In 2014, I paddled a kayak about 100 miles down the Monongahela River and about 340 miles down the Ohio stopping in Greenup, Kentucky. I had planned to paddle the entire 900 miles of the Ohio but it didn't happen, for a number of reasons. So this year, 2017, I am going back to Greenup to continue my trek and paddle the rest of the way to Cairo, Illinois, where the Ohio ends at the confluence of the mighty Mississippi, about 640 more river miles. I'll begin on July 3rd and plan to be in Cairo on Labor Day, two months later, give or take a day.

I will mention some names because I do not want anyone who helped me to think I can forget them. There was Steve Selin and his wife Jenny in Morgantown, WV, who provided me with contacts all down the Mon River, and kicked my trip off on the first day with encouragement. Darlene Garrett and her friend Maggie in Greensboro, PA, who provided me dinner on the first evening and let me camp in their backyard. The man and wife, in Rices Landing who brought me a Subway sandwich because everything in the town was closed. The crew of the Myra H. tugboat. Norma Ryan, ex-mayor of Brownsville, PA.

I ended my kayak trip ten days ago, but I still don’t feel like I can explain it. I’ve been asked many times why I did it - I don’t have an answer. It just seemed like something I thought I would like to do. When I got close to departing for the start, I was advised to “have fun”. Was it fun? No. It was hard work, on a daily schedule, and long hours. I thought I was ready for that, but I wasn’t. It had its enjoyable moments, but most of the difficulties were constant, daily, discouraging.

I am in a city park in Greenup, Kentucky. It's early evening, about seven PM. I am looking out over the Ohio River. Seems quiet and calm, but there's a wind. It just isn't that apparent unless you are out on the water.

Well, that burger at Burger King did me in. Up most of the night trying to keep everything down, but not successful. Really bad stomach cramps. Fever, chills, no sleep.

Today was stormy and windy. Paddled into the wind, only about four miles but it took me all morning. Got to Ashland, spoke with a couple fisherman on the dock who told me a major storm was on its way. I believed them as I could see the dark clouds moving in from the west. Secured my boat and trudged up to the flood wall and entered downtown Ashland.

Tonight I am at a campground at Virginia Point, where the Big Sandy River empties into the Ohio. The campground is actually in West Virginia, the furthest west you can go in the state; across the Big Sandy is Kentucky. I couldn't find a store here, as the guidebook said there would be, so I paddled across to Catlettsburg, Kentucky and was given a ride by a young man on the levee to a grocery store, where I restocked for the next couple days. Catlettsburg is interesting in that it is high on a bluff but still has a twenty foot flood wall surrounding the town.

The boat ramp I stayed at last night is not very close to anything. Jeremiah said his mailing address is Crown City and that's seven miles downriver. The closest town is Glenwood, but that's on the West Virginia side.

Did nineteen miles today, and into a strong wind. Maybe I'm getting broken in. Left that little inlet behind Point Pleasant about eight. The McDonald's right down the street was calling me but I had a feeling that I would find a good restaurant in Gallipolis. It was only five miles and I pulled in there about ten-thirty. There was a car show going on in the city park right on the riverfront. Country music, lots of old cars, I mean LOTS of old cars, can't figure out where they all came from.

Just want to say a word or two about my equipment. First of all: the boat. The Tarpon 160 has performed flawlessly. I am not a big fan of sit-on-top kayaks, but for this trip, it was essential. No other boat could carry as much as I have - about sixty pounds - and maintain the stability and tracking this one has. I have shifted things around quite a bit but finally found packing to suit the boat and my needs, rudder is exceptional. Everything is dandy.