Day 22, Catfish Point to Greenville, Mississippi

Previous Day

Miles Covered:  lm 573 to lm 540  (33 river miles)

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Catfish Point to Greenville, Ms

Original Post date: June 18

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Catfish Point Beach

It was an ‘easy’ ride today – since Memphis I’ve been doing better at taking a “break” (stopping for lunch an hour); not sure why I didn’t start doing so sooner, I suppose it could only have to do with needing a ‘mark’ (understanding how deep it is) when nearing the ever changing shoreline.

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Nearing Greenville I was passed by the CG Buoy tender Patoka; I had seen the crew the previous day – as I watched their vessel I noticed it slip into the mouth of Greenville Harbor (Lake Ferguson) – otherwise I could have missed the small entrance.

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Greenville Harbor is really a part of Lake Ferguson – once a part of the Mississippi until it was cut off through natural events many years ago.  Now it’s a large ‘toenail-shaped ‘oxbow’ lake – there are many such lakes along the Lower Mississippi.

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Any marina available in Greenville is located a couple miles up this ‘lake.’ Being out of the mighty current becomes readily apparent – the water was also much less muddy with a number of local fishing boats sharing the area.

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The first part of the channel was crowded with dry-docks, there was alot of ship-related maintenance activity happening (welding, painting, repair, etc) – heavy duty work – on a large scale.

 

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Barges were being repaired, ‘tows’ were standing tall on dry-docks being painted/built/repaired – this work gave me an opportunity to see the ‘belly’ of a towboat – the worker beneath the tow in repair provides a scale to the size of these river oxen.

 

CG BT Patoka

As I followed the CG Buoy-tender he found his slot and I began to notice the change in the water more – from muddy to a clearer greenish, with even more fishermen present – the lakes must provide more than catfish – that’s a good sign.

Water clarity change

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GYC Yacht Club ! ‘Livin Large’

Further up I could see a couple of Casino’s and soon found the Greenville Yacht Club nestled in between – no-one at the fuel pump ( I was down 16 gallons from Memphis) so I pulled in and tied down.  This facility has seen its better day, with the exceptions of the boats (mostly steel type pontoons) the place looked almost abandoned.  When I met the owners later at the new GYC restaurant nearby it became a little more apparent why,  I guess they had leased part of the YC to one of the Casino’s – and now that Casino just may end up staying – leaving the YC to move (which they were planning).

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Their new club and restaurant is in walking distance – the food was good and the setting very clean as compared to the docks; GYC plans are to upgrade and move the docks in the coming year.  The folks were decent and friendly, and I walked back to the ‘bird’ dripping in the sweltering heat…..

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Needing a fuel filter, oil, and other small items for the motor I headed over the levee.  The older part of town was immediately on the other side – it appears that the city is trying to revitalize the are (new/wide streets) but it is also clear with all the vacant structures that thriving business was elsewhere.

Barbershops and some decent bars were in this immediate part of the ‘Old City’ of which held alot of old-town character, an opportunity awaiting I suppose.  The only store that would fit my needs was a few miles away (I was told Wal-Mart was 7 miles) so I started walking, plan was to get a cab for the return trip – what’s a few miles in the heat?

I passed through neighborhoods very similar to those I was raised in SW Florida, large shade trees and sidewalks being pushed from below from large tree roots.  I’ll never forget loosening the front wheel on my cousin Butch’s bike and him jumping such a sidewalk deviation, needless to say the front wheel came off and he did a face-plant!  It was funny, but he spent the rest of his visit with broken glasses and in my Dad’s easy chair recuperating.

Walking is not a big deal, just a state of mind – one foot in front of the other, enjoying whats around – feeling the nostalgia of a ‘home-town’ neighborhood atmosphere.

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A few miles later there was an Auto-Zone, and they had everything I needed – after the purchase a customer (Gary Williams) whom worked at one of the casino’s offered me a ride – sure, I took it – and thanks Gary.

Greenville, Mississippi – I did spend some time here 35 years ago and was thinking that I would want to stay more than a day – but I’m finding that on this day it’s just too doggone hot and uninviting – plus I’d simply rather be out on the water.  My internet signal was smaller than expected too – so several disappointments.. No knock to Greenville, I really simply preferred to be out on the river………….

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I returned and worked on the boat – with the brutal heat I continually hosed down under the nearby water hose – each time as I walked the length of the hose to turn the spigot off I was already dry from the heat – once back at the boat – I was sweating again.  It was a never ending cycle into the night.

In the summer heat, a person cannot ‘lay-low’ enough to find relief, the shade was just as hot.  Later I figured to walk over to the Casino and walk around in the a/c a while…… that worked pretty good and as night came – the relief helped me to settle down.

As for the Mosquito netting that I never thought I would use… I did – through the night and with the fluorescent lights of the casino in the background I could see those little varmits climbing over each other trying to get to me, only one or two made it (I got ’em).

on a lighter note – as I sat on the side of this river here 35 years ago I scribbled within my scattered thoughts notes the basis to the following;

Spending time upon this river,
I sit and gaze with wonder,
As the towboats steadily pass,
– their mighty engines rumble.

With a constant churning motion,
They continuously operate,
Powering against her current,
– creating waves that oscillate.

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Then as steady as they come, – they pass,
leaving silence a void to fill,
waves slash against the bank,
– a breeze softly mills.

Its a momentary pause,
in truth it does abound,
‘peace’ – awaiting its moment,
– a mighty river to surround.

This is a mighty place,
in the simplest kind of ways,
for I have ridden upon her current,
– and felt the pulse within her waves.

t.g. haynie

1974/2009

 

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Peace on the river

There are many moments in a day and night when this ‘interstate’ of a waterway system turns into an abyss of absolute peace – quite a change from the activity that we associate the Mississippi River with, but it is present.

For me, there were several incidents in the ‘wee’ hours of the morning that this absolute abyss of peace enveloped this sleeping soul – waking me with silence from my own inner abyss

– just another part of this rivers character that has remained for thousands of years –

 

Noted ‘tows’ for the day;

The Donna Rushing

The CSS Virginia

The CSS Albemarle

The Nathan Golding

The Kathy Lee

The Mary Parker

The Neely Levell

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Next day, Day 23, 24 Vicksburg and beyond

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. george
    Jul 17, 2009 @ 22:22:47

    We really appreciate your vist to Greenville. It is without a doubt hotter than hot, the bugs are big, and the water is black, but home it is. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  2. Tom Haynie
    Jul 20, 2009 @ 12:59:12

    and its a fine place to call home George….

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