Des Plaines River going into Joliet 

This part of the river was full of tows some times 3 x wide and up to 600 feet but no longer or they won’t fit in the lock. This is an extremely busy area with barges (tows) and of course they have the right away. If you or when you do this journey always call the tugboat and ask what is their preferred side to pass you on. We have already experienced so much on our 4.5 weeks journey so far. I just want to thank each of you who take the time out and read our blog. THANK YOU🙋🏻🌸🌸👏🏼👏🏼  Although, this portion of the river is busy it’s still wroth the experience. Don’t let me fool you there are times I am biting my nails.  

This is where the tows (barges) begin, at IMTT petroleum plant

  Trees growing out of the stones and gravel.   

As we cruise down the river tows are around every corner. We must pay a great deal of attention here they are anywhere from 2-3 deep in the river as you can tell in this pic.


The lighting is so wrong, but I still wanted to show you that they even dock on both sides of the river. 


This is a cut in off the wall where they store and repair barges (tows)


Lots and lots of tugboats they reminded me of a houseboat. We had the opportunity to talk to a few tow attendants and they have sleep areas and galley just like home. They laughed at me when I asked if they had a hot-tub inside. One you man said he has spent up to 21 days on his tow. 

These are covers that they put over the cargo that they are carrying such as dirt, sand, gravel, and coal.


This is The city of New Orleans. She sure is a big tugboat. You will see here again.

Now we are entering a barrier area where they have electrical shock therapy for Asian carp and another species that they don’t want to get into the Great Lakes.


At this point we put gloves on in case the boat conducts electricity through the steering wheel or any of the metal on the boat.

With our life jackets on we motored through the area. I can really see how the vessels could carry in other species in the bottom of their vessels. 


 Gloves can now come 👐🏼hands are free again. Thank goodness George didn’t jump in to the river. Maybe, I should pick up a life jack for him too. I am surprised too that I haven’t already done so. I did pick him up a cute carrying case in case we fly home or trips to the vet. Ok, no more side talk about George. 🐯

We pulled over to let this vessel pass us by. They were moving so slowly….🐢 thank goodness there was a place for us to pullover  front of another tow anchored.

Here is the dam picture! I think it’s the only time the word is used correctly.


She finally passed us….headed into the electric shock area for the asian carp. 

This is our 2nd lock that we are going through. I forgot to mention the first one Thomas J.O’Brien it only lowered us a foot or two. We waited 4.5 hours to get a lift down at Lockport. The powerboat getting ready to dock in front of us and the one upfront of us we were all asked to move to the other side to dock do to the huge tows coming out. They would run us over. 

We finally received our call on channel 14 our VHS radio that we could enter the starboard side of the Tow that had already entered. That was our port (left) side. The attendants from the tow tied the boats to their barge. We handed off our lines to them. We started up at  the 400 mark and as you can see we were lowered a lot it took about 45 minutes to reach the lower end. 

If you look closely you can see the water coming in the doors behind me. They sure do leak. 


Bryce was inspecting our lines.
We had three powerboats in front of us


On our way out to the lower portion of the river. It was getting late and hard to see. I was able to use the spotlight our youngest son Justin & his family brought  for this trip after they found out we didn’t have one. Thanks Justin, it is coming in very useful. It’s funny the three power boats are headed to the Bahamas too. Three miles after the locks we made it to Joliet Illinois. 

We woke up to the sound of the men working on the bridge and the vessel City of New Orleans pushing her tow though Joliet. 


They must of been up all night pushing barges though the locks because she was pushing 4 barges she looked to be a mile long.
We are leaving Joliet some time today. The dockage was free and offered us power. That was fabulous. The area was not the best to explore you just had to know your surroundings. Not sure where we will end up tonight all depends on the wait for the locks.

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