That should be a fun trip! I have Some experience on Illinois industrial rivers. I have never found camping to be a problem for me. With that said though you must not have any illusions that every one is going to be a good campsite. I have been stuck in some pretty sketchy spots. While I have never had any problems, the threat was there. I have been forced to camp on side of hills, and mud holes littered with beer bottles. I always try to camouflage my canoe and use a tent with natural colors. I follow the rule " don't set up till dusk, and gone at first light". I usually don't have a fire, if ever. As far as milage, twenty miles should not be hard at all. I have done as much as high fifties on slugs like the wabash river. If you plan to paddle for ten hours a day then you only have to move at two miles per hour. That is crawling. Barges moving on the water posed very little threat to me. The channels are usually marked and they are slow moving. I found the biggest threat to be the parked barges that are being staged for loading and unloading. You have to paddle out around them, and it forces you into the main channel. The waves rebounding from the walls of shear metal are killers. Tug boats are to be avoided at all costs. They come out of no where and produce wake that will come over your sides. Just stay alert and make very conservative decisions and you should be fine. I found the biggest threat on these rivers is average joe six pack. ninety percent are great people that will give you the shirt off their back, and a cold beer for you aching body! The other ten percent are no fun to deal with. I have been cussed at, buzed by boats, and just over all threatened. If one of these types happens to come across your campsite move it. When someone asks where I am heading I say I am getting picked up at the next take out. As a rule of thumb I also dont go poking my nose around in the places I stop. I stay next to my tent and mind my own business. You could stumble on an irate land owner, pot plants, or even a meth lab. With all that said, you will see things from a perspective that 99% of people will never see. You will have an adventure, and get a thrill from leaving your safety zone.You truly make your own way. I have had great times on rivers such as these and will continue to paddle them. Plus saying that you paddled from chicago to saint louis is pretty bad ass!! Good luck, stay alert stay alive, and take an obscene amount of water.
Cartop Kayak Carriers
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