I have been keeping a journal, for most things I choose not to share with the public. After reading through it this morning I realized there were some good stories to tell.

journal bw-2 journal bw

DATE: SEPT 22/12       LOCATION: Hoppies Marina- Mississippi River

“Six days since I have written a single word. Time goes by so quickly, it is challenging to back track multiple days for many things have taken place. Or so it seems.

After leaving Quiver Island anchorage, we took a pit stop in a cob-web of a town called Havanna, IL. We could not enter the marina to get diesel because of shallow depths, so we tied up to a random dock on the river bank instead. We borrowed a shopping cart from the dollar store, strolled the streets in search of a gas station. The auto shop had 5 gallon jerry cans, which we filled with diesel, using the shopping cart to get them back to Louise. It was rather obvious to the locals that we were not from the area.

That evening was spent at another lovely anchorage with our river family “The Copes” and our new German friend Hinnerk. Leaving the next morning, we ran aground, got unstuck, ran aground again, etc.  Thank god the Copes’ were there to save the day. Pulling us off the bottom, and using their depth sounder ahead of us as they stated how deep it was over the handheld vhf. This guided us back into the channel. If it weren’t for the Cope family, we would have probably said screw this, and headed back for Lake Michigan.

Grafton, Illinois was the following days destination, where we stayed the night at a spoiling marina. Great people, great town, tons of “loopers”, never to be forgotten. Not to mention how desperate we were for showers, laundry, and a real meal. As we were getting ready to leave in the morning, two female girls, 22 year old twins, with shaved heads and bikinis pull up to the dock next to ours via tandem kayak. WHAT? Cody and Reese introduced themselves. Leaving from the headwaters of the Mississippi River, they had already been kayaking for 2 1/2 months, destination New Orleans. We were of course instant friends, and within moments the girls joined us on Louise for a cold beer and cookies! They were on their way to St. Louis that day as well, so we tied off their kayak and gave them a 15 mile ride down river. So many questions for one another, back and forth laughter on how the hell we all ended up on the Mississippi river.

journal-3 journal-4Cody and Reese, like us – left on a whim. But on a much more extreme adventure, that included 200 dollars in their pocket, a tent to pitch on the river bank at night,  cool-aid, oreos, peanut butter, and an old tandem kayak. It made Louise look luxurious. It made us feel rich with comfort, food, and supplies. A whole new perspective. We thought we were minimalists, and had yet to meet girls crazier than us, braver than us, tougher than us. It was the first time we had the chance to help someone else, someone with less than us. I will never forget that feeling, and look forward to it again.

After two nights at a yacht club outside St. Louis with Cody, Reese, and Hinnerk, it was time to part ways. The twins are taking the Mississippi all the way to the gulf, while we turn east up the Ohio river, towards the Cumberland. I wonder if I will ever see them again in my life. With nothing but an email address, I hope we meet again.  Today we spent most of the day, and over 50 miles surfing the Mississippi. This river is huge, fast, and intimidating. Full of surprises rounding every bend. If it’s not continuous barge traffic, it’s wing dam after wing dam followed by current that pushes and pulls our house in directions we don’t steer. All though impressed by it’s scenery, I don’t like this river. Now we are safely tied to a dock at the infamous “Hoppie’s Marina.” Thank god. The last and only stop available for more than 240 miles, as the next 5 nights will be spent at anchor. Tonight I will sleep well.”

journalHoppie’s Marina. The Ritz of the Mississippi.Katie (l) and Jessie leaving from Harbour Point Yacht Club, MisoIllinois Valley Yacht Club. Thanks to Hinnerk who got us a slip for two nights, and did an interview on us for his German based podcasts and website. http://paulinchen-worldwide.com

7 thoughts on “Cool-aid, Oreo’s and peanut butter. That’s all.

  1. Hello ladies, I am enjoying your blog and so happy you made it to Florida…I sure wish I could have followed you down river….I am sad to say my sister passed away Dec. 1st . I so enjoyed meeting Hinnerk, the kayak women and you when you visited Harbor Point Yacht Club after leaving Grafton and was happy to let the young women stay on my sailboat. Please let me know if you hear anything from them. I would love to catch up with you sometime as I usually make it to FL each spring. I would love to drink a beer and hear more about the trip. Are there any jobs down there that you know of….I have bartending experience…what marina are you at now….Save your notes for me as I hope to make it next year….take care and safe travels….Veronica Durling Early Riser sailboat and houseboat at Harbor Point….durlingveronica@gmail.com

  2. We also encountered Cody and Reese up at Bellevue IA You are so right WHAT an adventure. It was my husbands birthday and we were camping at Pleasant Creek. They pulled up on the sand bar in there kayak. And after visiting with them awhile we invited them to stay and eat with us. I know that it had been awhile since they had real food. They even had some birthday cake in which the had a couple pieces each. They spent the night at the campground and ate breakfast with us the next day. By late morning they were ready to head down stream to Savanah IL to get showers and try to find the local library to use the internet. We sent with them as much food as we could. We all gave them our email addresses and hugs and sent them on there way. We have never heard from at all. So when we read your blog we were happy to hear they are still traveling safe down the mighty MISSISSIPPI, as we love it on the river. So if you ever hear back from please let us know.

    1. OH GOSH! THE GIRLS! I think of them so often… and wonder how they are… I have not heard from them either. I do have their emails and intend to try and get in touch. What an extraordinary adventure that made ours look like nothing. Makes me happy to hear that there was plenty of people to take care of them!

  3. We meet the girls at a local SCA fighter practice. If anyone does hear from them, have them drop us a line. We still have their boat from when they stopped in Memphis last year to break for the winter and have had no word from them since. They were heading to Atlanta at that time.

  4. I loved the part where you helped Cody and Reese and the wonderful feeling you experienced. When the ‘real world’ does swallow you, remember that feeling; find someone less fortunate to help and you’ll be right back on Luoise.

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