Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A debt of gratitude (section by section)

Well, here it goes. I have divided the trip into a couple of sections: Planning, Upper Missouri, Lower Missouri, Lower Mississippi.


Thank you to Carol and Dave Diephuis, some of my greatest supporters and my aunt and uncle. From the first time I told them about the trip they were supportive and provided me so much guidance both in the planning and during the trip. I would also like to thank them for contacting so many of the media groups on my way down the river.

A special thanks to Dean Pearson of the University of Virginia Medical School. Dean Pearson was willing to allow one of his students to head out of school for a year and I sincerely appreciate his support.

I would like to thank the following doctors at the University of Virginia who encouraged me to pursue this challenge: Dr. Holstege, Dr. Calhoun, Dr. Schirmer, Dr. Friel, Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Hedrick.

Brett Beel and Jim Heckman, my roomates at the University of Virginia, who were gracious enough to allow me to store all my gear and a 17 foot kayak in our already small and cramped apartment. Thanks hombres!

Thanks to all my classmates at UVa med! You all know who you are, who never told me the idea was too crazy. I consider myself privileged to have been able to spend the past three years with you all.

Thanks to Bill Thompson at Rocky Top Rec in Charlottesville, VA. Without all the training I did beforehand I would not have been able to finish this trip. An "old" man once told me that a person can do anything for three months!

Upper Missouri

A special thanks again to my Dad here too! He helped me drive from Charlottesville to Three Forks, MT in a two day push and then drove my truck back down to CO! Thanks again Dad.

Norm Miller: Person, Paddler, Legend. Norm contacted me shortly before the trip started with a huge email with photos, advice, places to see and places to avoid. Not only is Norm a paddling animal (he paddled upstream from St. Louis-Three Forks) but he is also incredibly nice and helpful to fellow paddlers. Norm helped put me in up at Three Forks, MT and drove 3hrs north to help portage me around Great Falls. In addition Norm put me in contact with many of his friends further on down the river. Norm, thank you very much for all your help!

Thanks to Jason Savage. The photos were awesome! Thanks a bunch.

Thanks to Mark Schaefer, Park Ranger at the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. Mark came by and talked with for awhile during my rest day in Ft. Benton about all things Upper Missouri river. Thanks for the advice!

Thanks to Tara Waterson and all the folks at the Fort Peck Marina. In addition to great hospitality they are truly wonderful folks. The burger was excellent after Ft. Peck Reservoir!!!

Zane Squires. Wow, what a paddler. I bumped into Zane at the Ft. Peck Marina and we hit it off right away. Zane is paddling down in a canoe behind me with his dog pickles. Zane, thank you very much for showing me around Ft. Peck. Even more, thanks for the great company and advice about the river. It truly is about the experience and not the end result!

Thanks to all the folks in Culbertson, MT. What a great bar-b-que and barn dance.

Special thanks to Linda Godejohn who helped me resupply in Williston, ND. Thank you very much.

My Uncle David Johnston. Dave helped me with so many aspects of the trip I didn't know where exactly to thank him. Dave was super supportive early on in the planning and helped put me in contact with sponsors as well as provided some experience with trip planning. Dave really put a cherry on top by driving down from Minnesota to Lake Sakakawea, sitting in a small aluminum canoe for 5 hours and praying to the gods of the lake while motoring out to find me in the middle of nowhere. Dave even brought steaks! Dave was my support during the overnight paddle to finish off Sakakawea and I am so thankful for all he did to make this trip a success. Thanks Dave!

Another thanks is appropriate here for my Mom who flew out to meet me when I arrived in Bismark. Thanks Mom!

I would like to thank the following folks in Bismarck: Gail and Ed Breckel Laurie J. Edinger, Vern Fetch, Colleen and Jasper Kleinjan. Thank you all so much for your hospitality.

Many thanks to Ben and Rick Nelson for their hospitality, coffee and a ham sandwich.

Thanks to John Adler and Pat Wellner for their hospitality in Pierre. Go Missouri River Pirates!

A special thanks to Kelly and Becky Lane. I had such a wonderful time getting to meet you both and "crick" boating was awesome. Kelly Lane, who has Parkinson's is truly an inspirational human being and I felt privileged to have been able to meet him.

Lower Missouri

Thank you to the Lewis and Clark State Park Rangers John, Austin and Dale for helping me around Lewis and Clark Lake. You guys rock!

Thanks to Redetta and Roy Jensen for helping me resupply in Yankton, SD.

Special thanks to Lynn Scott, Dave Olson and Rebel. Thank you for your hospitality after Lewis and Clark Lake in Yankton. I would also like to thank you for all the words of support and encouragement both in the trip and with life in general. Thank you for the steaks and twice baked potatoes in Omaha too! They were delicious.

Thanks to Paul Guggenheimer for his continued support of the project and great interviews!

Thanks to Zeke and Chelsea in northwestern MO for the birthday breakfast!

Special thanks to Kara and Chris Athey for letting a dirty river rat stay at their pad in Kansas City! Thank you both very much for all your hospitality.

Special thanks to Gary and Marsha Leabman from Spirit Hill Guest House. They took me in for a day, organized a fundraiser, organized a flotilla, and showed me one of the more beautiful views from their front porch on the entire Missouri River. Thanks!

Thanks to Susan Haley for a wonderful massage!

Thanks to Elaine Hinds for helping contact local media.

An incredible thanks to Judge Dave and Mrs. Janet Hoven who shuttled me around the greater St. Louis area for 5 days. They not only took me into their home but organized a party for me and had such wonderful hospitality.

Thanks to Niels van den Boogert for helping organize transport of the Mary Agnes from New Orleans.

Lower Mississippi

Thanks to Jay Boyd for a delicious bar-b-que in "the Cape."

Special thanks to Betty and Michael Rudolph (aunt and uncle) who drove out from Washington D.C. to come say hi. Thank you very much for the hotel room and the good laughs around the greased food of Caruthersville!

Special thanks to my Grandma Margaret and Walter who drove from California to see me just north of Memphis. Thanks for the McDonald's and the great memories!

Special thanks to John Ruskey of Quapaw Canoe Company. John provided inspiration, guidance, advice and true Southern hospitality in the home of the Delta Blues, Clarksdale, MS. May the river be with you!

Thanks to all of the kind folks of Tito's Sandbar!

Special thanks to Michael Beck of Baton Rouge, LA. I really appreciated you taking me around the town and showing me what Baton Rouge had to offer! Thanks also for the advice about Venice.

Thanks to all the kind folks of the Cypress Cove Marina who provided awesome hospitality and help in finishing off my trip.

Thanks to Marc Trembly for helping me get my boat back from New Orleans, LA to CO!

Another special thank you to my parents who made my homecoming in New Orleans possible. Meeting with Grandma and Grandpa, Jared, Mark, Cody, Rick and Erin meant the world to me. Thank you once again.

Finally I would like to thank everyone who has been following along this blog for the past 3 months. It certainly has been a wild adventure and I hope that you all have enjoyed following along. On days when I was just too tired to paddle one more stroke, knowing that you were all there with me got me into camp. Thank you all very much.


Joe Forrester

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