Saturday I paddled upstream from my house, and since the Sangamon was flowing high, fast and strong, I sidetracked and paddled up the accurately-named "Big Ditch". It was an Interesting experience. While fairly monotonous, with long straight stretches, it also has no obstructions such as fallen logs or trees, and feels at times like paddling on open water.
Another interesting aspect is that as I progressed upstream, the ditch gets shallower, but faster, much clearer, and with a sandy, grassy bottom. It's like an entirely different experience than the Sangamon. And as the sides of the ditch rise higher and the ditch narrows there is a sense of paddling through a tunnel through the midst of nowhere.
On my return at one point, I was pointed southwest directly into the low-hanging afternoon sun, but into a fairly strong, cool headwind. I just kept paddling with the current, feeling the wind, and I shut my eyes, listening to the kayak cut the water and absorbing plenty of the warm sun's Vitamin D. I focused my mind on the warmth of the sun and the rhythm of the kayak paddle in the water: out on one side, then in the water and out on the other. No rowing machine could ever mimic the smooth resistance of pulling back on a kayak paddle through the water.
While I can't recommend it over the Sangamon, it's definitely something different.