It rained all night, but was clear for a bit at 5:30 AM so off I went. Like a mad man, packing, taking down, loading the boat and in 15 minutes I was on my boat headed down the river. I hoped I did not forget anything, and I don’t think I did. The river was unusually fast, I think they were lowering the pool in preparations for the severe storms that were to hit that afternoon.
After about an hour, the rain stopped for me. I paddled hard and made almost 6 miles per hour the first hour. I had 39 miles to do that day so that was a good thing. It would be the longest day of paddling that I would do so far. I was combining two days into one so I could get off the river before it rose the next day from the storms. They were expecting at least a 12 foot rise and maybe more.
I texted my friend Rose and asked her to call the Lafayette Hotel and beg them for a room for two nights. She texted me back in a few minutes having successfully getting me a cabin room. It is so good to have friends when you are on the river. I paddled and paddled. I would stop and bail the boat out once in awhile, get back in and paddle.
In the afternoon I ran across a place in Newport Ohio named the Jug. I got a hot fudge sundae and coney dog and was filled up for the rest of my trip. The young ladies waiting on me were very interested in my trip and took pictures of me. 15 minutes and off I went back to the 4 MPH paddle of the day.
I got through WIllow Island Lock quickly and on my way. I kept getting messages to get off the river, the storms were bad. I did not know what they were talking about cause it was dark on both sides of me but clean ahead. I paddled and answered text messages. I tried to assure everyone that everything was ok, and I paddled. I texted my friends Jeff and Gina to see if they knew anyone in Marietta that could help me get my stuff to the hotel. All I got back was “On My WAY!”
At 7:19pm the nose of my boat hit the ramp at Marietta. Still no rain. It was mud everywhere. I did not know how on earth I was going to walk through the lobby of the hotel in these muddy boots, but I grabbed a couple bags and headed that way. It was like going through the looking glass into wonderland. Everything so clean and fresh smelling. Everything so beautiful. Checked in, I took my bags to the room and came back for more. By that time, Jeff and Gina were there, we loaded everything in the truck and went to the back entrance of the hotel.
I don’t know how but I got everything in that room. I started with a hot long shower. I even showered Spalding. I cleared paths through the bags of gear. That bed was inviting and it was not long before I was in it.