But things turned out very well. Bayou was the perfect host. He is working as a professional tour guide in New Orleans and gave us a great city tour. Brian left the next day to get back to his family, but I spent another very relaxed day with the ever ressourceful Bayou. Whatever the problem was Bayou came up with a great solution. We managed to dry my kayak with the help of an electrical fan and put away the whole kid and kaboodle in my kayak bag and a nice duffle bag Bayou provided. Together we even managed to dissassemble the stuck cheap spare paddle although we had to use the lubricant, a screw driver and two strong people to get it unstuck. We had some nice food, went to the library for internet and chatted for hours about the great outdoors. I had not had such a nice relaxing day in a long time. Very early next morning Bayou drove me to the New Orleans Amtrak station and stage 2 of my odysee.
I took Amtrak to Birmingham, AL where another hiker friend, Mother Nature's Son picked me up. Again, everything worked out perfectly. MNS was there when the train pulled in and helped with all my 120 pounds of gear. At his home several packages with outdoor goodies were waiting for me already and I received lots of information for my hike from him. I'll come back to MNS at the end of my hike to pick up all my paddling gear so I will write more about him later.
Next day he brought me back to Birmingham, AL where I boarded Megabus and went to Atlanta, GA where another hiker friend was waiting for me. I had planned to use the Hiker Hostel shuttle to get to the Appalachian Trail, but in the very last minute it had dawned on me that I actually knew someone there: A fellow AT sobo hiker from 2008. I had contacted Franklin at very short notice but had been lucky. Franklin was in town and even had time to pick me up. We went to REI to get rid of my reluctant spare paddle and then had some good trail talk while eating some great Southern BBQ. The trail talk continued until past midnight (real midnight, not hiker midnight!) and Franklin dropped off a very tired GT at the AT!
I can't believe how well everything worked out. It was so nice to re-connect with old hiking friends and swap stories. I am very lucky to have such good trail friends.