12– JOURNAL HERMAN, MO JUNE 18 WHERE I HAD TO STOP MY TRIP….GOT SICK
JUNE 17 FRIDAY DAY 53 ON THE WATER – I have kept hearing about a place called “The Chain Of Rocks” a couple of miles down the Mississippi from the Confluence before you get to St. Louis. After doing some research on the internet I called Mike of Big Muddy Adventurers to ask some advice there in St Louis about 7 this morning. He told me Robbin Kalthoff had already called him. Once we talked it was decided that he would meet me at a take out just before the rapids and portage/drive me around. Which really solved a huge dilemma for me.
I will be in Herman, MO tomorrow by noon, a quaint little German Community right on the banks of the river. I will get a few things, have lunch and get another 20 miles in. That will put me at about 80 miles to St. Louis. Then Sun do another 40 and Mon get a few miles from the Confluence prepared for Mike and the portage Tues. Am.
I paddled another 50 miles today and have found probably one of the best camp spots so far at a boat dock in the middle of nowhere. Couple guys fishing are going to cook up a 20 lb cat fish they caught. One of them is charging my phone in his car. The tent is in good shade and there is a good breeze. I think this is the 1st night in a long time I have not been very hot at this time of the day. I should sleep very well tonight and looking forward to it.
No question, there are 2 things I would have done different. Then1st is logistically I would have rented a small U-Haul driven to Garner, MT where I started, got ready and returned the rig to Livingston, MT. Did the trip, bundled it up UPS just like I am having to do and flew back. #2. Used a single kayak, conformed the gear to the single. When you get right down to it I have been paddling a big floating bathtub to a certain degree. Don’t get me wrong. This tandem K-2 Expedition Feathercraft is one hell of a kayak. But as I look back on it, for what I have had to do to do the 2,000 miles I have and how hard I have had to work, a single would have been for sure twice as easy.
JUNE 18 SATURDAY DAY 54 ON THE WATER – I woke up my usual time got packed up and headed to the boat ramp where the kayak was tied up lifted up off of the water. Upon getting to visually see the kayak I could see something was wrong. Somebody during the night had stolen pretty much everything. They left the paddles, my life jacket and that was pretty much it. What they took was the seat, the rain cover for the tent, my two food bags, one which had little food and the other some dirty clothes. They also took my day pack on top of the kayak which had my wallet and my camera and a few other things. I remembered I had my ATM card and what cash I had in the front pocket of my shorts I had on. So having the card and the cash lessened the impact initially. Needless to say this hit me pretty hard emotionally. Terrible actually. I assessed the situation and figured out with my camping gear I could configure a comfortable seat and I would be safe. A $100 dollars spent in Herman and I would be back in business. So off I went down river, 25 miles to Herman, MO.
I got about 10 miles into the morning and didn’t feel right. My chest was constricted I was having trouble breathing something wasn’t right. I called Cam and mentioned to him in the conversation I didn’t feel good. Also called on my Van in ND to make sure it would be fixed in time. I was wondering if the theft of my stuff was playing into the way I felt. Figured it would pass.
As the miles went by slowly since I was having trouble both breathing and paddling I became very concerned. The 1st thing was I was thinking a heart attack. Never had one so what was I to think?
I finally managed to get within 2 miles of the bridge, which I knew the boat ramp was just on the other side of the bridge and I just couldn’t go any further. I heard a boat coming up behind me, the only boat so far I had seen or heard on the river all morning. As they came up behind me I motioned for them to come over to me which they did. I told them I needed help which from the look on their faces it was immediately obvious I was not only not doing well I wasn’t looking well. They tied me up to the back of the boat with my tow rope in the front and we headed for the boat ramp. It was a good thing because my upper body was completely seized up and I was having difficulty breathing. It was decided the best thing was to have the EMT’s waiting at the dock so they called them. It was a lady with 3 young adults 2 girls and a boy.
As we approached the dock the EMT’s were there as well as some local police. Once there they got me out of the kayak and in the ambulance it was decided something was going on. After initial observation it was decided that I needed to go to the hospital in Washington, MO because they had a resident cardiologist, it was 30 miles away. I asked the folks to get my kayak and gear secure, which the guy who owned the bait shop right at the dock put it all in his basement.
Long story short. I spent 2 days in the hospital. They found absolutely nothing wrong with me. I did feel better. They were definitive in me getting some follow up tests, specifically a stress test. So I got out of the hospital Sunday afternoon and took a taxi back to Herman. I rented a little cottage from the Harbor Hause Inn so I could rest a couple of days. Monday AM I broke down my kayak got everything bundled up, wrapped in a blue tarp, duct taped and tied with rope and UPS’ed it back to Bend. Mike at the Wursthouse let me use his UPS account, which saved me a ton of money. They ship meats/etc all over the world, it arrived Fri AM.
I left Tuesday evening on the train to St. Louis, then to Chicago, then to Devils Lake where I got lucky and got a ride to where my Van was and back which was about 70 miles one way. I decided to have a new engine put in the van, which was the 2nd one in less than 6 months, ton of money down the drain. I spent the night in Devils Lake, ND and got some much needed sleep and rest. Caught the train 6AM Thurs and was in Wishram, Washington across from the Dallas Fri 7 AM where my daughter Angie picked me up and we went back to Bend. Unfortunately I only took one picture during that time just before I broke the kayak down. I wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer at that time.
I did go to the Doc there in Bend once again absolutely nothing showed up. I was still very sick, bad enough that I spent 1 night in the emergency room. I was very sick for at least a week. One night I got a good fever, woke up in the morning all damp and wet and realized that the fever had broken and I felt better. 2 days later you would have never known I was sick. I now believe I got a Virus either from the water, which by the way I never drank nor brushed my teeth with. It could have been a mosquito bite which I had many, a spider bite which I had several, a scratch from a plant which I had several, who knows.
I decided on the 9th of July to make my move to Havasu Landing and have done so. Not the best decision because it has been 110 plus every day. I am going back to ND on 1 Aug flying out of LV to get my Van. Will go to Bend and spend some time then tow my 29 down here to Havasu with the van.
I plan on going back to Herman, MO mid Sept and finish the kayak trip all the way to the Gulf for sure this time, should take about 30 days, finishing up mid Oct. It will be cooler and the fall colors should be in full bloom. Will take the double again, did borrow a single but it is just too small, not very safe.
This is the view of the little lake house in Havasu looking out the back across at Havasu City across the lake.
Tough month but it looks like I survived it. I do have the stress test on the 11th in Bend which will tell if there are any blockages that “might” have caused my predicament.
Next Journal posting should be close to the end of the 3rd or mid-4th week of Sep.