Okay folks, here’s our big challenge! Our AnnA (Type 1 Diabetic) turns 11 tomorrow, June 8th. In honor of her birthday, an anonymous donor has agreed to match funds raised for the next 48 hours. Our goal is to reach an overall team goal of $11,000 at the end of the challenge. Again, for every dollar donated, our “person” will match it – dollar for dollar. Here’s a screen print of our funds raised to-date. With the donor’s match, we only need $947.73 to make it to $11k.
In addition to that, we are thrilled to see Dale and Team cross through the St. Anthony Lock & Dam on Tuesday, June 9th. This dam will be closing at the end of the day, so they will most likely be the very last boats to come through the lock before it closes for good.
Yall get your checkbooks out and help us meet this ultra cool, ultra exciting goal to celebrate Dale’s accomplishments and AnnA’s 11th birthday!!
** Challenge ends promptly at 3pm Central Time on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. **
If you prefer to mail a check payable to JDRF, please send a text message to 270-893-0310 with your pledge amount and we will send you the address to mail it to.
Some days start easy and end with a roar.
Late start today after a great evening at the Neibler’s. John Sullivan and I paddled together, catching up on the latest from Facebook, Mississippi River Paddlers, and other news. Marvelous homes lined the river’s edge, making the scenery something to behold. Portages were easy, as we were able put in just below the Coon Rapids dam.
Our island campsite was wonderful to start with. Beautiful sunset, wildlife to admire, and an overall perfect spot. Then, obnoxiously loud music from the park across from where we were camping intruded on our environment. Soon though, the party was extinguished when an intense weather cell passed nearby.
The dam operators started releasing water, so the river waters on our island campsite began to quickly rise. We had to get up in the middle of the night to move the boats further into the woods. Even though the bad weather was long gone, the wind was giving it her best shot to blow my tent away. Some of my stuff got wet, but the tent held up very well through the hard rains and swift winds. Now to clear up all the mess and find a new campsite closer to the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam.
Friday, June 5th, Day 22, provided perfect paddling weather: fast water, no headwind, and glorious sunshine. I even got internet service at a riverside country club, which was an added bonus. We arrived at the campsite later in the afternoon, which gave me a wonderful experience of just floating near the river’s edge with the first sun in four days on my back. Just perfect.
Day 23’s paddle was a short 13-mile trek to the home of wonderful River Angels for a bit of R&R. Tom & Kris Niebler provided hot showers, shopping, and delicious food. The evening hours were filled with great conversations, stories, and even some movies by Brad Tallent and Austin Graham of Adventureitus Productions. Fellow paddler and River Angel, John F. Sullivan, also met up with us on the water today and plans to paddle with us for a few days. We welcomed his presence to our "flotilla".
Our plans for Sunday include a late morning departure, with a leisurely two-day paddle to Minneapolis. We will be paddling through the St. Anthony Lock & Dam on Tuesday, June 9, as it will be permanently closing after our cross-through. Coincidentally, that is also the day after AnnA's 11th birthday. See next blog entry for information about the big birthday challenge.
To add to what was already a fantastic day, I was thrilled to see Alex and his parents greet us at the campsite with food and drinks. We all enjoyed their many stories and the laughs were just as welcomed as the cold beverages!
Got up at 0500 this am to paddle 22 miles today. It was overcast, same as past two days, which had also been very windy. Was hoping the early start would be somewhat wind free. It was…for the first 30 minutes. Paddled by an island where the Adventuritus Productions crew was waiting to video the paddle through. All was well there, but from that point to the dam was another story.
All of a sudden a blast of wind that turned my boat sideways. Conditions deteriorated quickly. Clearly, rain was on the horizon. I had to hug the coast line which normally gives some protection be with the wind directly up river not even that worked. With difficulty, I made it to the Dam a little before 1000. I would not be able to leave the Blanchard Dam area for almost six hours.
Started my portage routine where I calculated that it would take me five trips to get all of my gear down to the put in. I had just dropped off the first load when the sky fell. There I was with stuff on both ends unprotected from theft possibility and weather. I was tired, cold, and alone. As Richard said, “This is the mother of all portages”. It took the better part of two hours to get everything down in the rain, including the boat.
Tom Graves eventually located a RV Park three miles downriver, so we stuffed all the wet stuff into our boats and paddled. Fortunately, there was a large Pavilion where we pitched tents and began to dry stuff out. We now are fourteen miles short on our day 20 goal.
It’s only 7pm, and I am already in bed. This is day 19 of paddling and I am still excited about what challenges the river will throw at us tomorrow and in the days to come. I hope to get a few miles in before the strong winds arrive by getting an early start tomorrow morning.
In the month of May, this amazing newly formed group made multiple donations to JDRF through my team, Dale Sanders Mississippi River Source to Sea. The proceeds from a very successful bake sale (in honor of the late Darryl Bobett) and from weekly cruise-ins bring them to a grand total of $1792.75 donated. To date, they are the largest contributors to our team goal of $20,000.
To the GRMC President, Raymond Yates, I would like to personally extend an offer for your group to join me and my team at ANY port. Nothing would please me more than to have the opportunity to shake the hands of each of these fine men who worked so hard to raise these funds. I have heard that you like to "give it back" and so do I. My home in Memphis will always be open to you and yours.
I can’t thank you guys enough…groups like yours truly make a difference!
After a grueling day of paddling through horrendous winds, we made it 23.5 miles down the mighty Mississippi. (Total river miles to date: 377.6) Shooting photos along the way was virtually impossible because the wind was blowing directly into my face and it was all I could do to keep the boat facing into the wind. Except for a short 30 minute lull, the winds followed along the relatively straight stretch of the river. On the bright side, the river was fast flowing and we managed to set a speed record of 8.7 mph over the 23 miles we traveled today.
We camped at Green Prairie canoe camp, and I love this spot. I simply don’t have much time left for blogging after taking care of the boat and personal needs each night. Wish I could post more, but I find that I must be in bed by 9pm to get enough sleep each night.
I'm the Grey Beard Adventurer. But you can call me Dale Sanders, and these are my stories.