So I’m driving back from dropping off Rafaela at the Quad Cities Airport (I felt really bad that her whole visit was taken up with searching for the lost gear: not much of a river trip for her, that’s for sure), and as I was heading over the Burlington bridge, the phone rings and it’s the Lee County sheriff saying he thinks they’ve found the kayak just down from the Green Bay launch caught in some trees and reeds. EXACTLY as I had hoped; exactly as I had asked you all to dream! We had gone out looking very slowly and carefully yesterday, and hadn’t found it, but maybe the wake from the boats in this morning’s bass tournament dislodged my kayak from where it had snagged! So I go sit impatiently in the library for a bit and the sheriff calls again and tells me to come down to the Fort Madison launch. I drive down and find John Pawling from Lee County Conservation and the sheriff, James Emmett, standing there with my kayak. Not only my kayak, but ALL the accessories: paddles, life jacket, skirt, safety gear, even my well-used boat shoes and slightly stinky gloves. EVERYTHING!
And then John looks up at my roof rack and says “Where’d you get that bike?“ Cindy and Tom had lent me one of their bikes yesterday, and we had made a plan to meet up in New Orleans when I’m done with the journey for them to retrieve it. (A fine excuse for a trip to NOLA, don’t you think?!) John says, ”I’ve got your bike, too.“
Can you imagine?!? It turns out he saw it locked up at Ortho landing and thought perhaps someone had stolen it and hidden it down there, so he cut the lock and brought it back to the Lee County storage facility.
It’s hard to describe how it feels to have imagined I had lost everything, and suddenly have it all restored in the snap of the fingers like this. The Lee County Conservation folks even gave me a new lock to replace the one they had cut!
So I spent the rest of the day driving back and forth several times between Fort Madison and Burlington: returning Cindy’s bike, picking mine up, heading out to River Basin Canoe to buy a lasso lock for the kayak, and calling all the amazing people who had offered me replacement kayaks and bikes, written articles to get the word out, offered money to re-outfit, places to stay, searchboats to go look, to tell them the miraculous outcome of this story.
And I’m going to choose to believe that the wind pushed my boat six to ten feet down the beach into the river all by itself. No kids, no vandals, no theft, nothing like that. The outpouring of kindness from the people of Burlington and Fort Madison and Keokuk has been such an amazing gift to me. And the support and love from all of you here and on Facebook means so so much: I really feel like I am carrying all of you with me on this journey: you are keeping me safe, and all shall be well.
If you want to make a gesture in support of the people of Lee and Des Moines counties, and all they’ve done to make this story have such a wonderful ending, you could send a donation to either Des Moines County Conservation or Lee County Conservation.
And I’m heading down to Quincy and Hannibal this weekend, to the heart of Huck and Jim territory, and Lincoln/Douglas territory, and the Underground Railroad, and more cool stuff I can’t even predict, and it’s gonna be GREAT!
What a wonderful story! While you could have done without the stress of the past few days, it has definitely added an unexpected layer to your journey…one that I am willing to guess will continue to have a profound effect on you and your River journey. Now…get back in that red kayak and paddle!
This is the first thing I saw when I woke up today. It completely made my day. You deserve all the good in the world; I’m glad everything came back to you safely.
Such a relief! And, yes, such a layer to your pilgrimage. We at WT are all routing for you!
Thank goodness, Eve, that adventure surely found its most agreeable end! Per aspera ad astra, as they say. 🙂 Maybe, in retrospect, you’ll even discover some comical aspects hidden in all that unbelievable hassle. I, for example, am pretty intrigued by that bona fide bike theft … 🙂
But what’s much more important: I’m absolutely convinced that even the worst outcome could never have seriously jeopardized this most amazing journey of yours. I’m absolutely unshakable in my belief that, whatever happens, you will find the strength and the means to go on – even more so with so many kind souls around you, virtually and on the spot. XOXOX, Kai
Brilliant result. I’m so glad you can continue on with a happy story as a memory.
good things come to good people – even if they have to wait a bit –
Sometimes a story has to have a horrible beginning in order to have a wonderful ending – so happy you are reunited (and it feels so good…)
There are mysteries in this life. Some of them have to seem terrible until they’re revealed to be wonderful.
I am so glad things turned out the way it did. I hope you will return to Fort Madison to play your music so we all can enjoy your compositions. Hope you have a safe journey
Great news, Eve. Isn’t it odd – and marvellous – how 1-1+1=so much more than 1? One kayak lost and returned isn’t just the kayak you started out with, but comes back loaded with memories, hopes, fears and prayers and a shared community of friendship. Best wishes for the continued journey.
What a story! Kai sent me an SMS when he read about your bad luck. I’m glad everything turned out alright. I already pictured you spending days and days filling in forms at police stations. Godspeed! XOXOX – Jörg
They found your baby in the reeds–now lead us to the Promised Land, Eve.
I am ssssssooooooooooo glad you got all your stuff back!!!!