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Rock paddlers near Mississippi River

May 27, 2014
Garrett Feik, from left, Jake Boucher and Jon Gress talk to reporters during their stop in Rockford Wednesday, May 21. (Photo by Jim Hagerty)

Garrett Feik, from left, Jake Boucher and Jon Gress talk to reporters during their stop in Rockford Wednesday, May 21. (Photo by Jim Hagerty)

Public is invited to welcome Jon Gress, Jake Boucher and Garrett Feik Tuesday, May 27, at Sunset Marina, in Rock Island, Ill.

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

Only 18 miles separated Jon Gress, Jake Boucher and Garrett Feik Tuesday, May 27, from completing a start-to-finish kayak span of the Rock River.

After spending the night at Lundeen’s Landing Campground in East Moline, Ill., Monday, May 26, Boucher, Feik and Gress began the home-stretch paddle to Rock Island, Ill., where the Rock is picked up by the Mississippi River. Along the way, there were few elements of the outdoors they didn’t encounter. River water was their lifeblood and the wilderness their daily luncheon. For two weeks, it was three men working their way from one end of a national water trail to the other. Yet, they were far from alone.

“There has been so much more to this trip than we could ever put into words,” Feik said. “What the three of us thought would be a unique summer journey has blown into something we had never expected. This is due in large part to all the great people we’ve met and the support we have received.”

City officials, Rock River Trail spokesmen, merchants—even strangers—from the 37 municipalities along the river provided meals, shelter, keys to cities and fellowship as the men inched closer to their goal. 

The public is invited to welcome them home Tuesday afternoon at Sunset Marina, 10 31st Ave., Rock Island. A short reception followed by a potluck dinner will commence at 5:30 p.m.

The trip has been a fundraiser for Maranatha Baptist University, where Boucher and Gress are students.

Follow the trip at facebook.com/RockRiverStart2Finishrockrivertimes.comand rockrivertrail.com.

Send donations to:

Maranatha Baptist University Sabercats
745 West Main St.
Watertown, WI 53094

Online donations can be made HERE. The goal is to raise $10,000 for new uniforms for the school’s athletic teams and paint the gymnasium.

Following is the trip’s itinerary.

Editor’s note: The trip began May 13 at Horicon Marsh, where the Rock River rises near the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. Boucher, Feik and Garrett reached Hustisford, Wis., just south of Lake Sinissippi, May 14. They trip was slated to end Thursday, May 29.  Taking advantage of good water and weather early allowed them to reach the Mississippi two days early.

Day
   Community
   River miles to Rock Island
 
1 Hustisford 285  
2 Lebanon 267.9  
3 Ixonia 246.2  
4 Watertown 232.2  
5 Jefferson 215.6  
6 Indianford 193  
7 Janesville 170.5  
8 Rockton 154.4  
9 Rockford 134.2  
10 Byron 120.2  
11 Oregon 103.5  
12 Dixon 91.6  
13 Como 67.3  
14 Prophetstown 50.5  
15 Erie 35.2  
16 Barstow 18  
17 Rock Island 0

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