Donnelly Great Loop Adventure 2017

SV Serenity


September 2017

We finish the Big Muddy and wash up in Grafton (three day recap) (9/21/17-9/23/17)


One river done. 327.4 miles in 11 days. Average of just about 30 miles/day. Anchored out or sat at a wall for 6 of 10 nights. And were out of internet coverage for two days AND WHY IS THERE SOMEPLACE IN AMERICA THAT DOESN’T YET HAVE CELLULAR DATA COVERAGE?!?!? Seven Locks. One thousand flying carp. Average temp for first 5 days was 75 degrees and for last 5 days was 95 degrees. We did over 250 miles without refueling (and had 15 gallons left over). And we end up in Grafton, IL. Oh good Lord. Grafton. Continue reading “We finish the Big Muddy and wash up in Grafton (three day recap) (9/21/17-9/23/17)”

Jeezus it is hot and the river is open (for us)(9/19/17-9/20/18)

Bottom Line:

  • Two days on the muddy river of Illinois. We have had rain, fog, ungodly heat and humidity. Tugs and bugs. And a lock. River is closed to commercial traffic, open to pleasure craft (PCs)
  • It is unbelievably hot
  • We seem to be getting a bit better at this
  • The river is wicked low. We have run aground. Twice. On purpose.
  • I’ve grouped two days into one because I have been failing miserably to keep up; it is

Continue reading “Jeezus it is hot and the river is open (for us)(9/19/17-9/20/18)”

Flying Carp, we pass a barge and the river closes (9/18/17)

Start: Heritage Harbor Marina, Ottawa, IL , 0653
End: Anchorage vic. South Henry Island, mm 193, 14:49
Total Distance: 43.4 nm
Time: 7:56
Average Speed: 5.5 kts
Number of locks: 1

On Sunday morning, we decided to stay one more day (until Tuesday) because there were thunderstorms forecasted on Monday morning. But by Sunday night, the forecast had changed and so early Monday morning, we pushed off and headed downriver from Heritage Harbor. Continue reading “Flying Carp, we pass a barge and the river closes (9/18/17)”

A very long, very short day (9/15/17-9/17/17)

Start: Unnamed Island, Mile 258.6. 1101
End: Heritage Harbor Marina, Ottawa, IL 1934
Total Distance: 14.7 nm
Time: 8:33
Average Speed: 4.3 kts1
Number of locks: 1. Very. Long. Lock.

Today was a short day. 13 miles, more or less, from our anchorage to the marina in which we are going to spend the evening. Three hours, max. Tops! This will be easy! We will be in Heritage Marina in Ottawa, IL by noon! Except there is a lock between the anchorage and the marina. The Marseilles lock. We should have known that there was going to be an issue: Marseilles is french for congestion 2. Continue reading “A very long, very short day (9/15/17-9/17/17)”

Joliet and Beyond with good people (9/14/17)

Start: Joliet, IL FREE Wall
End: Anchorage vic mile 258.6, unnamed island.
Total Distance: 23.9
Time: 4:45, but doesn’t include 45 minutes of waiting for first lock
Average Speed: 5.0 kts
Number of locks: 2

The PLAN was to get up at 0530 and be heading down river by 0615. First lock at 0630 and a long (40 mile) day to Ottawa, IL. Reality was wakey wakey at 0530, dog walked, boat ready to go. Continue reading “Joliet and Beyond with good people (9/14/17)”

On the road (river) again (9/13/17)

Start: DuSable Marina, Chicago, IL 0730
End: Joliet, IL FREE wall 1513
Total Distance: 36.51 nm
Time: 7:42
Average Speed: 4.7 kts

It is good to be moving once again. While Chicago/Milwaukee/Sheboygan, etc were all great places to visit, we are on a journey on a 5000 mile loop, and you don’t get any closer to the end without moving forward. Alarm went off at 6:15, was summarily crushed by two hands (Jan and mine), we groaned, rolled out of bed and did all those things we need to do to get out on the waterways. Today was our first day on the rivers. Our destination is Joliet, IL; 40ish miles down the river.

Continue reading “On the road (river) again (9/13/17)”

Month in review (Month 4)

Start 8/8/17: Manitowoc, WI
End: 9/7/17: Chicago, IL (Dusable Marina).
Major Milestones:

  • Mast off boat in preparation for river portion of trip
  • Great Lakes portion of trip complete
  • Three states. Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. But to be honest, Indiana is sketchy. We passed the border between Illinois and Indiana when we took the boat to get the mast unstepped (going into Calumet Harbor). But never actually put our feet in Indiana.

Total miles to date: 1,718.69. Yes. I keep mileage to the nearest 100th and it is accurate (as far as you know)
Total miles this month: 169.52. We have basically stopped this month. Want to spend time in Wisconsin and we aren’t rushing to hit the rivers and get to the gulf until AFTER hurricane season.
Total moving time: 35.68 hours over 6 (count ‘em SIX) days. 24 stationary days.
Average Speed: 5.6 kts. Definitely picked up the speed with sails and fair winds (sometimes).
Average miles/Day on the loop: 14.3
Longest Miles in a day: 45.5. Sheboygan to Milwaukee.
Longest duration in a day: 8:33. Sheboygan to Milwaukee.
Number of amusement parks: 2 (not counting Great Wolf Lodge [hell] in this total).
Rental Car miles: 1,302.
Rental Bike Miles: 30ish
Number of uber/lyft rides: 4
Number of nights we stayed off boat: 3 (Crashed at Kittells and two nights at GWL).
Number of kennel nights for Lucky: 3.
Number of animals on the boat at the end of the month: 2.
Pounds of hair Sidney has pulled off of his body. Seems like 17. Hair is all over our boat.
Days with rain: 6 out of 30. We have finally gotten some sunny weather!!
Number of gallons of gas: 28.8. Only filled up once
Number of gallons of diesel: 0. If we don’t anchor, don’t need generator!
Fuel usage: A ridiculous .7 gal per hour when using both engines.
Number of oil changes: 1.
Number of pump outs: 2. Staying at marinas helps!
Number of pounds gained: 20(ish). After losing weight in Canada, we are in the land of cheese, fried cheese curds, sausage, bratwurst and deep dish pizzas. We need to get on the rivers to get away from the bad food!
Number of fish fries: 1. And it was spectacular.
Number of haircuts: 1. Jan went in for a trim. AJ and I are beginning to look as if tumbleweeds have lodged on the top of our skulls.
Number of dental appointments: 1 each. Gotta keep the teeth clean!
Number of visitors on the boat: 15. Some overnighters, some not, but lots of time cleaning boat in preparation.

CHICAGO!!! And the end to the Great Lakes portion of the trip (9/6/17-9/7/17)

The marking of the end of our Great Lakes portion of the great loop was marked yesterday (9/7/17) with the unstepping of our mast in Crowley’s boat yard. It also marked the beginning of our river portion of the trip and we got a small taste of some of the challenges we will
face when we went to Crowley’s; bridges, barges and traffic.
Continue reading “CHICAGO!!! And the end to the Great Lakes portion of the trip (9/6/17-9/7/17)”

Six Flags and We DON’T Leave for Chicago (8/4/17-8/5/17)

Start: Waukegan, IL
End: Chicago IL
Total Distance: TBD
Time: ???
Average Speed: ???

We really don’t have a schedule and when we try to pretend we have a schedule we are reminded why we don’t.

Continue reading “Six Flags and We DON’T Leave for Chicago (8/4/17-8/5/17)”

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