First time kayaking

I finally got on the water.
My plan was to go to a local pond and get the feel of it. There is a really nice lake with a dock and ramps that rents kayaks in summer. It is really well maintained and clean with lots of parking. Unless there is some sort of event. Then there is no parking.

So plan B is to go to the big lake and use the sandy beech . There is a dam and the water is pretty still and it is a nice huge lake. It cost money to get in. I did not bring any cash.

So plan C , I went to the city park and used the boat ramp there. It is great with lots of nice parking. Perfect way to get started. Paddle upstream in the Iowa river.
I spent over an hour paddling from Iowa city to Coarlville . It was really nice. After figuring out how to stear and feather my paddle I made great progress. Tiring but very enjoyable. Once I got to the dam I relaxed and pulled over at a sandy beach.
After a relaxing sip of water I drifted back to Iowa city. I felt like I was sitting still but the shore was moving . The current was pretty strong. The logs that stick out of the water show the actual water speed. It was great to just relax and drift along. Living the dream.

Congrats on your first voyage. This site offers good videos on steering and other maneuvers.

I have watched all the videos and they are fantastic for information on what to do and what not to do. Very helpful. But until you actually put it into practice. Wind and current change the mechanics of what happens.

Today was not so good. I set out to paddle from Hills Iowa to Iowa City. About five miles . Then drift back. When I got to Hills the wind was really strong. The Iowa river was swollen all the way to the banks. And had a lot of current. Probably a combination of rain and snow melt.
So I decided not to risk it. Maybe next time. I went to a big lake but the wind had white caps kicking up and fighting wind did not seem like fun.
Choose you battles seem to be the idea.

Long ago I was told that important safety items are a comfortable place to sit and a good book.

The best safety gear for any activity is your brain.