Day 72: The unknown
Last night, there was a 30% chance of rain. That 30% came at 2:30am. I felt a rain drop or two and heard some thunder. I sprung up and out my tent door with my rain fly. I don’t sleep with it as I like to wake throughout the night and see the stars above me. I opened it up and had in on freaky fast. I got it on so fast that as soon as I made it back in to my tent, the phone was ringing. It was the CEO of Jimmy Jons subs. He said I was so fast that he wanted to offer me a job at the corporate office. That is the joke for the day.
As soon as I was back in my ‘bed,’ the clouds unleashed. It dumped hard for a bit. I just went back to sleep….with a smile on my face. The second time I woke up, I was more rested. I broke the tent down while the wind was kicking. The river looked to be moving faster. It could have been the wind out of the north. I got a nice surprise this morning. I got a text from Todd, engineer for the salvage company in St. Louis. He wanted to know my location and status. He also wanted to know the size of the lens cap I had lost. I told him not thinking anything of it. About a half hour later, I get a call from him. He told me that when I get to Cape Girardeau, I would have a lens cap waiting for me. He called to a camera shop to order me one. After telling the camera shop owner my story, the owner said he would cover it and personally deliver it to me on the river. I was surprised, impressed, and grateful. There are kind people everywhere. That just got my day off to a great start. I was going to go I to town, but opted to make oatmeal and head out. I had about 15 miles to Chester, IL. The river was moving a little more quickly today. I enjoyed the miles as I worked my way to Chester. I had a package that was shipped downstream for me. It was set to arrive tomorrow. I landed in Chester, IL around 2:00. Chester is the town where Popeye was born. It is also the town with a maximum security prison. It is the largest and oldest in Illinois. I pulled my boat up out of the water and worked my way through a thicket of river brush. I crossed over some train tracks and made my way up to this house that had No Trespassing and Keep Out signs. I figures I would go up there and see where things were in this town. This sketchy type guy answered the door and told me where things and location were that I was seeking. I headed back to my boat.I crossed back over the tracks as a tar was coming. I waved to the conductor and he gave me 2 quick honks. I paddled downstream a little bit more to the boat launch. I tied my boat up there and went up to see what kind of adventure I would run into.
I made my way up to the Hospitlity House. It was a place where people visiting their respective inmates could stay cheaply. Sherry, the Director of the house, opened the door. I introduced myself and told her what I was doing. I asked her where the downtown was. I also asked here if she knew of a place to take a shower. She suggested a gym or I could take one in the house for $5.00. I was 5 days ripe and needed one pretty bad. I went back down to the boat to get some toiletries. I went back up to the house as it was worth it to get clean. I showered up and she offered to take me to the store downtown. We stopped by the Ace where I as having my sunglasses sent. I offered the manager a few bucks to forward them down to another town. I was not feeling the vibe in this town. Sherry waited for me at Ace and then took me to get a bit to eat. We stopped by to get some drinks for the trip. She took me around the town and by the Popeye statue. She brought me back to the house and I thanked her for her time and conversation. I walked back do to see my boat still there. I ate my lunch and was back on the river.
I made it down along the Missouri side. I ended up finding a sand bank. It was more like a mud bank. The sun had set and I was needing to establish a place to crash quickly. I did that in no time and was ready for the evening. I was laying on my pad when I noticed the moon rising over the river. It had a burnt orange glow. I actually thought to photograph this one. I captured a ew good shots and called it a night. It was another good day.