It stormed pretty good during the night, but one thing Iíve learned about camping, is that I have to bring earplugs to get any sleep. I heard a few cracks during the night, but other than the general lack of comfort being on the ground, I slept through the night just fine. Okraider was up by 6, showered, made breakfast and coffee and back in his tent before I even began to stir around 7:30. Generally Iím awake an hour earlier, so I was pretty surprised to see the time. It was raining though, so we really didnít get into any hurry to pack up camp in the rain. Fortunately it stopped and we packed up and were ready for some more adventure!
These hooks (which I suppose are lantern hangers, but I also hang trash on them), were handy for hanging our jackets.
Okraider81ís DRZ, aka QEII, ready for more action:
So we set out on our dayís journey, looking forward to what might be in store for us. Just a couple miles from Natural Falls is a water crossing. Iíve seen in other RRs that this is usually easy enough to cross, but to expect it to be at least a boot wetter. So I had my doubts after all the rain weíve had recently that weíd be able to cross it. On our way there we came to this section. It ended up being about 1í deep in the middle, so we crossed without issue. Okraider81 took the lead as I was getting my camera out, just in case I could capture an unforgettable shot (donít worry, okraider81 has a couple of me from previous off road adventures).
We get to the river. I could hear it before we even turned the last corner, which wasnít very promising. A reroute, that I did already have planned, was about 20 miles extra, but it wasnít going to pose any problems with gas, as we were only looking at maybe 80 possible miles, if we were able to explore a couple places I wanted to along the way.
Illinois River crossing. Obviously we opted for the reroute!
okraider81 evaluating the river:
This is what most of the roads were like in this area. Not too bad.
Although I didnít stop to take any pictures along the reroute, and no offense to anyone that lives along that way, but I could have sworn I heard dueling banjos a couple of times! I grew up in a small town in NW Arkansas with 863 people, so I know what living out in the ďsticksĒ means. But Iíd never seen the likes of this before. To be honest I was probably too scared to stop for pictures! Just kidding. It was VERY rural though, and I actually enjoy seeing areas I would generally never have any reason to see otherwise.
This is probably a well known float site for some, but Iíd never heard of this place before:
It took us around 45 minutes to get to other side of the river, 100 yards from where we were.
I donít think anything would be crossing this river today. The white caps were enough to scare me off.
We enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way from there. Some portions were paved, but the majority of it was unpaved.