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belated : almost day 70!?

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

---- a belated update from nov 12 - almost day 70?

As things shifted I never posted this update that I had written from the Quad Cities. It feels a bit odd to post, given that I'm no longer on the water, but I still wanted to share so that I could celebrate all the love and support and community that helped us before I left. So here goes...




Since Dubuque we've had some lovely temperatures, warm days, some cooler nights and it's of headwind. We left the Wickhams and made it to just north of Bellevue where we were able to spend another night with the other paddlers, which was splendid. And we got to watch the most glorious moonrise, in what would become a pattern of amazing moons this week.




The next day we got barged . As in, the barges blocked our passage through the lock because they take forever and have priority because of capitalism. Anyways, we were in Bellevue strategizing how to get our things around the lock, since we'd heard over the radio that it would take two hours, when some kind folks helped us move the boat and most of our bags to the other side of the lock.


From Bellevue the river was big and beautiful, meandering through islands and it was less inhabited or industrialized that the sections around Dubuque. It was lovely being surrounded by sky, water and trees. Also, on this day a tug returned our greeting with a honk and we were elated! Unprompted, we had been greeted by a tug. It feels like a pretty big deal because especially with the tugs, you rarely see through the tinted windows into the pilot room, and while we always wave, we aren't usually waved back to.... So, naturally, it was a momentous occasion. From there we paddled to Sabula, the only island town on the Mississippi! There, we were graciosuly and generously hosted by the DeVore's who showed us around the island and shared with us their tales of adventure and running summer programs.



The moonrise from Sabula was incredible, it quickly rose and glowed with that blood moon red we've had the joy of seeing at dusk most of the week. In 2018, we had camped and spent a couple rain soaked days on the edge of town in Sabula and so it was special to be back, and to learn more about the place from the DeVore's.





From there we day tripped to Comanche and then we're able to spend another night exchanging stories and getting to know each other. From there we paddled into the quad cities where we were welcomed by our friend Reuben who we first met during River Semester (and randomly reunited with last January in southern Illinois!). It was so special to catch up with old friends and meet Reuben's family as well as meet his colleagues at Augustana College. We were even invited to speak for their friday lunchhour presentation, it was so much fun to meet some students and share our stories. Thanks so much to the Geography Dept. at Augustana College for hosting us! Pictured below (in selfie mode) you can see the lovely folks who came to hear about our trip.


During our time in the Quad Cities we balanced catching up on resting in warm, indoor spaces and getting logistics and errands done as well as doing as many day trips as we could! We also had some special packages waiting for us at Reuben's from friends and also our Glorud Paddles. What a joy it was to unbox these gorgeous lightweight paddles, our arms haven't felt the same paddling them since. We had our first snow in the Quad Cities and quite the cold snap descended upon us. Our coldest day was 18 degrees with windchill, a much more sad temperature.



Our river angel friend and river sister Jo helped us get to and from the river, surprised us with warm snacks and helped us get better cold weather gear. She's the best! She's in the picture above with Lil' Mama our red canoe.


River angel and fellow paddler Tony helped us get to and from the river too- thank you, Tony! Generous river angel hosts Susan and Mike (who made the scrabble-like word spread!), Reuben and Sallie, Marylynn and Don (picutred) and Ellen (sorry we forgot tog et a picture together...), who all hosted us and were lovely people to be around and spend time with, they also shared lots of delicious food with us.

They helped us figure things out as everything was changing and we came to terms with the fact that I couldn't keep going and figuring out logistics to get back to my moms house from the river.


BIG river love and gratitude,

Espoir




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