RiverNotes: On the Thomas E. Erickson
On July 6th I left the Theresa Wood at the locks in Guttenberg, Wisconsin and crossed the state of Illinois by car. At Pekin, Illinois I boarded the Thomas E. Erickson headed down the Illinois River.
I woke up this morning at 0500 hours and the boat had pulled up alongside another vessel and been there since late the night before. We had joined the Mississippi River and showed up for what we were told would be a 16 hour wait above the Merle Price Locks. We had 12 tows in front of us and the 1200 foot chambers were down. Every boat had to break its tow in two to get through the backup 600 foot lock. When we arrived at the north side of the lock, all the waiting spots at the side of the river were taken.So we pulled up alongside another waiting tow and reversed engines to stay in one spot. By 1100 hours we were informed that the 600 foot locks were down as well. The Captain asked the cook, who was supposed to be getting off at the other side of the lock, if she could walk across the width of the two tows and a catwalk from one tow to the rock wall at the side of the river to be picked up by a crew van.
"Oh yes I can," she said, "It's time to go home."