A decision had to be made as I paddled the 12 miles to Bellevue, IA. I had two options, either of which could spell disaster. Only one thing was certain. A big storm would soon pass overhead. Should I charge on to seek refuge in Bellevue, or wait out the storm somewhere on the shore line? With predicted 50 knot winds and some estimates even higher, staying in the boat was not an option. People were yelling from their shoreline homes to “get off the water!” Clouds were intensifying quickly. One lady even came running to the shoreline to show me the radar image. She predicted I had about 45 minutes to get off the water. I opted to go for the lock. Hope she joins Facebook so I can thank her.
It must have been the fastest lock passage ever. I pulled the cable for lockage and could immediately hear the gates start moving. In just a few short minutes, I was through lock #12 and behind the downstream wall. After grabbing the cell phone and empty solar battery, I started running. The brunt of the storm hit just seconds before I reached the security of a storefront in downtown Bellevue. Spent the morning at a restaurant, enjoying a hearty breakfast. I also had lunch there while waiting for the other paddlers to arrive.
Sorry that I was unable to make any photos or videos of this exciting last 24 hours. Every battery I had was empty by this time. The upstream weather conditions had taken their toll.
With no place to stay in Bellevue, the team decided to press on. Unfortunately, the only downtown hotel was closed on Mondays. With the help of a local police officer, we found a park we could camp at just two miles downstream. Please read tomorrow's blog for more.
Reflecting back on this day, one thing was clear - I made the right decision to leave our island campsite and press on to safety, where there was electricity to charge my devices.
I am thankful for all the blessings of this day. Ironically, the town where I received so much care and River Angel support is named Bellevue, the same name as my church in Memphis Tennessee. Is there a message to behold here?
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.