Welcome to the Red, White and Blue July 2021 issue of MILES PEDDLED (MP). The subject matter of this Month's edition will be Five Wonderful In-State Bike and Kayak Adventures
Before we get to the subject at hand, however, management at MP has 2 very exciting announcements; to wit: a new MP website; and, an update regarding the logo competition.
First, the website. On Father's Day, management at MP was presented with a very special gift from the J-MAN and his wonderful and beautiful companion CAT. While MP was in negotiations with Bill Gates to establish a website, he may need some extra cash now that the divorce is pending, J-MAN and CAT set up a beautiful website for MP. Sorry, Bill. The website can be accessed at the following address:
Check out the website. All subscribers (with the exception of the MAD VIKING) are invited to add comments and place pictures in the gallery. Use the technology. Management at MP will always follow the technology!
Second, the logo competition. A new, but now a very loyal subscriber, George, and I am sure with the help of his muse, Sarah, provided MP with 6 beautiful potential logos. In true democratic fashion, MP decided to let its loyal subscribers make the decision. Management at MP will always support democracy!
The votes have been tallied, and amazingly, there is a tie. In 4th place with 7% of the vote was Logo #2. In 3rd place with 21% of the vote was Logo #1. The 2 top vote getters with 36% of the vote were logos #5 and #6. MP briefly considered having CYBER NINJAS come in and conduct an audit, but when management sobered up, these whack jobs were rejected. Rather, MP has decided to extend the voting through July. Please visit the website and place your vote for either Logo #5 or #6. Please recall that your vote can be enhanced by an overt cash payment or homage to management at MP. Do not be shy in this regard.
One additional delay before we get to the bike-kayak adventures. Specifically, since the June Edition of MP, some subscribers have engaged in calumny; and, have suggested that management include new sections in MP. In reality just one subscriber, the MAD VIKING, has engaged in the aforesaid behavior. Management at MP will chalk this up to his recent biking injury. While it did not look like he hit his head, he must have to make the suggestions outlined below.
In particular, the MAD VIKING has requested that MP include a "CORRECTIONS" section. While MP may make mistakes, management has no intention of admitting same. Thus, this suggestion was rejected. Playlist suggestion: My Way – Elvis version.
The MAD VIKING also requested an "EROTICA" section. This suggestion is under consideration. Playlist suggestion: You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate. Additional information to follow in subsequent editions of MP.
Management at MP did decide to add one new section. In an effort to protect the innocent, but also the subscribers to MP, management has decided to give each current subscriber a nickname and a theme song. Without further ado, let's have at it:
· Mrs. MP – WONDER WOMAN: These Boots Were Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
· Kurt – THE MAD VIKING: Ramblin' Man – Allman Brothers
· Sandy – SANDERELLA: Feel Like a Woman – Shania Twain
· Dave – CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD: My Way – Sinatra version
· Kevin – THE NOBLE IRISHMAN: Galway Girl – Ed Sheeran
· Mark – G.I. JOE: War – Edwin Starr
· Matt – BREWMASTER: Drinkin' Problem – Midland
· Andy – RAINMAN: It's My Life – Bon Jovi
· George – RENAISSANCE MAN: Toccata – Dizzy Gillespie
· Sarah – JULIA CHILDS: Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
· Mary Sue – FIRST LADY – Uptown Funk – Mark Roneson featuring Bruno Mars
· Tim – THE PUNDIT: Layla – Derek and the Dominoes (some say the greatest rock and roll song of all time, whereas other put it at Number 237).
· Subscribers under the age of 40: Management is somewhat amazed that you read this blog. Accordingly, MP will wait and see if you stick around so that management can get to know you before we assign you a nickname and theme song.
Finally, finally, finally to the combo bike-kayak adventures. In this section, management has decided to follow the adage "KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid." Playlist suggestion: Kiss by Prince. Also check out the cover by Tom Jones – you won't believe your ears. The 5 in-state combo adventures are as follows:
1. Chicago River
Start your trip with Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce.
You can start your trip on the Chicago River, either on the north side or on the south side. If you start on the north side, you can rent a kayak from Wateriders just behind the East Bank Club. You would then proceed south down the North branch to Wolf Point, where the North branch meets the Main Stem and you would proceed east down the Main Stem to Michigan Avenue. Along the way there are several places to stop, pull your kayak out of the water and have a glass or wine or beer. You will then turn around and head back to the East Bank Club. This would be a very short but enjoyable journey.
If you wish to start on the south side and take in a little more of the river, then you would commence your trip at Ping Tom Memorial Park where there is a boathouse that rents kayaks. You would then proceed north to the Main Stem where at Wolf Point you would head east and repeat the same journey as described above. After you have imbibed, you would return to the boathouse at which time you would be in the heart of Chinatown, which in and of itself is an experience.
WARNING: DO NOT KAYAK THE CHICAGO RIVER WITHIN 48 HOURS OF A HEAVY RAINFALL. THIS WARNING WILL BE EXPANDED UPON IN THE TRIVIA SECTION OF THIS ISSUE.
Unlike the other trips set forth below, the bike component does not run parallel to the river. Rather, once you have completed your kayak journey, your best bet is to head over to the lakefront and bike the Lakefront Trail. This is fully described in the now legendary June 2021 Edition of MP starting at Page 4.
2. Fox River
Start your trip with FOXY LADY by Jimi Hendrix.
There are numerous places to kayak the Fox River, but one of the nicest and easiest is to start your trip at Cornish Park in Algonquin, Illinois, just below the Dexter Doggold Dam. There is a parking lot and an easy launch site.
You would then paddle south, and you can go as far as you want, but MP suggests that you take out in Dundee at William C. Bartels Park. Near the park are 2 pubs, both with nice outdoor areas by the name of Rosie O'Hare's and Diamond Jim's Gas Grill.
Running parallel to the Fox River for the entirety of the kayak trip is the Fox River Trail. If you plan ahead and drop your bikes at the get out point, then you could ride your bike on the trail back to your vehicle in Algonquin. You then drive back down to Dundee to get your kayak. The entire bike ride is approximately 5.5 miles.
3. Nippersink Creek
Start your journey with NIPPERSINK CREEK THE SONG by Will Kruger
The Nippersink is not actually a river, but rather, is a creek. Thus, you must always be mindful of the water level. The best time to kayak the Nippersink is in the spring or after a heavy rain when the water is running high. If the water is low, delay your trip and take one of the others mentioned in this edition of MP.
The best portion of the Nippersink to kayak is mostly contained in the Glacial Park Conservation Area just north of Ringwood, Illinois. To kayak the Nippersink within Glacial Park, your put in spot is at Keystone Landing and the get out spot is at Pioneer Landing. Use Google Maps, better yet, check out the website MILES PADDLED, which is the best website for kayaking in the Midwest. Their web address is https://milespaddled.com.
NOTE: You will definitely need 2 cars to undertake this kayak journey. While the actual distance of driving is very short, the Nippersink twists and turns and provides a rather lengthy kayak journey within a very small footprint. Well worth the effort.
Running through Glacial Park, but not parallel to the Nippersink, is the Prairie Trail. For further details on the Prairie Trail, see the now extraordinary and legendary June 2021 Edition of MP starting at Page 5. MP recommends that if you are going to ride the Prairie Trail, you should consider going north and continue your journey into Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, and spend a night at the wonderful bed and breakfast, CDC Norte.
4. Rock River
Start your trip with I WANT YOU by Cheap Trick.
The Rock is a beautiful, wide, and clean river. There are many places to kayak on the Rock. Again, check out the website MILES PADDLED, which outlines several different kayaking adventures on the Rock.
In this humble publication, management is going to suggest a very modest but beautiful trip commencing at the Mack Town Forest Preserve and proceeding south down the Rock River to the egress point at Riverside Park.
If you plan ahead and use Google Maps, you would be able to make this journey using only one car. After you have left the river at Riverside Park, there is a bike trail and some bike friendly roads that would take you back north to Mack Town to retrieve your vehicle.
After you have retrieved your vehicle, returned, and loaded up your kayak, you are only a very short drive from the north end of the Rock River Recreational Bike Trail. This is a beautiful trail that runs mostly parallel to the Rock River. The trail takes you through the SINNISSIPPI GARDENS. At the south end of the trail, if you go approximately 1 mile south on Madison Street until you hit Prairie Street and go west, you will end up at the PRAIRIE STREET BREWING COMPANY. This is an excellent place to sit outside and have a microbrew. Any questions in this regard should be referred to the BREWMASTER.
5. Mississippi River
Start your journey with MISSISSIPPI QUEEN by Mountain.
The Mississippi is one of the great rivers of the world. As stated by Henry David Thoreau:
The Mississippi, the Ganges, and the Nile,…the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, the Mountains of the Moon, have a kind of personal importance in the annals of the world.
In part, what makes the Mississippi great, is that it works and works and works. As stated by Charles Kuralt:
The Mississippi River carries the mud of 30 states and 2 provinces 2,000 miles south to the Delta and deposits 500 million tons of it there every year. The business of the Mississippi, which it will accomplish in time, is methodically to transport all of Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico.
Do not be intimidated by the Mississippi. Note the picture in the gallery of the MAD VIKING and SANDERELLA, conquering the Mississippi.
A nice stretch of the Mississippi to kayak begins right outside of MISSISSIPPI PALISADES STATE PARK just north of Savanna, Illinois. If you have the chance to camp in this park, do so. It is one of the most beautiful in the entire Midwest. Once you launch from Mississippi Palisades State Park, you would proceed south down the Mighty Mississippi and you would exit at Marquette Park in Savanna, Illinois. You have now conquered the Mighty Mississippi.
About one mile south of Marquette Park is the beginning of the Green River Bike Trail. It runs from Savanna to Rock Island, Illinois, approximately 60 miles. There is one brief stretch where you have to travel on local roads, but the trip is well worth the effort.
This month's Trivia/Quiz section is all about the Chicago River. Parts of the questions are easy to answer; whereas other parts are a little bit more difficult. The first part of the question is: What was done to the Chicago River that resulted a Civil Engineering Monument being awarded and several lawsuits?
The second part of the question is: WHY SHOULD YOU NOT KAYAK THE CHICAGO RIVER WITHIN 48 HOURS OF A HEAVY RAINFALL?
To answer these questions, MP will once again use the authoritative source: DMANOPEDIA.
Before we get to the engineering feat (some refer to it as the "Eighth Wonder of the World."), some background is necessary. Prior to the engineering feat, the North branch of the Chicago River flowed from north to south to Wolf Point, where it met both the South branch and the Main Stem, which all then turned and flowed east and discharged into Lake Michigan.
The South branch flowed from the south to the north to Wolf Point, where it met the North branch and the Main stem and then turned east, as outlined above.
Query: Why did the South branch of the Chicago River flow from the south to the north? Answer: Because at Summit, Illinois, there is a continental divide which raised the south end of the Chicago River to a higher level. Hence the name of the town "Summit."
The problem was that the City used the Chicago River as one big open sewer and dumped raw sewage, factory waste and animal carcasses into the river. On the South branch at the former site of the Union Stockyards, there is still a section of the river known as "BUBBLY CREEK." This is where the animal carcasses from the Stockyards were dumped into the River. The bubbles come from the decomposition of the carcasses, and it is still happening to this day, even though the stockyards were closed in 1971. Book Recommendation: THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair.
At the same time that the City was treating the Chicago River like an open sewer, it obtained its drinking water from Lake Michigan. So, the water from the polluted Chicago River went directly into the Lake, which was the source of all of the City's drinking water. This resulted in numerous outbreaks of Typhoid and other waterborne diseases.
What to do? This is where the engineering feat comes into play. In 1887, the Illinois General Assembly decided to reverse the flow of the Chicago River through civil engineering, by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed via the Chicago River. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District built the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC). The project was completed by 1900 and reversed the flow of the Main Stem and South branch of the Chicago River by using a series of canal locks and increasing the flow of water from the Lake Michigan into the River, causing the River to empty into the new canal.
The reversal of the flow of the Chicago River, however, did not stop the City from using the River as an open sewer. Rather, now all of the junk dumped into the River flowed down the Chicago River to the CSSC to the Des Plaines River to the Illinois River and into the mighty Mississippi down to the Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Consequently, the mighty Mississippi was now taking all of the Chicago sewage to St. Louis and eventually, into the Gulf of Mexico. Book recommendation: THE LAST PANORAMAS by M. Williams and R. Cahan. This book tells the story of the engineering feat and the devastation caused by the reversal of the Chicago River through pictures taken in real time.
St. Louis and numerous other cities and locales filed suit to stop Chicago from transporting its sewage down the Mississippi, but none prevailed. Chicago kept on with its messy ways.
That is until it became too much even for Chicago to tolerate. This brings us to the second part of the trivia question: WHY SHOULD YOU NOT KAYAK THE CHICAGO RIVER WITHIN 48 HOURS OF A HEAVY RAINFALL?
By the early 1970's, the Chicago River had become so polluted that another solution had to be found. So, in 1972 work began on the TUNNEL AND RESERVOIR PLAN (TARP). This also known as the DEEP TUNNEL.
The Deep Tunnel is a system of very deep, large diameter tunnels and vast reservoirs designed to reduce flooding, improve water quality, and protect Lake Michigan from pollution. The Deep Tunnel captures and stores combined storm water and sewage that would otherwise overflow from sewers into the waterways. The storm water is pumped from the Deep Tunnel to water reclamation plants to be cleaned before being released into the waterways.
Despite the reversal of the Chicago River, and even the construction of the largest wastewater treatment plan in the World, contaminants continue to accumulate in the rivers, canals, and Lake Michigan. The persistence of the problem is due mainly to the fact that Chicago and many of the older suburbs are served by combined sewers, in which both sanitary and storm flow are conveyed through the same pipes.
Unfortunately, during a particularly large storm, the Deep Tunnel becomes overwhelmed and cannot handle the combined rainwater and sewage. At those times, the sewers are opened and discharge directly into the Chicago River. It is for this reason that you should NOT kayak the Chicago River within 48 hours of a heavy rainfall. That is, unless you wish to see a floating mattress with a dead duck in the river.
After 48 hours the level of the fecal matter in the Chicago River returns to acceptable levels. (Oxymoron – acceptable levels of fecal matter).
Tease time. What will auspicious August bring – 5 of the best out of state Midwest biking and kayak adventures; and, the long awaited winner of the MP logo competition.
Have a Wonderful Independence Day and remember to R, R and R!!!