07-02-2015 (Caustic soda spill. Add your own ice.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Weather conditions:
High – 93
Low – 73
Skies – Cloudy skies in morning. Becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon.
Wind – SW 5-10

Today is a very special day in the lives of John and LaNae Abnet. It is the twelfth anniversary of our first date. Without that first date, we wouldn’t be on this trip. On July 2, 2003, the adventure began!

No storms today! No running for cover under a tarp. Instead, we have had mostly cloud cover. We are laying on the tarp on the beach. We are eating snacks as snacks and dinner as dinner. No eating snacks for dinner. We covered 31 miles. It was a pretty good day!

We have been having problems with our tent zippers since earlier in the trip, but until now, with a little coursing, we have been able to get them zipped. Until last night, when they completely gave up the ghost. As we have many times during the trip, we got creative – we tried using gorilla tape. It worked OK, but not really the best. Tonight, we are going to try clothes pins. Only a few more nights! (Tune in tomorrow for the verdict – tape vs. clothes pins.)

I am amazed at the difference in the size of the wakes since we left Baton Rouge. It must be because of the levees. There aren’t any beaches, or shoreline, or backwater bayous to absorb them, they just bounce back and forth from one levee to the other. I remember at the beginning of the trip when a little wave would freak me out. Now I enjoy them for awhile and then just get annoyed by the energy it takes to maneuver through them. It’s amazing how my perspective has changed in the last few months.

Today, we had another “just happened to be there” moment. We were ready to take a break after twenty miles when we started to pass what looked like a boat ramp. We performed a difficult paddle upstream against a very strong current and landed at the ramp. We were getting out of our boats when Timmy “just happened to be” mowing the levee at Oak Alley Plantation and stopped to say hi. As we were talking with him the subject of water came up. We said we could use some. He said he would take his lunch hour and bring us five gallons. Our hero!

Oak Alley Plantation! Wow! After talking with Jimmy, we walked to the top of the levee and sat on a bench facing the oak-lined brick path leading to the front of the typical southern plantation home. What a complete contrast to the river side of the levee! The river side has the raging Mississippi with all of the industrialization and unending rows of tows and barges since we got south of Baton Rouge. Here in the other side, however, the tourists and locals enjoy the peaceful fenced yards and tree-lined paths, oblivious to the river and its hectic environment just a few hundred yards away. I would have loved to walk through the house. I think I was born about 150 years too late! The big hooped flowing skirts. Awe…. I was envisioning this and telling John all about my dreams, when he burst my bubble by saying, “They didn’t have air-conditioning.”

Tonight’s campsite was a surprise. We were not expecting to be camped on any sandy beaches the rest of the trip, but here we are. What a gift! We were able to dry out some items which were damp/wet (soaked and muddy) from the last two nights of storms, do some laundry, clean up, and shave. (John uses my sunglasses as a mirror-creativity!)

Our campsite may be beautiful, but we just learned it may be dangerous. Five barges broke loose five miles upstream from here. No problem. Except two sank. No problem. Except they contained caustic soda. No problem. Except we bathed and did laundry soon after we arrived. No wonder our skin feels really clean! Oh, did I mention that this section of the river from Baton Rouge to the gulf is infamously known as cancer alley? It is a far cry from the remote wilderness we have been in most of the trip.

We did arise at 4:00 again this morning, which I hate to admit is the perfect time, so I guess that will be the case the rest of the trip.

Thanks John for another wonderful July 2! Here’s to the next 12 years!

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.


One Comment

  1. Nate Hamilton said:

    So proud of you both. Keep going!

    July 4, 2015

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