Past Chicago and more…

We managed to get two kayaks at Chicago. After going through Chicago downtown we made our way through the Chicago canal. When we were about to connect to the Illinois river we were threatened to have the coast guards called on us (because of some electric lines going through the canal to keep the asian carp away… Something along these lines). So we just crossed the road to get on the Des Plaines river. After some mini-rapids and very shallow areas and some nice scraps on our new kayaks we finally connected to the Illinois river. We went below Route 66 and went through our first lock of the trip shortly after.

We are now located at N41.18.318 and W088.38.019. We are hoping to have lunch in South Ottawa tomorrow (in Illinois that is…).

So far we have been fairly slower than our estimations. Head winds are very strong and sometimes we feel like we are on the ocean. Current is less than we had hoped. Weather has been changing a lot as well from hot to cold. We had some showers and many thunderstorms last night (some of them very close by).

In about 10 days, maybe after our first shower of the trip… we hope to be able to post some pictures :)

(Sorry if emails, comments are unasnwered, but this post was sent by email so we can’t see what is going on…)

13 comments on this post.
  1. Hitesh:


    Nice website. Let me know when you are in New Orleans. May make a trip down there. I’ll fly down in my private jet and pick you up from the banks of the Mississippi in my Hummer. If you still haven’t taken a shower by then let me know and I will send down a whole case of Perrier Water so you can bath in it.

  2. Gajan:


    Whats going on? I didn’t know you were all decked out in the “bling bling” these days. I’ll meet you in New Orleans in my moped…………….awww yah.

    Hey slackers, where are the pictures? You can canoe 100 km, but can’t keep up with a website? come on!


  3. Naynaz:

    Hey Sorouche. Very nice website. More pictures please with you in the pictures of course;) Steve called you last week left you a message. We try again but looks like your phone doesn’t work! Have lots of fun. We hope you enjoy your trip. Ohhh, Thanks for the postal card. I had one from you few days ago. You are doing a good job updating us so far. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Naynaz

  4. William Kohaus:

    My wife sent me a copy of an article that appeared in the Pekin (IL) Times today regarding your trip through the area. It referenced your website and your troubles here. I visited the site, considered your comments in light of your troubles locally and offer the following. I used to drive from the Chicago suburbs to college in upstate New York via Canada. I can’t anymore without a passport. Times have changed. While going to that college in upstate New York, I studied wildlife science in their natural resources department. I learned a lot from some very bright people. This was two years after the first Earth Day. Relevance? Well, first, leaking propane tanks carried by a couple of French/French Canadians might reasonably be cause for alarm mere days after our Pakastani brother tried, however ineptly, to kill as many people as possible in Times Square. Your treatment here was courteous. Your view on trust first and learn to distrust later is eminently practical until faced with the smell of a volatile gas on the persons of two accented individuals. Get my drift? Second, Asian carp in the Illinois river is a huge problem; probably a paradigm shifter as the Earthers are wont to say over and over again. That is a real environmental problem. Your inconvenience going from Lake Michigan to the DesPlaines River — and I damned well hope that all direct access from the Chicago River (not canal) is electrified — is understandable. The earth has HUGE carrying capacity for whatever man tosses its way in the form of non-living pollutants, the gulf oil spill notwithstanding, but the capability of its flora and fauna to adapt to the introduction of new species cannot compare. Enjoy your trip. I wish you well. If you want to enjoy it more, don’t be so judgemental; certainly, don’t be so preachy.

  5. Gajan:

    Dear Mr. William Kohaus,

    I have several questions for you. Did you have the same unapologetic attitude towards all Caucasian men from the Southern United States, as you do of “accented individuals”, after witnessing the destructive results of Timothy Mcveigh? Suspicion of a leaking propane tank, days after an attempted bomb threat might be semi-justified, however, your marginalization of the current predicament facing “accented” individuals in the United States is quite comical and unwarranted. As a scientist, studying wildlife, you must certainly be aware of basic probability theory? Let me leave you with some
    simple-minded statistics to quell your fears of “accented individuals” with tiny camping bottle propane tanks.

    You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

    You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

    You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

    You are eight times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

    You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

    You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

    You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

    You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

    You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

    You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

    You are nine times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

    You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

    The type of attitude that people like yourself take towards certain foreigners is one of the reasons why your country is facing international relations nightmares.

    Have a nice day, and next time, maybe you should consider developing some perspective and place your time and energy towards the real issues facing American society? Just a thought………..

  6. Dawn:

    I don’t think you need to worry too much about the terrorist dumb enough to try and bring propane across the border. I’d worry more about the ones with at least average intelligence, smart enough to realize that they can just buy their propane in the U.S.

  7. Tracy Seling:

    I wish you all the best with your travels. Just happened to come across the article in the Peoria Journal Star about your experience here in Pekin, IL. I live across the river in Peoria. Sorry to hear that you had some problems across the way. I think unfortunately in our society today we act before we think which comes off as rude Americans but things have changed dramatically since 9/11. I hope that you will come away from your trip with more good experiences with our country and people than bad. There are still alot of us out there who are willing to help someone and trust people. Best wishes in your journey

  8. Dianna:

    I came to Illinois 12 years ago,,,, and on my second day here my husband took my to PEKIN. Within minutes this FINE family (LOL) shows me The Pekin History Book and in it,,,, 3men hanging from the bridge and the sign that said *@#!* don”t let the sun set on you in this town. I left that town and never went back. My dark skinned child staying at a sleepover party in a neighboring town could not at 16 buy brown hair dye in Pekin but my blond light skinned 11 year old could. I leave you intelligent gent to draw your own conclusions. Another explanation could be that Pekiin is known as the methamphetamine capitol of the fine state of Illinois. I truly wish you HAPPY TIMES

  9. Cyndi:

    I am very sorry for your rude treatment in Pekin! I so wish you had stopped on the other side of the river in Peoria. I give you many wishes for a safe and more hospitable journey to New Orleans. We Americans are not all rude, and I do very much admire your adventurous nature. Prayers for a safe trip coming your way!

  10. Linda:

    Have a great time travelling down the IL and MS rivers! Please be careful and remember all Americans are not like the people that you met in Pekin. However, it pays to be cautious! God bless!

  11. Erin S.:

    Great website guys! I’m glad to hear you guys made it into the US without any problems (that must be a first for you Sorouche??). I’m thinking about you a lot, I hope the weather gets better, it’s been cold here the last week or so.
    Sorouche – Many thanks for the “I Miss You” card and Mongolia postcard. The “I miss you” card is posted at my desk at Bruce Power to make all the guys jealous. :) :) Love it – cheesiest card EVER MADE.
    Be safe….happy paddling!

  12. Matt:

    Ladies and gents:

    A few things to clarify (and you’ll be getting some more updates from us both since we’re making a rest stop in St. Louis to refresh and update the website, amongst other things). I just wanted to put in a word to clear some stuff up though:

    We were NOT universally mistreated in Pekin, in fact, there were some very nice people there (the police included, ironically). There was also only ONE gas cylinder (not propane) and the true fact of the matter is, we ought not to have brought the thing into the restaurant in the first place. In order to save time though, (and to get out of the wind and rain) we brought it in to try and fix it while we waited for our meal.

    Remember that without the stove, we don’t get supper, so fixing it was forefront in our minds, and “fire hazard” didn’t even cross our minds. The firefighter WAS just doing his due diligence, and hats off to him. The thing was, his attitude was very accusatory, and combing his accent (and trust me, to a Canadian ear, he had a thick one), and Sorouche’s was a volatile mix of another kind, so it took a bit of doing (with mounting frustrations on both sides) for him to get his point across. Once he did, we did OUR due diligence in removing the tank from the restaurant straightaway. Here’s the real kicker though, as soon as Sorouche returned from bringing the tank outside, the firefighter was quite belligerent, and asked Sorouche if he had another in his bag, implying that he wasn’t a type that could be trusted. Sorouche took offense to that (as, I think, he had the right to) and that’s when the Fireman mentioned he could call the police. Sorouche invited him to, since we had nothing to hide. The rest of the story, you know.

    You’ll get updates (including a description of the event in question from BOTH our perspectives) in the days to come, but for now, know that we’re safe, and that Pekin isn’t that bad a place after all. (Though this WAS an episode that I’m going to tuck away to tell the grandkids about someday, let me tell you).



  13. Sorouche:

    William Kohaus,
    With respect to the Asian Carp we never said it was NOT a problem.
    The person who told us we could not get through told us that boats under 20feet (i think) can’t go because of the electrical lines.
    I checked on it we actually were allowed to go. It is a long story we can post about maybe later.
    Even though we could portage our kayaks there is no way to portage a boat (no matter how small). And the Sanitary Canal is the only link between the great lakes and the Illinois river (therefore the Mississippi).

    The way it goes is that when you are near the end of the canal if you have a samll vessel you have to ask for a transit (a bit like locks). I still want to check for it. It’s been only very recently installed.

    As well we did not have ‘propane tanks’. We had ONE 30z fuel (gasoline) bottle.
    My accent should have not been any ground for calling anyone.

    I find it funny you consider me to be judgenmtal but you are the one who judged me on a post I wrote remotely on a cell phone…. and consider me to be ‘preachy’ even though I had not written anything about the events at Pekin, Il… !

    Please read for further infos…

    PS: You said that things have ‘changed’. Maybe you noticed recently … but had you been outside of the US things have changed for a very long time now…
    When I was trying to get a Russian visa I asked the embassy why they were making it so hard for people to get visas and the girl working there told me because we were doing the same….

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