The point of no return

I accomplished two major milestones in my planning yesterday:  I mailed off my first of many sponsorship proposal letters (this one to Eddyline Kayaks-I hope they like it), and I announced the trip to my Facebook friends after two weeks of serious consideration, and numerous questions emailed to Norm Miller (thank you again, Norm).

It is almost a relief to commit to the project, and then announce it.  Once you announce your plan, doubts and worries transform into direction and details.  I have passed the point of no return.  Going for it is the only option.

Today, I feel great.  Not so much because of these two accomplishments, but more so because I am NOT racing in the MR340 race (340 miles from Kansas City to St. Charles) today, tomorrow, and the next day in triple digit heat.  Now THAT’s extreme paddling!

Live fast ~ paddle slow

Meeting on the MO River


River Relief held an executive staff meeting yesterday to discuss their upcoming “Friendraiser” event next month, and we all gathered on Roger & Barb Giles’ historic sternwheeler, the Joseph M. LaBarge (of whom Barb is a relative!).  Melanie invited me with the hope that we would have a chance to brainstorm expedition ambitions.

The Joseph M. LaBarge at Cooper’s Landing

Well, it may be too early to discuss details for the trek, particularly since River Relief is in the process of developing an extensive

Education Program for next year, hopefully, if they can acquire the support they need.

They also have a vision for a MO River Action Team program in which communities up and down the river can become Stream Team leaders in the sustainable stewardship of their own areas.  What a great idea!  River Relief is the ideal role “model.”  After eleven years of assisting stream teams throughout the Midwest, River Relief wants to focus on developing a secure base camp in mid-Missouri, building reliable and enduring relationships within our local communities.

What vision!!  Now, THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Exciting.

On my way

I am ready to get the ball rolling in high gear.  My website will be developed enough to post for public in the next couple of days, I’m hoping, which is necessary before I can start contacting potential sponsors.  I am having trouble sleeping at night thinking about all the things that need to be done.

I am meeting with Missouri River Relief on Sunday to discuss the trip and our relationship in it together.  That will be a big step.  Last week I filled out a couple of website contact portals.  The initial one was to National Park Service, who claimed to be looking for projects to fund.  Another was the Army Corps of Engineers.  Much to my surprise, I heard from US Army Corps of Engineers yesterday!  Neil Bass said that since they’re a govt agency, they could not sponsor monetarily, but they would be happy to provide river info, aerial maps, and meet with me on the lower river with food resupplies.  Wow!  I was thrilled to hear that.  We will be in touch with each other after August.

I received my signed copy of The Complete Paddler by David Miller.  Started reading it the other day (at 2:00 AM) and could hardly put it down.  It is considered the “Bible” for paddling the MO River from its headwaters.  Made me realize that this is truly an impressive journey and far from being a vacation paddle (not that that was what I was thinking).  I think there will be lots of pleasure to be had in ways I’m not aware of yet.  This may be true with displeasures as well.  Got that.

The expedition is a perfect fit for me in so many ways.  I love the mountains, rivers, lakes, paddling, wildlife, outdoor challenges, Lewis and Clark’s expedition, and I enjoy solitude.  I also love meeting new people, so I am looking forward to the multiplicity of the journey.  I feel a craving for it.

Once I get some sponsorship letters mailed out, it will be time to slooooow down and focus on student teaching.  Three days of teacher planning will begin in mid-August, then school starts.  Teaching middle school may very well be a challenge that rivals a float down the entire Missouri River.  We’ll see.

I want to give special thanks to Norman Miller for coaching me through the initial phase of my decision to do this trip.  He supplied me with an enourmous amount of information and motivation.  He provided the water that started the seed growing, the seed that David Miller planted in my mind when he layed over for a week at Cooperslanding on the final leg of his trek down the river.  I think that was around 2004.

That’s it for now.  If you are actually reading this, thanks for your interest, and feel free to comment.  I still don’t know what I’m doing with this blog, but I’m learning.

Paddle fast ~ live slow

Hmmmm….perhaps right now “live fast ~ paddle slow” is more appropriate.

Life is good.


Race to the Dome 2012

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog.  I will be sharing with you my journey as I prepare to kayak down the Missouri River from its headwaters in Montana all the way down to St. Louis, Missouri.  I know, right?!  This will happen in May of 2013, if all goes well, which I expect it will.

Why do I feel like the trek is happening in just a few weeks?  Because there is SOOOOOOO much to do!  Happily, I have taken a huge step by creating my own blog!

I hope you will, with great patience, join me as the planning of this incomparable expedition unfolds, and as the dream turns to reality.

Paddle fast ~ live slow