John and Renae Essman, of Streator, picked a picture-perfect day to be on the river.
It was blue skies and warm temperatures as the couple spent the day with Bernard and Rachel Handzus, of Dwight, while sailing along the tranquil Illinois River as part of a Starved Rock Lodge dinner cruise. Asian carp flopped up from the water to greet the travelers and a few eagles were noticed by keen eyes high overhead. And the good news is, the views are only expected to get better in the coming weeks.
Captain Randy Malcolm is a veteran sailor and recently found his way back to the area after spending some time in Florida. He now captains the Eagle 1 along the eastern edge of Starved Rock State Park, one of the first tour boats in a long while to show guests a long undiscovered angle of the park.
“I’ve always liked this eastern edge of the park, up by the dam,” Captain Randy said. “So we’re revisiting history because the last tour boat that ran this section here was in 1973 or 1974.”
“It’s almost like we have this all to ourselves out here, which is really nice,” he later added.