I have not made the trip, but am from Chicago and know many who did.
You must take your mast
down in Chicago & then it is down all the way. The preferred route
is the Illinois River to the Mississippi
to the Ohio
River; then up the Ohio
to the Ten Tom / Tom Bigsby. You can put the mast
up at Mobile Al. This route
avoids the lower Mississippi
which is chanalized and heavy with commercial
traffic. Everyone I have talked to says that is is a doable, but unpleasant trip. Parts
of the Ten Tom are nice.
There are fours ways out of Chicago by boat
1. Mississippi / Ten Tom 2. Lakes to Erie Canal
River 3. Lakes to St, Lawrence River 4. Truck
I went out the St. Lawrence and it was a wonderful, if challenging trip.