Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Days 7-9, July 15-17

Lawrenceville, Illinois side note

Jay’s Report:

Roger momentarily lost control of his mind. Unable to think or even consider how he was feeling, he bought a pack of cigarettes. After smoking one and getting terribly dizzy he told me to remind him never to let him buy cigarettes again.

Day 7

Jay’s Report:

After 6 days of fair weather, we took on some serious wind and rain. Roger wore bluejeans for this event, sparing his sun-ravaged bottom half for the day. His feet blistered today and one of his toes is showing brilliant color after falling out of the hammock the night before. He thinks it’s broken. So much for leaving the river unscathed ; it has struck first blood

One of the great advantages of life on the river are the feelings you get from each night’s camp. Tonight we’re in the jungle, maybe Aftica. I asked Roger if it reminded him of Nam; he said it wasn’t hot enough for Nam. Last night at a broad bend with a long beach I’m sure I was looking across the river at Montana with its big skies and tall standing pines.

We stopped in New Harmony late in the day for some dry food. We acquired some new friends and fans there for the long journey to New Orleans. Mike Axton presented us with his afternoon catch after hearing about our loss the day before; he even put them on a stringer for us and tied them to the canoe.
That’s New Harmony…

Day 8

Jay’s Report:

Day 8 was a good one. We saw good running waters, had good weather and some of the most picturesque scenery yet.

We camped on a large sandbar, possibly part of the confluence of the Ohio and Wabash Rivers. It’s the biggest island of pure sand that I’ve ever seen on a river.

Roger made a good fire, pitched his tent and then his switch got flipped. He said, “I’ m going to bed and I think tomorrow I’m gonna get out and head back north when I get to the dam.” Then we got the shit…pounded on for hours by excessively high winds, rain and lightening . It was quite a show and made living on a sandbar between two giant rivers less than ideal. Roger even went so far as to say, “it’s stupid.”

By morning Roger had changed his tune and said he’d like to continue on and try to make it to New Orleans. It seems he’s having less than a fun time and often overwhelmed which leaves me with somewhat of a moral dilemma. I’ll keep you posted.

Day 9

Jay’s Report:

Good morning, sports fans. I said I’d keep you posted on the thing and like all good things, the river expedition has come to its end as well. We arrived in old Shawneetown, Illinois, after a long uphill paddle with Roger on the Ohio River. But as our party was ending, the Shawneetown street and biker party was just getting started.

We got some stuffed cabbage and fried green tomatoes upon entering town, then we hit the party. In Shawneetown you can drink outside and smoke inside. The party also features communal showers, casual stripper poles, and no cops. It seems the promoter of the event told Illinois Law enforcement to stay the fuck out…and they did!

It’s a little piece of lost Americana right here in the middle of southern Illinois just like those rivers we ran in. Words haven’t been easy to write today, but I’ll let you know if there’s something you need to hear.

Over and out….this is Jay Greaves.

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