David Johnson's Travel Blog
Bicycle Trip 1999
Okefenokee 2002
Anza-Borrego 2003
Texas 2003
Road Trip West 2003
Sequoia National Park 2004
Hiking Florida 2005
Nomadic 2005
Bicycle Trip 2009
Bicycle Trip 2010
Nomadic 2010
Little Bicycle Trip 2011
Wisconsin Bicycle Trip 2011
Bicycle Trip 2011
Nomadic 2011
Kayak Trip 2012
04/12  Most boring trip ever?
04/13  Muddy Pecatonica
04/14  Say Yes to Drugs
04/15  Add a little Sugar and Rock
04/16  Worst campsite ever.
04/21  Island Of Honking Geese
04/22  Hennepin Feeder Canal
04/23  Locks, sand and muck
04/28  Henry
04/30  No Current on Peoria Lake
05/01  Industry and Locks
05/02  Rain and Eagles
05/04  Half-Way on the Illinois
05/05  Medium-Rare Meatloaf
05/06  Always Pepsi-Cola
05/08  Onto the Mississippi
05/09  St. Louis
05/10  Short Day
05/12  Barge Full of Rocks
05/13  Between Green and Red
05/14  Now comes the hard part
05/15  Metropolis
05/18  Tennessee River
05/19  No Lock For You
05/20  Snakes
05/21  New Johnsonville
05/25  Day of the Mayflies
05/26  Look, Another Cliff
05/27  Rotund Sunburns
05/28  Free Heron
05/30  Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
05/31  Bay Springs Lake
06/01  Locks are for the Patient
06/02  Tombigbee
06/06  Bamboo and Palmettos
06/07  Dry in AlaBAMa
06/08  Cutting Corners
06/09  Another day on the river
06/10  Demopolis
06/15  Hardest Portage Ever
06/16  Hot Rocky Beaches
06/17  First Alligator
06/18  Last Dam
06/19  Tide
06/20  Trashy Beaches
06/21  Just paddling down Interstate 10
06/27  Salty
06/28  Intracoastal Waterway
06/29  Come Sail Away
06/30  Peddling Along
07/01  Panama City
07/07  The Gulf of Mexico
07/08  Peacocks by the Sea
07/11  No Wind
07/12  Actually Sailing
07/13  Tacking
07/14  Steinhatchee
07/19  As sudden as ever
Nomadic 2012
Liverworks Productions
Nomadic 2013
Liverworks Productions
Texas Pig Hunting
Bicycle Trip 2014
Bicycle Trip 2015
Biking West 2015
Chickens and Pheasants 2016
Biking About 2016
New Zealand 2016
Kayak Trip 2017

Now comes the hard part


tl;dr: I took a right turn at Cairo and now find myself paddling up the Ohio River under jumping carp.

Down the middle and up the side.

For the last few days I had focused on putting forth a minimum of effort to maintain speed; letting current, and sometimes wind, make up the difference. My average speed could be kept around 7 mph if I stayed in the channel. Sometimes it could jump all the way up to 9 mph for short stretches.

I took a left turn at Cairo and all that changed. I am now paddling uphill (and against the wind, incidentally). My route is taking me up the Ohio River. Of course, whereas I could achieve the most speed on the Mississippi by remaining in the channel, I now must hug the shore to avoid all current. Even so, I'm lucky if I can maintain 3 mph. But after all the horror stories I've heard about the Ohio River's mighty current, 3 mph ain't bad. In fact, so far, the current isn't anywhere near comparable to the Mississippi.

I stopped in Cairo for a late lunch. That poor town. I suspect it has been underwater more times than any of its beat-up residents have the fortitude to remember. There were a number of dry docks (all forcing me out into the fast current) with a large number of workers taking time out to offer me comments ("you're going too slow!" and "you need a motor") and asking me where I was headed.

There is a lot of garbage along the shore. Much more than I ever saw on the Mississippi. Then I realized: this river goes by Kentucky.

Holy jumping carp, Batman! Because my new course has me hugging the bank, it is also bringing me into contact with the local carp population--literal contact. The first carp cleared my deck. The second I fended off from a body assault with my paddle (luck, not skill). The third hit my back. Twice I scared up full schools of a dozen or so carp, and feared I would be pummeled as they cascaded out of the water.

I don't know if it's just because I'm now so close to the bank, but there are a lot of turtles here. I amuse myself by yelling "Dive dive dive!" when I come upon a log full of them. Which happens about every ten minutes.

There seems to be fewer towboats on the Ohio River. Good. They are annoying during the day. They are also annoying at night.

water level is dropping


where the Mississippi meets the Ohio

Mile Marker 0.8

impressively placed graffiti

shore hogging barges


the meeting of two towboats

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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