Yukon River Quest - Page 15
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I paddled to the town of Russian Mission.  The first thing I saw as I pulled up was a guy
screaming obscenities at his kid and chasing him down the beach with a big stick.  The
place looked like a dump in general, and I was going to paddle on by, but I saw a canoe full
of gear parked on the beach and decided to check it out.

The first thing I noticed was the motorboat beside me had its anchor hooked to a rope with
an expensive climbing carabiner.  They didn’t buy that; they stole it from a paddler.  I was
getting ready to leave when I saw the canoeist walking down the path to his boat.

He said the store was just up the bank and it was open.  I made a quick dash for sodas
and ice cream.  When I got back to the boat, the guy in the canoe said his carbon fiber
paddle had been stolen.  They left his crappy wooden spare.  I’m really glad he stayed until I
got back or my boat would have gotten hit too.  He took off and I dug out my spoon to eat my
ice cream and get the hell out of that dump.

I was just loading the sodas in the boat to take off when six guys came out of nowhere and
swarmed the boat.  I stood at the bow so I could keep an eye on the whole boat.  Five of
them stood nearly on top of the boat and one stood directly behind me and tried to make
small talk.  The one behind me really had me scared.  I knew if I looked away from the boat,
the others would grab what they could and run off.  I was just waiting to feel a gun on the
back of my head.

I said, “Look, I need to get going.  If you guys will just give me a little room, I’ll get out of

Nobody moved.  One of the guys asked, “What’s this?” and grabbed my solar charger that I’
d put back on deck.  Luckily, it was tied down so he couldn’t run off with it, but when the rope
got tight, he dropped it and it broke.

I said, “Everybody just take three steps back.  I don’t want any trouble.  I just want to get out
of here.”
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The guy behind me said, “We don’t want any trouble either.  We just wanted to talk.”

I said, “We’ve talked.  Leave now!”  and they wandered off.  Needless to say, I made record
time coming out of Russian Mission.  I caught up to the canoeist.  He was a nice guy from
Austria with a name I could never spell, let alone remember.  He was doing the river in
sections, and was going to finish this year.  He was rightfully pissed about the paddle.  I’m
rightfully pissed about my solar charger, but at least neither of us got shot.

I put in a long day on the water.  I hope to be done in two days and still have a lot of ground
to cover.  The scenery was pretty, but I was so mad about Russian Mission that I couldn’t
enjoy it.  I’m also mad at myself for stopping there when I could tell from a mile away that I
shouldn’t and I could tell something was wrong the whole time it was in town.

I’ve been warned that all these towns down here are dumps, so I may not stop again until
Emmonak where I’m flying out.  I’ve heard Emmonak is just like Ft. Yukon, so I’m really
looking forward to that.  I really need to call Kelly to make sure everything is OK with my flight
out, but I won’t go into town unless it feels right.
I had planned on paddling right by the town of Marshall, but it looked pretty nice from the
water, and there was a barge off loading fuel, so someone would be around to watch my
stuff.  I found the store and a phone and packed up to leave town.  As I was getting ready to
hop in my kayak, the barge captain asked if I’d like a tour of his boat.  Needless to say, it
was much nicer than my rig, with shower, laundry, and a flat screen TV.  Also, needless to
say, had they been going downstream, I’d have been mooching a ride.

I was getting ready to head back to my rig when I was told dinner would be ready in a few
minutes if I wanted to stick around.  Not many people know this about me, but I’m not one to
pass up a free meal.  I had an excellent meal of salmon, cheese, bread and salad.  I left the
boat with a big bag of roast beef, half a loaf of bread, and a big salmon steak for tonight’s
fire.  After yesterday, I really needed to meet some good people.  I’m glad I stopped.
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Back on the water, I got pulled over by two Alaska state troopers for a safety check.  I
passed.  They mostly wanted to make sure I had a gun and some sort of satellite
communication.  When I told them I had a .45 auto for a hand gun, they said I should really
be carrying something bigger.  I like Alaska cops.

I stopped in the tiny village of Pilot Point, not because I needed anything, but because there
were lots of people on shore waving at me, and it looked like a nice spot.  I met a nice guy
named Terry who was also from Iowa, and learned that the only paddler in front of me, a
French man headed to Siberia, had been rescued by the Coast Guard 10 miles off shore.  
The wind had picked up and he nearly died of hypothermia.  I think he should have seen
that coming.  He’s lucky he had a satelite phone.

I set up camp on a little sand bar and started a little cooking fire.  I wasn’t even hungry when
I ate the salmon fillet, but it feels great to be stuffed.  I’ll sleep well tonight.
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 Message from Adam's Spotter
I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/06/2009 05:35:24 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
  Message from Adam's Spotter
I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/07/2009 22:05:58 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
  Message from Adam's Spotter

I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/07/2009 04:55:32 (GMT)
Here's where I am.
  Message from Adam's Spotter
I'm OK!
Nearest Location:not known
Distance:not known
Time:07/05/2009 04:34:54 (GMT)
Here's where I am.

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