Back to our “regular programming” as they say. But first, thanks to all of you who have been praying for the people in Port au Prince, and who have donated to the Haitian Pilgrims or the other organizations doing such vital work right now in Haiti. I don’t know who you are, but I’m told there were quite a few checks received from people who said they were In the Navy! St. Philip, our old church, raised over $27,000 for the Haitin Pilgrims work. Our current church, with it’s own financial problems, pulled in almost $8,000. I know this is happening all over the world and it confirms my faith in people.
This idea of entering the MR340 is a leap of faith, and your prayers, encouragement, and contributions really confirm mine. Two other great things have happened. First our friend Victoria offered to let me use her ‘yak for training until I can manage to get something better suited for 340 miles of the Missouri River. So, it’s official. The WRN ship Victoria will set sail – as soon as the weather warms up a little!
The second amazing thing was a phone call from Wally, another member of the Navy and one of Los Humongos Paddleos. It seems he has a one man racing canoe down in Austin that he’s offered to let me use for the race, if I need it. So, in the event that I can’t get the kayak I want, I’ll have one to train in and a good fast canoe for the race. This thing is really starting to happen. Again, thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.
While it was cold out I did a little research. And what I uncovered is a real incentive for me to get out there and in better shape….
* The MR340 is the world’s longest river race. 340 miles from Kansas City to St. Charles. That’s 30 miles longer than the length of Lake Michigan.
* 1/3 of the people who start the race will not finish.
* At a normal rate of paddling, it takes about 200,000 strokes to finish. With a 16 ounce paddle, that amounts to lifting 108 tons. A semi truck carries a load of about 25 tons.
* The barges that “share” the river with the racers are made up of sections that are each 30′ wide and 200′ long. Each section (I think they’re called tows) carry up to 800 tons. They draw 9′ of water and rise 4′ above the water loaded. Unloaded they’re about 10′ above the water. And 4 or 5 of these are strapped together. A monster that’s 60 times the length and 3,200 times the weight of a fully loaded kayak is, well, best avoided. Especially at night. They don’t stop or turn easily.
* The Missouri River carries 1/6 of all the watershed in North America. With the current snowpack upriver it should be fast and deep at the end of July. A lot bigger than some of the creeks I paddled in the Ozarks!
OH BOY. Ok, enough blogging, I gotta hit the floor for some pushups.
PS: Do you like the WRN t-shirt? If you’re on the list for updates to this blog you’re entered for a chance to win one of these limited edition collector’s items. I know many of you are getting this from friends who’ve forwarded it – you’re not entered! So, send me an email for your chance to win!