From my crazyguyonabike journal from the 26th of August [link], the first day of Gary Schmidt’s and my ride down the Mississippi River.
Two guys from opposite ends of the country who had scarcely met for the first time in person a little more than 12 hours before opened their eyes in their respective tents in site 183E of the Pine Ridge Campground of Minnesota’s Lake Itasca State Park and sat up. The sun was barely up, but couldn’t be seen for the heavy clouds, from which a light but steady rain was falling. One of those guys- me- looked out of the tent flap and saw a blue Surly Disc Trucker bike leaning on a nearby picnic table, to which it had been locked the night before. Before the thought of “Where am I and what am I doing here sleeping on the ground in the rain?” had made it all the way across my mind the sight of the bike had replaced it with “Oh, yeah. That.”
“That,” of course, was the ride my new friend Gary Schmidt and I would be starting in an hour or so down the 2,400 mile/3,860 kilometer length of the Mississippi River to its end in Venice, Louisiana, which is the furthest point out on the river’s delta in the Gulf of Mexico that can be reached by road. Gary, a 70 year old retired employee of the Federal Government from Maryland, and I, a 64 year old retired attorney from Alaska, had been planning the ride long-distance by phone and over the Internet for the previous several months, and here we now were, dropped off with bikes and gear in a fairly remote corner of the North Woods with nothing left to do but get on with it.
So we did.