David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
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

St. Louis


tl;dr: I paddled through St. Louis. It was not fun.

If you ever have the opportunity to canoe or kayak the Mississippi down past St. Louis, don't. It sucks. Unless your idea of a good time is dodging giant collections of barges and towboats in an unforgiving current and extremely choppy water. Even on the water big cities are no fun.

I have reconsidered my interest in photographing every towboat I see, partially because it would have been impossible to do so today. For mile-long stretches to take a hand off my paddle would have resulted in immediate swamping. And the barges! They were stacked eight deep right up to the bank! That means I had to push a hundred yards out into the river just to get around them. And hate-to-be-you if you can't make that hundred yards before the current carries you to those barges.

I was so happy when I reached the end of that shipping container jungle after two hours of dodging, portaging, and paddling like mad.

The rest of the day was spent trying to decide where best to paddle. Should I stick to the relatively slow current along the shore where there were things to see and I didn't have to be on guard, or did I push out into the fast current where I almost doubled my speed? What usually happened was that I ended up between the two in a broiling mess of switching currents.

Near the end of the day I was tired of paddling, but I had a slight tailwind, so I deployed my sail and drifted along the Illinois-side bank for a while before spotting a beautiful beach to camp on. Good enough reason to stop.

What is up with people? I find an awesome beach so I stop early. Ten minutes later a guy shows up in a boat and starts fishing right next to me. Fine, I think, because there is sort of a little bay here. But then he beaches his boat, unfolds a lawn chair, and starts sunning himself! Right next to me. I could hit him with a rock from where I'm eating my summer sausage and Ritz dinner. He has to know I'm here. I considered just getting back on the river, but the shirtless creeper should realize before long that it isn't actually that warm.

Because the mosquitoes have yet to make any sort of real appearance I decided to forgo the tent tonight. We'll see how that goes.

the Missouri River

that's above sea level

a flock of cranes

Chain of (Trucks) Bridge


building a new bridge

waterfront property


as if there aren't already enough bridges

bad panorama of the Gateway Arch

photographing tourists photographing me

the fun begins

barges barges everywhere

blocked in

barge repair

just go away

goodnight Mississippi River

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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