This chapter describes how the author and his team took the journey down the river in stages. The later stages included layovers, and chances to explore the landscape and history surrounding the river and to reflect on what it's all adding up to. For the author, the river presents a kind of palimpsest: All the events of history are overlaid onto the present. The colorful ship's captains and explorers and engineers and Indians and planters, the bold escaping slaves and hardscrabble farmers, the shad fishermen and steamboat pilots, the desperate victims of the coup of 1898, and the actors on James Sprunt's riverside lawn—all are still alive on the river, their faces as vivid and their voices as clear as if they were paddling along beside the author.
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