After leaving Philo, then the storms started. I heard several very loud claps of thunder but seen no lightning so I kept going. Sticking close to shore it was hard to miss several cat fish lines that were set to pull out those Muskingum River whoppers! One time I was paddling hard and not going anywhere and behind me I heard a man saying, STOP STOP! you have my line. My flag had caught his line and I was hooked. More rain fell, sometimes it seemed like it was coming in buckets but I kept paddling. I had a friend that lived along the river and I had to get through one more lock to get to his house. I paddled hard! Running out of water, I dipped my cup into the river and got my life straw out for a taste of good ol Muskie! It was yuck but got me through.
There was a life saver along the way in the form of a wonderful grocery, gas station, restaurant, campgrounds and they even have warm showers. I made it to their ramp and instead thought I could get out on the dock and leave my boat in the water. Well that was almost a mistake because climbing the ramp from the dock to the shore was very steep and very slippery but I managed it and off to Green Acres Grocery I went for some HOT pizza and some chocolate cream pie. I am surprised they let me in the place, everywhere I went, I left a trail of wet foot prints, and my sandals made that squishy sound that is so annoying when you walk on tile floors with wet shoes. I sat on the bar stool and dripped a puddle on the floor that no one seemed to notice or care.
Refreshed I was back on the river. Paddling hard again headed for Rokaby Lock. The door was open to the lock, they were waiting on me. I got through fast and on my way to my friends house for some much needed rest. Seeing a man waving across the river paddled there and it was him. It was time for a campfire, some warm clothes, a hot shower, some great bar b que and wonderful conversation until long after dark. What great hosts he and his wife were. That night I got to sleep in a wonderful soft bed in a air conditioned room. It was so great and refreshing.
Waking up early, I looked at the weather radar map and all I seen was red. A huge storm was coming my way. I hated to skip the planned breakfast and hot coffee, but I had to hit the river and try to miss this storm. I rushed to pack, loaded the boat and was on the river soon after sun rise. My hosts were still asleep so I texted them to let them know what I did and why and paddle I did. Seeing a gas station in McConnellsville I tied my boat up and got that hot coffee so much needed, docked my boat at the locks and waited for the Lock Master to arrive.
My trip was going very well now and it only got better, before it got much worse, or let’s say challenging.
More to come.