearances numbed the terror out of passing under low clearance bridges. Current water level is always a wild card so we had to proceed with caution.

Two of the many tour boats of many styles.

Heading out of Chicago

The river quickly became more industrial with a few small marinas tucked in.

Water Warriors! The feared, stationary CSX Chessie Railroad Bridge. If a boat can’t clear this 17 foot clearance bridge they need to turn around, go back through the city and take the Cal-Sag Waterway to continue south to the Mississippi. Besides backtracking, the Cal-Sag Waterway (41.9 miles) route is longer than the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (15.2) route.

Not any Erier than the Erie.

The Erie Canal didn’t look like this. Interesting repair work.

The confluence of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (left)and the Cal-Sag Waterway (right).

Electronic fish net to prevent Asia carp from spreading into the Great Lakes.

Lots of dust in the air from heavy machinery working.

Mile 291.0, Lockport Lock and Dam

Water Warriors! A couple of close call bridges in Joliet IL


We tied off for the night on Joliet’s Billie Limaches Bicentennial Park free wall. The police station is directly across from the park and Harrah’s just up river.


The Chicago River is the only river in the world that permanently flows backwards. It flows away from Lake Michigan, which supplies the city’s drinking water. This was done around the turn of the 20th century to stop contamination from the river into the lake. Every year, the city dyes the river green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Drolleries and Yuks

What kind of plants goes in the bathroom?
~Toilet trees

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *