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Posts Tagged ‘Mississippi River’

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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