Day 38, July 6.
Measurements: turbidity downstream of the confluence with the Rock River: 15cm. (This is so turbid I must have been mostly measuring the Rock River, not sufficiently mixed in with the Miss.) Nitrate at same location: 2ppm.
Today has been pretty great.
I woke in a hotel room, with an alarm of all things, because I had an appointment to meet Dan from Living Lands and Waters for coffee a few blocks away. He had kindly agreed to stash a plastic tub full of stuff I no longer want to have with me, and I'd stayed up rather late sorting through everything.
Here's the big reorganization. The biggest change is that I'm going from two large food tubs to one, with some of the 'medium' ones that have up until now lived inside them moving out on their own. With that change, everything fits - barely. I'm also leaving a lot of stuff that I simply haven't used, or haven't used in a long time: the hatchet, the saw, the binoculars, and all of the warmer clothes that were useful in northern MN. All of that stuff fit neatly into the tub I'm leaving. I carried it to the coffee shop and tossed it in the back of Dan's car.
He and I had a great conversation that lasted at least an hour and a half. I got to learn more about Living Lands and Waters - its origin, purpose, current projects and more. They are proposing something that sounds very cool: repurposing a soon-to-be-replaced freeway bridge as a pedestrian/wildlife crossing. There's more on that at https://bisonbridge.org/. I can't say enough how grateful I am to Dan and the rest of the folks at Living Lands and Waters for their kindness as I've passed through the Quad Cities. It's just been great.
After breakfast, I walked a few miles up the bluff to a bike shop, to get a new bike pump. The one that came with the Brompton is... not good. As in, it let all of the air out of my back tire last night. Then I hurried back to the hotel to get packed up and check out, dump the water from last night's rain out of the boat, refill my tires, etc.
After that, I decided to check out this place called Healthy Harvest Urban Farms. It's a vegan grocery store and cafe in Rock Island, IL. I was thrilled to find it, and it was literally two blocks from the bike trail along the river. That trail is just fantastic, also. At Healthy Harvest, I got a Cuban sandwich with mac and cheese, and some snacks and other things (garlic, potatoes, etc.) for further down the river. Man, it was so good.
Then I biked a couple of blocks to a brewery called Blue Cat. I got a low ABV sour (it was like 1:30 in the afternoon) and used their wi-fi to do yesterday's updates. While I was there, a local news crew was filming something brewery related, and asked if I'd be okay being filmed. The reporter noticed my folding keyboard, and as we talked about that I mentioned my trip, and pointed out the front window to the boat, which was locked to a bike rack.
That set some things in motion. She was intrigued, and let folks at her station know. They called me, and we set a time and place to meet: 3pm at the Sunset Park marina.
I got there a few minutes late, due to trying and failing to find a replacement set of sandals. They were all set up with their camera, and taped me riding up. They hooked me up with a microphone and used a smaller camera to record as I biked around the parking lot a bit, then interviewed me, then taped me transforming the rig into water-mode, and then finally took some more footage of me paddling, both from a camera clipped to the bow of the boat and from shore. The reporter and cameraman were really friendly, and we had a great little conversation. They've let me know to expect it to be on the news tomorrow morning. Eek!
It was after 4pm when I finally got out on the water - the latest start of the trip by far, but I felt good. I passed the confluence with the Rock River, took some measurements, and got a pretty nice push from the current. Between biking alongside the river from Moline to the south side of Rock Island, and the paddling I was able to do in the afternoon, I made it fourteen miles.
I had to get out at 6:30, because I had a call that I had to join to talk about my mom and sister's plans to move to St. Paul. It was a great call, actually, and reassured me quite a bit about that situation.
Then I made dinner. Because my lunch had been so amazing and substantial, I wasn't particularly hungry, so ate a kimchi-flavored ramen packet that's been with me this whole time, along with some actual kimchi and a bit of TVP. It was surprisingly great. I also drank one of the Blue Cat beers I'd bought earlier in the afternoon. As I was eating, the sky treated me to an utterly amazing sunset - that's what's pictured.
I turned in later than I probably should, but hey. Tomorrow the goal is to put on some miles - and we'll see what that news story looks like!