Posts Tagged ‘Kayak Quincy’

I know you’re all waiting for my RAGBRAI recap, and I promise I will get to it. It’s just tough to put a whole week into a blog!  In the meantime though, I have to tell you about 2 Big Events coming to the Muddy Mississippi!

Ladies Night Kayaking

It’s me– kayaking! You should kayak with me.

Calling all ladies!  I will be leading two girls-only paddling clinics on the Quincy riverfront this month at a special reduced rate!  The classes will be $25 per person and will include your boat and equipment, your life jacket, and instruction in basic kayaking.  I’ll also be demonstrating kayak rescues.  The classes will be held at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, August 21 and on Tuesday, August  28 both at 5:30 pm. 

Spaces are limited and you are required to RSVP by either contacting me on my Facebook page or emailing quincykayak@yahoo.com with your name and phone number.

And as long as you’re learning to kayak, you might want to join in for:

The Quincy 5-Miler Hand Powered Boat Race!

The Quincy Five Miler is a 5.4 mile head race on the Mississippi River and Quincy Bay from Knapheide Landing along the Illinois shore, through The Cut and into Quincy Bay, below the course of the First Quincy Boat Race (1872), and under the bridges to the finish line at the South Side Boat Club.  It will be held September 15th at 11 am.  Entry fee is $25 and will include a t-shirt and prizes to winners of each division.

The great thing about this race is just about anyone can enter and you stand a great chance of winning a prize.   You can literally enter any river-worthy hand or foot powered boat.  I’ll be rolling in a Valley Avocet Kayak in fire engine red!  But you could show up with a canoe, a paddleboat, a stand up paddle board, a row boat, an outrigger canoe, a racing shell…  heck, you can build a Huckleberry Finn style raft and grab some sticks and paddle it on down the river if you want to.    The divisions will be set the day of the event based on type of craft and men’s and women’s divisions.

There is a lot of history behind the race in Quincy.   Once a rowing powerhouse, Quincy has a history of waterborne competition going back to the first race in 1872. The first race was a two miler (out one mile and return), put on by the newly formed Nautilus Rowing Club. The start line was on Quincy Bay 2 1/2 miles North of Maine Street. First prize for the Single Scull race was $40 in gold; second was a pair of spruce sculls. The race included singles, pairs, skiffs, and “working boats”. The “four oared” race included entries from Quincy’s Union and Nautilus rowing clubs.

The South Side Boat Club was formed in 1886 and for the next seventy years Quincy provided strong crews for regional and even international competition. Aggressive recruitment included calls for the most able bodied to join the clubs and promises of expert coaching and paid expenses to races. Race boats were loaded onto train cars on Front Street and transported to Central States Amateur Rowing Association regattas throughout the Midwest. The many trophies and medals on the walls of the South Side Boat Club at 640 S. Front Street in Quincy attest to the considerable success of its crews which include numerous regional championships, a national championship in 1904, and a second (losing out on 1st place by only 2/5 second) in the World Rowing Championship of 1934 in Liege, Belgium.

Quincy’s last racing eight was sold in 1950 after decline in the sport after WWII. Quincy’s recreational water interests moved to power boating and folks gradually lost sight of human powered boating as a popular activity. As Quincy Bay silted in over the years (a controversial local topic) power boat access has become more and more limited. However the shallow draft of paddle and row boats provides easy access from downtown to a wildlife-filled scenic waterway that stretches north from town along North Bottom Road.

To find out all of the details on the race and to print the waiver and registration, please click here to visit the race website.   If you would like to race but need to rent a kayak, you can contact me at quincykayak@yahoo.com  I have a limited number of kayaks available for a rental fee of $10 (which includes life jackets and paddles) and they will be assigned on a first-come basis.  You must have some paddling experience to rent a boat (no first-timers!)

 I hope to see you on the water!

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I organized a Bridge to Bridge (Quincy to Hannibal and back) ride for the 4th of July, and despite the high temps, attendance was GREAT! I’m so happy so many people came out for this and I hope we do it again next year!

I know what you guys are thinking… “Where in the world has Adventure Foot been?”

Many apologies for the lack of blogs lately.  It’s not for want of topics, rather for lack of time for coherent, thoughtful writing!   Ah well, we all get busy sometimes I guess.  So here’s my attempt at catching you up with the goings on that have been going on.

By Land:

Friend-of-the-blog Jared Busen and I got a bike ride in just this week.

What I’ve primarily been up to is biking my little Adventure Foot right off!  As most of you know, I’m headed off to RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) next week.  There, I’ll be tackling just shy of 500 miles and over 16,000 feet of climb (Iowa is decidedly NOT flat!) alongside thousands of other cyclists for the biggest, longest, and oldest bike tour in the USA.  It’s a dream that started when my grandma’s restaurant was a rest stop on the route in 1992.  I was 10 at the time, and I said that one day I’d bike across Iowa.  Now I’m 30, and now I’m going to make it happen!

Anyway, in training for this crazy ride, I’ve racked up 1200 miles on the bike in 2012.  If you’re counting, 1200 was my total number of miles from 2011. I hit my first thousand fully two months earlier this year than last.  I feel like I’ve put in the training to make RAGBRAI great.  I also feel like I’ve gotten a whole new perspective on every backroad and little diner in Central Illinois.  My husband and I have done a lot of training and, though I’m nervous about how hard 500 miles in 6 days will be, we’re as prepared as we’re going to be.  Besides- I have a great plan: Bike ten miles, eat homemade pie… bike ten miles, eat homemade pie… (and repeat)

By Sea:

I also took Jared and his slightly damaged Adventure Foot kayaking recently. He’s rehabbing an injury… but don’t worry… he isn’t as sad as he looks here 😉

Biking has to take a break a couple of days a week, so I’ve also been hitting the water for some kayaking!   The best news about that is that I will be doing a lot of guiding with Kayak Quincy during the month of August.  I’m especially excited to be leading three Ladies Night Kayaking Events.  Details are not 100% set yet but the events are tentatively set for August 14th, 21st and 28th (all Tuesdays) at 6 pm on the Quincy Bay.  It’s my personal goal to get many more female paddlers going on this super fun sport.  It’s a great workout for your core, it’s not dangerous (I promise, you can’t get stuck and you will have a lifejacket, so being a good swimmer isn’t even a requirement), and it’s so much fun!  My Ladies Night classes can have a maximum of about 12 people, and since he’s tagging along, Kevin will get to be my lovely assistant for a change!  If you’re reading my blog and you already know you’re interested, you can send me a message on Facebook and I’ll reserve your spot.  You’ll get all your equipment including lifejackets, instruction and around 2 hours on the water for $30 per person.   I’ll be on KHQA’s Morning Show the first week of August to talk about the Ladies Night Events- so if you really want a spot on a specific day, you’re better off messaging me before my TV appearance!

If you are not a lady or prefer a mixed group and you want to kayak with me, you may also message me and I’ll find a class you can get into!  Also: Click here to read about one of my favorite kayak experiences to date- I helped guide members of the Quincy Park District along with Illinois Lt. Governor Shelia Simon on the river last year.

Upcoming Events:

You know summertime is just full of events and I’m sad to say, I think my Events Calendar is probably missing a few. Please comment on this article if you want an event added!! Some of the events I’m most excited about are:

Run for the Cross:  Quincy’s only nighttime race!  This event is unfortunately the same weekend as I’m on my big bike trip, but if you’re not cycling 500 miles, I suggest going to South Park and participating in Run for the Cross!  The 4 Mile Fun Run/Walk benefits  the Back to School Help Fair providing immunization, physical and dental exams, haircuts, and various school supplies to children whose families need assistance.  Get all the info and register by clicking here!

Mississippi River Run 5K and 10K will be held August 25th in Hannibal, MO.  If you missed the chance to run over the river at Bridge the Gap, or you’re like me and just enjoy every chance you get to run across the river, you won’t want to miss this race!  Click here to go to the event website.

Ryan Craven and I will both be helping guide with Kayak Quincy and organize the Quincy 5 Miler Hand Powered Boat Race

Quincy 5 Miler:  If you only try one new thing this year, make it the Quincy 5 Miler Hand Powered Boat Race!!  This race hasn’t been held on the Quincy Bay in 62 years… but we’re bringing it back baby!! the South Side Boat Club and Kayak Quincy are partnering to bring kayaks, rowboats, canoes and more to take on a course that was first run in 1872.  Kayaks will be available for rent for the event on a first-come basis.  I’m coming into the race with the eye of the tiger and high hopes!  I may never win a foot race, but I’m planning on being competitive for this one!   If you’re interested in trying the race but you’ve never paddled before… you should come try Kayak Quincy.   I REALLY REALLY want to have a strong female representation at this event- so come to my Ladies Night classes and then get your booty to this race.  For more info, click here.

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Instructor Kevin Dempsey (white kayak) looks on as Kirstin Smith, Ryan Craven , Laura Sievert, Adam Duesterhaus, Jim, and Ryan Welch pose for a picture after their group lesson in Quincy Bay.

Do you ever have one of those days where everything you do reminds you of a song?  Well, I went kayaking both this weekend and last, and it’s one adventure that definitely keeps popping song lyrics in my head.

“Row, row, row your boat…”

Kayaking on Mark Twain Lake

I think the reason I’d never tried kayaking up to now was that I assumed you’d need to have really great upper body strength to row. As it turns out, that’s not really the case! I was delighted to find out that a good rower uses not only her arms, but lots of torso and leg to power her rowing. Once I had the hang of the technique, I was right in the front of the pack, and even passed up some of the “tough guy” rowers. It’s a sport where finesse is just as important as strength, and you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of doing.

“You know a dream is like a River, ever changin’ as it flows…”

Yeah, that’s a Garth Brooks lyric. It’s true though! A dream is like a river and a river is like a dream. I’ve been out on the Mississippi and Mark Twain Lake lots of times, but nothing is quite like experiencing these bodies of water via kayak. You can approach wildlife and shorelines quietly; you can hear the birds singing and the lapping of the water at the banks; and you can really appreciate the way the water moves and sculpts the landscape around you.

“I will go down with this ship, I won’t put my hands up and surrender…”

Maybe you’ve always wanted to try kayaking but were afraid of flipping over. I’m here to tell you that in calm water, flipping isn’t all that likely. And more importantly, getting back in your boat if you do flip isn’t hard at all. On my first experience out on the water, I didn’t get wet at all, so on my second, I volunteered to flip on purpose to demonstrate how to get back in the boat. With a little rocking, I flipped the boat, slipped easily out of the hatch, righted the boat all on my own, and was soon back in the cockpit. With the guidance of our instructor, I actually learned three different methods of getting back in the boat. My point is, there’s no reason to be afraid of flipping your kayak, especially if you’re wearing a lifejacket. Actually, on a hot day, I’d recommend flipping every once in a while just to cool off!

“We all live in the ocean, we all start in the stream, and we’re carried along, by the river of dreams…”

Ryan demonstrates how to get back in his kayak on the water.

Billy Joel was certainly on to something with the lyrics of “River of Dreams.” Learning to kayak in the calm backwaters of the Mississippi or along the sheltered shores of Mark Twain Lake has been a wonderful opportunity.  I’ve now practiced the basics of rowing, turning, stopping, flipping, and getting back into a kayak.  The next step is to head out of the streams and steadily work my way to bigger water. There are great places to kayak locally, but eventually, I’d like to try Lake Michigan and then the ocean.  I remember seeing people out in Puget Sound (Seattle, WA) kayaking alongside killer whales. I really, really, reallllllly want to try that. And there are thousands of other great places in this wide world just waiting to be explored. I guess I better get a list started.

“Teach the children well….”

So what should you do if you’d like to try kayaking for the first time? Find a great teacher. Kevin Dempsey of Kayak Quincy led the groups I was in. He’s a very knowledgeable and practical instructor who will help you learn the basics and develop your skills out on the water.  He’s also happy to help you learn what to look for if you were selecting a boat of your own to purchase, or can help you find interesting places to kayak.  The Kayak Quincy schedule, rental fees and more can be found at www.seequincy.com/KayakQuincy.html or by calling the Quincy Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at (800) 978-4748.
Original Post June 21, 2011

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Andrew "Grizz" Ray, Ryan Welch, Justin Sievert, Clinton Begley, Laura Sievert and Ryan Craven preparing to kayak from Canton, Mo., to Quincy Bay.

In my very first blog for The Local Q, I wrote, “We might not have the Rocky Mountains in our backyard, but we’ve got plenty of great ways to ‘Get Out’ and have an adventure.”  When I wrote that though, I’m not sure I really believed that our area could compete with the Rockies. I thought finding things to do and topics to write about would be a very difficult task.

Since then, I’ve written about running, cycling, hiking, kayaking, fishing, swimming, conservation, caving, rafting, team sports, fitness classes … it’s a pretty long list for six short months. It’s fair to say that my friends and I have had a lot of exciting exploits in a mere half of a calendar year. 

This Tuesday, I set out on yet another wonderful adventure with a great group of friends. This time it was kayaking again — the seven of us braved the 102-degree heat, launched boats and paddled the Mississippi River from Canton, Mo., back to Quincy Bay. The trip was action-packed and fun for all of us. We practiced different paddling strokes, explored shore lines and surfed barge wakes. We saw jumping carp, great blue herons and at least one very surprised soft shell turtle. More experienced paddlers shared tips. We all practiced rescue techniques. I spent at least a half-hour trying to learn to roll a kayak. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer afternoon away from work.

A dear friend and fellow Local Q blogger Clinton Begley joined us on this trip. Clinton has spent the last few months as a guide in the “Touch the Earth” program at Georgia State University. There, he helped guide student groups on some fantastic excursions including paddling some of the famous whitewater rivers of the South, traversing Yosemite National Park during some late-in-the-season heavy snow, and even hang gliding from mountains in Tennessee. Adventure really must be his middle name.

Anyway, it was near sunset, and we were paddling our kayaks toward the bay. Clint had paddled off to my right a few hundred yards to snap a picture of a barge with a tug named “Clinton,” and I studied the stunning panorama in front of me. The elbow in the river had opened to a wide channel with several offshoots, and the sinking sun had painted the Bayview Bridge gold a few miles in the distance. My friends were ahead of me in their colorful kayaks, paddling down one of the great rivers of the world, enjoying a brilliant summer day on the water, and I was taken aback by the unparalleled beauty of the moment. My words failed to be as poetic as the feeling in my heart as I yelled to Clint, “Yo man! This is absolutely gorgeous!”

He hollered back in agreement and explained when he’d paddled close enough for me to hear he said, “You know, this area has nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to adventure. Not with this in our backyard.”

Looking back on the fields, rivers, roads, parks and people of the past six months, I can see that what Clint said was true. This is a great area to live, and there are so many things to discover right here in the Midwest. With that in mind, I’ve decided to offer an apology, a thank you and a promise for my six-month-blog-anniversary.

I apologize for spending many years in the Midwest complaining about the lack of options. Really, the intrepid and the creative can find great adventure anywhere, as long as we take the time to explore.

Clinton Begley

My “Thank You” is broad, and goes out to all of the people who have facilitated, inspired and participated in my expeditions. You’re spirited friends with big hearts and bold ideas, and I appreciate you for all you’ve added to my life.

And my promise: I promise not be the woman who stands near the river and says it is beautiful, nor to be the one who would dip a toe in just to say that she’s been there. I promise to dive in, get wet and, from time to time, float away.

For another great blog of discovery, please read my very favorite entry from Clinton Begley by clicking here.

Original Post August 5, 2011

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Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and members of Quincy Bay Area Restoration and Enhancement Association and The Quincy Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau kayaking in Quincy Bay.

Most of the time when I’m in the great outdoors, the things that are absent are nearly as important as the things that are present. Absent is my iPhone and its email, instant messaging, Facebook and Internet connection. Gone, too, are the radio, the television, the junk in my mailbox and advertisements of all shapes and sizes everywhere I look. And one thing that’s not usually there — which is especially nice considering the state of things — is politics. This week though, I had the opportunity to help guide a kayak tour for the Quincy Bay Area Restoration and Enhancement Association, the Quincy Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau and a special guest, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. This time, I was pleased to welcome politics to my adventure.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and Laura Sievert kayak and discuss problems facing Quincy Bay.

Simon is a stalwart advocate for the rivers, lakes and streams of Illinois. Last year, her office established the Mississippi River Coordinating Council to address specific needs of the river and its tributaries in regards to environmental protection, flood mitigation, tourism and development and commerce. The Council is also tasked with identifying sources of funding for Mississippi River resource management projects.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, second from left, kayaking on Quincy Bay.

Quincy Bay is a unique resource on the Mississippi. Besides providing a sheltered backwater for boating traffic, the bay also has untapped potential for tourism development projects, like Kayak Quincy. It is also an ecologically diverse area that provides vital habitat for wildlife, migrating birds and more. The Bay, however, is in great need of maintenance. Silting — or the process by which sediment fills up previously navigable channels — is one of the main problems facing Quincy Bay. It’s estimated that it will cost around $6 million to dredge the bay and add four feet to its depth. This dredging is crucial to the long-term success of any management plan or development the City of Quincy hopes to have on the riverfront.

Simon explained some of the nuance in river management to me while we paddled our kayaks. “It’s interesting because we often think of rivers as boundaries between counties or states or even countries.” she said. “They often lie in more than one political zone. That makes the coordination of efforts from every level extremely important.”

I was enjoying hearing about plans to help community, state and federal organizations work together on projects like Quincy Bay when our conversation was abruptly interrupted by a large Asian Carp, which launched itself through the air and hit the lieutenant governor’s kayak with a loud thud.

“And… we probably need to invest in the study and management of invasive species too?” I asked, hopefully.

“Yes,” the lieutenant governor, clearly startled by the flying fish, replied. “Yes, we do.”

I don’t know what will come out of our day kayaking with the lieutenant governor. Money is tight at both the state and federal level right now, and it’s hard to say when we might see action to preserve Quincy Bay. I am heartened, however, to have met Ms. Simon. She’s clearly an outdoor enthusiast herself, and she cares deeply for the natural resources of our state. It’s important to remember that it takes passionate people to protect and develop our waterways, state parks and recreational areas, and I am encouraged that we have advocates at all levels of government that are doing their best to address problems facing these assets.

Click to read more about Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and the Mississippi River Coordinating Council. To learn more about Kayak Quincy and to book your own Kayak adventure, click here.

Original Post July 2011

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