Day 73: Rollin down the river
I woke up to catch the sunrise, then fell back asleep. I slept in a little later than I wanted to, but it felt nice. I got up and ordered more food for this adventure. It will be down river next Monday. I packed everything up while the wind was whipping around. It was out of the NW today, so that meant a tailwind. My goal was to get to Cape Girardeau, which was about 40-ish river miles. There was a little barge traffic as I flowed with the river. I saw and talked to a fisherman making a go at catfish. He had one already and picked out another one shortly after I arrived. I caught a few images and then headed downstream.
I stopped at Mile 81 to make lunch. There was a fisherman who said there was more people on the landing/picnic tables. I pulled out my lunch and headed up there. I introduced myself to everyone and they were welcoming. They asked a lot of questions while I was working on my meal. They brought out some chicken for me to eat. They were relaxed as we talked about the river, motorcycles, and the flow of life. I was out to get some more miles. I thanked them for their time and conversation as they wished me good luck on my journey. They gave me a few tips about life downriver with I will remember. I had Nancy take a few pics of me before I left. She came down and we chatted a bit more as I was getting ready to head out. I pushed off and off I went. I passed this giant t rock in the river. It was massive. It is the only one like it on the river (see the image).
I hugged the Missouri bank as I moved downstream. There was a rocky style beach before a lot of thick trees. I heard some movement in the trees behind me and it was moving my direction quickly. I looked back to see a young deer with its tail up, a signal of danger. The deer was right on the tree line when I looked past it. There were 3 coyotes rapidly closing in on it. I let out a big yell that got the coyotes attention. They looked at me and stopped. They paused and then took off the other direction. That young deer had another day of life given to it. I understand that is mother nature at work, but I am glad to have helped the deer out. I continued downstream. The river was getting tighter here. When tugs or line boats with barges would pass, the waves were significantly larger and longer lasting. I am happy with my Tsunami boat because it handles them quite well.
I pulled up to this gentleman who was fishing. I introduced myself and I pulled up to talk with him for awhile. The sun was beginning to go down, but the conversations are almost always worth it. This was no exception. His name was John Pinkerton. He was a good ol’ boy that grew up in the area. He was an older guy that I swore was Santa Clause. I think he was escaping the north pole to come down to do some catfish fishing. He talked about growing up here and about some of his jobs in the past. He lived nearby and told me about the first time he saw someone coming down the river. He was 12. He said he always thought that is would be a cool life experience by going down the entire river. He smiled at me a d got up to offer me some vegetables. He tossed me a tomato that his friend had given him. He told me he would offer me more, but he ate them. I took it as a high compliment as this man lived a very simple life. He grew a lot of his own food and lived in a place with no electricity or running water. He told me that hot and cold water was the only thing he missed, but with all that, he was happy. It provided me with a renewed outlook on simplicity and happiness. I felt honored to meet Mr. Pinkerton. I asked to capture a picture of him to remember him. He agreed and smiled. He had to head back home before it got dark and I had a little more to go before setting up camp. He gave me a few recommendations and I was off. I was looking for the sand bars he told me about, but because of the flood, they were more like mud bars.
The sun had set and I only had a little more light in the day. I found one that would work. I stepped out of my boat into a few feet of mud. For the first time, I did not mind. The deeper you get into the mud, the deeper it becomes part of you. It is a feeling that has developed throughout this journey. I had it caked on my legs and around my feet. I was actually proud to be part of the river. I pulled my boat up and got my gear out for the night. As I was setting up, I saw these 2 locals (Jake, 23 and Kelsey, 24) coming my way. They were going out to the rock dike I was set up by. I went over and said hi to them. We talked about my adventure and their life styles out here. It is new to me so I was curious. I offered them any future travel advise I could offer them if they ever wanted it. They didn’t stick around too long as it was getting dark. I gave them my information as they left and I was off to my tent. I relaxed on my camping pad feeling fortunate to be having the experiences I was living.
Today was yet another day of meeting some really good people. It just made me happy to be traveling. The river was to my left and the frogs were singing away to my right. I loomed out to see the burnt orange moon rising over the river again. I felt so lucky to be able to see that sight. This time, I pulled out the camera to get a few images. Life on the river changes you. Whether you are on it for a summer or your lifetime, it changes your perspective. I have been feeling that change lately and I am loving it. Life on the river is a good life.
This is adventure.
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Hello, my friend. This Bill Hoover, the friendly big mouth who helped with the arch photo. It is so cool to have shared that interaction and it feels great knowing that I’ll never forget that moment and that our encounter will stay with you forever, thanks to the massive arch next to the river and the many steps in its shadows which made a portage crew necessary to take the unique photos. May God continue to bless and protect you. Very cool story of the coyotes chasing the deer and cool description of the only rock of its kind protruding from the river. Can’t wait for the book.