Richard Sojourner: At least five years ago Richard ask me if I would paddle the Mississippi River with him. Reluctant to say “yes” (for several years) I eventually did and ask him immediately to join me on the expedition. On May 15 2014, exactly one year from our start at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, we announced our intentions to each paddle this great river solo form the Source to Sea. I in my canoe and Richard in his canoe and later on his kayak. Richard was the key to my success. Without him I doubt very seriously if I would have set goals so high - Solo padding the Mississippi River from Source to sea in 8o days at 80 years old.
Plans were for Richard to paddle on ahead few minutes, when we reach the gulf, claim the record as oldest person to paddle the full length of the Mississippi River and then for me to paddle in and take the record. Unfortunately, with extreme high waters, coupled with a record high heat wave between Greenville and Vicksburg Mississippi, Richard was ordered by Doctors not to continue on paddling at that time. This was by far the most emotional day of the entire trip. I still tear up, as I am doing now, from this disappointment. The silver lining though - Richard was able to re-start at Vicksburg, few weeks later and paddle through to the Salt Water.
Thank you Richard, and may you be blessed. After all you should have been on the stage with me accepting the Spirit of Adventure award. On behalf of all the kids, River Angels and Voters thank you Richard for supporting my program, all the way from Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. I could not have had a better person to paddle with. You are my friend for life.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.