Day 23 – Saltillo!


Saltillo, TN! What a cute little town! Last night Chelsea and I were treated to an amazing dinner at a legit Mexican restaurant, El Portillo, I think it was. Fabulous food, and I stuffed myself silly. Poco (aka, “Chelsea”) fell into the capable hands of Melinda, a local dynamo who knows everybody in town. Because of her and Poco’s perseverance, we got a little press in the weekly paper that will be out next week as well as a stay in a home owned by the mayor here, Larry Darnell Lowery.  Everyone calls him Darnell.  I met him with his wife, Barbara, a very nice couple.

We met a cast of characters, great local folk, here in this sweet little spot. We also heard a ton of cancer stories. Seems like everyone in this town has or has had some type of cancer, so much so that a famous country singer started a charity so that there is now a nearby cancer care facility so folks don’t have to drive all the way to Nashville. Folks are definitely suspicious of their water.

Melinda took us to the home of Louise, who’s husband is battling a serious infection from an operation. He is also a cancer survivor. So if you are reading this please send some prayers and good vibes up for Louise and her husband. Think there is going to be a fundraiser for them at the next Saltillo River Day event-on Sept. 17.

We later joined Melinda at the restaurant where we met up with her friend, Melissa, and two brothers-Jimmy and Billy Carter. They treated us to dinner and to entertaining conversation about the town and the towns people plus Jimmy than came back with some of his moonshine. Really good local stuff, although I take baby sips of that. I do need to paddle and that stuff will hit you before you know it. People keep it in their freezers and it never does freeze.

We are hoping to catch up with some of these great folks at 6:30 for breakfast before shoving off. So this blog is a tag abbreviated. Suffice to say, though, that the stretch of Tennessee River from Kentucky Dam to Pickwick so far has been a real gem. The rock cliffs on the side could challenge many a climber and the scenery is gorgeous.

All along the river I’ve been buzzed by little yellow butterflies. I passed by a bunch of them the day before yesterday and it looked like they were playing “follow the leader.” They flew in bunches then about four or five broke off from the pack to play follow the leader. Yesterday a buzzard startled a whole flock of little yellow butterflies and they all lifted off the sand in a great yellow cloud of fluttering happy wings, bobbing through the air in a little yellow swarm.

Today will be a work out, I’ve discovered, as it seems that the Pickwick Dam is going to have a big release. Wooboy. 36 miles that could possibly take all day. Better get a move on! Oh-and thankfully for everyone’s noses, I’ll be sporting a new bikini top, one that the Budweiser guys threw to us at the Mermaid Marina.

Paddles up!


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