Preparations: Gear, Food, and Fundraising

I am totally immersed in preparations for the trip while still trying to substitute teach enough days to ‘pay the rent,’ so to speak.  Spring Break comes next week so I will not be able to work.  This will be a good time to tie up a lot of loose ends.

NewBlueMoon
My beautiful Eddyline Shasta

We brought my Eddyline Shasta kayak into the house the other day because I needed to apply a keel strip for protection and the weather has been too cold.  The temperature needs to be at least 70 degrees, so into the house it came.  I went ahead and applied the new boat name letters, too.  I am very pleased with the outcome.  Next, I will apply this blog’s web address on the side along with some of my sponsorship decals.  Isn’t it pretty?  Handsome?

Alpine Shop in Columbia is sponsoring me with some significant gear items.  Thank you, Brennan!  He has donated a camp stove-MSR Reactor system (yes!), a Thermarest mattress (3 in thick. excellent!), and a Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner.  They will also communicate my links and updates on their social media sites and to their email recipients.  You should stop by the shop and check out their new expanded paddling section.  They are becoming a premier paddling retailer in mid-MO.

AlpineShop_logo

I ordered my tent, a Hubba Hubba 2P tent from Walt’s Bike & Wilderness Shop.  Besides a Patagonia balaklava, polarized sunglasses and SealSkinz paddling gloves, they were able to give me a 10% discount on my tent.  Every little bit helps.  Thanks, Sarah.

Copy of waltlogowebidea23

After four of my emails were ignored by PowerFilmsSolar, I talked to Julie on the phone, mainly because I needed to purchase my solar charging system and a friend, Barb Giles, offered to donate funds to purchase it.  We weren’t sure what exactly what I needed, so when I talked to Julie, she ended up apologizing for them ignoring me, and offered me a pro-discount on a 14R roll up solar charger.  Thanks, Julie! And, THANK YOU, BARB!

PowerFilmSolar_r14a

I’ll order my sleeping bag today, and a GoPro camera.  GoPro has not responded to my sponsorship proposal, nor has Cascade Designs for a sleeping bag.  That’s okay, though.  I am content with all the things I have been given.  Oh, and I will probably purchase a GPS device, but not sure yet.  Norm Miller will have one we can use to get to Brower’s Spring.

My Kokatat gear should be arriving any day.  That will complete my paddling gear.  I’m excited about looking it all over.  Once I have all of my gear, I will need to start puzzle piecing everything into the boat.  That will be the biggest challenge.  I normally carry everything but the kitchen sink with me, everywhere I go.  My first backpacking trip, when I was 16-years old, was unforgettable because I was ribbed extensively due to all the stuff I had to unload out of my pack. I cannot remember details, but somewhat recall a big tube of Crest toothpaste being the brunt of long-lasting jokes.  Hey, one has got to keep their teeth brushed, right?

Veteran paddlers have offered a lot of good advice about food to bring.  I posted a request for their thoughts on the “Missouri River Paddlers” Facebook Group as well as the “Expedition Canoe and Kayakers” Facebook Group.  I received a lot of great ideas, a few of which I have included here:

Dale Sanders:  Tortillas – most any eatable food can be roled into them, very satisfying meal and they have long “shelf life” and available at most grocery stores. Try Nutella rolled in – delicious.

West Hansen Keep it simple: instant oatmeal with Starbucks Via for breakfast. Mid morning sip 1200 calorie bike bottle of SPIZ (half vanilla/half chocolate). Lunch: can of tuna with Cholula sauce and some dehydrated fruits. Mid afternoon – same SPIZ drink. Supper, dehydrated meal with some canned meat mixed in for calories. When racing, I up my SPIZ mix with some extra maltodextrin electrolytes. Sometimes I add a Starbucks Via to the SPIZ. Then we call it SPAZ.

Kathy Norpell Kurzhals: Tuna, tortillas wraps ( cheese sticks, pb&honey, foil chicken breast), brown minute rice with any seasonings, chicken helpers and tuna helpers, pita bread with pepperoni and squeeze tomato paste and cheese-pizza!, polenta, quinoa, even mac’n cheese…….

Marin Medak:   Beef jerky is one of my favorites. Then mini Snickers, and also some fruits – bananas, oranges, apples.

I will include other “good advice” contributions in an upcoming post.  I learned a lot from all of these experienced paddlers.  As a result of the good advice, I have purchased a dehydrator and seal-a-meal machine to vacuum seal the food.  So far I have dried beef, apples, bananas, pineapple, and blueberries.  Next, I will dry vegetables, more beef, some fruit roll-ups, and some sauces.  Yes, you can dry spaghetti sauce like a fruit roll up, and just add water bring it back to sauce.  Cool, eh?

 

Samplings of my first round of drying foods.
Samplings of my first round of drying foods.
Apples, beef jerky, pineapple, bananas and blueberries.

I have just started throwing interesting food items in my basket when I come across them.  Mostly, they are side-dish pastas and rice, which will be wonderful to have after long days of paddling.  I will also make my own trail mix.

Some of the food items I have begun collecting.  I will make my own trail mix.
Some of the food items I have begun collecting. I will make my own trail mix.

I am going to buy some Tanka Bars, too, made and sold by the Oglala Lakotas on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  The bars, and bites, are made with buffalo and cranberries, and are all natural (and delicious, too).  Check out a location that sells them near you and HELP SUPPORT the Pine Ridge Reservation Oglala Lakotas!  The Tonka Bars will serve as my energy protein bars.  I’ve never been ‘into’ Cliff Bars or other types of energy bars.

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Fundraising continues with the hope that I can be financial sustained during my 3 1/2 month excursion.  I am looking forward to the Love Your Big Muddy Blues Benefit on Wednesday, March 27.  The event will be held at a local pub, MoJoe’s (THANK YOU, MOJOE’S!!), on a full-moon night with some of the best blues musicians in Columbia, MO.  It is a jam, so musicians can step up to the stage and contribute their talents.

Poster

The host musicians include John D’Agostino, Dennis Ternamian, Alan Loshbaugh, and Charlie Waddell. Other musicians playing music are Scott McCullough, Zed Zardoz, and Debbie D’Agostino, John’s sister. The D’Agostino family have been blessed with beautiful voices.  Johnny D will be taking names for the jam.  Naked Dave will be MC for the event (Go Dave!), so YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS EVENT!  Free appetizers made with tender loving local care will be provided.  And, buy lots of raffle tickets because you get to choose your own reward!  The more tickets, the more chances to win a great prize!  Big thanks to the committee, headed by Heidi Brunaugh.  Love you guys!

If you would like to sponsor me with a financial donation, please visit my “Donation Opportunities” page, or my GoFundMe page on the web.  To see who has contributed thus far, visit my “Financial Contributors” page on this blog.

Thank you for your support! You are making this happen!

Live fast ~ Paddle slow

See you on the river!!!

Thank you, Eddyline Kayaks

Eddyline_crop

I will be paddling an Eddyline Shasta kayak on my expedition.  Andy Bugh and Bob Bellingham both paddled a Shasta down the Missouri River and loved it.  I bought my boat from Bob Bellingham before he returned to Australia.  I will rechristen the boat, “Blue Moon.”  Likely, there will be a party surrounding the ceremony :).

Eddyline asked me to send them a “wish list” for items they would provide, since I bought Bob’s boat rather than purchasing a new boat at cost.  (Always good to “reduce, reuse, recycle”!)  They have graciously agreed to send me a brand new blue Swift (ultra-light) paddle, fix or replace the cockpit cover, and send out a skid strip to protect the keel.

I am very pleased to have Eddyline as a supporter.  They are a family-run grass roots company and put out a great product.  You can find Bob Bellingham and Andy Bugh’s Shasta testimonial here, just scroll down the page below the photo gallery.

Thank you Lisa, and your family at Eddyline Kayaks!

cropped-shasta-gear_bob1.jpg

A Name for my Ride

My daughter, Haley Rose, came with me to St. Louis yesterday to pick up my Shasta kayak that I bought from Australian Bob Wellington in September.  Bob paddled from Three Forks, Montana, to St. Louis last summer in 89 days.  Following the principle of “reuse,” I bought his boat and gear as he had no desire to ship it all back to Australia.  It was a win-win deal (right, Bob? :)).

BobSittinginBoat
Cool guy in a cool boat at a cool spot

Michael Clark of Big Muddy Adventures was nice enough to store the boat for me over the fall semester while I finished my degree.  After some great conversation about interactive teaching from the river, which is what Michael does with Skype, writing curriculum, and redirecting at-risk youth towards the River, among other cool things, we threw all the gear in the back of the van and tied the Barbara May on to the top.  Haley snapped a photo of me and Michael and the Barbara May.

Michael-me-boat

We stopped and visited with my niece, Rene Freels, and her funny husband, Kyle, and son, Sam, and had a wonderful lunch and good time laughing and talking about the expedition.  We talked about the Kickstarter program (Rene was the first to suggest Kickstarter to me), making T-shirts, social media, sponsorship, donation gift ideas like stickers, signed photos, bumper stickers, boat rides, etc. etc.   Promoting myself does not come naturally.  I welcome any suggestions.  Oh, and we talked about bears.

Although I like the name Barbara May, and I am confident that Bob’s wife is a very sweet woman, I HAVE to rechristen the boat with a new name.  Yes, some people say a boat’s name should bear some special significance to the owner.  Frankly, I have not found warm and fuzzy in a name yet.  “Easy Rider” is my race name in the Race to the Dome paddling race.  I like that name, but mostly for the theme song that goes with it.  You remember the Ballad of Easy Rider by the Byrds, right?  Give a listen:

Haley and I tossed around some names on the ride home from STL but came up virtually empty-handed.  Here are the names we have thus far:  Easy Rider, Rio Oso (river bear, my dog’s name), and Blue Moon.  I’d like to have Pepper in the name somewhere, but can’t get anything to flow.

Pepper on lower tier.  Sugar Lily above.
Pepper on lower tier. Sugar Lily above.

Pepper was my cat, also my very best friend, who went missing on the 4th of July, 2011, one week after moving into my new home.  Still not over it.

So, I am looking for suggestions as to what to name my boat.  Please comment on my blog, or go to my Facebook Page:  LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, “like” the page, if you have not already, and throw out some suggestions for me.  You never know what might strike the harmonious chord.

Live fast ~ Paddle slow

Moving Right Along

So very much to do, but I am loving it.  Having time off this month to focus on planning and preparation is becoming more and more important.  My days are full.

Progress updates include the following:

My daughter, Haley, and I are going to pick up my Shasta kayak tomorrow, December 16.  The boat and all the gear that came with the deal (thanks again, Bob!) is being stored at Michael Clark’s Big Muddy Adventures headquarters in St. Louis.  Merry Christmas to me (payment day is so far removed in the past that they will seem like gifts :))!  Thanks again Michael for storing the boat for me.

Boat and GearJPG

Also, Haley confirmed with me yesterday that she will help with my shuttle.  She will accompany me to Montana, and hang out with me until I get started.  Then, drive my car back home.Xmas_2011_MoRiver

(The bandage on my hand was from last year this time.  I had carpal tunnel surgery on both my hands.  They are great now.)  We’ll definitely stay at Norm Miller’s Base Camp International in Livingston, MT, while I try and assess whether a source start is feasible. This road trip will be the first time we have been out of the state together, or on any type of significant trip, ever.  I cannot wait!

Rod Wellington, who will be paddling through Cooper’s Landing this Monday and Tuesday, will help me get a better idea of what the 300 mile stretch from Brower’s Spring to Three Forks is like.  He is encouraging me to start at the source: “Janet, I wholly encourage you to start at the source. The 298 river miles above Three Forks was my favourite part of the river. it cannot be topped. ”  I have wanted to start at the source since I decided to do this trip.  However, April will offer up additional challenges.

snow at browers

Brower’s Spring drainage heads off to the upper right of this photo (by Norm Miller).  This photo was taken in June.  I will have to start in mid-April.  Not sure if it will be possible, despite my ski-mountaineering background.  Hell Roaring Creek below heads downhill from the spring and, obviously, will not be a paddling stretch.  Seven miles hiking in and seven out.  Something to seriously consider.

HellRoaringCreek

I added a Pay Pal button on this blog (Make a Donation Page).  Financial support is not the only “support” I need, but it is an important one.  Haley and I met with Tina Casagrand yesterday to discuss Kickstarter, an online video fundraising program.  She shared a lot of valuable information with us in this regard.  I have asked Jim Karpowicz, friend, river rat, founder of Missouri River Relief, and creative documentary filmmaker, if he can help me produce a video.  He is willing to help so I hope to meet with him to discuss further.

I also met with the co-founder of Missouri River Relief, Charlotte Overby, who is now River Coordinator at Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF), and beloved by our entire river rat community.  CLF works with and supports groups and non-profits who advocate for wilderness lands managed by Bureau of Land Management (condensed explanation).  CLF supports Friends of the Missouri Breaks Monument.  We are floating ideas around.

UpperMoBreaks

I created a Facebook Page, LoveYourBigMuddy Expedition, so please “like” it.  Part of expedition planning is sponsorship proposals.  Companies like to see lots of exposure potential in their sponsorees.  Social media is a big component of the total experience.  Being as this is my first endeavor, it is likely sponsorship will be light, if not none.  But, one never knows for sure, right?  If you are reading this and have not yet “liked” my FB page, I implore you to do so.

Rod Wellington is due to arrive at Cooper’s Landing Monday and stay over a couple of nights.  He started at the source in June, and is paddling to the Gulf of Mexico.  He is paddling the seven longest rivers in seven continents, all self-powered.

Rod Wellington

We will take good care of Rod at Cooper’s, as we do all of the river folk paddling through.  He can stay for free, take a shower, do his laundry, drink beer, play games, eat a home-cooked meal, run into town, and watch wide-screen surround sound sports/TV/movies.  Monday night is game night at Cooper’s. Yes, like games:  SkipBo, Monopoly, Cribbage, darts, etc.   May be a bit of culture shock.  Although, he’ll be hanging out with river folk family.  We’ll warm him up before sending him back out on the river. Robin and Connie Kalthoff in Waverly set a high bar for taking care of paddlers.  They are about 3 or 4 days upriver, and one of the stops for paddlers on the way; a hard act to follow.  Here they are just yesterday, Friday.

Robin Kalthoff

Rod and I will be discussing the 300 miles between the source and Three Forks quite a bit.

You can visit his website at ZeroEmissionsExpedition

Zero Emissions Expeditions passionately promotes the practice of low impact, long distance, self-powered exploration.

Oh, one other thing happened last week.  I spoke with my Social Studies methods professor when he was writing up a teaching letter of recommendation for me.  I directed him to the MizzouWire story, which had just posted a couple days earlier.  Then I brought him to my blog site, and he loved all of it, especially the book, “Our Mississippi.”  He asked me to contact him after break and said he would help me with a book.  We’ll see.  I love it when things just fall into place.

Thanks for listening.  -Janet

Solitude

“I had enjoyed the rest in Inuvik. For a moment I had been lulled by the comforts, but the restless feeling had returned. I longed to be on my way. I had missed the solitude terribly.”

-Victoria Jason, author of Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak – One Woman’s Journey Through the Northwest Passage.

Boat…CHECK!

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.

Gear & Sponsorship Considerations

Dave Miller’s book, The Complete Paddler, offers detailed planning information, which relieves me of unnecessary anxiety.  I am currently absorbed in the section entitled:  Clothing, Gear, Hardware, Water, Food, and Shelter.  Yep, that about covers my interests right now because I need to know what I need in order to compose and mail off my sponsorship requests.

Although I just purchased a sea kayak recently, I have my heart set on the Eddyline Shasta.  Andy Bugh paddled a Shasta on his Expedition4Educationtrek of the same route (all the way to the Gulf), and loved it.  Bob Bellingham is currently on the river in the same boat, and likes it as well.  Sea kayaks have a smaller cockpit and are quite confining.

Andy Bugh & his Shasta kayak
Expedition4Education – 2011

The Shasta is a tandem kayak that can be adapted to a single seat, converting the boat into a more spacious craft for a three month solo journey.  Eddyline is a family run outfit in Seattle.  They recycle their scrap plastic!  I am hoping they respond to my request.  In the meantime, I will need to mail many more letters to kayak companies who offer a similar design.

Aside from the clothing, i.e., paddling jacket, pants, shorts, sandals, hats, shirts, and under wear, etc., Dave offers a list of gear that is extensive, but essential.  From his list I will be able to direct my letters to specific potential sponsors requesting needed items for the expedition.  The list is long, but kind of interesting to look at, at least for me.

Camp gear:

  • Tent
  • Plastic tarp for use as inside tent liner
  • Bivy bag (optional)
  • Extra nylon parachute cord and tent stakes
  • Small tube of seam sealer
  • Sleeping bag
  • Lightweight fleece bag (to be used as a liner or alone on warm nights)
  • Self-inflating pad with repair kit
  • Stove fuel
  • Fuel bottles
  • Cook kit: nesting pots
  • Large spoon
  • Large pocketknife
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Water purifier with extra filters
  • Small plastic shovel or toilet trowel
  • Small pruning shears or small machete
  • Clothespins and line
  • Water bags and bottles
  • Collapsible water bucket
  • Backpacker’s towel
  • Seasonings, pump-spray margarine, and small bottle of olive oil
  • Backpacker’s freeze-dried fare
  • Bag meats: tuna, chicken, salmon
  • Energy snacks, breakfast bars
  • Powdered drink mix coffee and/or tea, powdered milk/creamer/sweetener
  • Plastic tub of baby hand-wipes, toilet paper
  • Bathroom bags for areas where paddlers must manage their own waste

Miscellaneous Gear

  • Glasses (two pair), reading
  • Sunglasses (two pair)
  • Eyeglasses strap (
  • Map case for kayak deck
  • Waterproof watch with alarm
  • GPS unit with spare batteries
  • Marine band two-way radio with NOAA weather band (waterproof)
  • Dog tags with name, address, phone number, and blood type
  • Camera (water resistant/proof)
  • First-aid kit, snakebite kit
  • I am adding “bear spray”
  • Medications: antibiotics, ear drops, and eye drops
  • Cell phone in small dry box with charging equipment
  • I am adding “thin film solar panels”
  • Medium-sized dry box for odds and ends
  • Assortment of small and medium carabiner clips
  • Binoculars
  • Duct tape, tube of Goop, tube of marine hand-moldable epoxy, multipurpose tool
  • Dry bags for deck: light solid color, one with backpack straps
  • Small stainless steel thermos
  • Fishing pole and real, tackle including a small lure assortment, salt minnows
  • Extra lighters/fire starters
  • Life vest with compass, survival gear, small boat horn
  • Kayak with all the essentials: bilge pump, paddle float, sponge, bailer, throw line bag, flotation bags, and extra rope, bike cable and lock with extra keys.

Are you overwhelmed yet?  Yes, I will need a bigger boat.  🙂