June 29

I have now slept in my hammock twice now. Both times I have slept in longer than I have since I was hungover. I have 40 miles to Paducah, KY where I have my next stop and more importantly a shower. I can smell myself constantly. I'm sure after about another month I might get used to it, but I'm not there yet. I told my host that I would be in Paducah Friday so I was in no rush today, but lounging around till about 3pm wasn't quite the plan. But sometimes it's what you need. I took a quick stop in Golconda, IL. When I pulled up to the boat ramp I saw some guys fishing on the shore. I got a little worried about leaving my boat and gear by the shore to head to the store. I thought about faking taking pictures of the river and snap one of the guys license plate incase my stuff was gone when I got back. I chained my boat up and headed up the hill. I saw the guys in the truck leave and head up the hill towards me. They stopped and asked me how long I had been paddling. We had a great conversation and these guys couldn't be nicer. They said it was a great place to live and everyone was really nice. He said my stuff would be fine down there. They even offered to give me a ride to the gas station. I refused because after sitting in the boat for a while walking feels good. I started feeling like crap for judging these guys right off the bat. It shows that you never know who people are until you get to know them. It's kind of like the way that people are quick to judge an addict without getting to know them.  After grabbing a drink and filling up my water bottles I hit the water again. It was nice paddling as the sun was setting. As I approached the Smithland Lock and Dam, I heard over the radio that there was a barge coming up behind me. The tower told him to use the chamber that I usually use. I pulled over and let the barge pass. I radioed the tower but to got no response. After looking up the phone number for the tower I told them I was waiting. After I explained that I was on the shore,  he said to fall in behind the barge. By now the sun was down and the daylight was fading fast. The barge took forever to enter the chamber and I knew I was going to be there a while. Thank goodness I had stopped to pee before I pulled up to wait. I sat there tied off to a ladder as the sky faded from dusk to dark. The lights of the lock lit up the sky and made for a really interesting feeling. After about 45 minutes I heard the water filling the chamber back up then the doors opened. I paddled in. I have been through several locks now but never at night. It was an errie feeling. It was so quiet and everything was still in the night. After I tied off I heard the giant steal doors slam behind me. The siren went off that sounded like an air raid horn letting everyone know that water is being released. As I was sitting in this 1,200 foot long by 110 foot wide chamber in my 14 foot long by 1.5 foot wide kayak, noises were going off all around me. First infront, then behind, then right next to me. It was completely quiet for a few seconds, then a creak here and moan there. It was pretty intense. When the doors finally opened I paddled like hell to get out of there. When I got away from the lock lights, it was pitch dark. I had my head lamp on high beam. I completely forgot that bugs are drawn to light. A little bit later I realized that bats are drawn to light as well. They were swooping closer and closer. After one flew about 5 feet infront of me, I decided instead of getting smacked in the face and flipping my boat that I should set up camp. I found a clearing in the trees and crashed the shore. I climbed the bank and found two trees to hang my hammock and climbed in. I just hoped I don't get sucked in till mid afternoon tomorrow.