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June 25, 2006

Week 1

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Lots has been going on. I started out with a canoe trip last Saturday on the Illinois river in northeast Oklahoma with Michelle. There were canoes and rafts everywhere at the start, but spread out a little bit as the day went on. The water was comfortable and it was relatively cool out, low 80s. Nice enough to do one jump off the rocks into the river. We didn’t tip over although I did at the end trying to get out of the canoe. On Sunday we took a short hike at Natural Falls state park and then hung out in the water the rest of the day. Very relaxful! It was tough saying goodbye on Monday, but it was time to get on the road.

I made it to Bennett Springs state park in Missouri. There weren’t a lot of areas to hike there, but I found a couple of short ones. Unfortunetly the ticks were out there just like in Oklahoma and my legs and shoes were covered. Guess that is why nearly everyone there was in the water trout fishing. I don’t think I’d ever seen so many fisherman in one place. They all seemed to be doing pretty well too. The next morning I went by Ha Ha Tonka park which has a castle built on a cliff overlooking the Lake of the Ozarks.  Quite a place to build.

On Wednesday I made it to my old town of Ottawa, Illinois and stayed at Starved Rock. My friend Michelle and I hung out on Thursday catching up and having a couple of beers. She is a great friend and one that I really miss. She has also lived and travelled through northern rockies so had lots of ideas on where to go and what to see when I’m out there. Friday I went into my old office to see my former coworkers and catch up with them. It was a quick visit, but I enjoyed it.

I’ve been in Chicago since then for my cousin’s wedding yesterday. It was a very nice wedding and lots of fun. All of my family came out. We hadn’t all been together for 2.5 years. Today has been rough recovering from the party last night. I missed the brunch this morning, but needed some sleep and still do. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the road heading to Wisconsin. The next thing I have set up is a canoe trip in the boundary waters of norther Minnesota starting on the 7th. I’m looking forward to having some open time and slowing down my travel pace. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

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