When The 8-Track in Your Mind is Playing Head Games With You

We woke up this morning the furthest down river that we’d been with Nautical Dreamer. Today was going to be scary and exhilarating. We were to merge into the White River and take that into the Mississippi River. We’d gotten an overabundance of sage advice on tackling the big river. It had made me leery but also excited. Our stop for tonight would be the Greenville Yacht Club in Greenville, MS. After that, there are no services until New Orleans. This means we will be “pulling over” to drop anchor for the night. There aren’t a lot of safe harbors either so that’s a looming worry. But for tonight, we would be holed up in a marina.

Dead ahead of us as we approach the Mississippi was a barge. It looked as though it was blocking our path but as we got closer, the full expanse of the river lay out before us. There was plenty of room for both of us. Once the barge passed we saw the other side of the river and half expected a sign that said “Left or Right Turn Only.” We went to the right.

The rivers converging, coupled with the wake from the barge left us rockin’ and rollin’. I grabbed the Christmas tree just before it toppled. It surprised me how bouncy our big boat was going over that mess. The 8-track in my head kept replaying “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”  You know, “Fellas it’s too tough to feed ‘ya. Fellas it’s been good to know ‘ya.” *Sigh.*

It died down, but there were regular barges kicking up wake. Eventually I had to use a bungie cord to anchor the Christmas tree. Once we got into a groove my 8-track changed to “Old Man River.” I know its old timey but it fits. At least according to my brain. At one point, Rick said he saw deer in the river. What? No way! He hadn’t slept well the night before and I thought maybe he was getting delusional from the lack of sleep. But no. There were four deer, their heads and antlers sticking majestically out of the water. I can’t imagine why they felt the need to cross the river, but there you have it.

We made great time and turned into the harbor earlier than expected. It was littered with barges and tugs. I mean EVERYWHERE. At one point, we had to thread a needle to get between two expansive masses of barges. The area was completely industrial and not in keeping with the vision in my head of “going down river.”

We finally made it to the Greenville Yacht Club. We pulled up along the transient docks and ungracefully tied up. There was not a sole in the marina at 3 p.m. So no one came to help us or give us the skinny on the electric and water. The cost at this place was exorbitant so you would think a little assistance would be in order. Rick scoped things out and realized they didn’t have the electric we needed—it was further down. So we had to move the boat. I stayed on land to grab lines once he came in. The wind was whipping, stinging my eyes and blowing so hard into my ears I thought someone must be using a drill on my ear drum. It reminded me of when I used to take the train into Chicago for work. The wind would be whipping so bad on that train platform. Because of the currents and wind, Rick had to make a couple passes before I could reach the rope. I was pretty proud of getting that rope and quickly tying it off. It was one of the more graceful moves I had with that monster.

So we are safe, but not very happy. This “yacht club” is a dump. It will serve its purpose for the next two nights when the temperature is to drop into the low 20’s. Then we will fill our fuel tanks and head on down to warmer climes. I cannot wait. This cold weather is not for the faint of heart or for me, for that matter.

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