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missmolly
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07/17/2020 08:04PM  
New Trip Report posted by missmolly

Trip Name: Big Muddy.

Entry Point: Other

Click Here to View Trip Report
 
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Duckman
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07/17/2020 09:04PM  
Well, trip report of the year has been written.
cyclones30
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07/17/2020 10:25PM  
wow, yeah I'd say so. I've paddled stretches of the Miss in Iowa and have a HS friend that did the whole thing in a canoe a few years back. Crazy
missmolly
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07/18/2020 07:07AM  
cyclones30: "wow, yeah I'd say so. I've paddled stretches of the Miss in Iowa and have a HS friend that did the whole thing in a canoe a few years back. Crazy "

Thanks, Duckman!

I like the Iowa stretch, Cyclones, but don't land on the Illinois side. Those Iowa towns are right out of Music Man and some of those Illinois towns are right out of Deliverance. The Illinois towns on the Ohio River are the same way. Beware Mound City and Cairo!

Here's a video about Cairo.
07/18/2020 11:14AM  
What an adventure! If I was your parents I’d be very proud and horrified all at the same time!

Did you tell them the entire story right away or did you wait till later in life?

T
07/18/2020 11:43AM  
What an epic trip! And an epic case of poison ivy--I thought our daughter used to get it badly, but nothing like that. Are you still badly allergic to it, or did your sensitivity to it drop? Great report, thanks for sharing.
TZ
missmolly
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07/18/2020 01:07PM  
Gee, T, I don't remember what I told them. We were raised three to a bed and then, when we had a wee more money, three to a bedroom, so my folks were happy to have us out and about, giving me a half-feral childhood, which was the best.

I have never had it that bad again. I was so swollen! I don't think the wet suit helped and I'm guessing it wasn't just a rash, but inside me, thus the swelling.

One of my best memories of that trip is such a small one, but I love it. Once I started to recover and was feeling perkier, Jim showed me how to catch crappies through the holes in a dock. Some big fish came through those small holes. It was like ice fishing! Then Jim cooked them for us and we ate them off the end of the dock, our bare feet swinging over the brown water.
straighthairedcurly
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07/18/2020 05:35PM  
Wow, awesome adventure! Thank you for sharing this, such a great read. The poison ivy sounds scary, what a bad reaction!

My brother rowed the Mississippi from Coon Rapids, MN to the Gulf in a wooden rowboat. He also experienced a lot of amazing, friendly, kind people along the way.
missmolly
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07/18/2020 06:21PM  
straighthairedcurly: "Wow, awesome adventure! Thank you for sharing this, such a great read. The poison ivy sounds scary, what a bad reaction!


My brother rowed the Mississippi from Coon Rapids, MN to the Gulf in a wooden rowboat. He also experienced a lot of amazing, friendly, kind people along the way."


Creedence Clearwater Revival got it right when they wrote:

If you come down to the river,
Bet you gonna find some people who live.
You don't have to worry 'cause you have no money,
People on the river are happy to give.

River people are kind. If you love their river, they'll love you. The longest I stayed in someone's home was a week in Memphis, but I stayed with rich and poor folks all along the river. One of my favorite stops began when I saw an old woman and her two sons bobbing down the river surrounded by milk jugs. They were jugging for catfish and they'd caught a huge one, which they nailed to a tree to skin. After the fish, they cut a watermelon lengthwise and gave everyone a spoon. They were cotton farmers, lived in trailers, and were as gentle as Jesus.

Speaking of Jesus, I followed him all the way down the river.

People kept asking, "Have you met Jesus?"

They were talking about a paddler ahead of me who called himself Jesus. I never caught up with Jesus. Dang it!
Northwoodsman
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07/18/2020 10:30PM  
Great story! It reminded me of the tale of Tom Sawyer! I too get poison ivy real bad. I'll touch it on my hand or arm and within hours it is on my legs, arms, stomach, etc. I have to get the shots too. It's spreads from the inside out.
Zwater
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07/19/2020 09:55AM  
Sounds like a great adventure! Anymore stories you can add?
Fun read!
missmolly
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07/19/2020 10:33AM  
Zwater: "Sounds like a great adventure! Anymore stories you can add?
Fun read!"


Here are four more:

On the deep South lower river, I'd sometimes paddle in the shallows abutting islands, where I wouldn't have to keep my head on a swivel for tows, which unlike the upriver tows, which were limited to 5 x 3 barges to fit through the locks, were as big as 7 x 7 or 8 x 7 barges. However, I wasn't alone in the shallows, for I'd surprise great gar that would porpoise beside me, scaring me as I scared them.

I met a couple Baptist college professors and as we sat on the bank and watched the river pass, butterflies landed on me. Scores of butterflies. I sat ever so still so they wouldn't move and not a one would land on the professors. I was delighted and for the rest of my life, I wanted a replay, but it's never happened again.

Wing dams reduce the sediment buildup in the channel*. They're basically jetties, but if the water is high enough, it pours over them and lawdy, the water downriver of them is angry as a nest of hornets shaken by a paint mixer. It forced me to stay in the channel more than I liked. 99% of the time, the wing dams were no problem, but that 1% could gobble you.

*The channel is maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers and they used beautifully maintained boats from the thirties that were basically giant Hoover vacuums that moved the sediment from A to B.

The men on the tows were as kind as the river people living on the shores. A couple called me aside them on their PA systems if they were cabled to the shore and they always had an older woman aboard who spent the day cooking and baking and they'd feed me and show me their boat. Even the engine rooms sparkled. Tons of pride, which I admired.
07/19/2020 11:28AM  
Fun trip report and stories. You were lucky, probably with the poison ivy, if it was internal. My brother, who always got it badly anyway, got it in his lungs from smoke when burning leaf trash and ended up in the hospital. Almost died.

It's a funny weed. As a child I could play in it and never have a problem. (My brother was envious, as he got a bad case every year.) Then when I was 60 years old I was pulling weeds at our lake cottage and got it on my hands and arms, I was a mess! I am very careful to avoid it now.

After taking a paddlewheeler from Memphis to New Orleans, I cannot imagine being on that river in a 14 foot kayak. You were very brave! And very adventuresome!

Thanks for sharing.
 
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