Monday, August 17, 2009

From New Madrid, MO to Memphis, TN


Joe had a great weekend full of paddling on the Mississippi, through Missouri and Tennessee, as well as two family visits. On Friday, Joe was able met up with Betty and Michael and on Saturday, Joe met with our Grandma, Margaret, and Walter. Betty and Michael were traveling through the south for a weeklong vacation and Grandma and Walter were on a cross country road trip, having already traveled 2500 miles from their home state of California!

Joe had a great time with both groups of family and was great to have them there for this last leg of the journey.

Michael and Joe with The Mary Agnes

Betty, Michael, and Joe near Caruthersville, MO

On Friday, Betty and Michael set Joe up with a hotel room and went out for a dinner, a much welcome break from camping out under the mosquito net and eating tuna for dinner. Unfortunately all the hotels in Caruthersville were booked, so they headed down the interstate and got a room at a local hotel. They had a good dinner; Joe said the fried okra hit the spot after another 50 plus mile day on the river. The company was even better. Betty and Michael were there to send him off at the Gourds concert in May and it was awesome to see them again, this time after paddling since June 2nd. After the great night with Betty and Michael, Joe was sad to say goodbye, but ready to get back on the water and put some miles in.

On Saturday, after a 64 mile paddle, Joe was able to meet up with Grandma and Walter. It was a more challenging rendezvous due to poor cell phone service, but with some great help from Uncle Dave Diephuis and others, they were able to meet up on the Big Muddy.

Grandma Margaret and Joe

Walter and Joe

It was great for them to get together, each with their own long trek underway. After some late night McDonalds, Joe turned in for the night under the stars. Unfortunately, when he was sleeping under the mosquito net, he rolled out and awoke at 2 am with a mosquito feast underway on his face.

A little tired and itchy, Joe said goodbye to Grandma and Walter in the morning and paddled 42 miles today (Sunday).

Joe making his way on the Mississippi (photos courtesy of Betty and Michael Rudolph and Margaret Johnston)

He wanted to thank again both groups of family members for the company, support, and great times. It was a real treat for him to have both help him out. The visits re-energized him mentally and physically, exciting him for the final family rendezvous in New Orleans in a few weeks. Joe also wanted to thank Grandma and Walter for the great plums they gave him as he departed today. When I spoke with him tonight, he was setting up camp at Loosahatchie Bar, just outside of Memphis. He was excited to arrive in Memphis and looking forward to continuing down the Mississippi tomorrow. His goal is to make it Helena, Arkansas. I will speak with him tomorrow evening and look forward to updating the community at that time.

Paddle on,


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