I woke up on the beach well rested. I cleaned out my tent and kayak since there was a trash can close by. I cleaned up in the athroom and got ready to enjoy the day. Today was the first day using both feet for my rudder. I cut across the main channel and headed towards the sloughs. The sloughs are the backcounrty or side channels. They rarely have pleasure boat traffic and no commercial traffic. They are nice and quiet river runs. Today was no exception. I paddled along the shoreline looming at the variety of river cabins/houses. It is good to see how people live along the river. I spotted a beach in the middle of the main channel. I cut across it to have lunch. It was a little windy, but nice to have lunch with my feet in the water and under the sand.
I ate up and made my way towards Burlington. I had Lock 18 to get before the city. As the upper gates were opening, I started moving forward. The tail wind was making for some very rough seas. I was getting hit with wave after wave while I waited. As soon as the gates were 70% open (more than wide and safe enough for me), the locm guy came out and yelled at me. He told me not to enter until he gave me the horn. I can appreciate protocol, but I would think they would have a little flex considering my boat size and the waves battering me. Anyways, he finally cleared me to go. The lock was the most unfriendly by far, but oh well. You can’t win them all.
I hugged the Illinois side for a bit before switching to the Iowa side. As I approached this one group of cabins, I heard this guy yelling for Colorado. He said for me to come by for a visit. He was from Colorado and was just out visiting his family. The dad, son, and daughter along with 3 other joined me by the dock. They offered me water and some meat and cheese. The gave me some fruit and chatted with me for a bit. I gave them my I formation and set off to the Birmingham marinia. I rached out to Wally who had a place in town. Wally is the dad to the daughter who interned under my best friend. It was around 5:00 and he met me at the marinia. I docked up behind his boat and we jumped in his van. We swung by Wal-Mart as he needed to get a fan and an air mattress. I would be using them this night, but he needed to get one for his place anyways. We arrived at his appartment. I met Shannon (roommate) and Leslie (one of his other daughters).n He offered a shower and to do a small load of laundry. Thery whipped up some brats and mac and cheese for dinner. They were great hosts.
As the sun was setting, I asked Leslie if she would join me for a photoshoot to capture the bridge. We got down there in time to get the sunset on it and to scout out locations for night shoots. We swung by the Drake to get some drinks until the stars were out. I got a Mountain Dew awhile she got a beer. We. Hatted together and with the bartender while we waited. Once the stars were out, we headed oh t to get some good shots. I captured the bridge all lit up over the river. We stayed down there as I got some posed pictures of her. I jumped into some at the end as we laughed into the night. We watched the stars and even saw some shooting ones. We made it home as she had to work early in the am and I was simply tired. It was a good day meeting new friends. This adventure has awesome surprises around every corner.