Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Canoe Trip

Lest we forget. The real reason for the trip is to paddle a river, even if it's not one of the Rest of Them Rebel Rivers. So here are all the details of the Saturday morning float on the Chicago River.

For those of you paying attention at The Palm dinner last fall, the original plan was to put in way up north where the North Branch of the Chicago River meets the Chicago River canal. It was going to be a 10+ mile trip with a take-out south of downtown. There was also a time when we considered a round trip strategy, just paddling around downtown and taking out where we put in - to avoid a shuttle and to solve all of the access problems we were running into. Since then, there have been two major developments that solved all of the above and have set up what we think is the perfect urban canoe trip.

The first major development. We thought that 10 miles with a hangover and no current was going to make it hard to get to a 3:00 Cubs game. So through satellite imagery we found what looked like a good put-in 6 miles north of downtown. We had no idea what it was or who owned it, but the aerial view looked promising:

When Stuart went to scout it out, here is the sign that he found:


Should we even use an access that is this easy? Most of our favorite put-ins you have to pass your canoes over some farmer's fence and hack your way through the brush, so we were hoping there would at least be some razor wire to get past. And we don't even get the thrill of trespassing. They not only allow canoe launching here, they actively encourage it. Very disorienting for the RRCC.

The second major development. Josh happens to have a friend in Chicago who is in the kayak rental business. Josh's friend's kayak rental business has a shop right on the river with a dock. That alone would be great news. But Josh's friend's kayak rental shop happens to be IN THE SAME BUILDING as the Townhouse we are staying in. In other words: our take-out is our house. Think about that. Of all the places we could have rented in Chicago...

By the way, Josh's friend is Chas and he'll be joining us for at least the canoe trip portion.

So here is the whole trip from about Addison (the same street Wrigley Field is on) to downtown, then back upstream a short distance to the Townhouse.

Here is an aerial view (click for a better picture).

We will have 13 paddlers which means at least seven boats so we'll need to take the 10-place extensions on the trailer. Correction...we will get to take the 10-place extensions on the trailer. So we can drive it all over Chicago in its full glory.

We probably won't eat lunch on the river, although it's possible. But we may want to seriously consider catching dinner aerial bowfishing for some Chicago River asian carp.

At least there may be an opportunity to climb over the wall and get a beer the Somali pirate way.

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