I nearly passed the Iowa tri-state sign--I had to paddle all the way across the channel and upstream a little bit to snap a photo in front of it. I didn't have cell phone coverage all day yesterday, and only had some coverage midday today. I was delighted to get a message from Julie asking if I wanted to join them in Lansing at a woman's house for the night. I was about 2 miles behind them, and it felt like an eternity before I caught up with them! Lansing was SO CRAZY with recreational boaters, even on a Sunday! As I was paddling past the Lansing beaches, a man yelled out to me, "Did you get the message? That you have a place to stay tonight!?" So awesome. I love small towns.
Family members of the Paddle for Prevention crew were on the boat (wearing their shirts!), as well as Patty, whose house and company we greatly enjoyed for the evening. Patty is one of those stalwart, colorful, strong ladies that doesn't take shit, and likes to live life. Her house, overlooking the river and the bridge (the tightest turn on the navigable Mississippi) was adorably decorated in bright colors and whimsical images. Julie and I immediately felt at home and loved the place. Josie, Patty's dog was just a sweetie once we took off our scary backpacks, and the three of us enjoyed chatting, eating some dinner, and telling stories with Patty.
The next day, it was raining hard all morning, and thunderstorms were forecast so we decided to wait it out. Unfortunately, the thunderstorms never showed up, and J & J and I felt like we should have paddled anyway. Sigh. Hindsight is 20/20, but I think it can be difficult to realize that when you're living in a tent, paddling, you really don't want to be caught in the middle of the river during a fast-moving thunderstorm. Rain is one thing, but lightning is not fun, and it can take 10 minutes or more just to paddle from the middle of the channel to the side of the river, assuming there's a place to pull over at all. Not only that, but leaving after noon is rarely worth it when you factor in the time and energy it takes to pack up and unpack, especially when those things are wet. Patty took us into town to explore Lansing's quintessential Horsefall's Variety stores--two large collections of all sorts of low-end whimsy. "One thing you need and a million you don't". I bought myself a Mississippi River Rat coozy. In camo. I figured that was perfect.
As Patty was headed back to her Decorah home, we moved our things to her backyard to camp in her backyard for the night.
We had some dinner at the riverside restaurant, and headed back there for breakfast since everything else was closed on Tuesday morning. Another day in Lansing, raining on and off, thunderstorms in mid afternoon, and tornado warnings all evening. We met a man named Tripp this morning who is biking from Vermont to Seattle. He's a month in and suspects it'll take him another month. I spent the entire day catching up on my blog. AND, I had a massage. A blessed massage. I have had 2 two-day rest days in the past week, and I figured I needed to do something to help me stay a little more pulled together and strong for the upcoming 2/3 of the river. She concurred that my left hip was super tight (bursitis) and that my right forearm was bunched up too (where I have the worst of my nerve damage). When she massaged my hands, I felt like whimpering, they were so sore. She had never heard of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome before, and half way through the massage I asked if she could tell, and she said, "Definitely. It's like you're elastic. A lot of women are soft, and men are tough, but you sort of snap back where I press." I always think it's interesting how body workers verbalize their experience of what it's like for them.
Tomorrow we head back on the river again! Only 40% chance of rain.