July 9, 10
Mississippi Trek

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more photos of the New
Orleans area can be seen on
page 3 of the Photo Album.
I am pleased to have been
allowed to stay nearby
Mosspoint in a cabin which has
been provided by the
Mississippi Audubon Society.

Check out the website of this
generous organization.


The Pribyls and I are on the way
home.  We're stopping for the
night at Jackson, Mississippi.  I
may be home as early as
Monday night, July 17.

See you all soon!
Mississippi River Quest - Page 18
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7.10.06        - The End -
As I write this I am sitting on the bench looking out at the Gulf of Mexico.  I will spend the
next few days relaxing in the Gulf until my ride arrives to take me home.

I left Lake Itasca paddling with loons.  This morning I paddled with dolphins.  I will never
be able to adequately describe what a cathartic experience this has been for me.  I
would like to thank everyone who helped me along the way.  I have received some truly
moving emails from people I have never even met.  I am looking forward to responding
to their letters.  I already miss the big river and will always cherish this experience.
Shortly after my dad's girlfriend was out of the picture, my aunt called and casually
mentioned she would be coming to pick up
her tractor.  After all, it was left to her in the
will my dad's girlfriend made out.  I live in Iowa and have a quarter mile long lane.  It was
only February.  I was guaranteed to get snowed in.

My aunt and her husband farm.  They own many tractors and have employees to run
them.  They could afford to replace the tractor they were stealing from me.  Instead they
thought it would be better to fuck me over.  I told her to sue me and hung up.  Later,
told Donna about my prediciment and she called my aunt to try to talk some sense into
her.  It didn't work.  My aunts hate me as much as my dad's girlfriend.

Several days later I received a letter at work from my two aunts.  They were threatening
to take everything.

I called my non-tractor stealing aunt to try to come to an agreement.  The first words out
of her mouth were,
I just want you to know that Donna Pribyl is a bitch and she can go
fuck herself.

That's exactly how I feel about my aunts.  After an ordeal akin to a hostage negotiation,
we reached an agreement.  They would steal my tractor and some furniture, sign off on
everything else and get the hell out of my life forever.

The Spohnheimers and the county sheriff were at my place on the big day to make sure
everything went smoothly.  Once again, the transaction was made in the shed.  I would
never allow those women in my home.

I was filled with some of the darkest rage I have ever felt that day and stayed in the
house.  If I had to face them I would have ended up in jail.  After much bitching about
having to sign off on the stuff, the women agreed to my terms and they left with their loot.
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Dana took me around New Orleans to see the aftermath of the hurricane.  The photos
on this page tell of the problems remaining from that horrible experience.

The first thing I wanted to do was get my dad's girlfriend out of my life for good.  Most of
the stuff she wanted from the house was crap anyway, and it would be worth losing a
few good things to have her gone.  In the time since my dad's passing I have noticed
many items that she stole before his death.

I had my lawyer draw up a letter that stated she had all her things and would give up
any right to ever sue me.  I sent her the letter along with instructions that she was to
sign it and have it notarized.  When she came to get her stuff she would be allowed to
inspect it, and when satisfied she had everything, give me the letter and get her and
her shit out of my life.

She suddenly became too stupid to figure out how this was to work.  She wouldn't talk
to me directly, but rather relay information through my aunts.  First she said she would
take all her things home, then promise to give me the letter.  Then she was going to
take some of the stuff and worry about the letter later.  There was going to be weeks of
sorting through things at my house.

I fought her ignorance for over a month before she finally agreed to come get her stuff.  
I laid everything out on a tarp in the shed for her inspection.  She and my aunt were to
come get everything.  I specifically told them not to bring anyone else.  She brought her
two nieces.

Two hours later I had my letter and I would never see her again.  A week later she sent
me a letter complaining that the mattress was very dirty and she would have to try to
clean it.  Some meat was so dirty she had to throw it away.  The deep freeze was
unplugged and even though it was below freezing in the shed she had found items
thawed inside it.  And she complained that she had gotten the wrong table.  She would
be happy to return the table she had and would like to take care of this issue as soon
as possible.  I ignored the letter and haven't heard from her since.  I have moved on
and have become a better person.  She still lives with her parents.  One day they will
be gone and she will be as alone as I felt growing up.  I have fixed up my house and
paddled the Mississippi River solo since my dad died.  I wonder what she's
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- The Beginning -
I haven't seen the three women since they stole their things from me.  With any luck I'll
never see them again.  The things I lost were only things.  If this trip has taught me
anything it's that I don't need very many things.  I found freedom.

I'm sure they still hate me and probably always will.  Good for them.  I don't care.  I have
found that an incredible number of people care about me, and always have even when I
chose not to see.  The kindness I have been shown on this journey has restored a faith
in humanity that I lost long ago.

In many ways my life is like the city of New Orleans.  It's fucked up and parts of it are too
damaged to ever rebuild, but I'm rebuilding and a lot of people are helping, whether they
know it or not.

I would like to thank everyone who helped my dream come true.  I couldn't have done it

I'm still not sure I'm looking forward to the real world, but something tells me this isn't
my last adventure.
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