Back to Bemidji… the Hard Way

The River winds through lakes both man-made and God-made.It’s hard, y’all.  It’s real hard.  Paddling is an endurance sport.  Many will wax philosophic about the majesty and wonder of a trip such as this, but duuuuuude, I mean… Holy Lactic Acid, Batman.  Not many get to paddle down the Mississippi River.  I am privileged, I know this… but it is WORK! my friends.  My left wrist is swollen to twice its size, Phillip’s morning greeting sounds something like this:  arghhhhhhuuuuuuhhhhhhhaarrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuu (No, he’s not doing anything nasty; he’s yawning.), my mom’s topical pain medication is being used as liberally as baseball players injecting female hormones, and my shoulders are currently threatening to pack up and relocate to Mexico if I don’t give them a day off.  That being said…  I’M LOVIN’ IT!

It really is great out there!  I mean it’s beautiful.  We will have a video for you shortly, but I can tell you for a city boy like myself it’s unbelievable:  Red-winged Blackbirds scan the area perching on cattails spying you as you safely glide past their nest, ducks with a bright red mohawk feign a broken wing as a school of ducklings hurry past the boat to momma, 2 Bald Eagles have flown overhead… majestic, wonderful.  We have power issues (which is why you may not see video as often as you would like, but we will commit to having posts consistently about our adventures), we have muscle ache issues, argument issues (limited to one a day :)), wrongly-coded-map (or are we just too dumb to read them) issues, issue issues, but we are here, on the river (or lake as the case may be).  Most don’t know this but through Minnesota, the river billows into wide wide wide lakes over and over again.  Want an example?  Check this picture out.

As I type this, I’m on Lake Bemidji beach as the sun takes its long summer drop out of the sky, and we have to make the next campsite by sundown.   No, the sherriff won’t kill us, but the bugs sure as hell will!  I think it’s a bug city ordinance.  So we are giving you the highlights of our Lake Itasca State Park Mis Adventure as plain Jane as we can.  Just one more thing before I go…

We Have Declared a Holy War on Bugs…

I’m damned-as-hell serious.  The following m-f-ing bugs are now officially on America’s Terror Watch List:

1.  Deer Flies – “My sole purpose in life is to land on your head and try to chew through your skull!”

“Uhhhhh, well, do you do anything else… any party tricks?

“Nope.  I pretty much just want to chew through your skull.  If you’d not kill me, I’d sincerely appreciate it.”

“Okay, so, could you not chew my head then.  I mean I dig your rap and everything, but I mean for real maybe you could try leaves or
something with a little more nourishment.”

“Nope.  Outside my skill set.  I pretty much chew heads.”

Die.

2.   Ticks – these Mother Grabbing Sons of Mother… Graa-bers need to die.  God needs to rethink just what the h-e-double-toothpick he was thinking when he brought these (explitive, explitive, and more explitives) into existance.

3.  Leeches – HOOOOOOOOLLEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYY CRAP!  I had never had a leech on me in my life.  The closest I had to something that gross and disgusting sucking my blood was…  Okay I’ve never had anything try and suck my blood.  (When I hear Sarah Palin talk, I feel like the blood’s being sucked from my face, does that count?)  I mean you look down and there is this banana slug clamping it’s jaws on your shin.  “Yuuummmmm, blooooooooooood!” it screams.  I mean I swear to Jesus’s nephew you can hear the slurping sounds as your hemoglobin exits your shin/calf/foot/insert other apparently fang-lickin’ good body part.  I was pulling the boats over some marshy areas and when we finally got some depth back in the river to be able to paddle.  I jumped back in the boat and SCREEEEEEEAMED!  “What the, I mean, what hell!”

“What!”  Phillip asked.

“There’s a… there’s a… what the hell!”

I yanked them off but, dude, for a city-slicker like myself, leeches are enough to make me never want to look at a fresh body of water again.  Leeches, you have been fatwahed.

4.  Flies of all kinds

5.  And Mr. Granddaddy of them all:  Muskeetoes!!!  (That’s how Henry Schoolcraft, the man who discovered Lake Itasca, spelled it.)
Okay, these little buggers (tee hee) are officially fatwahed.  I mean I give all Americans and citizens of Planet Earth and Mars full authorization to waterboard, fireboard, earthboard, marsboard, behead, electroshock, bamboo shoots under their mosquito fingernails, and anything your dirty little Dick-Cheney-lovin’ ass can think of to make these sons of the whoriest mosquito pirate hooker you can imagine… D I EEEEEEEEEE.  I mean if you really want to torture someone, lets put the detainees in Supermax and keep Guantanamo open for these bloodsucking flyboys.

So let it be known:  These groups of Animal Kingdom Terrorists are on our official watch list.

Thank You
Thank you to all the newcomers to the site.  We’ve met tons of people who have validated the beautiful and inspirational quality of this trip.  Everyone we meet utters some version of, “Thats… so cool.”  So thank you.

It is on to GRAND RAPIDS, MINNESOTA.  Look at it on the map.  We will be puttin up a “Follow Us” map and a “Twitter Update” on the page just as soon as we get closer to the next batch of civilization.

Finally, if you want to send me a text on the road, er, river, my number is (512) 828 – 2471.  The very first online publication of my phone number… scary.

Love you guys,

Ryan

4 thoughts on “Back to Bemidji… the Hard Way”

  1. Guys,

    We met you at the source of the Mississippi on Monday, June 22nd, the day you said you were launching your river cruise to the Gulf.
    We will check out when you plan to pass through/stop at/St. Paul, MN, our home town. Maybe we can wave hello or offer you a hometown treat from Summit Brewery (on the left bank atop the bluff just downstream from the I-35E bridge).

    Blessings,

    JIM and SHARON

  2. Greetings from Hannibal MO (home of Mark Twain). Congrats on the start of your adventure just keep your heads up and push through the pain, it will go away. Maybe try putting some hip rotation into your stroke to take tension off your shoulders. Anyways, I would like to inform you that myself and Rich will be living in New Orleans upon completion of our adventure, so when you make it to the Big Easy, get a hold of us and we will buy the first round of cold malt beverages. Until then, Good Luck!
    -Phil

  3. Sunday: We’ve been thinking alot about you 2 and the wind advisory. We’ll relax after we know you made it across Lake Winnemegoshish (Winnie).

    Thanks for sharing part of your adventure with us. FYI: the deck is done and all we need to add on is some steps. Thanks for the help.

    May the Lord and Mother Nature watch over you.

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