Saturday, May 23, 2015 (turtle finds hare in soup)
Yesterday, I thought we had paddled 37 miles. Unfortunately, this morning, John reevaluated our maps and determined we traveled only 31 miles. What a disappointment! Think about this… If we had originally recorded yesterday as a 31 mile day, we would have been ecstatic with that record for ourselves. Now that we have to change the amount from 37 to 31, I feel like we had less of an accomplishment. Perspective!
Last night, we were lulled to sleep by the sounds of a ball game close by in Missouri (or maybe Kentucky). The sounds indicated the game was more than a little league or t-ball game. We heard the national anthem, lots of cheering, the organ,etc. We have heard wild turkeys gobbling, coyotes howling, owls whoing, raccoons fighting, vultures landing, but never a ball game playing.
Today started around 4:30. We enjoyed dinner for breakfast – sausage, rice, and mushroom casserole (a dehydrated left over) with Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons, and then packed up. Before heading down the river, we checked out New Madrid. What a river-friendly town. The riverfront is beautifully landscaped and maintained, with a lit stone sign – facing the river – “Welcome to New Madrid”. Stairs frame one side of the boat ramp leading to the top of the hill, where there is a port-a-john and a trash can. (Two of the three essentials) We didn’t investigate, but I am sure there is water available close by, as well. Honestly, their river front is a kayakers dream. We deposited our trash and made our way on down the river.
Today was probably one of the most difficult starts. Four towboats left their docking areas just as we pulled out, causing massive waves and instability. In addition, we were traveling in a fairly narrow area of the river, which became a wind tunnel. All these factors created three to four-foot waves – the largest we have encountered so far on this trip. In addition to the wind and waves, we had to dodge quite a bit of log debris. Yikes! I was so glad to get out of that area! (and tired!) And, it was at this point that John learned HE had now forgotten to strap his hat. A gust of wind, a big wave, and woosh, John’s replacement hat (You may remember, that I had lost my good hat early in the trip and had commandeered his.) was gone. We saw it in the water and he made his way to it but the crazy waves pulled it out of sight. Oh well, this is the trip.
Today’s traffic was the most steady we have encountered. I wonder why some days are busier than others. At one point we came upon a stationary tow (remember, US industry does not call them tugs) that was backed into a sand bar protruding from the left bank. Beyond her we could just make out the bridges of two more tugs. Problem? There were dikes on the right bank so we wanted to stay in the left side of the river. We pulled close enough to the starboard side of the stationary boat to make out its name. It was the Deana Ann. John raised the skipper on the radio and asked about squeezing past his stern so we could stay on the left bank. The captain told us that would be ok and so, within 15 feet of her stern, we slid behind and around the Deana Ann. We soon determined that she was simply waiting while one of the small harbor tows affixed a row of barges to her. One of the Deana Ann crew was fishing off the stern and gave us a hardy wave as we passed. Now the tough part…. As we skirted her port side a fabulous aroma wafted over us. It was just then that the cook walked onto the deck, opened the grill, and began flipping 20 oz steaks. Seriously!?
Today I noticed a difference in the landscape – large sand bars spanning almost the entire width of the river. We witnessed two four-wheelers enjoying a two-mile long by one-mile wide sand bar. (Random whining …. Why does my iPad change “mile” to “mike”?)
After paddling six hours, with a break for lunch, we were ready to find a place to call home for the evening. (Oh yeah, as we were approaching our lunch stop, we saw two turkeys coming to the water to get a drink.) If we don’t have a predestined place, this time of the day (looking for home) can be a bit taxing. (Why does it seem we decide to stop just after passing a great place?) Three reasons for the stress: One – we are tired. Two – we want the perfect spot. Three – we don’t want to paddle another five miles looking for a place to camp. As has been the case many times, we rounded a bend and there was a beautiful sandy beach – home!
Tonight’s entree consisted of spaghetti (dehydrated leftover – one of our favorites), Parmesan cheese, and homemade garlic croutons. For dessert we enjoyed mud pie (with homemade granola). Clean up, relax, and to bed. Tomorrow, we really need to make it to Caruthersville, Missouri before the rain. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to go to church since we didn’t make it today. 31 miles again today!
I just proofread my journal. Not very creative on my part – seven of the nine paragraphs start with yesterday, last night, today, or tonight. Maybe tomorrow “night” when I write about “today” I will remember what I wrote “yesterday” and be more creative……
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