Delayed Start for Mississippi River Expedition

I’m going to be kayaking down the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca, MN to New Orleans, LA (and possibly to the Gulf of Mexico, but that last bit is uncertain right now).

I’d planned to start last Wednesday (May 7, 2014) after a leisurely drive from Las Vegas with a friend of mine, but Lake Bemedji still had floating ice when we arrived.

Insult to injury, even though I’d visited the dentist and doctor a few weeks prior to ensure I’d be fine for the trip, I had something sore in my mouth, something gritty, and puffy (like a gum boil) that erupted during the drive.

It was probably fortunate that Lake Bemedji was iced. My friend flew back home while I went to get a room for a few days, and perhaps see a dentist.

A funny thing about Bemedji (the city): that was the week that the university let out. Rooms were booked for graduation. No rooms to be had.

Oh, well, I decided to get a storage locker, store my boat and gear, and drive back to Las Vegas (and my dentist).

A funny thing about Bemedji (the city): the university students grabbed all the lockers as they were going to be gone for the summer!

I decided to start driving back to Las Vegas, stopping at each mini-store until I found an opening. The first stop at Lake George worked, and I was able to store my gear. That worked out well, as the owner lived in Bemedji and agreed to call when the ice was clear!

I paid a visit to Lake Itasca on the way back to Las Vegas. Really nice park — and really nice people. They commiserated with me that the winter was longer than usual. I was there at the recommended opening, after all. I did a drive-by of the boat launch and walked the Mississippi exhibits while there. A row of rocks to portage is the river start, a bit odd, but nice to know.


Start Sign of the River!


The rocks separate Lake Itasca (left) from the river (right).

I drove back to LV as a speed run; grabbed hotel in Fargo, ND Wednesday, and then drove through to Utah, with a hotel and then five hours to LV.

Back in time for oral surgery on Monday (I had a torus which grew to the inside, pushed the gum off my teeth and then pierced it, so I had raw bone poking my tongue, no wonder it was sore)!

I guess it all worked out for the best; I didn’t have time to set up the blog before I left, but I had time while waiting this week. Saturday (the 17th) I visit my dentist to verify that I’m healed and then Sunday back to MN.

I will probably be entering the lake to start the trip officially Tuesday the 20th. That lets me shop locally for food on Monday (at Bemedji) and verify that all my gear handled storage without harm (I can’t believe it would be harmed, but I’m a developer, until I unit-test it, I don’t believe it works).

Why is a developer going down the river? I spent a year doing work at Bloomberg with some of the best people ever … onsite in New York City. A year almost completely without travel does bad things to nomads. I’m recovering from that with a few months of pure travel.

I’ll try to get posts up weekly (I’m not bringing a laptop with me, just an iPad, which is a whole other story from hell). I’ll be dependent upon WiFi for posts, and in rural MN and the state parks I don’t expect to find a lot. We’ll see.

Keep the Light!

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