Day 56: Care package
I woke up relaxed and ready to see what todays adventures had in store for me. I mat Steve and Miriam when I got off the boat. They wanted to walk with me to find my food package. I found out the building was not open till 11:00. I had a few hours to kill. We went walking and stopped by a cafe for breakfast. They were busy, so we decided to go to another location. Steve needed his coffee. We jumped in their car and went off to the Farmers Diner. They had a breakfast buffet. We sat down and I waited for them to go get their food first. Then it was my turn. I loaded my plate up like a Vegas buffet that had one visit. Actually, I just got some biscuits and gravy. My appetite is big for quality meals when I need them, but my stomach has shrunk on this trip. That is a good thing. We talked about the river life while eating. Steve was a river captain for a few different operations on the river. He was a river rat to the core. He offered advise and perspectives that I would have never seen. I had a great time talking with them. When it came to the bill, they bought me breakfast. I didn’t expect that, but I was grateful.
We drove back and I found out that there was a parade going on this morning. I thought it would be another opportunity to get some good shots. Steve went back to the boat while Miriam and I headed off different directions to view it. I headed up to the beginning and was ready to get some shots. I stood in positions to get some good shots. I moved with it capturing the kids grabbing the candy and the crowd as they watched it go by. I really enjoyed that live action type of shooting. I worked up a sweat on this muggy day, but it was worth it for the images.
After the parade, I went to try to get my food package. I caught the postman for the building. He told me he left it with the building manager in her office. I went with him to see if she was in. She was and my food was right there. I was happy about that. I carried the box back to the boat to begin to load it in for the adventure ahead of me. I opened the box, and Jenny had put in a pillow as we had talked about how I did not have one. It came with a nice note that made me smile. I wanted to use it, but I simply did not have room to take it with me. My boat is fully loaded down. I loved the thoughts though. I packaged up some extra gear to be sent back home. I needed to keep my loaded boat as light as possible as it is hitting near the waterline when I resupply with food. Now that I was loaded and set with food, I took off towards Burlington, IA. Before I left though, Steve and Miriam told me I should stop by and stay at her brothers place downstream. They said her brother, Ken, was right on the water and I would be a welcomed guest. They called to let him know I was coming his way and that he should expect me. This was another case of where an interruption would become part of the grand story of my kayak trip down the Mississippi River.
I left the marina on a hot and muggy day. The humidity on the days paddle was quite thick. I enjoyed the random cross and tail wind as I moved downstream. It was not long before I made it down to his place. Just before I arrived at Ken’s place, I met a neighbor named Brock. He was a multi generation river rat. He came down to the water and we had a quality conversation. He had a wisdom that comes from a life on the river. It was a treat to talk with him as we shared many of the same views. He told me of hunting adventures and how life was like on the river. As I have journeyed along and talked with more people, I have begun to understand part of the river life. It is simplistic, not in a bad way, and very grounded. The people on the river are good. They lead happy lives that are based around the water. There are lessons we could all learn from the people on the water.
It was early in the evening when I pulled up. Ken and a lit of friends/family all came to greet me. They told me to dock up and join them inside as they were looking out for me. They had a big shrimp boil that evening. The had me sit and dig in. They had shrimp, scallops, sausage, potatoes and corn on the cob. I was thrilled for all the protein. They all wanted to hear about my adventures as I sat with 13 or 14 people around the tables. They welcomed me with open arms. They had a place for me to sleep and conversations that filled the night with smiles. As it grew late, I began to see barge traffic pass right out in front of their place. I wanted to go out and get some shots of that. I went out and set up my camera for long exposure shots. There was a light fog in the air which made for some cool ghostly shots. The barges would search the river with super bright spotlights for channel markers and land as they guided upriver. I captured some shots that fully show this. They will also be in the book.
I came in, showered, and called it a night. Ken had floor to ceiling windows looking out to the river. I watch barge traffic come by until my eyelids won over. It was a day of great people, kind acts, beautiful imagery, and amazing company. Life on the river is good.