“Spend as much time as possible on mountains, in small boats, or otherwise out in the weather; if you never get wet, cold, exhausted or scared, you won’t properly appreciate being dry, warm, rested and safe.” ~ Peter Jay

"I’m an adventuring river rat at heart. Put me on a floating piece of driftwood and I’m happy." ~ Christina Glauner

"There’s folly and foolhardiness on one side and daring and calculation on the other." ~ C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dam To Dam Labor Day Paddle

This past weekend Roger Debates, Matt Story, and I set out to complete the last 70 mile of the Missouri River between the Oahe Dam and Sioux City that we have not covered yet. We would be joined by David Mays and Rebecca Cruse with logistical support from Steven Joseph. The course would be from the Ft Randall Dam to the Gavin's Point Dam.

We met at Steven Joseph's house in Utica, SD on Friday night and camped in his yard. On Saturday morning, we began our shuttle which included dropping my pickup and my kayak off in Springfield. Rebecca needed to be back in Pierre by Sunday afternoon, so the plan was for her and I to paddle a tandem kayak borrowed from Katie Engle on Saturday and on Sunday morning we would swap boats at the Springfield boat ramp and Rebecca would return to Utica, SD with my pickup to retrieve her car.

Once at the Ft Randall Dam boat ramp, we unloaded our boats and began loading the remaining gear into them. Steven road along with us and would return to Utica with Matt's truck with Roger's trailer.

The river flow is quick below Ft Randall. It is a section of the MNRR; extending to Running Water, SD. We were maintaining 6-7 mph early in the trip. We took three breaks throughout the day, at sandbars near Sunshine Bottoms and Verdel and at the Running Water boat ramp. During the second break, it was very warm out and our motivation was low. So, we took a little break to cool off in the river. It felt great and seemed to re-energize everyone.

We reached our planned campsite, a sandbar just upstream of Springfield by sunset. We covered about 44 miles on Saturday. Bugs were bad, so after preparing and eating our suppers we didn't stay up too long before calling it a night. During the night we got hit by a T-storm. Since we set out tents up on a sandbar, the stakes were just about useless. We were the only things holding our tents down. Thankfully, we weathered the storm just fine, as did the boats.

After a quick breakfast in the morning, we loaded our gear back into the kayaks and headed for Springfield. Once we had the overnight gear and the tandem loaded into my pickup (and my boat unloaded), we headed back out towards Gavin's Point and Rebecca took my pickup back to Utica to retrieve her car. We covered 3.5 miles to Springfield on Sunday morning.

As expected, we lost the current as we made our way into Lewis and Clark Lake. We also gained a slight tailwind. The benefits of the tailwind were short lived though. As we progressed, the recreational motorboat traffic began to increase. The tailwind wasn't even a thought while we fought through boat wake coming from every direction. I believe we took two breaks on L & C Lake, one was just downstream of the Lewis and Clark Boy Scout Camp and the other was on a rocky beach about 5 miles from the dam.

Steven met us at the marina boat ramp at the face of the dam and we loaded up to head back to Utica. We straightened gear out and showered before heading into Yankton to reward ourselves with supper at JoDean's (a large buffet). We covered about 21 miles from Springfield to the Gavin's Point Dam and totaled about 68.5 miles over the weekend.

It was a great trip and I believe everyone enjoyed it. Pictures can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/roger.debates/media_set?set=a.10153207685650131&type=1

Monday, July 29, 2013


Last week I participated in the MR340, the longest non-stop canoe and kayak race in the world, with a few friends. Team SoDak was made up of Steven Dahlmeier and Cecil Caulkins running support crew for Kati Albers, David Mays, and me and Donna Savage running support crew for Doc Savage.

The checkpoints and a couple of other important boat ramps were as follows:
START Kaw Point (RM 367)
CP1 Lexington (RM 317)
CP2 Waverly (RM 294)
CP3 Miami (RM 262)
Dalton (RM 239)
CP4 Glasgow (RM 226)
CP5 Katfish Katy's (RM 180)
CP6 Jefferson City (RM 144)
CP7 Hermann (RM 98)
Washington (RM 68)
CP8 Klondike (RM 56)
FINISH St Charles (RM 29)

The race began at 7 AM on Tuesday to the firing of muskets and a cannon; 8 AM for the tandem and team boats. When I paddled into Miami on Tuesday night, I decided to take a 30 minute break and eat some real food, fried chicken. I was already finding out that the food sold at the checkpoints sounded better than the tortillas and peanut butter I had brought.

I pushed on from Miami with a couple of local paddlers and Dave and Kati tried to get some sleep at Miami. Part way to Glasgow, I was struggling to keep up, so around 4:30 AM (Wednesday) I pulled off at the Dalton access for some sleep. I covered 128 miles on the first day. Doc pushed all the way to Glasgow on the first day. The local paddlers were Charles and Bob; they will come up again.

I left Dalton around 6:30 AM. When I arrived at Glasgow, Charles and Bob's boats were there. I waited for Steven to arrive so I could resupply then I was off for Katfish Katy's. At Katfish Katy's, I had an awesome bbq pork sandwich and coleslaw. Delicious. From there it was on to Jeff City. I ended up paddling with Charles and Bob again when night came too. This is also when lack of sleep hit me. My depth perception was gone. I kept thinking the trees on shore were in the river until I saw a boat go through them. We arrived at Jeff City at midnight. I think Charles and Bob pushed on to camp on a sandbar between Jeff City and Herrman. I later found out that David's tent was near me too. Kati slept at Katfish Katy's. Doc, I think, pushed to Herrman on day 2. I covered 95 miles on day 2.

I had planned to get on the water by 5 AM, but I didn't wake up until then. Instead, I departed around 6:30 AM which was fine. A paddler I quickly caught up to said that her brother, further ahead, had texted that the fog was bad at 5 AM. I ate more real food at Hermann and kept pushing. At Klondike, I had Cecil pour some Coke into an empty Gatorade bottle, so I had a source of caffeine on me. The first half of the final stretch went fine. I had some trouble navigating a couple of times. There was a wing dike that I got stuck behind that seemed to stretch halfway across the river. After that, a few other paddlers showed up and I finished with them before 4 AM on Friday. My time was 68:48. My last day was 115 miles. And, somehow, I finished before Charles and Bob.

By the end of the race, my hands were blistered up pretty good. My feet were sore from wearing the five fingers all week and ruddering. My side was sore from my paddling rotation. And, my back had a large rash from my wet shirts riding up on me. It was the single toughest event of my life, but totally worth enduring.

What I would do differently: use gurney goo to prevent blisters, petroleum jelly to prevent chafing, carry a spotlight. My 100 lumens headlamp was not as adequate as I could of hoped. It worked, but something with more range would be better. I would push all the way to Glasgow on day 1 and Hermann on day 2. Also, spend less time at checkpoints.

I should also note we had near perfect weather for the race. Highs in the 80s and lows in the lower 60s or upper 50s. Also, a little wind (headwind though) and no storms. A little rain for Dave and Kati at the finish.

Online pictures/videos:
http://vimeo.com/71371006 => from the MR340 FB group

Monday, July 1, 2013

Platte Creek Rec Area To North Point Rec Area

This past weekend, Katie Albers, David Mays, Roger Debates, Matt Story, and I finished off Lake Francis Case, paddling 31 miles from Platte Creek Recreation Area to North Point Recreation Area (adjacent to the Fort Randall Dam). Wind was out of the north at 21 mph with gusts up to 26 mph. We had 2 to 3 foot waves at times, including during a couple of open water crossings to shave distance when the wind was a side wind. Only one swimmer on the day. We did a great job working together to get Kati back into her boat in the middle of the river amongst the waves. It was also a great weekend for camping. Roger Debates and I used our hammocks instead of setting up our tents.

Kati and Matt. Picture courtesy of Roger Debates.
Kati, Matt, and me. Picture courtesy of Roger Debates.

Matt, me, Kati, and David. Picture courtesy of Roger Debates.
Roger Debates
Matt Story

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oahe Marina to Antelope Creek to Farm Island

I took Team Nautical But Nice on a 20+ mile training cruise on May 12. We started off with breakfast at Oahe Marina, then began the cruise. We kayaked down to Antelope Creek, then back up to the Farm Island boat ramp in Hipple Lake. We covered 22.4 miles.

Lake Francis Case - Dude Ranch to Snake Creek to Platte Creek

Well, I am going to try to catch up on a few blog posts. If you have been following the Pirates of the Missouri Facebook page, I have been posting my trips there over the past couple of months.

Doc Savage, Nancy Smidt, Matt Story, Steve Story, Roger Debates, Kati Albers, and David Mays joined me for a training cruise for the SDKC and MR340 over the April 28/29. We met at the Snake Creek Recreation Area on Friday, April 27. We camped there Friday and Saturday night. We shuttled to Oacoma/Dude Ranch on Saturday and Platte Creek Rec Area on Sunday. Saturday ended up being 12.5 hours on the water for 38.1 miles. Sunday was 9.4 miles.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Facebook page

On the right, you will notice a link to a Pirates of the Missouri Facebook page. Go like it to keep up with my kayaking and other outdoor endeavors. I have been posting there instead of here lately. Thanks!