In the Home of Sweet Tea and Cornbread

There are no easy miles on the Lower River, Mike of Big Muddy Adventures warned us as we left St. Louis. So, fittingly, just as we approached the confluence of the Ohio River at Cairo, IL (kay-row), an unexpected windstorm picked up and grounded us for several minutes. We finally entered the Lower River and immediately three men on a camouflage fishing boat approached us. At first we were hesitant — were they going to try and convince us to get off the river? — but before asking us where we were headed or where we came from, they offered us ice cold water, cans of Coke and a catfish. Welcome to southern hospitality.

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Of course, right after they left a thunderstorm picked up and we were soon surrounded by bolts of lightening on almost all sides.

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The St. Louis Breakdown

Hey remember that elbow injury? I wish the reason I stopped mentioning it on the blog was because it went away. That’s not the case. I stopped mentioning it because it hadn’t gotten better, and that’s a downer. So my elbow is still messed up. I know. I know, I know. Yes, I’m taking care of it as best I can. I pretty much just sit there while Dave paddles. And I agonize about it plenty, too, I promise.

On a canoe trip you expect to, you know, paddle, and I haven’t been. Which has been a pretty big disappointment, to be totally honest, even though I’m trying to stay upbeat about it. So I talked Dave into taking 6 days off in St Louis. The hope is that the days off, plus river guide Mike Clark giving us pointers on paddling technique, will help get me back on track building my arm back up again. Maybe you’re wondering why we took a week off in St Louis instead of in Davenport when we could have waited out the flooding. So am I! Who knows!

Enough about that! We stayed at Dave’s friend Jason’s Fitz’s apartment for the week. They have two kittens!

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Surprise, We’re in Missouri!

We decided to make a 170 mile portage from the Quad Cities to Hannibal, MO. It was a really hard decision. We could have paid for a hotel for a week waiting and hoping for the marginally improved conditions NOAA claimed are coming. And we could have just pressed onward, portaging up and down rock levees around closed locks and trying to find dry land in flooded woods to sleep on. Instead, since we have awesome friends who were free the last two days, we skipped part of the river.
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