06-29-2015 (Tree falls in the woods, destroys audio recorder. We’ll never know.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Weather conditions:
High – 86
Low – 74
Skye’s – Scattered thunderstorms.
Wind – WSW 5-10

“This is the trip.” Our trip motto. All the memories we are making (good and bad) are what makes the trip.

Last night ended with buzzing of a swarm of bees followed by the humming of a forest of misquotes. This morning began with humming until daylight. I thought I was safe – wrong! The humming was replaced by buzzing – the army of bees were back in full force. We couldn’t get into our boats fast enough. One even hitched a ride on me and stung me before flying away. Pain. “This is the trip.”

The water rose about six inches last night, an indication of the flooding. (See Instagram @separateboats) We are desperately trying to outrun the flood waters. As the waters rise, the banks disappear, resulting in fewer places to stop to take a break and pee. This was the case today. We knew we were going to paddle around twenty miles to Baton Rouge to pick up our next food parcel, find a place to camp, and perhaps find a coffee-house or something fun. One advantage of the flood waters is a faster current, which of course means we cover more miles per hour. Well this morning we covered sixteen miles in two hours. So we arrived in Baton Rouge much more quickly than anticipated. Usually, we try to find a place to stop every couple of hours, which we didn’t this morning. So, of course, I had to pee! Badly! But there wasn’t anyplace to stop! No place to pee. “This is the trip.”

Soon after we paddled around a left bend towards Baton Rouge, (Have you ever looked at a map of the Mississippi River? It twists and turns all over the place. We even turn north sometimes. John always says, “They are all miles, and they all count.”) we encountered ten tows with their stack of barges all lined up. This was a new site. (See Instagram @separateboats) John raised the captain of the Gretchen C to ask what was going on. (He learned during this conversation the ship captains now monitor channel 67 instead of 13 from here to the Gulf.) The captain said they were all waiting for available dock space. This made me think of a joke…

What do you call a line of tows stuck in traffic? Are you ready?….. Tow jam!! I know – bad joke. “This is the trip!” (Bad jokes and lots of laughter!)

Remember, I still have to pee!

We take a right bend and are greeted by the first glimpse of Baton Rogue and all the fleeting! With all the fleeting, washing machine water and larger swells abound! Remember it is flooding so we also have a lot of drift. Staying alert is a must and very stressful! “This is the trip.”

And, I still have to pee!

In the midst of the washing machine waves, we saw our first ocean-going tankers and container ships. (See Instagram @separateboats) They are BIG ships! These ships were docked. It will be interesting to experience the wake they create. New experiences. “This is the trip.”

I still have to pee!!

Just a little further and we both spot a stoney spot on the bank – very unusual! We instantly pull in behind the trees of the flooded bank. What a relief! “This is the trip!”

I no longer have to pee!

John is so thankful for the Army Corp of Engineer charts. He can’t imagine anyone taking this trip without them. Honestly, it would be dangerous. Baton Rouge was our next food parcel pick up. However, the post office is not in a convenient location to the river. River Angels Mary, Michael, and Paul Orr live in Baton Rouge. John contacted them to see if we could have our parcel sent to them and delivered to us at the river. They said. “Sure!” John thought he knew where the rendezvous location was on the charts, but when we reached that spot, it definitely wasn’t correct. Frustrations. “This is the trip.” John contacted the Orrs and received further directions. Onward…..

Oh no! The sky is getting dark to our right! Oh no! We can see the storm moving our way! We look to the left – there is a boat ramp, which is not on the map and unexpected! Thank you, God! “This is the trip!”

We make a quick dash and make it to the shoreline just as the heavy clouds drain their precipitation on us along with some strong winds. We are wet but safe. “This is the trip.”

While we are there, we contact the Orrs to change our pick-up point. Michael and Paul arrive with our food, water, and some treats. (See Instagram @separateboats) They are River Angels because they love the river and have made several trips to the Gulf. We have met so many nice people! “This is the trip.”

Now the daily task of finding a place to camp. “This is the trip.” By now, John and I are exhausted. We have been up since 3:30, and paddled twenty-three miles. (Some of which we very stressful.) Michael and Paul give us directions to LSU, where we might be able to camp and walk to get sandwich (treat). We think we are to the spot they described, but it doesn’t look anything like it. So on we go. No treats. Disappointment. “This is the trip.”

We travel a little further and notice a business with a boat ramp. We stop
to see if we can camp there. (From here on there is a levee in both sides of the river. This means we are done camping on flat, sandy beaches in the wilderness. We will probably be camping on the levee and at boat ramps. We will definitely have to be creative. “This is the trip.”) The gentleman says we can camp on the hill of the levee – the actual levee top is a road. So here we are on a hill at the intersection of two roads with no shade! Be sure to check out Instagram at separateboats for a picture of our campsite and John’s creativeness for shade.

While we were making dinner on the flat levee, (hoping no cars came) Dustin “just happened to be” driving by and stopped to see what we were doing. Before he left, he gave us some sweetened tea (yum) and a newspaper. (See Instagram @separateboats) So many “just happened to be” moments. “This is the trip.”

Good and bad – all memories. “This is the trip.”

Thanks for following our adventure. For photos and videos of the events mentioned in this daily journal, check us out on Instagram @ separateboats.

Also, please continue to pray for and support our charity, The Fortress. Check out our “Charity Page” – you can donate using the Pay Pal button. Thank you.


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