Don’t beat a dead horse…

Yes dear friends we have now seen something new. That is a dead horse’s carcass in the above photo. More on this later.

This morning two events coincided to create a recipe for disaster. One, the hurricane known as Isaac arrived right on time with it’s wind and rain. Two, the counterclockwise swirl, as Jerry Sienfeld was famous for in his “move”, worked to sweep from east to west all the way across Lake Michigan to create a perfectly mean beam sea for us.

You see we had to run right down the western shore in order to enter Calumet Harbor. Thus first thing out of the chute this morning we were being hit by solid 4 footers with many 5’s mixed in. This made for a rolling effect like we have not yet experienced. Jan asked if we should consider turning back but I said it was too risky to try and re-enter the harbor and we only had 10 miles to go. So we held on and kept going. It was a ride but surprisingly not as rough as some we have had due to the spacing of the waves. Nonetheless we were thrilled to turn into the breakwater at Calumet and begin our river adventure. Nothing was damaged but a number of items down below were out of place.

The Calumet River is a total change from the beauty we have had for so many weeks. It is all industrial and barges are thick as fleas. Luckily most of them were tied up due to the Labor Day Holiday weekend. We did get stuck behind several and it required some dicey threading of the needle on numerous occasions.

Believe it or not one of these barges is moving in the same direction as we are and the other is tied to the wall. This is high risk manuevering to pass in a narrow slot with these behemoths. One wrong move and we are pressed like a cheap suit. But the only other choice was to loaf along at 3.3mph behind them. The pucker factor goes way up when you are halfway in and the barge starts closing the gap because he has to move off the wall.

We are back into the locks now and had two today. The first was just west of Calumet and it was upon exiting that we spotted the aforementioned dead horse. There it was big as life floating on it’s side right outside a marina. When the wind shifted it was brutal so we did not tarry to get better photos. I was just glad it was not a human as we would have been required to drag it out and wait on the authorities. Now you all know how much I love a good drama but that would have been too much. But this is Illinois just outside South Chicago so it might have happened. I still wonder where that horse came from as we did not see a pasture the rest of the day.

Oh, and today was the day we crossed the electric barrier. This is an underwater electric fence designed to keep the Asian Jumping Carp, that escaped from catfish farms when the Mississippi flooded years ago, from making their way into the Great Lakes. It is believed they will multiply like rabbits and destroy valuable fisheries by eating all the vegetation other species depend upon. Now why are they called Jumping CArp? Well just Google Asian Jumping Carp and look at some video. These things will jump in the boat with you and can injure people in a fast moving boat. I hope to get some pictures when we get further downriver where they are plentiful. We may even catch one without a pole. 

Our destination was the last known residence of Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues after completing their mission from God to save the Penguin’s orphanage. (Blues Brothers Movie) And tonight we are tied up within pistol shot of Joliet State Pen. And would you believe this place is all over the news today as it is the town in Wills County where the Drew Peterson murder trial is taking place. Too bad it is Saturday as we would have liked to sit in for a bit but the jury has been given the Holiday off and will begin deliberations on Tuesday. 

Upon arrival in Joliet we caught up with another looper boat “Native Son” which you may remember from Canada. Rich was standing on the quay to catch our line and we have a free dock with power tonight. Harrah’s Casino is right across the bridge and we may have to play a game of chance while we are here.