Living a lifelong dream

Neal and his canoe

Neal and his canoe

I wrote in a May 17 blog post, “A rendezvous on the river,” of Neal Moore, a friend of my oldest son, Ben.
Neal, a well-traveled American who calls himself “an international citizen journalist,” is, like Ben, an English teacher in Taipei, Taiwan. He is now fulfilling a lifelong dream — canoeing the length of the Mississippi River from its headwaters at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to New Orleans.
He set out July 10 and estimates that the journey will take about 150 days, putting him in New Orleans sometime in the first week of December. Neal has been writing about this journey and posting video reports for his blog, Flash River Safari. The Aitkin Independent Age newspaper in Aitkin, Minn., did a story on Neal on Aug. 5.
Now in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Neal summed up the first month of his trip in a video report posted Aug. 9. He was then about 30 miles upriver from the Twin Cities on a beautiful sunny day and said in the video that — after a scary passage through the Sauk Rapids and a day of aching muscles — he “wanted to share this incredible moment” as he neared the end of the first leg of his trip.
St. Francisville mapI’ve been following Neal’s journey with particular attentiveness because I grew up along the Mississippi River in Alton, Ill., just upstream from St. Louis, and have a deep interest in the river and the people who have traveled it and live alongside it.
Neal’s journey and the transcontinental bicycle trip that I’ll be starting on Sept. 18 from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla., will overlap for a time in the fall. The bicycle route that our group will follow crosses the Mississippi at St. Francisville in southeastern Louisiana.
As I wrote on May 17: “What a bit of serendipity if we should end up in St. Francisville at the same time!”
Check out Neal’s video on the first month of his trip.


1 Comment

Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

One response to “Living a lifelong dream

  1. flashriversafari

    Thanks a stack, Jim. Can’t say enough about how happy I am about this trip, even though my fingers are so sore right now I can hardly type! All sincerely worth it! Really looking forward to following the launch of your cross-country adventure. One thing I’ve learned is that serendipity does play a hand in life on the road – would be really swell to meet up come Louisiana! All best, Neal

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