Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Mississippi: Davenport

We drove down to Davenport in almost hot weather. It seemed incredible that soon another cold front would move in. We treated ourselves with an AYCE buffet in the local swimming casino and went to bed in the nearby state park camp ground with a evening temperature of 20 Celsius. Next morning was already overcast and windy but we were still confident to start paddling. This turned out to be a huge mistake!

At Davenport promenade
Brian dropped off the rental car and soon we had assembled our boats at the Davenport municipal boat ramp. But each time I looked out on the water the waves seemed to get higher and the wind blowing stronger. The idea of paddling in these whitecaps literally made me feel sick. But here we were in. the middle of Davenport with our boats assembled and the rental car dropped off - we were basically immobile again. Why had we been so stupid to return the rental car and assemble our boats in such a public place with no obvious camping options? I scooped out the vicinity and even found a passable campsite - that had previously been used by homeless people and was full of trash. So now we had a choice of paddling into a thunderstorm in whitecaps or camping in a public park probably visited by the local cops or some vagrants. Neither option was very attractive and we stood there under a pavilion amidst all our gear looking pretty pathetic.

But again we seemed to have an guardian angel. At this exact moment a lady taking a walk approached us and after hearing our sad story immediately asked us of we needed a place to stay. This sealed our fate immediately especially after she mentioned that she had a big van that would accommodate our kayaks. And true to her word Mary returned 15 minutes later with a huge van, loaded our boats, gear and us into out and brought us to her home. Mary turned out to be a fascinating character who runs several homes for people with special needs. We spent a very comfortable afternoon in her house relaxing while outside a wild thunderstorm was raging. Mary even treated us to dinner at night and I really don't know what we have done to deserve so much luck and such helpful people.

Next morning Mary drove us back to the river and what a change: the Mississippi was now almost as smooth as a baby's butt and the sun was shining - but it was very cold.

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