Day 66: Generosity of people
Elberry to Grafton, IL
I woke up early as Kyle and Caleb were leaving early. A hammock is considerably easier to break down than a tent. I am glad I brought one. I left their dock after packing and some breakfast. It was a very slow moving day for me. It may have been the tubing or lack of good sleep, but I was feeling sluggish on the river. I seemed to be hitting a lot of sand bars just below the waters surface as I was going along today. Those were challenging to pass from in the boat. I ended up pulling up to an island and resting my eyes for a bit. I was not going anywhere and needed a little more rest. I was relaxed as I felt the cool breeze run past me while I was in the shade of the trees. I few a little better as I headed towards Lock #25.
I arrived at the lock. I called them multiple times on my radio with no response. They are usually quick on their response, but I was not getting anything. I pulled up and pulled the call cord. I waited and still got no response. There was not anything in the lock, but no one was answering. I rung it a few more times before I heard a cart coming out to check on me. They told me not to ring the bell anymore and they would have it opened in 10 minutes. they told me that all the locks were channel 12, not 14. I just went with it because every lock this far was on channel 14. I hung tight and waited. A few minutes later, she came back and told me that they were having problems with the system. It would be another half hour wait. There was not anything I could do, so I tied up and hung out. About 10 minutes after that, the gates opened. I guessed they fixed the problem. I got through the lock. There was a tug just on the outside of the down stream gate. I was small and got past it. Off I went.
I met some boaters after passing through the lock. They offered me some ice cold water and tips for the river below. I was pushing it to make it to Grafton, IL. I was a few miles out and the sun was going down. I was cutting across the channel. This guy in a boat was heading my direction. I figured I would beat him across the channel before he got too close. He kept adjusting his angle that was cutting me off. I was getting annoyed. I finally decided to stop and see what he was going to do. He ended up pulling up next to me. He asked me which marina I was going to. I told him and he let me know I was cutting the channel too early. He also told me it was quite a few miles across and up the Illinois river. He asked me if I would like a ride. I never accept them, but since it was upstream, I agreed. I am glad I did. My arms were shot and I wanted to get in for the evening.
As he dropped me off in the marina, he told me he wanted to buy me dinner and breakfast. He pulled out his wallet and gave me a few bucks. He appreciated my adventurism spirit. He left me to get back to his family before it was too dark. I was grateful.
I made it into the marina and docked up. I went up to the bar and ordered a big burger. I was sore, tired, and hungry. I chatted up the bartenders and enjoyed the food and air conditioning. They offered to unlock the bathrooms and shower for the night so I could get clean. I was appreciative of that. I went back to my boat and set up my tent. It was on hard mud from the flooding, but it was stable and secure. I grabbed a shower before calling it a night. When I did crawl into my tent, I slept without the rain fly so that I could watch the stars before I fell asleep. It was a long day with a lot of miles, but another good day.