We spoke with Andy and Ashley for a long time this morning. It was very pleasant and informative. Andy loves all animals. He showed us different types of snakes he caught and crawfish. Ashley has a hedgehog and Smiley, their dog, should give birth to puppies in a week or two.
The day was warm and sunny. We stopped in the afternoon at the Midway Marina. We were well welcomed by George, who gave us permission to set up our camp on the platform where the marina office is located. A great location! We have a roof over our heads to protect us from the sun and dew, and we also have a great view of trees that are growing in the water. The decor looks like the south, at least according to our imagination. We also saw our first houseboat, a real house on the water! We did everything that was needed to be done, thanks to the good services of the marina. Pierre went into town to shop (Fulton) and I worked on our blog. We could do our laundry too ... it's always nice to be clean! We met lots of friendly boaters with whom we had good discussions. In the evening, when darkness set in, we were treated to an experience. We sat quietly next to our tent on the floating platform. There were only the sounds of nocturnal animals. There was no moon, but stars to infinity! We watched the trees standing upright in the water. Beautiful and unique!!!
October 27, 2014
We left the marina late. We meet only good people once again this morning, and we had a new invitation for when we will be in Florida. We also met one of the employees of the marina. It was very inspiring. Accompanied by his wife, they had also sold everything and left on their boat. They had enough of life where everything goes fast. They did not like their old jobs; they even had recurring migraines. Since making their decision to leave that life, their migraines have disappeared. They have decided to live near the water, here. They are not rich (monetarily), but happy and healthy.
The day was warm and sunny today. We stopped at the Smithville Marina late afternoon. We were greeted by Roy. His father, John, arrived a little later and we had confirmation that we could sleep here tonight. We can even use all marina services and Wi-Fi. Then we met the owner of the marina, Scott Cox. He told us about the region and the difficulties of living here. They had a devastating tornado (category 5), in 2011 which destroyed 150 homes. It also took 16 lives, including his father's life (who was then the owner of the marina). His mother, meanwhile, survived her wounds, but has undergone eight months of rehabilitation to recover.
Everyone is very nice at the marina. We also talked to our neighbour. He had a very good idea for retirement He bought an old "houseboat", with pontoons, that he renovated. He lives in the marina here, but he can move wherever he wants. His lifestyle does not cost a fortune and he and his wife are happy here on the water.
October 28, 2014
The sky was grey this morning. The weather forecast predicted rain for the end of the day. We decided to stop in Aberdeen at Blue Bluff Campground. Our paddling day was shorter than usual, but we wanted to have time to set up our camp before the bad weather arrived.
The scenery changed again today and we travelled through the wilderness. There are more trees that grow in water and make us think about the bayous. There were plenty of places where we could enter (Oxbow), and leave the main channel. We saw white egrets and pelicans. We also saw a place where, clearly, an alligator had passed. We finally saw a water snake (moccasin) going under the boat near the campground boat ramp.
Later, once our camp was set up, we had a visit from Raymond and Emmett. They invited us to dinner with them and their wives, Pat and Laverne. We accepted the invitation with pleasure! The dinner was delicious and it also gave us the opportunity to eat local food. We really enjoyed it. We also tasted for the first time "corn bread". We had heard of it before, but this is the first time we had some. We spent a very pleasant evening, with our hosts, around a warm campfire and roasted marshmallows. Thank you again to y’all for your hospitality and sharing!
October 29, 2014
Rest day. It rained hard last night. Then the wind came up quickly and was present throughout the day. It was strong at times. We had a visit from Pat and her son Chuck. Then we had an interview with Trevor Gray from WTVA. Trevor, thank you for your time and the visit. We also talked with Ray, a newspaper reporter from the Monroe Journal.
It was a beautiful day. We worked on different things and have met more people. We also learned that water snakes (moccasin) are very tough here and they tend to want to get into boats. The advice we got was to be faster than them and take steps not share our craft with these creatures, as they can create major health problems.
We passed another pleasant evening with Pat, Raymond, Chuck, Laverne and Emmett. We laughed so much, it made us feel good! Our joke repertoire has been improved!
October 30, 2014
We started our day by wearing our toques this morning. It was cold! Around 8:00 am, Ray, the Monroe Journal reporter, came to visit us. We talked with him while preparing. It was really interesting for us to talk with him. We met Pat, and her daughter also arrived just before we left. So we had the pleasure of meeting her briefly.
Once on the water, we warmed up quickly. The Aberdeen lock was not very far. We, unfortunately, had a mishap with the lock master, but it’s ok. This is our first bad experience with 100 locks since our departure. Once past the lock, we discovered another new world. The ride to the Columbus Marina was lovely. There were several oxbows on each side. There is more sand on the shoreline (which is good for us). We did not see many animals today, but the flora we saw compensated for the lack of animals.
We were very well welcomed when we arrived at Columbus Marina. Loopers and several boaters came to greet us and we talked a while on the dock. Then we set up our camp on the grass near the "Annie's Song" boat. Very good neighbours! :)
Later, Sandi and Bennet picked us up. They contacted us by email yesterday, after seeing our TV interview. They drove us around to allow us to do some errands, and then they invited us to eat a local specialty: fried pickles and pork barbecue. We spent a wonderful evening with them, Thank you very much, again, to you both. We wish you good travels in the two weeks aboard your sailboat. We are looking forward to hearing from you and hope to meet you on the water next year.
October 31, 2014
Halloween day! We disguised ourselves in our own version, but cleaner. ;) The forecast today was calling for 30 mph wind, nearly 50 km/h wind. We have a rule that when the wind is around 50 km/h, we remain on site. That's what we did. So we could do laundry, some more errands and we talked with our neighbours and other loopers. We were also invited by Burke and Stel (Estrellita) to have dinner with them and with Ken and Terri ("Roundabout") whom we had first met in Grafton (Illinois). We spent a very pleasant evening with the whole gang. We finished aboard the "Estrellita", a superb boat. It was a nice day. We are happy that we stayed here. As a bonus, we saw an armadillo, a very funny animal to look at.