Aug 14

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.

I left Ironton about midday, figuring I could make the twelve miles to Greenup in five, maybe five and a half hours. Easy day. I was on the Ohio side, and at some point I was going to have to cross to Kentucky. But the wind usually dies in the afternoon so I thought I had plenty of time; when it calmed down, I would cross. But it never really calmed down. A couple times it seemed to slacken and I started across but when I got away from the Ohio shore, the waves picked up and I turned back. Still plenty of time.

It was later in the afternoon when I could see Greenup on the far shore, perhaps three miles ahead. Time to cross. And for some reason, the wind died a bit. At least it seemed to until I got to the middle of the river, then it picked up again. And stronger than it had been earlier. The rollers topped two feet, probably closer to three, with white caps visible all around. The wind was coming directly down the river, and I was meeting the waves a bit to the left of head-on, as was necessary to get across. It was a bit scary to say the least. I think, though, that I have underestimated the stability of my boat. The waves broke over the bow of the boat and kept up a constant spray that had me soaked, but the boat rode over the tops of most waves, just heading down into one out of about every five. There was a slight rock from side to side since I was not meeting the waves directly, but there wasn't even a hint of instability. I have said good things about my boat, but I don't think I have given it thorough credit. A sixteen foot Wilderness Systems Tarpon, I can't say enough about. the good feelings I had for it during the whole trip, but especially in these last twenty minutes.

When I got to Greenup, I looked for a ramp, which the guidebook guaranteed was present, but after paddling up and down in front of the town, I determined that it was not there. There was a small inlet which led to a city park, with grassy banks that allowed me to pull the boat up out of the water. I secured it to a tree and looked for a place to camp.

This is my last day paddling the river. Tomorrow, my son Fletcher will meet me here, we will drive to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where he will get on his bike for Nashville, to be met by his wife Katherine. And i will take my boat from there and go home to Patti in Georgetown, Texas. I have many mixed feelings about these last forty days, but I have to let my emotions settle down a bit and make some comments when I regain a solid perspective. Being ill for the last forty-eight hours also has my brain in a bit of a haze. So I will save my reflections on the whole trip for a later time.

A big barge is going by. Wish he would see me and give me a whistle.