More rivers but always better with friends!

We arrived in Demopolis and were greeted by a bunch of loopers. All in the same insurance situation as us, waiting for Nov 1 to continue downstream. This is the “technical insurance holding spot.” The weather was another obstacle. More rain was predicted and it was getting cold!! On the water, when the temperature drops, it just goes right to your bones. Thankfully our heaters are working just fine and all the blankets are piled high. We haven’t worn pants on this whole trip until these last few days. They were buried so deep that I had to really search for them.

We are getting close to the gulf, but it still seems so far.

What does one do when the weather is cold and the town is crappy? LAUNDRY!! This is one of the drawbacks of this lifestyle/trip. It has to be done and I had quite a pile. Six loads to be exact. Since this laundry room was one of the nicer ones, I decided to do all the towels and sheets. I know, this is really interesting information! Your welcome!!

While I did the laundry Andy tore apart the boat to find a leak. We have a leak and with all this rain it’s finding it’s way in. No bueno.

There was absolutly nothing to do here in this town. A curtesy car and a trip to Walmart was all I could get excited about. I had a group of looper friends arriving today so I decided to put on a dinner for them. I made a huge pan of lasagna and fed 11 people. They say that one of the best things about the loop is the friendships you make and that is 100% true. (Sure wish I had taken a picture of everyone on our boat!)

We spent 4 long days here waiting until Nov 1 and the weather to break. We woke up on the 2nd, before the sun to 32 degrees and frost all over the windows. I scrambled to find our beenies and jackets. The water had mist coming off it and it felt eerie as we left the marina before the Sun. The current was moving fast and pushed us along and increased our speed as it carried us downstream. As the sun came up and heated up as the mist went away and the day was crisp but lovely.

We pulled out of the marina with our friends TxAU, Done Diggin, Laurie Jean, Honey Badger, Breakaway, Seas Today, and a few others. The plan was to make it 100 miles to Bobby’s fish camp. This is the only safe place to tie up to a dock and only has room for 4 boats. The other boats raft off each other. The dock is right on the fast moving river that is full of debris. We arrived second and took our position on the dock. As others came in we all helped each other tie up and to each other. We ended up with 9 boats and up to 3 deep. The current was really swift so as the boats came together it took a lot of skill not to go too fast to crash, but fast enough to get a line tied around a cleat. It was a real scene and one that no one would really believe unless you witness it. Now I have to say that all of us in this group are really seasoned and the captains maneuvered their boats like pros. If a new boater tried this it could have been catastrophic. Thankfully it went well.

Bobby’s Fish camp is an iconic step along this route. They serve catfish fried and are sort of famous for it. We all went up and had dinner. The place was a little rough around the edges but we laughed and had fun.

We are a bad ass group of loopers!!

This is the restaurant that we invaded for catfish.

The next morning we again woke at dawn to freezing cold, mist on the water and we watched trees, YES, entire trees floating down the river. We were all a little giddy because today is the LAST LOCK!! The very last lock for the rest of my life! LIKE seriously the last one!!! Some people talk about looping again. Ah, HELL to the NO! I will totally continue boating but I am NOT looping again. Honestly the rivers have seriously kicked my butt.

Yes, they are pretty. Yes, they are the link from Chicago to the Gulf. Yes, it is a wonder that you can take your boat down them in this crazy thing called the Great Loop. Yes, it seems an impossible task. Yes, its been wonderful. But I will NOT do it again. Unless it’s like childbirth and the memory fades and suddenly you decide “sure honey lets have another.” Right now I’m still in it and no way am I thinking I will ever do it again. These women pictured above have kept me sane, kept me laughing. We cry on each other’s shoulder, bitch to each other, drink lots of wine together and they are the reason I am still here. Jodi, pictured below with me has become my text buddy. We text each other while we travel and it helps kill time. I seem not to be able to concentrate on a book, not sure why but texting is fun! Plus she and I always find things to talk about. Thank you Jodi!!

Jodi and I looking at the cold water and pondering our last lock and the tree that just went by.

All of our 9 boats rafted up on a short old dock. Interesting.

THE LAST LOCK!!

We all cheered and clapped and headed out feeling so happy. DONE!! 👏🏻

The only yucky thing about today after we locked was all the debris. The junk in the water is crazy. Birds standing on logs are a sure sign but some you can’t see until you get close. It’s called “Dodge A Log” and Andy was on full alert the whole day. With all the rain, the river is high and debris is loosened from the shoreline and sent downstream. It’s hard to see it all and you pray you don’t run over anything large that can damage a prop or dent your boat. We have been fine but it takes a sharp eye and constant watch. No eyes off the river!

Tonight we had to do another anchorage. This was a day of lasts. Last lock and last anchorage on the river. We picked a spot but decided to stick with the gang and all 9 boats anchored in a wide river that had a good anchorage rating. It had a current that kept the boat in the same position all night. The anchor set and I am just now starting to trust it.

Fall is here and the trees that line the river are beautiful. This is our anchorage at sunset.

We are almost done with the rivers!!!

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