Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back on the river!

I've stuck to my original plan to paddle 6 days and take one day off (isn't that what they call the sabbath?). I put back in at Jeff. City this morning at about 9:15 a.m. and started downstream to Portland, MO. It was a pretty easy float but towards the end I was beginning to feel the heat. I still haven't had much luck predicting what to wear at the beginning of a paddling day that will be spot on for comfort at the end of the paddling day. Unless, of course, the weather is cold and miserable all day long, then I just keep huddled in my cold weather thermals and tough it out. Hot days like today are another matter.

Kathy had to take a friend to the airport this morning so I said goodbye prior to leaving the house. Bruce drove me to the Jeff. City landing and saw me off. I spent the rest of the day scratching my head about to what to make about my time in Jefferson City. As far as I can tell, Bruce Rogers and Kathy Carew took me into their home and showed me kindness and hospitality for only one reason; to make me feel at home and welcome. They didn't ask for anything in return. We went out to eat several times and they refused to let me pay for their meal and insisted on paying for mine. They showed me the sites of Jefferson City and introduced me to some very nice people. At the end of it all I could ask was why? The only answer I have is that they are are the finest of the finest and a credit to heart and soul of America. I'm told that President Obama will be visiting the Missouri capital soon. If he really wants connect with middle America I suggest he give Bruce and Kathy a call.

I'm back to river life and it's also a holiday weekend. I had an easy float down to Portland, Missouri, where I set up camp and hung out for the afternoon. There's a small bar and grill here, the only business in town, where I had dinner and hung out a while. As the day has worn on more and more traffic is coming down to the landing to put in their boats or just hang out. Right now there are three boatloads of college kids at the landing that are a bit tipsy and loud. As I said before, the river is a totally different creature the weekends. One more day and I'll have my girl back for the final few days of paddling down to St. Louis.

When I talk to people about my trip it sounds like a big deal to them, especially if they've never spent anytime on the water. The days have flown by so quick that I'm beginning to realize that this has just been me dipping my toe in the water. I know I can't continue past St. Louis but I'm kicking myself for not having designed a different trip and started in Montana and floated down. That would have been a 2200 mile trip and would have been something. As it stands 560 miles is just a warm up exercise.

Oh well, you learn as you go along. Maybe one day I'll be a bit quicker not the uptake!

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