2 river miles north of Clearwater,MN to Dayton, MN
I began the day by getting up and moving quick. I felt a little rain coming down and I did not have the rain fly on my tent last night. I packed everything up just before it started raining. I heard a light rumble in the distance, but I decided to make a go at it. I jumped into a quick moving river and was off to a good clip. I made it around a few corners, then lightening. I headed for the nearest shore I could access. I made it to this house on the river, jumped out, and tied up with some rope I just got the other day. The lightening was cracking all over and I was glad to be on land. I went around to the front door of this house to see if anyone was home. No go on that. I sat on a chair under an awning and waited for the storm to pass. I called a friend that I will be staying with in St Paul. We chatted for a bit until the owner pulled up. John, an iron worker, and his dog, Max, greeted me. I told him who I was and why I was there. He invited me in out of the rain. We talked as I waited for the rain storm to pass. He asked me if I was hungry. I had eaten about a hour earlier, but he offered to make me a burger. I could not say no to that. He made a cheese burger for both of us. Chips and a soda made for a good lunch. He let me refill my water bags as they were getting low. As I was loading my boat back up, I asked him if he would mind if I got some shots with him and his dog. He agreed. I got a few good ones of him posing, then his dog decided it wanted to play fetch. He took the stick and launched it from the hill we were on. Off went the dog. This dog, who he says was “the best $10 ever spent for a dog”, is a black lab/golden retriever mix. The dog was so friendly and full of energy. He got the stick and I saw my opportunity. I proceeded to get multiple great shots for my book. I will get him the copies, but he said ok to my ideas for them. We traded a couple more stories and then I was off. He invited me back whenever I was ever in the area. John was a good guy. He also said he will keep an eye out for tomorrow as I enter Minneapolis.
The rain was on and off for most of the day. I was in the mindset to clip off some miles. I would make it a point to say “hello” to all that I saw along the river this day. As I entered Monticello, I saw this guy with two little kids coming over to the bank to see me. I saw this little blonde girl running over too. I figured I would stop and say “hi” to the little kids. As I got closer, another kid joined and then another, and then five more. The dad, Mark, and his wife, who I forgot her name, all were curious about my trip. The little ones liked my carbon paddle and the other ones were asking questions. I found out that all 10 (plus one more on the way) were their kids. I wanted to get out and High-5 them. I gave them my web site so they could follow me down the river. I said bye to them and was back at it.
The current was strong today. The news said the river will rise another 3.5′ in the next few days and peak out on Thursday. After a couple days off, I will be right back in it. They have had a record amount of rainfall for the month of June. Their drought issues are long past. I saw what I thought was a mobile home in the middle of a tree forest. This forest is in the center of the river. Upon closer inspection, it was a deserted house boat. It looked like it was not going to be going anywhere for awhile. I kept rocking down the river until I saw a pull out/boat landing. I got off the current and decided to have dinner. This dinner was served on a picnic table in the river. I guess I can check that one off my “instant fill” bucket list. I carried on afterwards and headed South.
I made it as far as Dayton when I realized I was getting tired. I crossed the river as I saw some houses where the river had moved up on to their back yards. I found a place that had a clear entry and parked on the lawn. I walked up to ask the owners if I could camp out on the back yard. Insiah, a lovely woman from South Africa, answered the door. I asked her and she made a quick call to her husband to check. They said ok. There was something cool about this woman. I went out back to unpack my camping gear. She came out and we started talking. She was well traveled and we shared a lot of the same ideas on poeple, the great outdoors, and life in general. I was happy to meet such an awesome woman. She asked me if I would like to sleep in their screened in patio. I wound ever turn one of those down on a trip like this. She also said I was welcome to a shower and to come in and talk. We talked about politics, relationships and the flow of life with the Mississippi river. I could not have been happier to meet her. When her husband arrived, I filled him in on what I was doing. He is a marketing guy and he had some cool thoughts for me to pursue. I am going to try some of those. After a shower, I climbed into my sleeping bag and called it another beautiful day having met some amazing people. I will get photographs of them in the morning.
Today’s life lesson I relearned:
Always keep moving forward. You never know when you will run into someone whom may change your life. It could happen any given moment. Keep your eyes, heart, and arms open and things happen. On the same note, do not be afraid to be that person in case someone else bumps into you.
Never. Miss. A. Moment.