Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 57 & 58

Day 57:
Today was pretty good.  We got on the water around 9 and had a strong tail wind which helped us scoot along at a pretty good clip.  We stopped several times to stretch our legs and take Reggie for a walk.  Before long we had made it 35 miles and we're about to enter Alton, IL.   At about 4pm we started looking for a place to camp because we were unsure of the camping after Alton or the Mel Price dam (which was only a short distance away).  As such we pulled up along a very small patch of sand surrounded by poison ivy which was not ideal but would do for one night.  It was to the side of Harbor Point Marina and we were unsure if we were on their property or not.  As such we asked and were told it should be fine.  Camp went up quick and as we started cooking dinner a man on a ATV approached.  We both assumed he had come over to tell us we had to leave, this however couldn't have been further from the truth.  His name was Keith and he was on the board of directors for the marina and just wanted to come over to say hi and find out what we were all about.  We talked for a while and he told us we could take a hot shower and to let him know if we needed anything.  Keith had been living their since 1992 and had seen a lot happen and change on the river.  Keith was such a genuinely caring man.  He was concerned about us approaching the chain of rocks and was planning to look into options for us.  He said he would come by tomorrow morning to say hi and check to see if there was anything we needed.  Although he is not an official "river angel" his kindness and genuine desire to help others seems to fit the bill.
Dave was surprise that this was in il 
The lady of the river 

Day 58: Chain of Rocks and Big Muddy

This morning we were visited once again by Keith and promptly thanked him for letting us take a shower the night before, it was wonderful!  He told us that he looked at the chain of rocks saw our intended portage route and agreed that it looked ok but would check it himself on his way to work.  As we finished packing Keith took our empty water jug and filled it for us which was great because he threw it on his ATV instead of me having to carry it.  When he came back we chatted a bit more, he gave us his card with email and cell phone insisting that we call him in an hour and he would tell us about the chain of rocks and then later so he knew we were okay.  Keith is one of those people who by his very nature's loves others and has a big heart.  Then we were off once again, down the river.  We planned a short paddle, around 15mi to the Chain of Rocks.  The Chain of Rocks is a large pile of boulders and debris that spans the entire width of the river, is extremely dangerous, and is portage by those who don't paddle the shipping canal.  That morning I had contacted river and paddling legend Big Muddy Mike.  He agreed to pick us up and let us camp at his place for the night and tomorrow to wait out the rain forecasted for Saturday.  Mike and his friend Jannette picked us up later in the afternoon and wow, what a character!  This guy was full of energy and it was clear he cared about paddlers.  We went to his house set up our tent.  Later we ate a amazing fire cooked meal of diced potato, onion, green pepper and pork chops!  The four of us shared wine, food, and stories till late into the night.  Janette nothing short of impressive as well.  She told us about her amazing adventure from the true source of the Missouri River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, a 200+ day adventure which she essentially did alone!  They imparted wisdom unto us about paddling, the river, and life in general.  They told us about the "post expedition blues," and how to work through it.  We will rest here again tomorrow and then Sunday tackle the port of St.Louis and experience the Big River!

Rain+cold temps=Rest day

Donation Challenge!

Amanda Dancing on the Levy

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 54: Hannibal, Mo

Today we left later in the morning after sleeping in a bit and headed to Hannibal Missouri.  Since I'm sure most of you will know the importance of Hannibal both to the river culture of the Mississippi and the literary world, specifically American literature, I'll spare you the detailS.  When we arrived I must say that it was not what I expected.  I assumed that we would be greeted with the same cheesy and cheap touristy fanfare you find in Branson Missouri. However, aside from a river boat that played really obnoxious music, it was charmingly genuine.  There were plenty of Mark Twain shops, museums and tours sure, but it wasn't overdone, it wasn't Disney.  The best find of the day was the chocolaterie we came across called Stam Chocolates.  It was established on 1913 and was charming on the inside and the sweets they sold were wonderful.  I went inside and was greeted by a kind woman named....well I forgot her name (shame on me).  She instantly picked up on the fact that we were paddling the river (the smell? Our appearance?) And she asked many questions and listened in a way that was so genuine I was almost taken aback by the intensity of her focus.  Anyway, after enjoying several samples of Gelato Amanda came in and we picked out a couple types of chocolates and a hot drink we set about wondering around Hannibal for a bit more before heading down river.  After a lock and 25 miles we settled at a nice little island  we named Dead Duck Island primarily because the first thing Dave saw when we got to the island was two dead ducks, and it was clear that there would be no changing his mind.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Days 55 & 56

Day 55

We woke up this morning knowing that there was a good chance we would get some rain.  Despite this we went about our morning as we would any other day.  Morning chores we along smoothly and by 8am or so we were on the water paddling along with fairly smooth waters and heavy clouds overhead.  The past couple days Dave has been going on about wanting to catch up with the group of students from Augsburg College, especially after being told in Hannibal that they were only a day ahead of us.  "I feel like at any moment we will round a corner and there they will be," he kept saying.  As we approached Louisiana, Mo Dave noticed several Canoes and a person waving at us from the other side of the river.  We instantly recognized who it was and paddled over.  When we got out they offered us Coffee and we introduced ourselves to most of their 16 student group.  They were great and we bought a sticker from them that read, "I LOVE THE MISSISSIPPI."  This group of students are doing a semester on the Mississippi River!  What a cool experience.  We also learned that one of the enormous voyager style canoes they were paddling would be retired in some museum although which one exactly I can't recall.  Anyway after we said our good byes we shoved off.  Within minutes it was sprinkling and then raining and even almost pouring.  At this point the wind also picked up.  Amanda was getting cold, poor little Reggie was shivering and I wasn't exactly dry.  Although it was only about 1pm we pulled off at the first available spot and instantly went about  changing into dry clothes and attempting to dry our wet ones, which we were fairly successful at.  Amanda made her delicious ramen and we hung out in the tent for a bit before going to sleep.  

 Day 56
Woke up late today as a result of early morning rains and a strong desire to stay dry.  By about 9am we were on the water and although it was cool and overcast the day was beautiful.  The Miles fell away effortlessly.  We somehow, despite our late start still put down 33 miles, took Reggie for 4 walks and went through 2 locks!  I'd say we are getting back to our groove.  Anyway dinner was great and Amanda made a delicious chicken pesto, it was wonderful.  Once we wrangled the tent to spot not under a dead fall in 40mph gusts the night settled and we found out that our friend Amber had her baby!  Very cute!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Reggie Report Days 51-53: Hangin out in Quincy

Day 51: After several days of the Humans talking about going to see my cousin Quincy I have come to understand that I've been mislead...intentionally no doubt.  Turns out Quincy is not my cousin but infact the name of a town that my nemesis Ryan Welch is from.  We arrived yesterday and I assumed we would be leaving this morning.  However we slept in and the Humans, after making a delicious biscuit breakfast took me for yet another wonderfully long walk.  This campsite is superbly located at the end of a long grass covered levy.  The top of the levy is flat and covered in sand, grass, trees and countless wonderful smells.  After the humans made tuna melts for lunch and I a delicious bowl of kibble we went for yet another walk.  This walk started off as they all do with me walking momma or papa on their leash (which I have trained them to hang onto so they don't get lost).  However after a short time momma burst into dance which looked like so much fun that I had to join her.  Papa was very entertained and he video taped it.  After our walk it started to rain very hard and the wind blew relentlessly, thank goodness we were not in the floating kennel.  While it rained we stayed under the tarp and enjoyed a fire while papa carved odd shapes out of wood and nearly cut his thumb off.  The night ended in a pretty typical fashion with another walk and all was well

Day 52:  Encoutering Nemesis
Today we slept in again and slowly packed up after lunch.  Momma did a great job of making a donation drive video and then we were off.  We paddled  a short distance to the park where Nemesis agree to meet us and I prepared.  While waiting we played chase, and Papa found some delicious apples in a tree at the park which we all enjoyed.  After dark Nemesis arrived (assumedly to try a surprise attack).  We went to a house which he seemed familiar with and set up our kennel in the back.  The humans were excited to wash themselves but they were fools.  They missed out on the greatest part of the house, a couch!  Oh my it was wonderful.    While they talked the night away I lounged enjoying the finer things in life as all gentlemen do.  

Day 53: Naps, Resupply, bunnies, and a wild goose chase

Well the title says it all really. I woke up this morning went into the house and enjoyed napping on the couch again while the Humans chatted with Ryan over bacon, eggs, and coffee.  Although I seldom like to accredit Nemesis with anything good I must say he is an great host and a wonderful friend.  After breakfast we got to go in a car again!  Oh how I miss rides in cars.  We drove to several stores and purchased the food supply needed to make the rest of the way down the river.  The humans were busy packing the food we needed and I went back to napping, this time on the yard.  When I woke up Ryan wanted to play fetch so I let Him throw the ball around for a while and chase me when he was tired of throwing the ball. He loves those silly games.  After packing their resupply they played their favorite card game with Ryan called Killer Bunnies! Immediately after we had to go out again to get fuel for our stove which should have been a simple one stop that turned into a hour long hunt.  We tried an outdoor store, a farm and home store, walmart, and still didn't find an item which is typically so easy to find.  We finally did thanks to Nemesis and then we were off to the river.  The humans didn't seem phased that it was already 530pm and so we set about as we usually would.  Sadly, after paddling no more than a mile to the lock we found that a barge was locking through and we would be waiting for 2 hours.  As such I took the Humans for another walk then distracted them with GORP so I could blog.  Not sure where we will end up tonight but we are looking forward to a nice night paddle!

P.S. The night paddle was lovely and we found a great spot to camp after paddling 8.5 miles.  And Ryan will always be our favorite Logi