Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rest - From Aaron

Hello friends, family, and supporters.  Jake and I are enjoying a couple days of relaxation and catching up with stories and photos.  We thank everyone who has contributed to our cause and is following the blog, as it has given us much motivation during our journey.  My dad has been doing an awesome job updating the blog, and I have vowed to give him more details about each day. 

Our families have met us in Dubuque, IA and we have spent the weekend enjoying the comforts of indoor plumbing, furniture, and time spent with loved ones.  Also, we have been successful in filling the bottomless pits that were previously our stomachs.

Our trip down the Mississippi has been what we expected: A Great Adventure.  We have paddled our way from a meandering marshland, through deeply wooded pine forests, to a giant river, busy with the industrial necessities of the 21st century.  Seemingly overnight we were transformed from a tranquil world of bald eagles, black bears, loons, and dense forests, to the sometimes chaotic river we see today.  Barges, power plants, and locomotives now wake us up at night.  These man-made characteristics of the river are sometimes just as beautiful as their counterparts in the North.  I can assure you the heartland of America is hard at work 24 hours a day 7 days a week to make sure we get our daily doses of coal, wheat, iron, and other vital commodities.

Although we are far from home, I feel as though we've been securely wrapped in the arms the humble Midwest.  We've met wonderful people who have shared with us pizza, beer, breakfasts, and perhaps more importantly, their life experiences and where they come from. 

Our adventure is not without its' physical and mental challenges.  We've had poison ivy since Day 1.  Ticks, mosquitoes, sunburn, blisters and soreness pester us from time to time.  I would be exaggerating my (possibly imagined) tough, outdoorsmen image if I didn't admit that coffee and extra strength Tylenol help us through our last 15 miles on occasion. 

We will be leaving tomorrow morning with a full food bag, dry clothes, clean (well, cleaner) gear, and a renewed pursuit of adventure.  For about 550 miles we can enjoy the comforts of home over our left shoulder, as we paddle the long, storied border of Illinois to the confluence of the Ohio River.  Until then, we'll have more stories and will have made more friends along the way.

Wish us North winds and smooth paddling,


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