Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Colona Illinois

We got up to a light rain on Tuesday but by the time we ate breakfast it had cleared up enough for us to do our morning walk. We walk for 45 minutes at a quick pace which is just a little over two miles for us. We will increase it in a few weeks. I would like to get to at least four miles a day.

We packed up and left Utica at around 11:45 am and headed west on I-80 to Colona Illinois. It was only about a 75 mile trip. We are staying at Indian Trails resort. This resort is in our Coast to Coast system and is only $10.00 a night. We do not have full hook up’s but we do have water and 50 amp electric. Hopefully our holding tanks can last the 8 days we will be here. If not there is a Honey Wagon that will come drain us if need be. This will be a good test for us to see how much waste water we can hold before we boondock in the desert on BLM land.

This park is a typical park that is in the Coast to Coast system. It is a membership park meaning that there are a lot of seasonal campers here. There is a nice club house with a pool. Unfortunately the pool is inside. This is great if we were here in late September or October but in August it is just to hot and humid inside to enjoy it. The campsites are very close together and we are under a tree cover. I cannot get the satellite system to lock on so we just have to rough it and watch over the air TV. Once football season starts having satellite capabilities will be the number one criteria of any campsite. I do have my priorities!

We found a pull through spot and got set up in about a half hour. Not too bad, we are getting quicker with the fifth wheel set up.We went into town and found the post office to mail a letter and to find the Wal-Mart so we can go buy our groceries. When we returned I started investigating the Hennepin Canal that is about 2 miles from us. The canal is a 104.5-mile linear park which spans five counties (Rock Island, Bureau, Henry, Lee and Whiteside).  The Hennepin was the first American canal built of concrete without stone cut facings. The Hennepin had limited success as a waterway, engineering innovations used in its construction were a bonus to the construction industry. Some of the innovations pioneered on the Hennepin Canal were probably used on the Panama Canal. Both used concrete lock chambers and both used a Feeder canal from a man made lake to water the canals because both needed water to flow ‘uphill.’

There are 33 locks on the canal. Thirty-two are still visible. The first one, on the Illinois River, has been under water since the 1930's. Fourteen of the locks had Marshall gates, which are unique to the Hennepin, and are raised and lowered on a horizontal axis, much like a rural mailbox. Five of the locks have been restored to working condition, although they are not used. One of these is a Marshall Gate lock. All of the gates from the remaining locks have been replaced with concrete walls, creating a series of waterfalls. We may look at taking our Sea Eagle Kayak out and paddle around and look at some of the locks or plan a trip from one section to the next. We will see how the weather cooperates.

We ended our first night here by going to the club house and met some people playing cards. They were playing a game called Hand and Foot. They used 7 decks of cards. We watched for awhile and was learning the game and when the next game started Max joined in. I was content just to watch and keep learning rather than playing. After a couple of hours we made it back to the RV and called it a night. Tomorrow we are going to be doing the laundry and other chores. At least I don’t have to mow!


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