Having a Plan B is Probably a Good Idea.

My biggest dilemma knocked on my door today.

Here is my dilemma:  Now, I am very aware that I need to plan on a minimum of three months to paddle from Three Forks, Montana, Missouri River’s headwaters, to the Mississippi River (I have determined that starting at the source, Brower’s Spring, is no longer an option).  My plan is to shove off on May 1st this spring and arrive at the STL Arch by the end of July.  This will give me two weeks before I start teaching.  I need 90 days to paddle with confidence that I will reach my goal in the allotted time, and that is the smallest window of time I need.

School starts in mid-August.  Ideally, I will have a teaching job lined up before I leave, but I have no guarantees as of today.  My host teacher (for my student internship) is requesting me as her substitute teacher for February 2 and, yes, April 30.  “Umm, there is something I need to tell you, Mrs. Smith…about April 30…”  (I have been pretty low key and have not really talked much about my plan to paddle America’s longest river, one that meanders through our very own backyard, and one that is RICH in our nation’s history.  Our very own Missouri River that graces the very curriculum I will be teaching.)

So, as Mrs. Smith’s manner is, she had some good suggestions.  One, that I apply this week for substitute teaching next semester.  She also encouraged me to seriously seek out and consider long-term substituting at Jefferson Junior High, where I am teaching now.  Doing so is like throwing a big foot in the door so it does not close in front of me.  I have planned on long-term subbing after the first of the year.  I am just praying for a term that falls between January and the middle of April.  I would like to hit two birds with one stone, so to speak.  Have my cake and eat it, too.  Experience the best of both worlds.  You get it.

What if I get offered a job teaching until the end of the school year???  Without snow days the last day would fall on May 20, with snow days taken-May 29.  Working at this school would be a dream-come-true (any school in Columbia, actually).  This is my dilemma.  I am not going to not do this trip.  I eat, sleep, drink, and dream of this expedition daily.  Having a Plan B of some sort is definitely a good idea.  Just not sure what it is, yet.

A New Chapter Begins

I sold my 1982 diesel VW Vanagon pop-up camper today for much more than I could have wished for (eBay, where have you been all my life).  Thanks for all the good times, SloPoke!  Buyer and Seller both happy with the deal.  This money will help pay for the boat/gear and/or Rio’s surgery.  Who, by the way, is doing great, considering…

He loves the river, along with his sister, Sapphire…

It was a very good day.  The trek is coming into view more and more each day, especially now that I have a boat and much gear.   Special thanks to Michael Clark for allowing me to store the boat and gear at his place over the winter.  And, today is also the first official day of my early retirement from the University of Missouri.  Woo hoo!  Let the new chapter begin!!!


I am buying Bob Bellingham’s Shasta and all his gear for $1800.

“Thank you, Bob, if you ever read this, as I am grateful that you accepted (not without a fair amount of ribbing) my much-reduced-offer from your original request.  I will conduct a proper ceremony for the rechristening and name change of the Barbara May, per our discussion at Cooper’s.  And, you can count on me drinking a beer in your honor regularly along the way.  Although, probably not as frequently as you were given the opportunity to knock one back on your journey.”  😉  Cheers!

I have posted my 1982 diesel VW Camper Van on eBay to, hopefully, get enough money to pay for the boat and gear.  And, I posted my Prijon Seayak ($1500 (obo)) on CraigsList and eBay with the hope I can get Rio Oso’s ACL surgery scheduled.

Rio Oso, my river bear.