Getting boats to and from the water could be a good test of endurance most days. When we arrived at the boats, they were a good 150 yd. carry to the water’s edge. Of course you had to pair off with someone, so helping carry his or her boat down made that 600 yds round-trip, and then carrying the gear for the boat down added up to 900 yds. Before you were done, you would also generally help move two or three more boats just to get everyone to the shore. This, of course, is after the earlier 900 yds making three trips to the truck with gear. All together, you would have carried heavy gear a bit over a mile before the sun climbed above the trees, to be followed by a relaxing 16.5 mile paddle on this first day. Dang! But, don’t let a little morning exercise put you off. They say what doesn’t break you, makes you stronger. LOL!
How do you know this is the start?
Ibi is clean.
If the group got too spread out after a few miles, Rex would stop to give the rear of the fleet a chance to catch up. It was a rest and watering break---for the leaders. Unfortunately, as soon as the sweep boat began to close, they would take off again, meaning the back of the fleet never got a break. Fortunately, once in the morning, at lunch, and usually in mid-afternoon, Rex would find a sandbar for a snack break. Everyone pulled ashore, got a chance to get out and stretch their legs, and grab a drink and granola bar. With the intense heat, several people slogged back through the mud to get in the river to cool off. There were only a few in this Rumble swim club the first day, but with the triple digit heat, the numbers increased rapidly over the course of the week.
A small portion of the fleet stretching across the river
and ready to go.
We had people sleeping with our boats again for security. I volunteered to go down to the ramp and relieve them while they ate dinner at the St. Louis Parish School in Bonnots Mill. By the time I got there, most of the food items were gone, but there was still plenty to eat, and best of all, the meal had been dropped from $11 to $5. There’s always a silver lining. The catering throughout the week was done by civic groups as fund raising activities, whether it was the Boy Scouts doing breakfast, or the Community Betterment Assoc., kids raising money for playground equipment, or a church ladies’ club. They got to support their communities, and we got to avoid cooking and cleaning up.
The Jefferson City capitol building from the Missouri River.