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!
May 18, Sunday
arrived in the sleepy island town of Sabula at 01h00, and departed
19 minutes later. This has to be one of the quicker pit stops during
the whole trip. Clark remained in the boat, ready to sleep for a
while. Bob got out to stretch his legs and get some food, which
he plans to eat while going through Lock #13.
Angie and her
three kids (David, Jessica and Jake) will be leaving this morning
and returning home. We wish them a safe return trip to Michigan,
and thank them for all of their hard work and effort. They will
be missed by both paddlers and crew. [Angie will rejoin the crew
in about a week.]
We are now
heading for Camanche, where we expect the paddlers to arrive at
Flood outlook for Rock Island, Illinois, a city the paddlers are
heading towards today:
(good news for the paddlers):
RIVER IS EXPECTED TO RISE TO BETWEEN A FOOT BELOW
Stan and Clark are calling now, Stan said it's a little chilly but warming up.... Stan expects to have to start getting ice for the paddler's drink today. Stan sounded great and relaxed as always. I'm not sure what he was thinking when he said he would be the Road Captain for this motley crew, but you would never know the stress that he and the road crew are under when you talk to him.
on the phone and said they are 150 miles ahead of the 1984 record
and he thinks they stand a good job of breaking 20 day mark at
this time. He said they are "pumping" and that the whole team
is "jelling" well (hope I spelled that correctly). He also said
he is paddling this next section and Bob will be sleeping a little
they had a couple of paddlers (friends of Bob's) who came out
with them yesterday and paddled with them for a big part of the
"pond" - Pond 8 he said - basically a pond of stiller water above
the locks and dams that have less current that is usually slow
going for the paddlers. The paddlers very much appreciate the
company of the many paddlers who have joined in with them from
time to time!
mentioned Angie and the kids were leaving for now, and they were
sad to see them go. While we were talking he was being offered
food from the crew. He said he is being fed very well - I suspect
largely due to Janet's cooking and making sure everyone is as
comfortable as possible. If any of you ever meet Janet Bradford,
you know she is an incredible cook and team player. When Bob and
Janet came to our home last New Year's eve (to deliver Clark's
boat) Janet was such an incredible help in our home that I asked
her if she wanted to live with us! Unfortunately, she declined,
citing she would miss her family and the grandkids too much :-).
She cooked, she cleaned, she played with Noah, she read books
to Amanda, she walked the dog - every day - and she even folded
our laundry and put it away. It was amazing to watch her energy
and kindness. I can only hope to be such a hard worker some day!
Back to the
food - Clark said they burn about 10,000 calories a day and really
have to eat constantly to stay physically well enough to continue
paddling hard. I remember from his last trip down the Mississippi
he lost substantial weight and muscle, especially in his arms,
even though he had plenty to eat on that trip too. I hope Clark
and Bob can stay ahead of the calorie burn this time. Sounds like
Clark has not to eat the wrapper on any food item yet.
On a note
"closer to home", my daughter, Amanda, who has Rett syndrome,
is fairing well. She has been home bound since last October with
seizures, but is doing very well in the last month due to new
med - Keppra if you are wondering - and is like a whole new person.
Walking again, talking again, demanding chips for dinner and calling
me a "meanie" when I flip on the news for a minute when I should
be letting her watch Nickolodean.... basically back to her old
self. It's nice to see. We even went through the drive through
at MacDonald's yesterday, and she was quite happy for that. We
still have to go slow and take one day at a time, as she is recovering
from 6 months of being home bound. Many thanks to all our friends
who are helping us out while Clark is away!
I told Clark
that our son Noah, last night, while building his new lego race
boat (670 pieces, ridiculous) announced he was going to be the
first 6 year old to go down the Mississippi and he would set a
new world record. I told him he was just the 6 year old to do
it. Like his father, he has great dreams and aspirations. I remember
when he was 4, he told Clark and I when he grew up he was going
to raise the Titanic. When we told him how big it was, and where
it was, he actually worked through some of the logistical problems
- he had clearly thought it through prior to the conversation.
He had even thought about how to put it together again - duct
tape. He seemed very concerned about getting the people out who
were stuck in there, which is another story of course. Bottom
line, like his father, he clearly works on trying to help others
by doing something kind of crazy and unusual....
to Team Hope, and good luck to all of you out there who are doing
what you can to help those suffering from Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy
- and may you all be wildly successful in your dreams!
with Stan. New thoughts to be added to what's below -- They already
miss Angie, but she indicated she'd try to come back on Thusday
or Friday! Don Bradford (Bob's brother) has joined them. I'm sure
he is every bit as helpful as Angie -- but he will have to prove
his mettle first! The paddlers left Commanche, Iowa, at 7am --
6:58 according to Andrew! Guess Andrew is probably right, as that
puts them another 2 minutes ahead!
up a tentative schedule for this trip - where they wanted to be
when. It only took a few days before Clark started calling him
sadistic! Clark mused that only a mad-man could come up with such
a grueling schedule, as they are already 14 hours behind the "wannabe"
list. Bob says he just doesn't know where he could have gone wrong!
But regardless - they ARE 160 miles ahead of the world record,
which equates to being at least one whole day ahead! And they
have about 1,450 miles to go!
scheduled stop is at Lock & Dam 14. Two years ago, the river was
flooded. A concerned citizen at this location called the local
sheriff and told him he'd seen what he believed to be a capsized
canoe in the middle of the flooded Mississippi River. The sheriff
called out the rescue helicopter. Clark was woken up from a sound
sleep inside the "bubble" of his hand-built kayak (a beautiful
piece of work) by the helicopter hovering overhead! They were
all landbound -- both Team Double Helix and Team Kruger -- for
several hours explaining what was going on. Hopefully they won't
encounter that delay this year, as they're armed with letters
from the Coast Guard supporting their endeavor! Good Luck Team
I just want
to remind all readers that Mary is always honoring other folks
with her words. But everyone needs to know how truly dedicated
she is, both to this cause and to her family. She's truly
a remarkable woman, handling everything on her own while Clark
is gone. Her stories of Amanda and Noah give you only a small
glimpse into her life. But her family is the center of
her life! Thanks, Mary, for all you have done to put the
wheels into motion, enabling us to experience two of the greatest
races of all time -- the Mississippi River Challenge of 2003 for
Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy, and the Great Mississippi River
Race of 2001 for Rett Syndrome.
Just received an email message from Bruce Bryant. He writes:
news! My persistence has paid off. Your story has been picked-up
The paddlers stopped briefly in Le Claire, Iowa, and left at 09h45 for Lock/Dam #14.
cought up with stuff around home. Lisa and I spent part of the
day thursday near RedWing and I caught up with team hope on friday
morning in LaCrosse. What a fun time and to feel so welcome by
everyone. Thursday we took rhubarb pie and the famous rice krispie
bars everyone was happy. We left team hope about 2pm to get our
rett angel from school.
If it's not
one thing, it's another. The trailer has lost its battery power.
Bill and Don traced it to a blown fuse for which, of course, they
don't have a spare. Looks like it'll be Muscatine, Iowa, before
they're in a position to get a replacement. That's several hours
The crew checked
out "Clark's Landing," an eatery close to where the support team
is located. Unfortunately, they close at 1pm today, so they won't
be able to feed the paddlers there. However, they bought an apple
nut homemade pie -- must weigh 40 pounds according to Stan -- with
which they'll surprise Clark & Bob. So at least they can have a
small special treat from Buffalo, Iowa.
After Bob &
Clark leave Buffalo, the plan is to next meet in Muscatine. The
stop after that will be in Nauvoo State Park in Illinois. They're
just getting closer and close to St. Louis all the time! Maybe that
potential "midnight" stop will move up several hours. That would
sure be nice!
Am I reading the last Where Are They Now statistics correctly? That the team is over 180 miles ahead of the 1984 record? Man, they are flying, and that map was last updated over 30 minutes ago, so that statement is already dated......
I had to laugh
at Dana's earlier post about Clark calling Bob a mad man - Clark
made a similar remark to me when I told him this AM they were at
least 150 miles ahead of the 1984 record, but about 1/2 day behind
their own tenative schedule (which Clark had handed me about 2 weeks
before he left and said, "Oh, do you have this?").... Anyway, he
replied laughing, "That is a madman schedule!" to which I replied,
"That would describe you and Bob, would it not?" and he laughed
and said he guessed so. Hmmm, I'm not sure if Bob is or is not a
good influence on Clark..... well, he must be a good one, as Clark
shaved his head at the Headwaters so he could be more like Bob :-).
Glad also to
know Don Bradford has joined the road crew Dana, I had not realized
that... I will add him to our official team roster! Exactly how
many Bradfords are there in the world? They seem to be limitless
- and they had already made up over 1/2 the team.... talk about
Well, I'm off
to add a link to Andrew Gribble's audio log to the website.... a
log of the team talking here and there..... stay tuned everyone....
The crew is
waiting for Bob & Clark at Riverside Park in Muscatine, Iowa, where
we expect them to show up any minute now. The dark clouds in the
west have given way to partly sunny skies. The temp is in the 70s.
This is a HUGE change from the weather we experienced a week ago
in northern Minnesota.
just called on the sat phone. There is a 1 to 1 1/2 hour wait at
Lock 16. They have elected to portage, and anticipate arriving here
in about 30 minutes.
As of 6:18
PM this evening, Clark and Bob are putting the canoe in and pulling
away from the highway 92 bridge in Muscatine, Iowa. Next stop will
be New Boston. (My earlier report was in error -- trying to help
push them ahead!) Stan and others are off to Walmart to try to find
the right fuses for the trailer so they can power it by battery.
I talked with
Janet for a few minutes. She said she usually cooks on her tailgate.
She is able to lift the door up and over her head so she stays dry
if it's raining. I asked how she cooks for that many people. She
said that she's only cooked for everybody a few times. Most of the
time she's rushing just to get Bob and Clark fed. They worry about
themselves later. As it should be! They're good crew!
The road crew
is sitting at a landing in New Boston, IL. From the chatter on the
marine radio, it sounds like the canoe may be being locked through
as I type this. We are about three miles downstream from Lock #
17. New Boston resident Clint Miller brought us mirelles mushrooms,
and is waiting with us at the landing for the paddlers, who should
be along in no more than an hour.
New Boston 23h44. Bob's first words: "Oh, I remember this place
Bob Bradford, his brother Don Bradford, Clark Eid at Buffalo, Iowa, 5/18/2003. Picture by Andrew Gribble
For more race pictures see Race Pictures