Time to Rock and Roll. It is April 14.

The day has finally arrived.  I have been losing sleep for nine months since I made the decision to paddle down the Missouri.  Once I decided to take on this challenge, it was another month, or two or three, before I made the decision to start at the source.  I knew I would regret not making the extra 298 miles if I started at Three Forks instead of Brower’s Spring.

The base of the mountains Norm and I will be coming out of after our ski into Brower's Spring.  (Photo by Norm Miller)
The base of the mountains Norm and I will be coming out of
after our ski into Brower’s Spring.
(Photo by Norm Miller)

The time is 3:23 AM.  My alarm is set for 4:30 AM.  I feel like I have an extra hour so I’m trying to get in one last “quick” blog post before we take off.  Now, THAT’s a challenge!

The Columbia Daily Tribune, our local newspaper, is supposed to publish a story this morning.  I just checked on it.  Yep, it’s there.  Here is the link for “PRIMED TO PADDLE: Kayaker ready to tackle river’s entire length.”  I will post the story under my Media page once the article becomes NOT available online, unless you have a subscription.

Yesterday was a very busy day packing.  I actually spent two days hard at it.  Three and one half months requires thinking through all of your needs, and wants, then trying to downsize the load.  I’m not very good at that.  Thankfully, Haley arrived after lunch and really helped me accomplish this daunting task.  She is very organized and more rational than me when it comes to, “Is it really a need, or merely a want.”



We took a moment to take a picture with our matching “Say YES More” T-shirts.  ‘Say Yes More’ is Dave Cornthwaite’s campaign, of which I am an ambassador.  The first medium T-shirt was itty-bitty,  so I gave it to Haley and he sent me a larger one.  Find out more about Dave’s exciting adventures on his Website.

T-shirts for Dave Cornthwaite’s “Say Yes More” ambassador program.

Last night we enjoyed spending time with my niece, Rene Freels, and her husband, Kyle, and son, Sam.  We enjoyed fabulous food (as usual) at El Maguey, not to mention their $1.25 margaritas.  This is my favorite restaurant in town.

We then enjoyed going down to the river to meet a lot of my river friends who were enjoying a campfire, pot luck barbeque, and acoustic guitar music.  We have access to a spot right next to Cooper’s Landing where we have get-togethers sometimes.  We also stopped by Cooper’s and I was able to introduce them to many more wonderful people in our river community.  We had a great evening.  I was happy to introduce them to a little slice of my world.  Unfortunately, no photos.

Once home again, I began to round up all of the little loose-end items such as dental floss, water bottles, hairbrush, shampoo and other things that I actually use until I leave.  I started a batch of strawberry/banana fruit roll-ups in the dehydrator, too.

This morning I will do one last batch of laundry, gather all of my food and try to sort some of it out into portions.  I need to make my custom trail mix as well.  Then, once light starts dawning on this part of the earth, the kayaks will go on the car, and I’ll pack the car with all of my stuff.  We just left everything on the porch since the weather is good and we have Minnie, our wonderful, and loud, watchdog.  No one can approach the house without her approval.


The weather looks rough for the next few days in this area, and on our drive up north.  It is my understanding that snow has been falling in Montana.  I try not to let the weather reports get me emotionally stirred up.  I am taking things one step at a time, and making decisions as opportunities present themselves.  You might say I am “Going with the Flow.”  Yes, I like the sound of that. Here is my awesome road crew, Haley, Jeannie Kuntz, and me.

Haley, Jeannie, and Me:  Hittin' the road this morning at 10:00.
Haley, Jeannie, and Me: Hittin’ the road this morning at 10:00.

My extra hour has turned into two after posting photos.  Still, not bad.  But, gotta go!

Cheers!  See you on the water!  Montana here we come!  YeeHaw!

Pelicans Dancing  (Photo by Norm Miller)
Pelicans Dancing (Photo by Norm Miller)

(One hour, 30-minute blog post!  That is a new personal record.  That is good, real good.)  🙂

Stickers, Business Cards, and….T-Shirts?

I am getting ready to order some more stickers.  They seems to be quite popular.  I should be selling them, but I just love to give them away.  Maybe I’ll become more disciplined with the second round.  But, who can resist when you see pictures like this???


These handsome guys are stealing the thunder from my good looking stickers, don’t you think?  L-R, Dave Cornthwaite, Rod Wellington, and Dale Sanders.  If you have a few minutes (hours) and a cup of coffee (several), kick back and watch these three in the bike car adventures.  Sure-fire entertainment, no joke.  Here is the link to Dave Cornthwaite’s Bikecar Expedition 2012: The Highlights 

Good fun, guaranteed!

I also had fun designing business cards.  I have 250 on order from freelogodesigns.  Check them out, they’re friendly folks.  Here is my first round business card design (address removed for web posting):

card edited for web
Hard to see it here, but I like the way the mountains are brown with the blue river flowing out.  I think the ‘one woman’ line is brown and then the web address is blue.  If I only had a map of the route on the back.  I may add that with an address label.  We’ll see if it works.

I would love to have t-shirts.  Maybe I can mock something up for next post.

Lots to do.

Well, here is the result of my playing around:

t-shirt_draft2Thought, comments, suggestions?  Still need something for the front.  Or, should this go on front?  Hmmmm.

Three Cheers to our Inconspicuous Victors this last Week-end!!!

Victory in St. Joseph!

So many victories on the rivers this last week end!  Hats off and kudos to these awe-inspiring challenges and extraordinary achievements.  But the humblest of all heroes are in St. Joseph and they deserve our attention, too.  First, though, a recap of events:

Mark Kalch is first man to paddle the Missouri River from source to Gulf, completing two out of seven of the longest rivers on seven continents.  http://www.7rivers7continents.com/worlds-end/

Dave Corthwaite swims 1000 miles of the Missouri River and pulls into the St. Louis Arch having completed his trek with his team.  https://www.facebook.com/expedition1000

Tyler Ranes and Tom Walker finish their (aluminum) canoe trip from Great Falls, Montana, to New Orleans.  https://www.facebook.com/tyler.ranes.5?ref=ts&fref=ts

Brent Mills and Hunter from Greenville, South Carolina had reached the Gulf the very morning Mark Kalch did, having paddled the length of the Mississippi River from Lake Ithasca.  https://www.facebook.com/brent.mill?ref=ts&fref=ts

 Dom Liboiron Canoeing to New Orleans in Memory of my Uncle Mitch, Rod Wellington https://www.facebook.com/rod.wellington.9?ref=ts&fref=ts , and Matthew Batton https://www.facebook.com/matthew.batten.73?ref=ts&fref=ts are still paddling on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

But let me tell you about the unsung heroes on the Missouri River.  The citizens of St. Joseph, Missouri, under the leadership of Missouri River Relief, spent a cold day on the river cleaning up trash from its river banks on Saturday.  Different strokes for different folks (no pun intended), these adults, children, men, and women reaped unforgettable rewards and earned quiet respect because of their selfless service to help make our Big Muddy one of the cleanest and finest rivers in all the land.

Three cheers to River Relief and the folks in St. Joseph!!!  You should stand tall among the victories that graced our mighty waterways this last week-end, October 6, 2012.

(Clean up photos by Rachel Beck  www.rachelbeckphotos.com )

Lots of Activity on the River(s) Lately

Dear interested readers:

Today, October 6, 2012, we congratulate two phenomenal adventure accomplishments.

One, Mark Kalch reaches the Gulf of Mexico yesterday after paddling from the Missouri River source at Brower’s Spring in Montana beginning in June.  He has been paddling every day for over four months and has become the first man to paddle solo the entire Missouri River and watershed, which is approximately 3780 miles, and the longest river in North America.  Congratulations Mark!

Here is an earlier email sent to Norm Miller regarding his finish:  From Mark: “Done! Stoked! That South Pass below mile 0 is beautiful. Can you believe got down there about midday and guess what? 2 young fellas who had paddled down from Ithasca!!! Ha! Crazy! Cool. Brent and Hunter. They have a facebook page. Big muddy mississippi adventure or something. Crazy huh? This was at Port Eads about a mile from end. They had teed up a lift back so I sprinted my ass down to open ocean. Big waves. Did some video and photos then pulled onto sand and did some more. Paddled back up a mile and we hung out at the top of the lighthouse there. There loaded kayaks onto boat and back in Venice in 20 mins! Stoked! They have left now. Had no room in car back to New Orleans. But dont matter got to sort gear and clean boat. Hope to get a lift back Sat or Sun.M

Secondly, Dave Cornthwaite and his team: Ness, Em, and Ben, approach St. Louis this morning, October 6, 2012, after Dave swam 1,000 miles down the Missouri River.  We had the pleasure of meeting the team at Cooper’s Landing last Sunday and enjoyed their company immensely.  They are a charming bunch with an immense enthusiasm for challenge and adventure while raising money and awareness for breast cancer through the CoppaFeel organization.

Dave has a bag of 25 adventure trips he is in the midst of accomplishing, and Em is starting to step out of her “normal” box into a life of “challenge and adventure.”  You GO Girl!  Was not able to visit with Vanessa because she was healing from a bout with food poisoning.  Ben was busy enjoying bonfire and beers while at Cooper’s.  He adapted immediately to the Cooper’s Culture.
Word from Dave’s twitter feed one minute ago: they reached the STL Arch at 10:20 AM, about an hour ago.  Three cheers for the team!!!

Here is a clip from their first days:

The Early Days (includes a visit from Mark Kalch)

Here is a link to his blog post which, when I read it, I instantly became interested in their endeavor:  dave-corn

Hot off the press from Dave:  We made it! Journey No. 7 of Expedition1000 finished at 10:20am this morning, as my team and I reached St Louis Arch to finish an epic 1000-mile swim. Hard to believe its over, what a challenge! See www.Facebook.com/expedition1000 for further updates and photos throughout the day. Yeah!

As for me, I am fully immersed in student teaching 8th grade Social Studies.  I am loving every minute, but not a day goes by that I don’t contemplate some aspect of the challenge ahead of me beginning in May.  Which will be more of a challenge, teaching middle school or paddling 2300 miles of the Missouri River in 3 months?  No clear answer yet!  All good!

Regarding planning, Eddyline and I are in communication.  They have asked me to send them a “wish list.”  Sweet! Thank you, Lisa!  I have corresponded with Kokatat and have sent them a wish list for paddling gear.  They will not be considering any expedition sponsorships until after January 1.  Dave Cornthwaite strongly suggests I consider taking a MacPro laptop and a Go Pro camera for uploading, downloading, writing, posting, tweeting, photographing, and authoring.   I am planning to apply to be a SPOT Ambassador.  I will have a spot locator no matter what, an absolute necessity according to Bob Bellingham.  The device will track my progress/location, send updates to designated family/friends, and serve as an emergency 911 communication device.  A tent, stove, and sleeping bag will be my most important sponsorship requests, which I will work on very soon.  With all of these items in my quiver, I will be nearly fully equipped.  Oh, and a solar charger.

Veteran Missouri River paddlers are planning a float gathering that would land them in the river with me at, or near, the beginning of my expedition. VERY excited about that possibility!  Among these paddlers are my coach,  Norm Miller, who, during the 2004 Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, paddled up the Missouri River from St. Louis to Montana, hiked over the Rockies, and paddled down to the Pacific following the route of The Corp of Discovery.  He is also host extraordinaire for all paddlers heading down the Big Muddy from Montana.  And, Dave Miller who authored the Missouri River paddler’s bible, The Complete Paddler, and visitor to Cooper’s Landing in 2003, when he laid over and hung out with us Riverbillies for around 10 days (we know how to have a good time!), has indicated he will be coming out from New York.  I am in the process of convincing my brother to come and float a week with me, too.  He has always been close at hand during my life’s adventures.

Oh, and University of Missouri’s photographer, Shane Epping, will meet with me on Sunday to take photos which will accompany a story on MizzouWire, the University’s Alumni Association electronic newsletter.  They are interested in my expedition and would like to post the story in December.

Okay, off I go to write up lesson plans, reflections, and a capstone paper.  Life is good.  Busy, but good.

Warm regards, Janet