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Saturday, July 26, 2014


An explorer's life entails enduring storms, hydrating through long days in the heat, protecting your skin from the sun and poisonous plants, preventing the bugs from devouring your soul, the list goes on. All these things can take you down for the count if your not cautious and attentive to your body. The next hurdle on the pilgrimage is mold. We noticed all sorts of new and exciting bugs all around the boat and putrid stenches coming off our rope and gear. The perpetual sequence of dirty river water and hot humid air can strike disaster. Virtually all our processions reeked like dead hell, quickly reaching an unsanitary level of toxicity. Keeping everything dry while living on the river and being rained on constantly with 99% humidity is like blowing at the wind to slow it down. It was time for us to completely tear apart all our gear, throw much of it out, re-outfit, and bleach the rest - or we would be in store for mold illness.

We finished up Wheeler and Wilson Lakes, locked through into Pickwick and pulled into the Harbor at McFarland Park, Florence, Alabama. We scouted out the campground and found an employee washer at the marina, but this couldn't suffice; we needed something to the equivalence of an autoclave. On our long walk back we noticed a chap and his 2 friends having a little trouble pulling their boat out of the water so we gave them a hand. The owner of the boat, Eric wouldn't except us camping at McFarland and threw us and our gear in his Jeep and homebound to Eric's we went.

A saving grace would be a light way to put it. "Come on in, here's the washer, cleaning supplies, shower, pool, house. I have a camper you guys can sleep in as long as you want and here are the keys to the Jeep." Welcome to Rorieland! I don't know anyone else in the world who asks if I want a warm fluffed towel ready when I get out of the shower. The accommodations were unbelievable. Eric is accompanied by many wonderful close friends and family, Robbie, Gerry, Stacy, Angie B, Corey, Kathy, Kristin, the list goes on! The whole crew made us a poster with awesome quotes on it, then they all signed the back - such a heart-felt gift. Eric's home reminds me of my own growing up; people constantly coming in and out, laughter and friendship, the central hub of friends and companionship.


Eric and friends met us again 2 days down river in Waterloo, and is meeting us again in Burnsville, MS at his parents home to help us resupply again. He is almost making it too easy on us. 

As Eric put it, he felt a nudge of instinct to invite us over and become our friends. Friendships of a lifetime can happen in an instant, you only need to give someone a chance. You never know who your going to meet. 

In the words of Eric " As you know there are bigs ships and there are small ships, but the best ships of all are friendships."  

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