We were starting to feel quite at home at the casino. Wandering round bare foot. Getting into a routine. And during an endurance adventure, that’s a dangerous place to be as your feet soften and your brain turns to mush. Well for me it does. But we got a lot of stuff done. Blogging. Editing. Videos. Making contacts. Eating more than than the American Football team players sitting next to us at breakfast. Very impressive I tell you. We achieved a lot. And the final one I was extremely proud of.
A day behind, on Sunday 30th September, we set out again. Lugging our bags down the muddy, rock covered access point, we helped Ness pack up. Ness unfortunately was now unwell and was just going to have to suck it up. And boy she did a good job. Urgent loo stop aren’t the easiest thing when you’re in a team, ploughing down the river to make St. Louis. And as the support team, we can’t hold back the ginger. Miss Vanessa Knight kept going. Unwashed and wrapped up, she literally went in and out of sanity on the board. And came out the other side. What a hero.
What a day to get back on the river. Even though it was a Sunday, there were no boats and everything was quiet. This stretch of river was beautiful. Incredible bluffs. Encroaching cliffs. Idyllic sandbars. The trees are turning red as fall kicks in around us. And a cycle route showed up alongside us. At the end of the day, a quiet adventure dude called Dan White showed up in his canoe/ sail boat/ speed boat invention and paddled with us into Coopers Landing. We love when people join. Just love it.
Now Coopers Landing. Wow. For the first time, we were welcomed with a full service boat ramp directly focused on people using the river. You can go through huge cities and not find a spot to pull your boat out of the water. But Coopers Landing is on the water. It has its own boat ramp, shop, campsite, toilets, stage for music, petrol and all. It is full serviced but with a hippie vibe. Campfires going. Fellow adventure nuts crowded round. Country music being performed. I could have moved there in a second. Especially when we discovered there was a Thai trailer with food known all around.
The laid back Mike and adorable Keira run the place. And we met naked Dave and his wife Janet, who is set to become the first woman to paddle the Missouri. We ate (and yes it was out of this world) with them and heard their stories. Not only did Janet have amazing teeth but she was exactly my type of lady. What a woman. I really hope I will see her again. At some point. We pretty much thought the same about everything. And we were doing something about it. Love that.
On top of that, Jodi who came to the talk at the casino showed up hoping to see us and with her camping kit in the car from the weekend, decided to come with us and paddle for a couple of days. There are some spectacular adventure chicks around. And we are gathering them into our little bubble.
Just another Monday. Notttttt. A very cold morning anyway. And with Ness still not well we had a few extra minutes in bed. But once we were up, there was already a campfire lit. And we met river rat, Jeff and photographer Grant. Oh and also Jodi with her bags and British accent all ready. With waves goodbye and lots of hugs, we headed off with a new team member nicknamed Teamie. Original.
Tuesday is normally a bit of an odd day for me in real life but here it was crisp and cold but beautiful and sunny. We crossed through Jefferson City, the state capital of Missouri with its big powerful buildings. We saw a huge barge dredging the channel. We cooked lunch in the Mad River Canoe on the Primus as we paddled. We comforted the ginger while he vomited his way through the day. We think his body has had enough of the water and is just refusing to enjoy it now. But we are so close.
And at the end of the day we found a perfect sandbar. With a perfect view. Ben made an incredible fire. Dave made a full on washing line. And we ate supper around it. This was all very relaxing until Teamie joined in the practical jokes using her missing finger (which I hadn’t noticed in the day). Picture me searching the river in the dark for her finger. Actually you don’t have to because there will be another episode about that. Including the part in which Jody explains that she lost her finger to a Hook Snake which puts its tail in its mouth and only goes downhill. I can’t even defend myself here.
So we went back to fire, ate some chocolate and carried on our evening. Our new friend Jeff said he was going to come and camp with us but with still no sign we went to bed and hoped he was ok?!
We had reached the 135 mile marker. Now we are almost in double figures. What a moment. We are nearly there. And hopefully people will donate to CoppaFeel when they see Dave has actually swum 1000 miles down the Missouri River. Because we are an embarrassing amount away from our target, and we need to get closer. Maybe finishing it will make a difference and then we will all continue to spread the word about checking your boobs. It could save your life.
Follow along as the expedition nears its conclusion in St Louis, Missouri. We expect to get there on October 5th.
Twitter: @DaveCorn and @Swim1000
by Em Bell