September 24


Thank god my boat didn't float away again last night. I got moving around 10. Later than I would have liked but still alright. After about 12 miles of the sun heating up I came to a lock. I had just enough service to call and let them know I was there. The small chamber was broke so they put me in the large one after a paddle riverboat came out. When I entered the lock master yelled down and asked if I needed anything. I said I was good. He insisted on giving me ice but i didnt have anywhere to put it. He asked if he could fill my water bottles. I took him up on that offer. He threw down a rope with a hook on it. I clipped them in and up they went. The water started dropping and when he returned he had to get a longer rope to reach me. We had a good chat and I was on my way. I was cruising along and feeling good. I made the decision to night paddle. The guy at the last lock said it was 34 miles to the next lock and they are open 24/7 365. I thought it would be pretty funny to pull in there in the middle of the night and see what they said. Plus I have to call in to a board meeting for The Seraph Fund tomorrow (subliminal plug to donate if you haven't) so I knew my day would be cut short. Well short for me since I do my best paddling when the sun is going down. I made the decision to push through to the next lock. I was running in a pretty dead cell service area so I couldn't really tell exactly where it was but I knew if I kept paddling I would hit it eventually. When I came to a bridge I didn't need a map to know where I was. I have driven over that bridge a couple times a year when I take that way to go to my parents' house. I also knew there was a gas station at the bottom of it. I parked and hustled to the store to get some drinks. I am even more nervous about getting this boat stolen than mine since, well, since it's not mine. Around 1 AM I came up on tons of lights. It was like rounding a bend and coming up on an accident in the middle of the night. I had to dodge a up river heading barge to get to the left side to hit the lock. I still didn't have service to call and let th m know I was coming. When I arrived I pulled the chain that sounds the horn to notify them. It was the wimpiest horn I have ever heard. It's like when you beep the horn in a rental car and it's not what you think. I sat there hoping they heard it. After about 10 minutes I checked and I had just enough service to get a call off. I think they thought I was a pranking them. When the gates opened and I paddled in, it was a great feeling. I hit my goal of 2 locks in one day. One of the workers yelled down and asked if I had locked through before. I said basically every lock on the river.  Well all but 3. I have 2 more on this section, and the Pittsburgh one at the beginning that I haven't been through. I asked if he had ever seen a kayak this late. He said no I have the record!  Wow. I'm a record holder!  I tied off and they started lowering me down. Two other workers came over to see what I was doing. I tried to explain that I had already paddled 2000 miles to Florida, and was back, then going back down. He asked if I was trying to set a record. I said nope, just trying to get miles in. Every time I tried to talk the floating pin I was tied off to would grind and make a fingers on a chalk board noise. I tried to time my words but it was no match for the noise. I had an audience as I paddled out at 2 AM. They wished me luck as I paddled off into the darkness. I did a few more miles to hit 50 for the day and called it quits. I found a dirt/mud beach among the steep banks near a power plant and parked the boat. I pulled it up on shore and readied it to sleep in for the night. As I lay here, in a loaner kayak, on the banks of the Ohio, under a full sky of stars after paddling 50+ miles while being on the water for 17 hours, I couldn't be happier. Life is good.