I overslept this morning and didn't wake up until 7:00 a.m.; not good since I wanted to get on the river "early." I was packing and almost ready to haul the canoe and equipment to the river when Mike, my neighbor in camp, came over and offered me a hot cup of coffee. It was too good of a deal to pass up so I went to his campsite and chatted a bit. Another round of thunderstorms was predicted to come through before 9:00 a.m. so I was actually being good by being lazy!
Mike is one of those guys that looks a bit like a character out of Deliverance and a customer at your local Walmart (actually, I bet he shops exclusively at Bass Pro Shops). In my usual life I doubt I'd ever have spoken to him as he's a tall, rough around the edges kind of guy. It turns out that he is one of the most kind and soft spoken gentleman that I've met on the river or in any other walk of life. It's clear he loves fishing (but hates eating fish, he only does it for a big fish fry he throws for up to 500 people every year) and easily makes friends with the people in this area.
About the time we were having coffee "Eggman" drove up in his four-wheeler golf cart thing (I'm not sure what to call it but it seems everyone in every town I've been through drives one). Eggman owns 700 chickens outside of town and harvests 30 dozen eggs a day that he sells to local stores. He also has the place just up from Miami landing with all the rabbit cages.
After I got on the river it was clear it was going to be one of those days that never seems to end. My mileage goal for today was 36 miles. I'm getting to the point where I know my body and the physical challenge of paddling that far and I wasn't in the mood to do it. That, and the fact the river rose 6 inches overnight, put me in a bad mood. The high water has flushed all sorts of debris loose and it's all traveling with me. I spent the entire morning dodging huge logs, small logs, and garbage. By noon I was tired and ready to stop. That's when the storms rolled in...
I pulled off to eat just about the time the thunderboomers were approaching. I listened to the weather radio and it was clear I needed to wait it out for at least an hour. After everything passed I got back in the boat only to face even more flotsam and jetsam. Then the wind kicked up with gusts of 30-40 miles an hour. A real grind.
I did make it to Glasgow, MO, my goal for the day. I surveyed the scene and looked for the highest campsite I could find. Mike, from Miami, warned me that the entire parking lot and camping area will flood tonight with the forecasted river rise. I carried my canoe up to a spot above the rest of the camping area and was just about to get the rest of my gear when a chap stopped to talk with me. I told him my usual story about where I was headed but that I was worried about the river rising and getting wet in my tent tonight. I asked him what time it was and it turned out it was after 5:00 p.m. Darn, I missed talking to the staff at the Army Corps of Engineers office in town about what to expect here in Glasgow and down river. He responded "30 feet here, no more." How did he know? Turns out he is the Corps here in Glasgow.
Troy filled me in on conditions and says he thinks I'll be fine all the way to Jefferson City. He also recommended I go into town and eat at Beckett's if I wanted a good steak or hamburger. After a hot (did I say hot!?) shower here at the campground I hoofed it into town and had one of the best hamburgers of my life. I poked around a little and then came back to camp to check emails, etc. Glasgow is a quaint little town that appears to be holding on quite well. Quite a contrast from the other old river towns I've been through in the last few days (although Miami, MO, holds a special place in my heart).
So here's the quote of the day from Troy: "I've seen lots of canoers and kayakers come down that river. They all say the same thing, after a while it just begins to grind you down." Damn, I hope he's not right! I'm looking forward to another day of paddling tomorrow...
I'm currently canoeing down the Missouri River from Nebraska City, NE, to St. Louis, MO. Check out my location and blog at canoequest2011.blogspot.com.