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Open the I&M Canal Trail!

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If you live locally, you are well aware of the controversy over the Illinois and Michigan Canal closure between Ottawa and Utica.  The Times newspaper has been consistently posting articles every Thursday about the outrage this has caused and articles are all over Ottawa Delivered as well.  I am on the trail either running or biking often and the section they closed down  is one of the most beautiful parts of the 60 mile trail.   Now it is gated with a sign saying “violators will be prosecuted” and is not being maintained.  I want to draw more attention to this because it’s been closed for a year now and it is not only hurting our local businesses, but it is a real bummer for those of us who want to be out there running, biking, and walking our dogs.  I created T-shirts that have a liability release on the back that can be signed and worn to poke fun at the situation and put the power back into the hands of the community.  In my opinion there is no way shots from the local gun range could ever come near the path in the first place and it is a shame that they are being blamed for the stray bullet complaints.  Wearing this T-shirt will in no way clear anyone from getting a ticket for unlawfully being on the closed section of the trail, but it might create a buzz, stir up a little trouble, and hopefully help get the ball rolling on the decision to re-open the trail for good.  According to Steve Stout of The Times, “a meeting at the range about the issue has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29, with representatives from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, the IDNR, and the range expected to attend.”  If they decide in this meeting that the trail will be re-opened, these shirts will no longer be necessary because we got what we wanted.  If they don’t make a decision or decide to keep the trail closed, I encourage you to join me.  The more people we get out there, the larger our voice to get something done about this. The shirt shows a stick figure pointing a gun at a cyclist and reads: “In the event that I am injured or killed resulting from stray bullets while walking, running or biking on the Illinois-Michigan Canal, I assume full responsibility and release and discharge the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the State of Illinois, and all employees, representatives, and agents of the State of Illinois from any and all legal responsibility.” Following that there is a place to sign your name.

The shirts are available in mens sizes, the color is Sport Grey, and they are a cotton/polyester blend. For a $5 or more donation, I will send you one. If you donate $5, it will cover the cost of shipping your Free T-Shirt and if you donate more than $5, it will go toward paying off what I spent on the first batch of tees and to buying more to give away. When I recieve the donation I will contact you via your email to get your shirt size and the address you would like me to send your shirt to.

Check out The Times article here:






See you on the Trail!

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Marmot Limestone 4-Person Tent

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      This was our first time using our new Marmot tent from REI and I am I AM IN LOVE.  This picture was taken without the rain fly so the features can be seen.  Here’s what’s so great about it:

  1.  -Mesh in ceiling is perfect for watching the stars on rain-free nights
  2. -Ventilation is so good that when you wake up in the morning there is ZERO condensation on the tent!
  3. -Easy set up-only takes about 5 minutes
  4. -Miniature release buckles on rainfly attach to the tent next to the stakes-for easy attachment, no additional stakes necessary!

-It has a doormat which is perfect for storing gear outside the tent and the rain fly allows room for this also.

This 4 person tent weighs in at just over 10 lbs so obviously it is not ideal for backpacking; however, it is an excellent car camping tent!  It fits our full size air mattress perfectly with extra room on both sides to move in and out and store gear.  We have only used it once so far, but it was a windy and rainy night where nothing blew around on the tent making noise and we stayed completely dry and happy 🙂

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That Free Thing

“"We don't see things as THEY are. We see things the way WE are." ”

Raymond Charles Barker