What To Beware Of In The Illinois Great Outdoors!
I don't want to discourage you from visiting all the wonderful outdoor opportunities in Illinois; however, I do want to be honest and warn you of:
a. In Southern Illinois there are many high bluffs and cliffs without fences or barriers. Take great care, especially if it's been raining.
b. Weather conditions change quickly in Illinois so be prepared.
c. Flash flooding may occur in canyon areas.
d. Extreme heat in summer, especially in the southern part of the state so beware of exhaustion and heat stroke.
e. Do not drink water from lakes, ponds, streams, & rivers, even if the water looks crystal clear.
f. When in unfamiliar territory, let someone know where you are going & when you plan to return.
g. Poison ivy is found in abundance in Southern Illinois. (3 leaves & red-looking stems)
h. Beware of ticks because they can cause Lyme Disease.
i. Beware of Chiggers (harvest mites)
They attach themselves to the opening of a hair shaft and inject saliva into the skin and feed for several days to obtain needed protein.
j. Mosquitoes all over Illinois, especially when it has been a rainy season.
k. Venomous snakes in southern part of state:
(1) Timber rattlesnake (yellow body with black V-shaped markings)
(2) Copperhead (bronze body & copper-colored head)
(3) Cottonmouth, an aquatic species. (black body with cotton-like white inside its mouth)
Note: When you see any snake, simply walk away. Do not try to kill it; that is how 75% of bites occur.
Remember, it's the plants & animals turf, not yours. Respect their homes.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Adventure Travel
Drinking & Boating on Chain O Lakes
The Chain-O-Lakes are located about 40 miles northwest of Chicago and just south of the Illinois/Wisconsin Border in Lake and McHenry Counties of Illinois. We just always call these lakes The Chain. This network of lakes consists of 9 major lake basins, which makes it the largest inland recreational water area in all of northeastern Illinois. They are connected by a series of channels, so you can travel from lake to lake. There is boating, water skiing, canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, fishing, power skiing, camping, and picnicking.
The danger comes usually on weekends when the boaters mix alcohol and driving the boat. There have been quite a few accidents, and some of them have been fatal. After a "rash" of such accidents, they finally starting "cracking down" on the excessive drinking.
Besides the drinking as a danger, the congestion is also a danger. There are all kinds of boats, and some of them are driven by very inexperienced drivers. I personally do not like to be on the lakes on the weekends in the summer. It is no fun to have to literally dodge other boats.
Some Lakes are less crowded than others.
Here are the Lakes in the northern section of the Chain (entirely in Lake County):
Bluff Lake, Channel Lake, Grass Lake, Lake Catherine, & Lake Marie
Here are the Lakes in the southern section of the Chain (located in both Lake & McHenry Counties):
Fox Lake with Nippersink Lake, Petite Lake, Pistakee Lake
There is also a Chain O Lakes State Park located in the heart of these natural lakes. The 2500 acre park is adjoined by a 3,000 acre conservation area; both are located in the northeastern corner of Illinois in both McHenry & Lake counties.
While in the park, remember to:
"Take only memories, leave only footprints"!Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
Illinois is freezing and windy in winters.
VTers have described Chicago as cold and windy. But if you happen to visit its suburbs or other Illinois towns by the lakes, you will forget about the cold of Chicago. It is really freezing outside of the city.
In the winters the exposure to outside climate may be short, but it can bring a serious calamity on a casual tourist. Be warned upfront. No matter how prepared you feel naturally, take adequate measures by bundeling up properly.Related to:
- Family Travel
Chicago - Lake Shore Drive
If driving on Lake Shore Drive, be prepared to stop for occasional tilt bridge opening. Stop might last for some 10 minutes or so.
Not advisable to jump like the Blues Brothers did in their cult movie!
They can be a real hard line deterrant to crime, but take the law too far at times. If you are a foreigner, watch out for the south side around Cicero. On the other hand these guys are needed to control the certain type of people that can tear up a city.
Winters Can be Brutal-Summers Hot
The weather has extremes, and I have been in winter weather so bad you do not know what to do. You can easily get your car buried in 2-3 feet of snow, and if in the City, the snow plows will plow you in. Winters last way too long and are depressing.
The summer months become hot and humid and only the lake breeze helps slow down the sweating.
Outside of Chicagoland, it's...
Outside of Chicagoland, it's just rural Illinois! Um, maybe my only advice to you is to watch out for the rest areas. They're clean, and nice, and pretty safe, I suppose... but at least in the men's restrooms, all of the stall doors are extraordinarily low, so one can look in on you. Weird.
Stay out of the South Side. ...
Stay out of the South Side. Especially after dark. At night I would not venture down lower Wacker Drive which runs North to South through the middle of the City. Upper Wacker is the street with the Opera House and Thearters.
Be Watchful. You Drive Your Own Issues
Common sense Acommon Travel rules as to where ever you go:
#1. Don't go where you shouldn't go.
#2. Follow the rule of law in the country that you reside.
#3. Adhere to the rule of law from your home country.
#4. Respect and "pre-" read up on the culture(s).
#5. Gain some familiarity with the country's national language prior to your trip.
#6. Practice the local language with the locals.
#7. If concerned with lodging then don't do what isn't familiar to you.
#8. Eat what has been cooked.
#9. Drink bottled water that has a seal. Open it yourself.
#10. Know your coordinates (esp. North & South). Memorize the major cross-roads prior to taking your trip.
#11. Have a copy or two of your Passport in a safe place (either on you personally or in an emergency place).
#12. Go electronic (with back up paperwork) when you can.
#13. Be reluctant to share your full plans with strangers.
#14. Be flexible.
#15. How you handle "it" determines whether it'll be a good event or day or not. Understand that something weird, funny, or bad might occur.
#16. Watch your travel companions as they might just as well cause trouble by accident / unknowingly or on purpose.
#17. International travel is not a time for pranks. (Stay away from pranksters that want to travel with you)
#18. Just try to remember that "nothing" is for "free". (This goes for women too)
#17. Silently mediate as to rehearse (or re-play) plans.
#18. Always be prepared for a back-up exit plan (... where ever you are (and check for exits)).
#19. Travel with flex travel time on the front end but esp. back end of your visit. This'll reduce your frustrations if there happen to be delays.
#20. Pack light while being wise.
#21. Be nimble.
#22. If you have good judgment with befriending people (anywhere) then be social with out giving away too much information.
#23. Know your money. Where it is. How much is on you. Denominations in order. Minimize coins if possible (don't need to be heard walking around jiggling).
#24. When driving ... pay the extra for full coverage. (Take it from a guy that has had 2 separate flat tires and locked up engine all in the same trip. Can you guess where?)
#25. Walk like you know where you are going even when you get lost. The best way to not get lost again is to remember where you were when you were lost.
#26. You are not a "stick" in the mud if you choose to stay away from the "loud" crowd.
#27. Avoid traveling during the host country's elections.
#28. Be aware of political and labor union protest. Don't accidently get caught up.
#29. Never walk away from your open beverages and/or food. Once you've stepped away then pass on further consumption as to be cautious.
#30. Ladies and guys, know that you will meet lots of wonderful people plus some not so. Don't be fooled by "beauty" or a "handsome" face. Danger lurks. If you have a bad judgment of character domestically then it is not going to get any better outside of the country.
#31. If you're not considered "HOT" back home then don't be fooled when you are abroad. Money matters. It isn't really your looks.
#32. The money train gets you access but it can also generate trouble.
#33. Make certain Taxis / Limos drivers happen to be locked into the price and directions prior to departure.
#34. Know the weather conditions prior and during your trip.
#35. Read the local newspapers / journals prior to arrival. (seek to understand cultural, social, economic, etc topics of the day)Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
As in Most Large American...
As in Most Large American cities,Chicago has Crime and lots of it.Stay away from areas of the West and South sides especially at night.The City took over the Murder capital of the US from New York last year and its a distinction that the city doesnt want.The Winters here are tough as well so it would be best to avoid the city in the winter.
Beware of speeding
Illinois is one big speed trap. Beware of speeding on your way to or from Chicago. It's possible to do, but you might need a radar... or do people use those anymore? We don't have to worry as much in Callie. :::knocks wood:::Related to:
- Road Trip
Illinois roads are some of the best-maintained in the country (this is personal opinion, but trust me on this one). That is because of higher gas taxes in Illinois and also because of toll roads. So, if you're driving in Illinois, make sure to have LOTS of quarters, nickels, and dimes; it will save you loads of time at the toll stations, rather than having to dig through your purse every time!Related to:
- Road Trip
Beware Chicago has its share...
Beware Chicago has its share of problems just like any other big city in the USA, but in my opinion is generally a safe one, with tonnes of friendly folks around.
Winters can be severe and you...
Winters can be severe and you have to be prepared for some cold and harsh weather December to March.
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