2003 World Record Set:
18 days, 4 hours, 51 minutes!
Mississippi River Challenge for
- May 10, 2003 6 AM to May 28, 10:51 AM 2003-
A 2,348 Mile Marathon to Support a Marathon of Research!
Just got a call from Don Keller (in New Orleans) who was called by Andrew Gribble, road crew member - Team Hope began the World Record Challenge on time and are well on their way! We will be updating the online map manually from time to time when the APRS/GPS system is not in use or not able to send a good enough signal to the system at findu.com.... Just wanted to let everyone know the race is on and we will see some map updates soon.....Also heard from Tammy Hanson this morning, Team Hope Roadie who lives in Aitken MN. Tammy's daughter, Rachel, has Rett Syndrome. Tammy said she was waiting at the Headwaters of the Mississippi this morning, 5:30 AM, 5:40 AM, 5:45 AM, 5:50 AM .... no Team Hope in site.... just as she started wondering "Was today the start? Is there more than one place to start?" Team Hope drove up, unloading incredibly fast, the paddlers got there boat in the water and got going at 6 AM... not much fan fare, not much time! Too much partying at the Bonanza last night!
We got to the headwaters and sent them on their way
at 6 am...after a couple quick pictures of course. Then we headed
towards Coffee Pot Landing to have some coffee and rolls. This is
where Clark's wish came true and we lowered food to him from the bridge.
But, now that I think of it, Bob was first in the canoe and got to
the bags of food first........hhhm, I wonder if Clark got any of those
The weather held out pretty good and didn't start the
heavy mist until we were packed up and ready to head out again. This
was going to be our last visit for the day and we were going to head
home from there, but in true Hanson form, we were addicted once again
to these guys and their river adventure. We headed down some dirt
roads in a caravan of about 4 vehicles to find the next meeting spot
where the road crew was going to have lunch for the paddlers. It was
a good thing that Bob's wife Janet is on her toes and one step ahead
of Bob, she had beef stew all ready to go when they showed up 45 minutes
ahead of when we thought they would be through. They got their bowl
of stew and Bob got a quick hug from Janet before paddling out once
again. I have to add that Janet can run pretty fast, once she heard
that Bob needed a hug she dropped everything and ran for the river
bank, it was pretty neat to see. Bob's daughter and grandkids were
there also to cheer them on and they are pretty proud of their Grandpa,
that is for sure.
We headed home from there but oh darn, I have Janet's
coat, she left it in our vehicle when we were warming up so guess
we a go find her and give it back.......Ok, I confess, I was kind
of glad when I saw it there so I knew we would have to be Team Hope
groupies tomorrow also!
I will have more stories to share but I better stop
now, I think I wrote enough!
Just fed the paddlers dinner in Bemidji. They left 2 minutes ago
for the trip across Lake Bemidji. Light drizzle. Temp in the mid 40s.
Just got a call from Road Crew Captain Stan Hanson. Things are going
well from a scheduling perspective, but sounds like some of the electronics
are broken, and his truck is in the shop for repair. Nevertheless,
the paddlers are on or slightly ahead of their own schedule and doing
well. Stan said the road crew was heading towards the "other" side
of Lake Bemidji as he expected the paddlers to be there soon, and
then they would be heading towards Lake Cass. I hope some of the folks
can get some sleep, I'm sure it's been a very exciting day for all
after that big party at the Bonanza last night!
I'd like to remind folks to keep in mind current weather
conditions now, vs. what they will be towards the end of the race
in the New Orleans area.
If this race is like our last one, temperatures towards the end of
the race will reach high into the 80s and 90s during the day, with
extremely high humidity. Clark (paddler) said sleeping in the boat
became very difficult towards the end because of the high heat and
lack of air circulation. Hopefully Bob and Clark won't freeze tonight
when they take turns sleeping and paddling (don't worry, those Kokatat
dry suits will keep them safe and warm - special thanks to our Kokatat
sponsors!) Right now the paddlers have finished crossing Lake Bemidji
and are going towards Lake Cass.
Just spoke with Stan 2 or 3 times -- the satellite phone
kept losing its connection. As best as I can put his calls together,
turns out the solution they reached last night at the Domino Ford
dealership lasted only for the night. His truck wouldn't start
again this morning. But after jump starting it, he was able to drive
it back to the shop. He's currently in a F-150 XLT 4x4 loaner from
the dealership. However, all the running around meant Stan had to
miss the start of the race, as well as the famous shoot thru the culvert!
He finally caught up with the rest of the crew and the paddlers at
Bemidji, where they all had dinner. Stan hopes to meet up next with
the paddlers just before Cass Lake, but if he misses them, he'll have
to head for Knutson Dam and hopefully catch up with them there.
After the next meeting, he said he'll be heading back
for the campground where they were before the race started. Tomorrow
morning, he'll meet Tammy Hanson and her husband. They have graciously
offered to hook up and tow the support trailer until Stan can get
his Expedition out of the shop and back on the road, which should
be later sometime on Tuesday. The Domino Ford shop has to special
order a part, but it can't be ordered until Monday and won't arrive
until Tuesday. What a way for one of the support vehicles to start
the race! All we can do is say a special "Thank You" to Tammy (and
her husband) for so unselfishly spending her Mother's Day! We should
all send her a bouquet of flowers!