Around the bend Memphis, Tenn., to Vicksburg, Miss. - Part VI

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day six -- Oct. 23, 2008

Rain and wind came as predicted after midnight this morning. Not a bad storm, though. It only lasted a couple of hours, so we were able to break camp and keep most things reasonably dry. We decided we would get as many miles in today as possible, unless the storms stopped us. We put our sprayskirts and rain gear on and paddled in the rain almost all day. No lightning, just on again, off again light and heavy rain.

Despite the weather, we made 41 miles today and it seemed like our easiest day so far. I guess our bodies are getting accustomed to the routine.

Because of the rain, we didn't stop for lunch but ate in the kayaks while taking a break from paddling. There are stretches you can do while seated in the kayak for your back and shoulders. Changing your stroke from time to time helps, too.

We are camped at the Mayersville, Miss., boat ramp tonight. It is less than a mile walk from the ramp into town. We had hoped to find a café open to get a hot meal for supper, but the only café was closed when we arrived after 1700. We plan to get up early in the morning and get a hot breakfast before leaving. We did find a store with help and a ride from a young couple, Red and his wife Amanda. They gave us a ride back to the levee also. He wouldn't let us pay him for the ride. His grandparents operate the store/café we plan to eat at in the morning. I told Danny this is the way I have always been treated in the small towns along the river.

Mayersville is about the size of Delta, Mo., and appears to be an all African-American community. We had cold cut sandwiches fixed for us at the store we found open. I had a thick slice of bologna with cheese and mayo with a cold root beer. I stocked up on bottled water and granola bars and found some of my favorite Little Debbie oatmeal cakes.

We had a conversation with a local man named Clem as we ate. He told us he was 60 and had lived in Mayersville all his life but had traveled around the country, too. We told him about ourselves and what we were doing. He said we must be some "tough dudes." I told him most people just say we are crazy. He said he thought so, too, but didn't know us well enough to say so. We all had a good laugh. The store had been empty except for us and the owner when we first got there, but was full of people, young and old, before we left. I guess we were the talk of the town this evening.

The river's size impresses me more each day. It is easy to feel very insignificant when you have to be in the middle of it and that is necessary when crossing. I prefer to stay fairly close to the bank when possible. There is more to see and I don't feel swallowed up by the enormity of the river. I have heard this same feeling expressed in books I have read of early explorers and pioneers as they crossed the vast tundra or ice fields of the north, the endless prairies and mountains of the west, not to mention the oceans. I wonder if our modern day astronauts feel the same traveling through space.

When we got back to our tents this evening, there was a beautiful red sunset to enjoy as we settled in for the night. I hope the old forecast "red sky at night, sailors' delight" holds true for tomorrow. There is a light sprinkle falling as I am writing this.

I recharged my cell phone at the store and have its alarm set for 0500 so we can get up for breakfast in the morning. Since I was able to restock my water supply tonight, I splurged and took a foot tub bath tonight and put on some clean clothes. I feel like a new man -- a very scraggly, sunburnt new man!

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