David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
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Sequoia National Park 2004
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Little Bicycle Trip 2011
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Kayak Trip 2012
04/12  Most boring trip ever?
04/13  Muddy Pecatonica
04/14  Say Yes to Drugs
04/15  Add a little Sugar and Rock
04/16  Worst campsite ever.
04/21  Island Of Honking Geese
04/22  Hennepin Feeder Canal
04/23  Locks, sand and muck
04/28  Henry
04/30  No Current on Peoria Lake
05/01  Industry and Locks
05/02  Rain and Eagles
05/04  Half-Way on the Illinois
05/05  Medium-Rare Meatloaf
05/06  Always Pepsi-Cola
05/08  Onto the Mississippi
05/09  St. Louis
05/10  Short Day
05/12  Barge Full of Rocks
05/13  Between Green and Red
05/14  Now comes the hard part
05/15  Metropolis
05/18  Tennessee River
05/19  No Lock For You
05/20  Snakes
05/21  New Johnsonville
05/25  Day of the Mayflies
05/26  Look, Another Cliff
05/27  Rotund Sunburns
05/28  Free Heron
05/30  Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
05/31  Bay Springs Lake
06/01  Locks are for the Patient
06/02  Tombigbee
06/06  Bamboo and Palmettos
06/07  Dry in AlaBAMa
06/08  Cutting Corners
06/09  Another day on the river
06/10  Demopolis
06/15  Hardest Portage Ever
06/16  Hot Rocky Beaches
06/17  First Alligator
06/18  Last Dam
06/19  Tide
06/20  Trashy Beaches
06/21  Just paddling down Interstate 10
06/27  Salty
06/28  Intracoastal Waterway
06/29  Come Sail Away
06/30  Peddling Along
07/01  Panama City
07/07  The Gulf of Mexico
07/08  Peacocks by the Sea
07/11  No Wind
07/12  Actually Sailing
07/13  Tacking
07/14  Steinhatchee
07/19  As sudden as ever
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Add a little Sugar and Rock

2012-04-15

tl;dr: I paddled past the Sugar River into the Rock River and down past Rockford. In the wind and rain.

It rained and stormed most of the night. I'd like to say that I slept through it all, but that wouldn't be truthful. There was at least one flashBANG.

Yesterday I saw deer crossing the river. Today a coyote. I know that hound a few days ago crossed it. The river doesn't seem to slow down critters much.

It rained off and on throughout the day, but it was a dry rain; that is, it quickly evaporated.

I finished off the final eighteen miles of the Pecatonica River, meeting up with the Sugar River along the way. Finally I entered the Rock River where the mile markers were reset to 156.

Once on the Rock River it was all into the wind. A very strong wind. Because of the dam in Rockford I eventually lost the assistance of current. I spent half the day fighting my way against the wind down to the heart of Rockford. I stopped at several parks to try and find drinking water, but to no avail. The river here is mostly bordered by houses, many of them unnecessarily big. Finally I spied some older folks sipping wine. There was a hose near them so I beached and asked for water. I can only imagine how incredibly uncouth I looked. But they filled me up and sent me on my way.

All day I only met two other boats. It was Sunday, so I expected more. But it was also very crappy weather.

The dam in Rockford is supposed to have a safety line and buoys to keep people like me from going over. I found those later downstream wrapped around a tree. Fortunately, I was expecting the dam. I dragged my kayak out out of the water, past the dam and down to the rapids under the watchful eye of a dozen fisherman, one who called out, "You're crazy!"

I was whipped, so I started looking for a place to camp, but all the good spots were taken (by locals). So I decided to camp on one of the many islands I knew would be downstream. The first island was little more than a disgusting ick of slimy pollution. The second group of islands were a sieve for collecting garbage. I skipped a few more islands because they were so close to a noisy bridge. Finally I settled on an island lacking a No Trespassing sign, likely because it had rotted away.

Another storm came through just as it was getting dark. Rain pelted the tent, which was not at all protected from the driving wind. Suddenly, as the wind picked up, I could hear a growing whine and rumble. It grew in intensity. Ah, just another jet taking off. I am camped right next to the Chicago Rockford International Airport, which seems amazingly busy for a Sunday night.

mouth of Sugar River


wider


turkeys


how coot


almost finished


entering the Rock River


just getting started




here be dragons




Rockford


Fordham Dam


below the dam


island camping

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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