Today turned out to be a big day through no planning of mine. After passing the Keokuk lock with a 28 foot drop I emerged into a rough and windy river. I rowed slowly getting bounced by the waves and figured I’ll just take my time. Within three miles it calmed with a little wind from the west. No boat traffic? Hummm.. I pulled over rigged my sail and away I went.
By early afternoon the wind had died and I rowed. The current was strong and I made good miles. Late in day I reached Quincy Illinois. Almost a city. I pass a couple of beaches and think to stop for night but no. I want to pass the city and go through the lock at the other end.
It was difficult to tell what exactly was happening. There was a train bridge and road bridge and barges on both sides and the dam in the distance. As I went under the train bridge I see a large barge lining up to go under the road bridge. Where the hell did that come from? I get out of the way but am close to shore and its wake was tossing me around. I now see another large barge entering the lock. Itll be dark in 2 hours so I cross the river and look to camp if I can. No luck. I go to the spillway and see it was fast but passable. I cinch down my life vest and go through. The water rushes past the cement barriers and takes me with it. I make it but it was more excitement than I needed.
So I search for a place to camp. I go past islands with muddy banks 3 feet high and a swift current. I search both shores they are either to high or under water. I row mile after mile. The sun sets and I’m desperate and find a row of summer homes on high stilts. I pick one unoccupied one and set up my tent as darkness falls. I climb in and wait to be threatened as a tresspasser. I try to sleep or at least rest and have an uneasy night.
I ended sailing and rowing a total of 48 miles in 11 hours. I’m pooped.