2 Kane Kayakers Chronicle Adventure Rollin' Down the River

2 Kane Kayakers Chronicle Adventure Rollin’ Down the River


Tyler Zirk of Gilberts and Cody Sommers of Hampshire have embarked on a journey that’s right out of Huckleberry Finn, with a little Survivor and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure thrown in for good measure.

Tyler, who also happens to be the son of Gilberts Village President Rick Zirk, and Cody, both 23, decided that they needed a little adventure this summer, so they set out to kayak pretty much the length of the mighty Mississippi River watershed in the continental U.S., from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

“They started June 16 north of Minneapolis,” Rick Zirk said by email. “Their goal is to make it to the gulf by the middle of September. Absent a hurricane, they should make that easily. They are doing it just for the challenge.”

Cody and Tyler, both 23, graduated from Hampshire High School. Cody works for his dad’s construction company and Tyler graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He has been an insurance agent for American Family Insurance. As of Friday, they had made it as far as the Louisiana border.

The photos you see here are courtesy of www.RiverBills.com, which is chronicling their journey downriver.

The Minnesota town they started in is named, perhaps appropriately, Victory. Along the way, they ran into Ilan Levin from Columbus, OH, who was making a similar journey, and you’ll see Ilan in some of the photos.  They met Ilan on the river in Belleview, IA, “and since they were all headed for New Orleans, they decided to continue the trip together,” one RiverBills article says.

“Since a lot of the locks and dams are closed because of the flooding, they had to find a way around them. They were able to paddle around some and had to portage their kayaks around others. They decided to just go over the top of the earthen part of the dam at Winfield. WOW.”

Along the way, they’ve met up with two Marines doing the same thing to raise money for the Lupus foundation, explored Memphis, went to the Fry-Fest at Yacht Club of St. Louis with the RiverBill folks and made memories to last a lifetime.

If you’d like to follow their adventures, check out Rick Zirk’s Facebook page or follow www.RiverBills.com.