September 3, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
If you live in America, I hope you had a great Labor Day.
After paddling through Lock & Dam No.’s 14 & 15 and traveling 25 miles, I arrived in Andalusia, Illinois. Don Brock greeted me at the marina. He was sitting in his golf cart, overlooking the marina, drinking a beer. Don is the former owner of “The Little Store,” the only general store in Andalusia. He retired several years ago. He drove me to the only bar in town where I had a beer and “sloppy joe” sandwich, while thoroughly enjoying my conversation with the local residents.
Steve and Darcy Crafton invited me to spend the night in the spare bedroom of their home in Andalusia. I gladly accepted their offer. They transported me to my canoe where I loaded my gear in their car. Then, they took me to their home in a very clean and quiet neighborhood in Andalusia. Steve barbecued steak for the family, which included Austin, and his girlfriend, Leah. It was nice to be inside when the rain and lightning arrived in the early morning hours.
Steve is a Marine and is the Superintendent of Crafton Railroad Company, Inc., which builds model railroads all over the country. Crafton lays the tracks for the railroads. We have a very popular model railroad operation in Fairview Park, Costa Mesa. It is called Goat Hill Junction. Steve also manages a family farm near Andalusia.
Darcy is the Clinic Manager at Quad City Pediatrics in Davenport, Iowa. On September 3, I visited her clinic and met Dr. Majdi Omar, the practicing pediatrics doctor at the Clinic. Darcy also has a fantastic garden at their home, and I left with a good supply of vegetables, including tomatoes and cucumbers.
Thanks Steve and Darcy, and a special thanks to Steve for his service to our country.
I left Andalusia at noon on September 3.