Monday, October 27, 2008

[LIVE Day 128] Grand Rapids

Hello everyone.

The weather is getting cold, I can't get my socks dry, and yesterday I lost the flashlight I was using to find campsites the previous two nights.

And one thing I don't think I've mentioned here is I've been operating on a shoestring since my arrival in the US because I had no bank cards and my savings is locked up in a certificate of deposit in Bank of America - which has no branches in Minnesota.

But worse than that, a large crack has been developing down the center of the hull.

I am trying to decide what to do. Many an adventurer has in the past over-wintered with the natives, from Lewis and Clark to Peter Jenkins of "Walk across America" fame. On the other hand, when the Thief River Falls newspaper posts a front page story saying I face obstacles that others haven't - "darkness and colder weather", it sounds like a challenge.

It may take at least a day or two to make this decision, and certainly that long to make any repairs, if possible. Buying a replacement canoe is perhaps a possibility, although it makes the bicycle portage look even more ridiculous. I hope my friends and family here can offer advice on how best to proceed and honor the help that I have already received.

One thing is certain: these nine days on the Mississippi have convinced me more than ever that I must float the entire river. The question is "When, and in what boat?"


Marlene in Newfolden MN said...

Hi Kevin,
I vote for taking the winter off!
It is supposed to be 15 degrees here in Minnesota tonight. I'm glad you read the copy of Walk Across America. If Peter Jenkens can take time off IN TEXAS (for crying out loud!) - you can avoid spending a midwest winter in a canoe "up north". It will not compromise your adventure - it will just give you more time to savor it. I should have also given you another book that I have about a couple of guys that walked the Applacian Trail. "A Walk in the Woods" is the title, (copyright 1998)by Bill Bryson. Parts of it are outrageously funny. Even there near the east coast (where they don't have real winter) those good old boys didn't do the whole trail in one event..
Marlene in Newfolden (that Minnesota mom you met on the way)

Rebecca said...

I agree... it's already getting awfully cold in Southern Illinois, as in down in the 20s tonight, and although the river may not freeze this soon, the ground will certainly begin frosting, and will leave you less cover amongst the trees and such. Taking time off doesn't mean giving up. I know you'll make it all the way, but I just hope it's when it's warmer and a dip in the river would be a good thing rather than a chance at hypothermia.

John said...

I don't pretend to have any particular insight into the spirit or ideology that lays behind the trip, although I'd have to say that I recommend you follow it. I don't think that you can allow either historical precedent nor the expectations of others (including both those assisting you and those warning you) to determine what the right course is. I think your best path is to stay true to your own mythology.

Having said that, I think the most interesting mythology would be for you to get job in sales at the Mall of America, and then write hilarious anecdotes about the contrast between your experiences there, and on the water.

Jessica said...

Our prayers are with you.

Sarah K said...

The news article from Thief River was pretty awesome - I'm glad to hear so many people have been able to help you out along the way.

After reading the discussion on JEM about the crack, I hope you'll be able to find some meterials to fix it.

Whether you continue or not, I wish you well.