Missouri River Quest '07 - Page 13
My ride, who's name I still can't remember, took me to the downstream side of the dam
first thing this morning. I thanked him for all of his hospitality and he took off. As soon as
he was gone, I realized I left my tripod in his truck. I can live without it. I was looking
forward to a good day on the water after a day of sitting. I made it seven miles before the
evil wind picked up and pinned me to the shore.
I spent most of the day being bored. I went for a walk and found an interesting fossil.
Mostly, I just want to get moving. The weather has made this trip harder than I ever
imagined it could be. I'm having a hard time not giving up. I'm going to tell myself the
same thing I say seemingly every day. Maybe tomorrow will be better! I sure hope so.
Yesterday was Father's Day. I spent last Father's Day in foul weather in Cairo, Illinois. I
took the opportunity to write my dad a letter. I think I should do the same thing today.
You've been gone a year and a half now. It seems like much longer. I still think of you
every day. I sure hope you let Jesus show you the way when you died. I worry a lot about
your lack of belief.
I sure wish your last days had gone differently. You died not trusting me. I know I gave
you cause to doubt, but you never really gave me a second chance.
It tears my heart out to know I can never redeem myself now that you're gone. It hurts me
that your family turned their backs on me after you were gone. I think we both knew they
I want to love you. I want to have a healthy relationship with you, but I can't. We had what
we had. It was pretty good, and I'm thankful for it.
I'm scared of dying young like you and mom. That's what drives me out onto the water. I
want to live life to the fullest and not miss a thing.
I want you to know that I do love you, and always have. There are a lot of things I'm mad at
you about, but there are so many more that I will always treasure. When I get back, I'll visit
your grave and we'll have a good talk about all of this stuff.
Love you bunches and bunches,
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The wind finally blew itself out and today was a glorious day! I paddled ten miles to
Chamberlain, SD, on water as smooth as glass. I needed to stop in town since my last
roll of toilet paper was getting pretty skinny, and it might be 100 miles before I have
another chance to get some.
The bank along Chamberlain is lined with jagged boulders. I was wondering if I was
going to be able to land the kayak anywhere. I spotted a six foot long section of boat dock
that had escaped from somewhere and wound up on the rocks. All I needed to do was
turn it so I would be able to pull the kayak onto it.
In the process of moving it, I slipped and dropped the whole thing on my big toe. It hurt
and bled quite a bit, but nothing was broken. I pulled the boat up and walked into town. I
came to a place near the interstate called Casey's Café. The sign said they also sold
Inside, I found a café, pharmacy, jewelery store, liquor store, and souvenir shop, but oddly,
no fireworks. I had a good breakfast, bought some T.P., and headed back to the river.
I had a great day on the lake. The sun was out all day, the winds were calm, and the
scenery pretty. I'm even starting to see some trees growing along the river. My only
complaint about today was the fact that cattle were grazing both sides of the lake for the
forty two miles I covered today. There weren't many places to stop that weren't either
covered in cows or cowpies. Oh well, things could be a lot worse. I could still be waiting
for the wind to blow itself out.
The wind picked up again, today. It was tough going all day, but I focused on the fact that
each stroke I took with my paddle brought me closer to the end of the lake. With any luck,
I'll be over the dam tomorrow and on the first stretch of river I've seen in nearly 400 miles.
I stopped for breakfast at the dock 44 marina this morning. It took forever and a day for
them to prepare my food, but it tasted great! After that, I focused on getting as close to the
dam as possible today.
I covered forty miles today. Not bad, considering the headwind and long breakfast wait.
The only lake I have left to cover is Lewis and Clark Lake. It's only thirty miles long, and I'll
be there in a couple of days.
I'm really proud of myself for making it this far. There were so many times I wanted to quit
on the big lakes, but I hung in there. In eighty miles, I'll have crossed my last dam and be
on a moving river all the way to St. Louis!
I checked my messages and Shawn and Kyle are done with Oahe and have started Lake
Sharpe. I'm really impressed with their skill and judgement. Not only are they going out
on this big water in an open canoe, but they're making excellent time.