Our First Overnight Anchorage

A haiku, about all of the miles we’ve motored so far:

we are very slow,
but the barges are slower.
they are still scary.

I guess barges do make up a lot of my thoughts while we’re moving. I wasn’t planning on that haiku being only about barges, but that’s all I could think about.IMG_6351We have basically been motoring one free city wall to the next.IMG_6621IMG_6319

Until a few nights ago, when we finally anchored out for the evening.

I could tell you about how we motored from Chicago, IL to Joliet, IL. And then motored from Joliet, IL to Ottawa, IL. And then motored from Ottawa, IL to Peoria, IL. But you get the point, right now we’re just motoring. We’re just a motorboat moving along at a crawling speed of only about six miles per hour. It’s basically a very slow road trip. But we don’t have to stop moving in order to eat. We also don’t have to stop at rest stops to go to the bathroom because we have our own.

On our longest day, we found ways to entertain ourselves in the cockpit. Singing, dancing, and jumping around.

As I said, we have been docking at free city walls or free city docks which is actually really neat and something that I didn’t know existed. Usually there is only room for a small number of boats, but we have been lucky.

Until that is, this past Thursday, when we finally learned that we have been missing out on arguably the coolest thing ever. Anchoring.

At our first anchorage, while not one hundred percent alone as there was one other boat, there wasn’t a small town or a big city right next to us. No people walking by, looking at our boat, at all hours of the day and late into the night.

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Just us. And Patches. And Skinny Dipper, the boat nearby.

RJ and I rode the paddleboard over to say hello, went back to our boat and had some dinner, before joining our new friends for some drinks and conversation. As soon as we could no longer ignore the mosquitoes nipping at our ankles, we said goodnight and paddled back to Patches.

For the first week of the trip, I saw the sunrise every day, seven days in a row. I recommend this to everyone.

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On Friday, not needing to leave until noon, I hadn’t gone outside to see it, but still caught glimpses of the fog on the river slowly getting illuminated by daybreak.

With plenty of time to enjoy the morning, we set off to explore. RJ took the dinghy to the shore of the island we were tucked behind, and I took the paddleboard up the river away from the main channel.

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Are jumping fish called jumping fish because they jump or because they make me jump? Maybe both. I swear I felt them banging on the bottom of my paddleboard.

I arrived back at the boat to RJ preparing potatoes for breakfast and sat down to plan our day.

We decided, and also the available options helped decide for us, to anchor for the second night in a row.

Waking up in a boat anchored on a river is akin to waking up in my tent on a backpacking trip. Rolling out of bed, layering on some clothing for the inevitable morning chill, and walking outside to a new day. Yet, instead of walking for ten or so miles to the next campsite, we motor, but it is still at a crawling pace.

Looking forward, I see something new. Looking backwards, I’ve barely moved.

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we are very slow
yet we continue to go
and go and go and…

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