When you last heard from me I was camped on a beautiful sandbar island just downstream from Washburn, ND. Early the next morning (6/29) I awoke around 6 am and started paddling toward Bismarck, ND. I would like to have gotten up a bit earlier but my phone and watch were still soaked from my capsizing incident two days prior. Anyway, the river had slowed down a fair bit after Washburn so I made slow time and pulled into Bismarck around 2:45 in the afternoon.
Waiting to greet me at the Southport Marina were my Mom (who flew out from Denver), Gail and Ed Breckel (members of the Bismarck ND Parkinson's support group) and Laurie Edinger. We all sat down and talked while I wolfed down a double quarter pound burger (I had to special order the burger but I was hungry!) Laurie had helped set up a number of press meetings in Bismarck and also gave me a very nice gift basket (the Chokecherry Taffy was delicious... I couldn't resist).
After lunch my mom and I drove the Mary Agnes and all my gear over to Gail and Ed's home where I am storing my kayak. They have been gracious enough to let me keep my kayak at their home as well as spend a night their Wednesday night. My mom then took me back to the hotel room where I "de-funkified" and took a shower. Gail and Ed then met up with us again and we went to the Walrus, a local Pizza joint, for dinner. In addition to the great company we talked a bit about Ed's difficulties with Parkinson's as well as the support group here in Bismark. I was very touched by the devotion and care that Gail gives to Ed to help him with the challenges he faces daily. It makes paddling down a river seem pretty trivial.
This morning I woke up and took on the daunting task of catching up on emails, sending out thank you letters to sponsors and repairing my gear. None of my gear is significantly damaged (other than the cell phone) but I needed to clean out my tent, repair a small tear in my sail and clean my stove. The MSR XGK stove that I use works great, but after 27 days of cooking it needed some cleaning to bring it back to full burner capacity.
At 11:45 in the morning I met Anne and Lee from Channel 5 NBC North Dakota News for an interview down by the Missouri River. They were both very pleasant and made my first television appearance stress free! Here is the link to the NBC news video feature. http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_video.asp?news=31607
This afternoon my mom and I will be running a number of errands including food shopping as well as going to Best Buy to try and fix a few kinks that I have been having with my solar powering system. Tomorrow we will be heading to Ft. Lincoln in the morning, and then in the afternoon I will be presenting my trip to some members of the local Bismarck Parkinson's support group. Also, as I mentioned in the beginning, I will have a more in-depth blog regarding nutrition and thoughts about the trip tomorrow afternoon.
Two days of rest + friends and family = Awesome!!!!