September 4, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
September 3 was a short, 18 mile, paddling day because of rudder repairs that I needed to make at Andalusia and a 2-1/2 hour wait at Lock No. 16 while two push boats locked down ahead of me. The journey to Muscatine, Iowa was memorable because I saw over a dozen eagles, including one eagle that swooped down and caught a fish. I had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant and stealth camped on a grassy bluff overlooking the River. In the middle of the night a freight train roared by, just 20 yards from my tent. Why didn’t I see those tracks?
Today, the River was running well, and there was no wind, wave or wakes. I made great time to Keithsburg, Illinois, a journey of 29-miles. Two local residents standing on the shore waved me over as I rounded the bend heading into Keithsburg. They were so exited to see me and told me a lot of locals have been tracking my trip on social media.
The only sour point of the day was my tent pole broke (again) while assembling the tent in the Campground at Keithsburg. Now, I have that problem. As usual, duct tape is my interim fix. Marmot will be shipping replacement poles to Fort Madison, Iowa for arrival the day-after-tomorrow.
I have noticed that a lot of these River cities seem to be deteriorating. I see a lot of empty, dilapidated buildings. I think this is a common problem in the little cities, towns and burgs in the Midwest, where the population decreases, the business evaporates and the children flee for the “Big “City.” One young girl on a bicycle told me yesterday she can’t wait to get out of Muscatine. Kind of sad.