Monday, August 20, 2012

Missouri River Rumble-Day 5

This picture is left from Hermann.  That has to be the best in
pest control.  There are at least 50 martin nests on these two
poles, and best of all, a light is included so they don't have to
fly more than ten feet to catch dinner.

Today was to be the longest paddle of the trip. The projected paddle was 30 miles, or 29.7 miles on the GPS. I believe this was also the hottest with a temperature of 105.2 degrees when we landed. For me, it was a sour day from the start. The fan quit on me last night. I sat outside the tent in the dark fiddling with the thing as sweat ran down my sides and dripped off my head onto the insides of my glasses. Nothing worked. I tried new batteries, double-checking their installation and how the power pack was assembled, cleaned and tensioned contacts, nothing. It had worked perfectly, and nothing had changed except the loading and unloading from the truck. Sometimes bags were thrown, but I had it wrapped in my sleeping bag and there was no physical damage evident, just the fact that it didn’t work. In these temperatures, a fan was not a luxury, but a necessity that made sleep possible.

I did a review on the fan on 21 July. We got the fan from Gander Mountain, and I must add that their customer service was outstanding. When they heard of the problem, they said they had had wonderful reviews on the fan, and stood behind it. They would email a return authorization, Fed Ex would come to the house to pick up the old fan, but without waiting, they would immediately send me a replacement, which I had in hand in a couple days.

As for sleep, I think I dropped off about an hour before we were called out for another day. I wasn’t the only one going without sleep. The Boy Scouts had also spent the night, and they were also up at 4 a.m. to start breakfast. They served a good breakfast, but with no sleep to speak of for several nights, the sleep deprivation was making it hard for me to get myself going.

Once I was on the water, I was paddling as hard as ever, but Ibi acted like she was floating in butterscotch pudding. I just couldn’t get in the rhythm and get her moving. I was running in slow motion as the skinny boats and light boats went flying by. A look astern showed the sweep boat was closing fast.

As I looked ahead I saw a couple nice, picturesque hills and had been smarting a bit about not having any good pictures taken underway. If you look at my photographs, they are almost all ashore or in an eddy along the shore. While the Missouri trip was about 40 miles longer, I came home from the Keys Challenge with 97 pictures, and had only 44 by the time the Rumble was done. A lot of pictures had to just float by while I tried to keep pace. Admittedly, the Keys are more picturesque, but still. I decided I was going to have at least one mid-river picture even though that would put me close to another mile back, so I grabbed the dry bag, and removed and set up the camera. By the time I was done and had packed the camera away, the sweep boat was there. I was riding the back of the pack.

John Colter
Credit: google images

We stopped at New Haven for lunch rather than the usual stop on a sandbar. Once we had all our boats pulled and carried up the ramp, we walked west along the riverfront and crossed the levee at Miller Street. That led us first to a memorial to John Colter, where we were greeted and presented with a John Colter patch, and given directions to our lunch stop.

John Colter was a mountain man, and a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Unable to readily accept the authority of others, he was court martialed after threatening to shoot Sgt. John Ordway during the expedition, but was later reinstated after an apology. He was credited with being the best hunter of the group. With two trappers in tow, he led them to the area now known as Three Forks, Montana, the origin of the Missouri River, and helped build a fort there. He is best known for having discovered the areas now known as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. In 1810, he married a woman named Sallie and settled on a farm near New Haven,MO, where he passed away in 1812.

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