October 24, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
The big storm arrived in Vicksburg as predicted. I departed Vicksburg on October 22 after thanking Jill for the great hospitality she showed me. I also thanked my taxi driver, Leonard, who ferried me all over Vicksburg.
My plan was to spend the night with the Andrews family in St. Joseph, Louisiana. Unfortunately, the distance was a little too far to reach in one day. Instead, I had lunch with Sharon in St. Joseph on October 23. Ron was working in Vicksburg. I spotted my first gator (or croc?) in St. Joseph.
I paddled 7 hours and camped on a sandbar. On October 24, I arrived in Natchez. I decided to spend two days in Natchez because another big storm is moving fast to catch up with me.
As I paddled into Natchez, I spotted another paddler breaking down his camp. Aaron Schmidt is an ambitious young man from Indiana who paddled down the Ohio River until it merged with the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. His destination is New Orleans. We shared stories and paddled into Natchez together. I could not believe the amount of gear in his canoe. It included an umbrella that he uses as a sail and even a cayenne pepper plant that he harvests for hot peppers! A hot sauce soul brother for sure.
I found the perfect spot to dock my canoe and locate a lodging house. I am booked in the Mark Twain Guest House above the “Under the Hill Saloon,” which is the oldest operating saloon on the Mississippi River. I have a balcony that overlooks the River. The saloon keeper warned me that the band plays until 2am. I told him I’ll be the last patron out the door.