Sunday, May 10, 2015
Happy Mother’s Day!
High – 88
Low – 70
Today was another early day 3:45. Unfortunately, we were not on the river until 7:30 because the radar indicated some severe weather. So we ate breakfast casserole from our coffers, packed everything, pulled our boats to the river, took the wheels off, and prepared the kayaks for take-off. We then sat on a bench downtown waiting to see if anything materialized. Thankfully, the storm tracked north of us. When we were sure launching was safe, we were on our way.
No eagles were sighted today. I’m sad to see them go…..
Like I said before, the Ohio isn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. There is much less traffic – barge and otherwise. Even so, we still look both ways before crossing the river. Seriously.
After paddling seven miles, the river became very choppy with large swells, causing concern on my part. Then, I saw a beautiful sight! The E-town River Restaurant in Elizabethtown, Illinois, which floats on the water. John read about this in his Ohio River guidebook and made a mental note to stop there if we could. Stopping would give me a break! When we docked next to the restaurant, it appeared to be closed. Oh no! Then an employee walked down the plank toward the door. John asked her what time they opened. She said 11:00 – it was 9:40. Did we want to wait? Waiting over an hour would defeat the purpose of our early morning arisal (Is that a word?) and departure. But traveling the miles isn’t the only part of the trip.
We decided to take a walking tour of the town and wait. The population of E-town is about the same as Cave in Rock – 300. However, E-town has preserved more of their historic buildings, one being the oldest hotel in Illinois. Across the street from the hotel is a bed and breakfast. Both of these establishments would have been very accessible for us from the dock and would have had a place to store our boats. An unusual occurrence, lodging close to the river….
The tour of town didn’t take the entire hour and twenty minutes, so we sat on a rock outside the restaurant and watched the other people awaiting the opening. I love to watch people and wonder who they really are. Luckily, the owner called us all in twenty minutes early. The inside dining area was small, holding about forty people. An additional fifty could be seated outside. Even though the restaurant is actually floating, the movement couldn’t be distinguished inside.
While we were waiting on our order, a gentleman and his wife next to us asked us if the kayaks belonged to us. (Is it our attire or smell that gave us away?) We said yes and then the questions began to fly. Soon the entire restaurant was engaged in the conversation. This conversation was complete when another gentleman, who was picking up a to-go order walked over to our table and asked, “Are the kayaks yours?” (Attire or smell?)
We ordered catfish. I had the river catfish and John had the pond. I haven’t been anywhere that specified where the catfish came from. Maybe that’s because in Berne, pond is the only option. The biggest difference was the presentation – the river variety was in thick chunks, while the pond catfish was a fillet and was a little fishier tasting.
Both were delicious.
As we were floating away, I noticed a lady standing outside the restaurant taking our picture. If she only knew how ordinary we really are.
On to the next stop, a boat dock eight miles further downriver, where we planned to spend the night. Taking a break to eat was definitely the right choice since the river was much calmer – at least to begin with. We paddled, and paddled, and paddled. The first eight miles of our day seemed like four, but the second eight seemed like fifteen. I’m not sure how this phenomenon happens – second half of trip mile stretching phenomenon.
We saw a herd of cattle by and in the river trying to take shelter under a couple of trees. John called it “Jersey Shores”. (And yes he laughed at his own joke!)
We finally reached the boat ramp where we had planned to stay – yuck!!! It was the worst boat ramp we have seen on this trip. I don’t think it had been used in ten years – there were trees growing out from under the concrete. The condition of the ramp was not a showstopper but the extremely steep bank was. Onward…… I’m so glad we didn’t settle because we found the best camping spot we’ve had on this trip – a beautiful sandy beach with trees. The places we have stayed and have yet to stay!
We were in the middle of setting up the tent when the sky turned dark and the thunder started to roll. We quickly set up and checked the radar. What appeared to be coming right at us earlier, was tracking to the north. This has happened so many times on this trip.
Tonight I pulled bags of tuna cheese soufflé and mud pie to rehydrate for dinner. (Here’s a trick I use when making pudding. At home, I combine half a box of pudding and four tablespoons of dried milk in a baggie. When I am ready to fix it, I add one cup of water to the bag and shake it. Let it set ten minutes – while we eat – and voila’ pudding!)
While we were eating dinner, we had a dinner guest join us – a groundhog climbed a tree ten yards from us. I didn’t know groundhogs could climb trees. He sat there watching us and looking at the water for two or more hours. John couldn’t get much out of him except that his name was Ed, and he’s lived here most of his life. (I think John was in the sun too long today.)
Early to bed tonight again and early to rise. Tomorrow we are hoping to beat some more weather. Hopefully, we will be at a campground eighteen miles downstream at a campground with showers and LAUNDRY! Or, if the weather doesn’t track north again, we may still be here at the beach.