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
Easy ride today – since Memphis I’ve been doing better at taking “union-breaks” (stopping in the morning or for lunch an hour), not sure why I didn’t start doing so sooner – it could only have to do with needing a ‘mark’ when nearing the shore.
Nearing Greenville on the Mississippi I was passed by the CG Buoy tender Patoka, the same as I had seen the day earlier – as I watched their boat I noticed them slip into the mouth of Greenville Harbor (Lake Ferguson) – otherwise I might have missed the small entrance.
Greenville Harbor is really a part of Lake Ferguson – once a part of the Mississippi until many years ago when it was cut off through natural events or simply channeled away from. Now it’s a large ‘toenail-shaped ‘oxbow’ lake – there are many such lakes along the Lower Mississippi.
The marina’s available in Greenville are a couple miles up this ‘lake’ and it soon became apparent that I was out of the current. The water was much less muddy with a number of fishing boats in the area too.
The first part of the channel was crowded with dry-docks and industrial maintenance points (welding, painting, repair, etc) – heavy duty work going on, on a large scale.
Barges were being worked on, tows were up on dry-docks or land 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.
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 more fishermen around too – the lakes must provide more than catfish – that’s a good sign.
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).
Their new club and restaurant is in walking distance – the food was good and simple 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’ in the sweltering heat…..
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.
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………….
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, and by the time I made it back to the boat – I was sweating once again – a never ending cycle even into the night. A person cannot ‘lay-low’ enough to get under the heat there, the shade was the same temperature. 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 – it helped me settle down.
As for the Mosquito netting; never thought I would use it or appreciate it so much – through the night and with the fluorescent lights in the background I could see those little varmits climbing over each other trying to get in, 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 the basis to the following (I had the pad with me for the occasion);
Spending time upon this river,
I sit and gaze with wonder,
‘The tow’s steadily pass,
– their mighty engines rumble.
With a constant churning motion,
They continuously operate,
Powering against her current,
– creating waves that oscillate.
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 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.
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 there. For me, there were several incidents in the ‘wee’ hours of the morning that this absolute abyss of peace enveloped my soul waking me from a sound sleep,
– 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