I donned my familiar and discolored river wear and loaded up my backpack at 4:30 this morning. It felt good to once again have all I needed to sustain me carried on my back. Flew to St. Louis, by way of Phoenix, landing at 14:30. It was overcast, grey, and raining. Despite the heat and humidity, the rain and dark skies lent a foreboding to my afternoon. Took a train to downtown, then a bus across the river to Illinois. Rented a car in Granite City and took a deep breath as I arrived at my boat.
The exterior was unchanged and I was greeted with but a minor stench from the interior. There was a jelly-like scum building up inside, and a small infestation of grubs, but nothing that couldn’t be easily remedied. I was compelled to dispose of the majority of preserved foodstuffs within, keeping only an unopened jar of peanut butter, some steel cut oats, and a pint of whiskey. Whilst unloading the bulkheads, a small snake slithered inside and was removed gingerly by its tail, with no small amount of coaxing. Not being familiar with the snakes of this region, I wasn’t keen on being bitten.
Back at my motel, I took stock of my gear. Most clothing items were mildew-ridden and required laundering. All the water vessels had grown brackish and green within, no doubt contaminated by a minuscule drop of river water. They would need to be sanitized with a bleach solution, as would the entire interior of the boat. My ammunition had been corroded and compromised by the moisture and was disposed of. The stove needed dismantling and cleaning, but now functions properly. The tent and hammock, my biggest concern, were relatively untainted so I hung them up to dry. All of this was accomplished in my grimy, squalid motel room, and it is now quite a sight: gear strewn about and hanging everywhere, the sink and shower brown with filth.
Around 10pm I made a trip to the market to replace my provisions and restock certain expendables. I am feeling agitated in anticipation of resuming at last. There is still work to be done tomorrow, so I shall depart Friday, early as possible. This will allow a relaxed pace tomorrow, possibly some time to enjoy St. Louis in more favorable climate than in June, and time to remember last minute needs. Thus I might begin on Friday with a peaceful spirit.