I somehow assumed that the wilds of Canada would be the most isolated area on Memsahib’s voyage.  Bad assumption.

The southern part of the Illinois River is as quiet and free of boats as one could imagine.  Our first day out of Peoria (a vibrant city that was a great change of pace) we saw NO pleasure boats, one tug. The second day we got up to two boats and locked through with three coming into Grafton, where we are now.  (Grafton “The Key West of the Mid West” — a great slogan and decidedly untrue.)

Picked up a little cell service in Beardstown, but that was it, so pretty much incommunicado for 3 days and 120 miles. There is one stretch where the only two highway bridges are 50 miles apart, so to get to Grandma’s across the river you take the ferry, just like the olden days.

Again, lots of wildlife.  We saw four bald eagles the second day out and a pair yesterday.  Leaping carp continued to leap and poor John got to scrub the scales off the side of the boat for an hour this morning.  At Bar Island, our Day Two anchorage, we took the dinghy in through the mud to explore and found numerous signs of beaver activity on the trees.  I wonder how long those beavers worked at it before deciding they weren’t going to dam up the Illinois river?

The Illinois gets very wide as it reaches the confluence of the Mississippi here in Grafton, so no worries from the tows, and it is more scenic and interesting than the semi-industrialized parts north of Peoria.

Getting very cold at night and in the morning, so we are heading south as fast as we can.  But low water levels, weather, and the lack of marinas and anchorages on the Mississippi leg of the trip mean you have to pick your travel days carefully.

Peoria from the river.

Steaks on the barbie, Bar Island

Eagle watching Memsahib. We have an eagle on the back the boat and hope one doesn’t come courting.

Ferry from East Bejesus to West Bejesus

Willow Island Anchorage -- the anchorages are really "chutes" in back of small islands where the tows can't get you.

Willow Island Anchorage — the anchorages are really “chutes” in back of small islands where the tows can’t get you.

Morning mist, Willow Island

Captain Cool

John in cold moring attire — socks on his hands since we didn’t bring gloves