Moderated Discussion Areas
ContinuousWave: Trips and Rendezvous
posted 03-22-2008 10:45 PM ET (US)
Is the river easily accessible and navigable? Sites worth seeing from the river?
It would be a good run from where I live in SE Wisonsin.
posted 03-24-2008 02:04 PM ET (US)
It is easily accessible via the lock at the mouth of the river. You will need to time your arrival or be delayed by the water cannon that goes off two times an hour and shoots across the river.
I recommend "shadowing" an architecture tour boat. If you have a 4-stroke engine or an E-TEC, you can likely hear the narrative for free!
Once you get past the loop skyscrapers, the river becomes pretty industrial, but on a rough afternoon, it can make for a nice respite from the washing-machine that the inner and outer harbors can become with boat traffic.
The Chicago lakefront is statistically the most dangerous place on lake Michigan. Keep a sharp lookout for what is going on around you, not on the skyline, eye candy aboard another boat, etc.
If you really want to run the river - I'd take it south and West to the Calumet River, and run back into Indiana and out the Calumet back to Lake Michigan. The Hammond marina has been upgraded recently and has a decent restaurant for dinner - then an evening/night run back to SE Wisconsin could be very nice, especially seeing the Chicago skyline at sunset.
posted 03-24-2008 02:05 PM ET (US)
BTW - I'd take the Eastport for this trip!
posted 03-25-2008 12:04 AM ET (US)
I might consider the river trip.
I dont know anything about those waters. How long do you think it might take?
Are channels maintained for any commercial traffic?
My boat draws about 15 inches.
posted 03-25-2008 12:10 AM ET (US)
I appreciate the word of warnign about the chicago lakefront. I have been along the lakefront a number of time on foot and never had a problem, but stats are stats.
I presume there are decent slips for overnight accommodation that may offer varying levels of security.
Where do you launch from or do you keep your boat in the water?
posted 03-25-2008 08:26 AM ET (US)
When I first moved to the city after college and boatless, I spent a lot of time on the lakefront at the parks, watching boat traffic on the near north side (Lincoln Park). I also spent a lot of time at the marinas just goofing off and saving my money for my first Whaler.
Anyway - the lakefront is a madhouse. Too many people with the money for a big boats but little or no experience in operating them. The sailing community in Chicago is second to none - experienced skippers, well educated boaters....but the powerboat community is a little more difficult - lots of jetskis, people partying in the "playpen" just north of the waterworks - lots of booze, lots of T&A, lots of scenery...but not a lot of brains...or perhaps a drain of blood from the head to another vital organ...I don't know, but sitting on the lakefront watching numerous close calls, fenders flopping on million dollar yachts, etc.....I go to great lengths to avoid the lakefront except in very early and late season when the nuts aren't out.
When I'm nearby (skyline at sunset is hard to beat), it's offshore at least 1 mile to avoid the traffic at the harbor.
I'm not a huge fan.
The boat lives in SW Michigan on a trailer. I bring it back over to the Chicago lakefront a few times a summer, launching from Hammond, IN or Michigan City and coming across the last few miles of the bottom of the lake. Avoids the hassle, allows me to enjoy the lake and de-stress.
That said, I've had friends bring their boats over for overnights...the Harbors are fine, but there is often a waiting list for the popular ones (even for transient slips). So check ahead...which is my rec for Hammond Marina for overnight.
Security is fine at the Chicago Harbors. They are well maintained and managed by Westrec; but if I were assigned a slip in a far southside harbor, my concerns about security would be slightly elevated due to the nearby neighbors...that factor is changing as south side lakefront neighborhoods are starting to gentrify.
The river is charted on and navigable for commercial barges...you won't have any problems with depth, although near shore, you may encounter obstructions from time to time.
LHG is the expert, as I believe he's done this a few times.
Where I to do the trip from Kenosha, I'd make a weekend out of it - run down to Evanston after work on Friday. Eat dinner, then run the river, staying at Hammond on Saturday night, then returning along the lakefront on Sunday...Dick's Last Resort (good burgers) at RiverEast in Chicago for lunch and push hard for Kenosha Harbor that afternoon.
Incidentally, I have a good friend who lives right on the lakefront in Kenosha near the public museum. The new facilities at the marina just south of the nuseum look nice. Quite a bit of redevelopment going on down there.
posted 03-25-2008 09:46 PM ET (US)
I know a young lady down in Chicago and have wanted to drive across the lake for some time now to visit. With the repower and boat looking good you can expect me in the Chicago area this summer.
posted 03-29-2008 12:56 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the information.
I will contact you before the trip if we decide to do it. Might not be this summer as my spouse is expecting. Ride might be tough on junior. On the flip side, might be the last chance to do it for a few years.
Downtown Kenosha is changing considerably for the better. The marina south of your friend's condo now manages the small boat harbour to the north. I have a slip in this area. The city had a pretty good supply of slips last year but the demand is increasing. If you ever want a transient slip, I suspect one would be available in the North marina. Locally we call it the "small boat harbour" but there are some pretty big rigs. No sail boats in this area as there is a bridge.
posted 04-02-2008 07:52 PM ET (US)
Last summer my wife and I took a wonderful river trip leaving from the Chicago river, just north of Michigan street, through the lock to the lake front, east to Calumet, down through the SAG to the Chicago river and back to our point of origin. Although we did this on a tourist boat, I would not hesitate to do in in my Whaler, in fact I want to. Although the lake front is a busy area, it is not that dangerous. Pick a nice day, don't try it in wind the wind is strong from the north. I would launch it in Calumet where there is a ramp. It does get industrial, but the bridges are a wonder, there are a number of marinas along the way and places to pull in and east.
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