There is little more exciting to me than making the contact with the people who will help us with the transportation we require from our put-in to our take-out locations. We were fortunate last year to have met a new friend, Mitch, who was not only a great camping companion on 12 Mile Island but who also invited us to the boathouse in Louisville where we could get a proper shower. Then he toured us around Louisville including a trip to Churchill Downs. What a fun day we had with him. Usually, when we meet people on the river, we do not see them again. But we have stayed in touch with Mitch via Facebook and asked if he could help us with transportation this year. He said he could and so we will not only see him again but he may join us for part of the way in his kayak.
In addition, I found another new friend via the Perry County Parks and Recreation Department. When we landed in Rome, Indiana, last year, we were in Perry County. Last week I went searching for ways to connect to see if it would be possible for us to camp right there at a county park on the river. After an email and a phone call, I connected with Greg Hendershot, the director of the Parks and Recreation Department. When he learned that we were asking to camp on the county park land, he decided to be certain it was ok with the county attorney before giving us permission. I held my breath when he told me on the phone that he had asked the attorney because I figured the answer would be no. But he said: YES! It may sound mushy, but when people are that nice to us, I find tears coming to my eyes!
He shared with me where to pitch the tent. And he said he would watch out after Karen’s van which we could leave right there at the park. And finally he told me about Hawk, a man who lives near by and rents out camping sites. He told me that Hawk might pay us a visit. I sure hope we get to meet Hawk and Greg. It is the people we meet on the river that we enjoy the most…maybe because after hours of paddling just with each other we are happy to see another face and hear some interesting stories. But even more…the occasional new friend we meet along the way is always a gift of grace in some way. And sometimes a gift that comes with water, or a hot shower, or other simple kindnesses. In what often feels like a mean world, these encounters remind us that humans are humans and we can care for each other. So, thanks, Greg and Mitch, for being there for us on our journey. It is so cool.