PLACES TO GO ON LAND HOME PLACES TO GO ON WATER
this entry in an upriver fashion so as to maintain consistency with my other
journals, but on this particular trip I started in
ALSO KINDLY NOTE: I’d love to find work in the Evansville/Newburgh area! I'm ideally looking for evening and weekend work and my talents are quite diverse to include both office and warehouse work, accounting to packing and shipping. Please find my contact info on the “Who I Am” page and I can send you a resume.
Yes, I overdid it. I actually paddled 32 miles today. My enthusiasm to make it all the way downriver to Evansville blinded me to the strength of the rivers’ current and to how long it would take me to get back to my put-in point in Newburgh. On a normal trip I’ll go 10 miles in one direction and then return, but as a result of my actions today I would get back 5 hours after nightfall - at ! Needless to say, it was a memorable trip! I’ve occasionally paddled after dark before – not by choice – but I have done so. Paddling at night, however, gave me a new appreciation for a few things:
1. How eerie it is to have the spotlight beam from one of the barges play over and around you in the dark as the captain tries to discern the obstacles in his way, one of which is you!
2. How clear the “hoots” of owls are as they carry over the waters’ surface.
3. How vulnerable you can feel in the midst of the unknown and how much you will appreciate the light of a full moon if you, too, wind up in this situation - even if you are wearing a headlamp!
Today I began
at the Edgewater Grille (www.edgewatergrille.com) in
The put-in at the bottom of the aforementioned steps is a rocky spot which is OK, but not ideal for a paddler. It’s a bit slippery with rocks spaced just well enough to make putting your boat in and stepping over into it a little dicey. In fact, when I got back I used a boat ramp a little further upriver as my take-out point (more on that in a sec…).
Today I entered
the water with a couple barge-pushing towboats as company - Southern Towing
Company’s Laura Tamble and Ingram Barges’ James E. Anderson.
Southern Towing Company (a.k.a. STC) has a website at
They’re based in
At any rate,
both of these vessels were waiting until the lockmaster could get them through
the John T. Myers Dam a little more than a mile upriver from the steps.
This dam is clearly visible from
As you get
started you’ll notice that the
one major thing of note between
Paddling by at about I tried to get some good pictures of the current dam through the sunny haze of the early morning, but when I got fairly close to the John T. Myers I saw that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to get too close. The lock chamber wall will be jutting out right toward you as the river bank curves slightly in, so it can be deceptive how close it really is - and since I knew that those barges I mentioned would soon be passing me to enter this chamber? “Uh… No… I think I’ll stop right here!!!” I turned to head downriver…
My plan at this
point was to cross the river fairly soon in order to get some good, fairly
all-encompassing pictures of
when you get to the
Mulzer both sides of the river will now look like a wilderness and on the
There’s also supposedly an island along this bank (3 mile island) but I saw no indication of the water leading around it - either on this morning or in the dark on the way back. Looking at it on the charts it’s a very thin one. At mile 782 you’ll find a boat ramp named after Angel Mounds. It looks nice as it’s apparently been renovated recently.
was in the midst of paddling this section that I thought I’d seen a yellow
towboat coming toward me on the
The charts also
indicate that there are a couple underwater dikes right in this area, but I
didn’t notice that they had much of an effect on the current today (there are a
lot more of them down in
When you get to
mile 784 you’ll be in a pretty significant spot because not only will you have
the Southern Indiana Dock and Evansville Terminal on the
A little more
Back to the
From the mouth
of the Green you’ll be making a looooong right curve all the way down to
“Hey, you want a hot dog?”
“No thanks.” I replied. “I’m running a little late!”
gentleman actually offered to give me a ride back to
At any rate,
the “bridge” is actually a pair of them. Known as the Vietnam
Gold Star Bridges (or just the US41 Bridges), the charts indicate that there’s a
boat ramp on the upriver
there were a few more barges moored just past the bridge (and a couple on the
You’re back in
the wilderness after the bridges with only the sounds of the cars on the bridge
and the power boats to interrupt your reverie, and it was in this area that the
famous Club Trocadero used to operate. I’m not sure if it was
visible from down on the river but my grandmother lived in
As the river
makes the last bend into
Meanwhile the ship is the U.S.S. battleship LST. It's been retired here. I tried to get a picture of it as I paddled by but the prow of the ship so cut into the current around it that the water flow quickly slipped me right past before I could get my camera ready!
behind this ship is the mouth of a harbor called
about Evansville is that they’ve got a great scenic river walkway stretching the
length of the downtown area and if you were to walk along it sometime (something
I recommend) you’d get a history lesson on the Ohio and on the city itself from
all of the placards spaced along at different intervals.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the old brick building you’ll see to the very right of the picture above. This is the old McCurdy Hotel which opened in 1917. The McCurdy was once a premier place to stay boasting such visitors as Clark Gable, Katherine Hepburn and Richard Nixon! My grandparents also used to come here when they were in the mood for an upscale dining experience. Problem is, the hotel couldn’t stay in business and it was eventually converted into a nursing home. Sadly unoccupied now, I hope they'll get someone to come in, restore it, and maybe return it to being a hotel or maybe even make it an apartment or condominium complex. I got my information on the McCurdy on the following web page: http://www.historicevansville.com/site.php?id=mccurdy. This is a fantastic site to visit on all things Evansville history related!
Another nice waterfront asset here is a large boating area complete with a nice ramp and plenty of parking. In fact, it’s so nice and large they used it to host the hydroplane races that were held here up until a couple years ago. This was a great event for the city and I hope they’ll be able to do it again someday.
I remember my grandpa driving us all down to the river here and how intimidated I felt as a young boy driving all the way down to the water. It felt like I was entering the lair of some great beast! As we drove down grandpa would tell us about the time he swam across the river from this point on a bet as a teenager, probably sometime in the 1920’s or 30’s. No small feat, even with the river being much wider now than it was then.
All of this was
a lot to think about and there were lots of pictures to take too (I think I must
have gotten about 50!) so I paddled around for quite a while letting the
It was about now and I had reached Casino Aztars’ boat. It was about time for me to go or I was going to be in trouble (although how much trouble I was, as yet, unaware), so I very carefully but very quickly passed over to the other side of the river and stopped for a while near one of the sandy beaches upon which my grandfather might have paused to rest and look around before swimming back over to Evansville.
Anyway, once I
got going and began to work my way back upriver to
At any rate, it
was well before I reached the US41 Bridges that I realized I was going to be in
trouble. It seemed to take
forever just for them to come into view - and I was on the
Below is the last picture I got. My camera does not take good pictures at night and besides, I only had one good set of batteries left. I needed them for my headlamp. I must say, however, that I did find the light of the full moon to be enough for me to go periods without the lamp and save battery power. The only times I really needed it were when I noticed boats coming.
Speaking of which, I seemed to have one boat in particular as company – that towboat I mentioned at the outset of this journal - the one with the light playing on and around me? He was with me almost the whole way back (at least I think it was the same vessel), very slowly heading downriver and then back up to pass me one last time just before I reached Newburgh.
What was my mindset after dark? It was interesting. Once I surrendered myself to the realization that an extended after-dark paddle was inevitable, things were OK. Before I reached that point the trip back seemed absolutely interminable, but accepting my fate made me free to make the best of the situation, and you know what? I enjoyed it! Yes, it was eerie and uncertain after dark but sometimes you find the measure of yourself in such unknown situations. In fact, I found it to be a positively beautiful experience to enjoy the peaceful water around me amid the sounds of my river surroundings under the moonlight.
The only thing that spooked me in the darkness? Well, there were two things... One was paddling around the aforementioned Southern Indiana Dock and Evansville Terminal at mile 784. You see, there was a boat jutting out toward me in a downriver direction from shoreline and I just couldn’t figure out if he was moving or not! There were others boats moving on the other side of the river. Was this one?? It took me a couple minutes just to figure out that he was stationary and that it was safe to move on!
The second thing that spooked me was some kind of animal along the shoreline up by Angel Mounds. At first I thought it was a deer or maybe a large dog, but I couldn't tell even with my light shining on it. Then, when it noticed me it started swimming out toward me and it wasn't until I started paddling further out toward mid-river that this animal headed back to shore and promptly disappeared!
I sure don't know what it was but boy, were my shoulders ever sore by the time I got back to Newburgh! I certainly didn’t care to walk my boat and gear back up those steps at the Edgewater Grille! I paddled further up to the boat ramp at the old dam, walked back to my car in Newburgh with my gear and drove back to pick up my kayak!
May I also say
that there’s nowhere I would rather have taken out at night in this area than in
I will never
forget this trip but if you, too, come out please be prepared that if you want
to paddle down to
From I64 take
exit 29A toward Evansville/Henderson, KY and head south until you get to the