November 5


With the time change, my alarms went off earlier than the sun did. Daylight savings and time zones don’t really matter to me. It’s all about sunrise and sunset. It will probably take me a few days to change the time on my watch due to the fact that I know what time I need to do things based on the time my watch says. Doing the math and subtracting an hour is just too difficult. I soaked in the beautiful beach island views this morning since I only had a few miles to get across the bay to town and had all day to do it. I figured it would take me 2 hours or so to do the 5 Miles across. When I got moving, the current was pushing. I was making good time, I just didn’t know exactly where I was going. I tried to see where boats were going up river on shore when I saw a channel marker about 2 Miles off shore.  It looked like it had a light on top of it but it also looked like a bird. Sure enough it was a North American Bald Eagle. Out in the middle of the water like a war ship keeping guard of our coast line. They always fly off before I can get close enough to get a quality picture but still a neat experience. I made it across in a little over and hour thanks to the current. When I was paddling up the river a guy and his dog were heading out on their boat. He asked if I was fishing or just paddling. I told him just paddling and where I came from. He said your arms must be pretty big. I laughed and asked him where the best place to eat was. He told me about a raw bar that had “the best fish tacos and hot girls”. I told him that I had been out to sea for a while and that most women were hot in my eyes at this point. I made the mistake of checking Facebook on my way in and saw a guy I know that is about to finish the entire Mississippi River had his phone stolen while he was charging it the other night. After three months of paddling and only 60 more miles, someone stole his phone. I have been lucky not to have anything stolen, but my paranoia was in full force. I paddled up to the raw bar and tied up and went to see about these amazing fish tacos. I told the bartender that they were recommended and she told the cook to put pressure on him. I have to admit they were in the top of what I have been calling the “Taco Tour of 2017”. I asked if I could charge some devices and plugged them in on the stage. After finishing my tacos I told the bartender I was going to head into town and asked if it was alright to keep charging. She said “what town”? I clarified that I was going to go to the gas station and Dollar General. While walking through “down town” I passed the “Worlds Smallest Police Station”. It was just a phone booth but I knew if I was still drinking I probably would have ended up there for the night.  When I came out of the gas station to go to the DG I saw two guys on bikes stop under a tree near my boat. I watched from a distance as the paranoia set in. I decided to go over and check it out. They were just chilling under the tree drinking Natural Ice Tall boys. The guy asked if I had anything to smoke. I said I had some cigars but I was saving them. He said he was wanting something a little different. I agreed with him. There was a time when I would have been sitting under that tree with them drinking and smoking having a great time. A little Sunday Funday action. But then I probably would have ended up in that worlds smallest police station. I hung out by my boat for a while. I realized that they were too busy drinking to steal anything and went to DG to get a few supplies. I probably didn’t need them but want to make sure that I have enough and don’t run out. I went back to the bar and decided to try the shrimp tacos this time. I struck up a conversation with the local good old boys and asked them about the river I was about to head up for a few days to bypass paddling in the open water. The maps say it’s all marsh land and did they know of a few camping spots. They told me about an old alligator farm that I could camp at. They said it closed down and they just dumped all the gators in the water. Sounds real peaceful. They said there were a few other spots too. One of the guys even gave me a hunting and fishing map he had in his truck. I had a few more hours till the sun dropped and if there were camp sites then I might as well go for it. When settled up, I looked at the cover of the map and the name of the area was Tate’s Hell Wildlife Management Area. With the name hell in it I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was beautiful. The Crooked River (actual name) winded through marsh land. The water was still on my side and I was cruising. I found where I thought the old alligator farm was but it had a big no trespassing sign so I decided to push on. I saw a place on the satellite map that looked like it had some dry land but if it didn’t turn out I was really up the creek. As the sun dropped the light was perfect creating a perfect reflection off the water of the shore line. When I rounded the bend I saw what looked like a log. When I got closer I noticed it was actually a small dock under a tree. It is probably one of the top 10 camp sites I have stayed at so far. It’s at the end of a dirt road which had me a little concerned that a drunk person could come flying down the road in the middle of the night and plow into my tent so I hung a rope across and put some glow sticks on it to hopefully prevent any of that. But as far out as I am I doubt any one will be coming down that road. After all I am in the middle of Hell!