June 30

The curse of the sleeping in when in my hammock was broken this morning. With 15 miles to Paducah, KY and knowing what was waiting for me, I got moving. The water didn't really want to cooperate with me. It was really choppy but luckily there were enough back channels around islands that I could take to get calm water. As I made my way across the river to where the Tennessee River meets the Ohio, it was like oil and water. You could see where the clear Tennessee meets the muddy Ohio. I called ahead to let them know I was coming and they guided me in. I pulled up to the dock of one of the barge companies and tied off to one of the largest boats that runs the rivers. The crew bent over backwards to help me out. I have never been on a cruise but it's what I would expect the hospitality would be like. We unloaded my boat and they gave me an estate room. I got the cook’s room. Bed, AC, satellite TV and a personal bathroom. After swapping stories with the crew I got a shower and did laundry right on board. Now that I was feeling more human like they gave me a full tour of the entire ship. Starting on the 4th floor in the wheel house (control room) all the way to the belly of the ship. This thing is amazing. After being on the river for 800 miles, it's neat to see how these big boats work. The engineers who gave me the tour were amazing. I got to ask all the questions I had been wondering the entire trip and they had just as many questions about my trip. After switching around my laundry I headed into town. Paducah is a great town. They have done an amazing job revitalizing it. Murals, parks, restaurants, and local shops. I could defiantly live here. I grabbed a good meal and headed for the coffee shop for some wifi and a few cups of joe. I overheard two college kids talking about backpacking and kayaking. I struck up a conversation when they were leaving and found out they were from Ohio as well. The one noticed my Wittenberg hat, the university I attended and graduated from. Yes, I have proof. I actually graduated. Wittenberg is also the reason I got hooked up with the barge company where I am staying tonight. Such a small world! I made my way back to the boat and stopped by the Dollar General to get some more supplies to make the next leg of my journey.