Friday, December 30, 2011


Goal to New Orleans: 1865 miles
Paddled since last blog: 237 miles
Total paddled: 1059 miles
To go: 806 miles
Current location: Memphis, TN on the Mississippi River
Granola bars consumed since last blog: 18   Total: 104
Fun Size Snickers: 4 more bars  Total: 43
Days paddled: 40

Since our last blog post, we have been riding the current of the Mighty Mississippi River.  We continue to be astounded by how enormously huge this river is.  We were also surprised by the irregularities of the current that presumably are caused by features far below the surface.  The topography of the Mississippi River valley is notably flatter than that of the French Broad, the Tennessee, or the Ohio.  It's nucking futs how flat this region is!  In fact, according to John Barry in Rising Tide, our current book, the average slope of the river is, "3 inches to a mile." 

We have started filling large water jugs at municipal sources as opposed to filtering the river. We chose to do this because the river is brown and drains 41% of the continental United States! And as we all know, Americans are dirty and we don't want their wash water. Another interesting feature of the Mississippi is the mud. Although the bank often appears to be packed sand, it's usually mud. By topping her boots in the mud, Kara intimately learned

Paddling Lesson #79
The reason you've heard of Mississippi Mud is it sticks with you.

Not knowing what kind of mileage we would have, we were excited Christmas Day by our distance record of 40 miles. We felt so empowered by our feat that we decided to push the envelope and go for gold. The idea was beyond the pail, but we challenged ourselves to paddle 60 miles in one day. Our strategy involved 1) No hot breakfast, 2) Actually getting up with the alarm, 3) Skip lunch and opt for granola bars while on the water, 4) Paddle until dark. Though we did achieve our goal, we learned

Paddling Lesson #27
If you think paddling 60 miles and eating nothing but granola bars is a good idea, you're wrong.

Now we are in Memphis enjoying much needed showers and laundry.

PS We saw the Delta Mariner again, this time headed back down river.


  1. Memphis! Very impressed with what you two are doing! 60 miles is sick! Dockendorfs are following your trip with envy!

  2. So glad you're in Memphis with Cal and JD enjoying some West TN hospitality... and warm showers!

    Big love,

    Katie & fam

  3. Happy last day of 2011! Love the pics and stories. Glad the drug deal boater was actually a saint with incredible food. We must all remember the good folks way outnumber the bad. I'm bald eagles are all brown like a hawk but huge. Did you not get a photo op at the superman statue in metropolis il? Love uns Bette Erik sean