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Before the start. Blog 1

Nick and Rick work on the modified trailer

It is 5:26am at Coffee Pot landing on the second day of the trip. No cell service on either the iPad or iPhone that we use for communication. I am slightly chilled out of the sleeping bag and am wearing about half the clothes I brought. The stars are out and I can feel the dew forming on my toes. Pat, Markus, and Max are still asleep and felt like. Thirty meters away sit our two maroon canoes, and maybe another 30 meters from them downstream is the babble of the “Mighty Mississippi.” A road is close by and the occasional car slips past us–unseen worlds slipping by.

Its been a blur the past three weeks… Modifying trailers (thanks to Tyler at Applied Handling), working on the website, ordering last-minute things that we ship to Minneapolis, and…oh yeah, getting the last of our two Gig Harbor Boat Works modified Jersey Skiffs and making a few extra modifications of our own… Working with Brant and Justin of the OAR Northwest Education Team, writing and talking to teachers… It felt like juggling not quite neutrally buoyant balls underwater. On the surface nothing seemed particularly visible, and if we stopped they might sink without anything ever being actually visible.

Rex, boats and Helpful Bus in Devils Tower

Then there was the road trip. An old buddy of mine, Nick, an artist on his way to masters of fine arts program in NYC was kind enough to help and with me with the driving and was in the mood to take the circuitous rout to Gothem via aircraft from Reno, the Helpful Bus with trailer and boats cross country from Seattle to Minneapolis before flying out two nights later.

St. Anthony's falls upper lock.  both are in the city.
St. Anthony’s falls upper lock. both are in the city.

I had never been to Minneapolis, but the warmth of the city was not just the humidity of August. My friend Lauren threw an arrival party for two late and unwashed drivers. Her sister Whitney had helped with logistics before she started school. Her parents had us over at their lovely home by the lake. Nate and Craig let us invade their house for almost a week as we preped for adventure via email and internet and waited for Max and Markus. Diane and John for some lovely meals, canoe offer and help ferrying us to a last minute food shop. Rob for allowing us to store the boats and helpful bus at his lovely property north of the city. We were overwhelmed with the love. Hugs to our Minneapolis river angels.

A lot of work, support and belief goes into a trip like this and its not possible without our grants, partners, and sponsors. I will go into more detail on them througout the trip but I have to check myself to make sure these stay a readable lenght. Check out the some of the folks that made it happen on our support page.

Thanks for watching and we will see you on the water!


  1. Evergreen School says:

    How does it feel to travel from Canada to the Pacific Ocean in a row boat? Is it scary?
    How has the weather been?
    What place would you like to go back and revisit when you have more time?
    How do you feel about rowing now?
    Did you ever get your fishing licenses? If you did what kind of fish did you catch?
    Did your rowboat ever get away from you when you slept at night?

    • Greg Spooner says:

      Hello Evergreen School! Rachael and Leah loved getting your questions, and they’ve answered all of them in a blog post that’s set to post within the next couple of days. Keep ’em coming! -Greg

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