July 2

Surprisingly one of the most frustrating days so far when you would think it would be one of the most exciting was reaching the Mississippi. I think the excitement and anticipation of the milestone was a major factor. I felt like I was barely moving. And on top of that, it was hot as (insert what you would like) out today. There is no hiding from the sun on the open river. I started sweating right away. And not just clammy, salty rain. I was sweating so bad that my sunglasses were soaked after seconds. So, no glasses + burning eyes = severe headache. A few times I found a small branch leaning over the water to seek refuge from the sun. I finally reached Cairo. I have been excited to reach Cairo since before I left except for the past few days. Everyone I have talked to said to just skip it. I was so drained that I needed to stop. It is surrounded by a flood wall and when I finally found a boat ramp and a break in the wall I took it. The ramp was covered in driftwood, trash and dead fish. I almost gagged walking up to the town. I could hear the flies buzzing the entire walk. When I cleared the gate it was a weird feeling. It was almost like a ghost town. It's pretty sad to see a once booming town in such disarray. I found a dollar store and went to the cooler to get a Gatorade. Of course the cooler didn't work. I grabbed some cold waters and ran back to my boat.  It was only a mile or two to the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio. It was a challenge to get past all the barges parked on shore and in the middle of the river. When I arrived at the point I was slightly disappointed. No band. No cheering section. No news crews. Nothing.  But that's not why I am doing this. I did run into a police officer. I asked if they had a bad drug problem. He said "of course". While talking I found out that meth and crack are the major problems locally. I asked about heroine. He said its more of a northern drug but it's on its way. It shows that no matter where you live, people who are addicted will find and abuse what ever they can. I snapped some pictures and continued onto the Mighty Miss. Ol' Man River. The Big Muddy. It's pretty much like the Ohio but a little faster. While I should be excited I couldn't get over the flies that were all over my boat, and me. I almost lost my mind. I can't swat flies and paddle at the same time. I found a sandy beach, cooked dinner and crashed out. But there is a reason they say the Mississippi is the most traveled river in the country. Barges have been going by all night, but tomorrow's a newday on a new river.