Friday, May 1, 2015

It is May! One month since the beginning if our adventure. I cannot believe how fast this trip is going – August will be here before we know it. I am sitting by our third campfire, provided by Leroy Wease. (another, “I just happened to be.”)

It was chilly again last night, but no frost or ice this morning. I think we are seeing a warming trend. We took our time this morning getting ready to launch, since we had only a 12-mile paddle to St. Francisville, Illinois. We even enjoyed a cup of coffee with our quinoa for breakfast. The little things in life!

We loaded up and pulled our boats to the dock. We had just reached the dock when John remembered he didn’t fill his dromedary. Back to the campsite about 1/4 mile away… While I was waiting on him, a couple pulled up and asked the usual questions… “Where are you from?” “Where are you going?” After the answer and usual look of surprise, she gave me a little bit of the history of Vincennes. The bridge we had passed under yesterday on our way into town was Red Skelton Bridge, in honor of him because he grew up in Vincennes. (I wonder what Red Skelton was like as an eighth grade student…) Later after she left, I realized our kids probably don’t know who Red Skelton was – they didn’t know who Laurel and Hardy were. The next bridge we were going to pass under was the George Rogers Clark Bridge, which is next to the memorial of the same name.

Yesterday, another gentleman from The Boat Club had shared the history of the beautiful stonework located throughout Kimmel Park (boat dock and campground are located in this park) in the forms of pavilions and landscaping. German prisoners of war from WW II built these interesting shapes. I wonder if the prisoners had any idea how much their efforts would be appreciated many years later.

Oh no! I have poison ivy and haven’t a clue where I got it. We still have a lot of woods to traipse in during the next three months. (It’s three months now – not four!)

We saw only one eagle today. It will be sad when the count is zero! We will miss seeing them sitting so statuesque in the trees and souring so gracefully through the air.

We floated under our second pivot bridge of the voyage – the first was close to Riverton. Our second one was the toll bridge, Cannonball Bridge, close to St. Francisville, costing one dollar to cross. From the water, the circular pillar can be seen with the gears visible on top. Previous to becoming a toll ridge it was train track. Looking up, you could see the wooden “tracks” on which the vehicles must drive. Floating under the bridge seems much less stressful!

We were greeted at St. Fransicville, Illinois again be someone who “just happened to be” driving down to the river, Leroy Wease. Leroy works out-of-town each week. This weekend is the longest amount of time he has been home in months. He “just happened to be”….. We told him we were in town to pick up our next shipment of food. He didn’t even hesitate and asked if he could give us a ride to the post office (Of course, we said yes.)

On our way to the post office we passed one of the oldest Catholic Churches in Illinois. Sounds interesting and beautiful doesn’t it? The only problem is the church was over half gone and the rest was on the way down. This place with so many memories and history was being torn drown! That’s why the United States doesn’t have many buildings preserving this nation’s history! So sad!

Leroy waited for us as we picked up our food and replacement cockpit skirt from Peggy, at the post office. John’s skirt’s (need to keep this in context) zipper had malfunctioned. One call to Fluid Fun (where we bought the our kayaks and many needed accessories) over a lunch break earlier this week was all it took. Gotta love technology! (When it’s available – we are without again tonight and probably the next two nights. ) After we opened the new skirt, we placed John’s defective skirt in the self-addressed (but not postage-paid) envelop the makers of the skirt had sent.

Leroy gave us a tour of the small town: (Population 800 – salute!) one restaurant – only open for lunch, a closed school – bought by the city for one dollar, one bar – only serves Totinos pizza and the coldest beer in town (the only beer in town), one ball diamond – very rarely used, a catholic church – soon to be history instead of historical.
After the quick tour, we watched the bell tower of the church fall to the ground in a cloud of dust. When the dust settled, the cross on the church’s steeple, which had been a symbol to many over the years, was all that remained in tact. (I wonder how the bell faired.) Such a sad sight, and I don’t even have any ties to the church!

After the tour, Leroy dropped us at our boats. We pulled them to the other side of one of the nicest, river-traveler-friendly parks we’ve seen for such a small town, with OPEN restrooms, water, trash can, and electricity! I am surprised at the number of vehicles that drive down just to look at the river and then drive back to town. I think if I lived in a small town by the river, I wouldn’t just drive down and look – I would have to get out and sit awhile. Even though we are in the river several hours each day, I never tire of looking at the river. It is a relaxing sight. Oh well, it’s just nice that the locals still appreciate it.

Before we set up camp, we hung our clothes line between the two boats – all laundry items smell good and are dry, even if it they aren’t very “clean-looking.”

Later that evening, Lomar and Dorothy Gute drove up to our camping spot and parked. Lomar climbed out of the truck. He asked the usual what we were doing questions then relayed a very interesting story about the raccoon he had just delivered to outside of town. Apparently, he caught a raccoon in his live trap. He said, “He was a good raccoon. There are good raccoons and bad raccoons. You can tell by their personality. So, since this was a good raccoon we decided to haul him north of town and set him free. I’m sure he beat us home. Oh well.” I’d like to meet this good raccoon.

While John set up the tent, I made lasagna for lunch. We were starved and had new food! After lunch, while I cleaned up, John made some phone calls at the other end of the park – the only place with a weak signal. He was able to “fix” a water problem at our house. Our neighbor, who is feeding our dogs, sent us a text yesterday stating she couldn’t get any water from our outside faucet. John asked Travis, my son, to go check things out today. John called Travis, who explained the breaker to the pump was tripped. He reset it, and now life is good. Technology!

While John was “fixing” the world, Leroy, brought us some wood for a fire. What a treat to sit by the fire, while John plays his guitar and I journal. When I deem this daily journal page good, I will pull up my book on my Kindle. Yes, I am using technology to read. There wasn’t enough room for my pillow, do you really think there would enough room for a book?

Here’s to May! What adventures will it hold, who will we meet, what unique river-views will we see, where will we camp? Can’t wait for each new day to begin!

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