The Long and Arduous Road to Montana

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” – Mike Tyson

 

The voyage has yet to start and  I am already exhausted.   The plan was to have a nice easy, relaxing 4 days before the journey was to begin.   My wife and I would fly out of Dallas and land in Seattle, we would then travel to Canada the next day to pick up the boat.  We would drive back to my Dad’s house in Richland, WA on Friday afternoon.  From here we were going to spend a few relaxing days with my Father, pick up a few loose items, and then travel to Montana on Monday before the big launch on Tuesday.  It did not quite work out as anticipated.

The plan began to unravel when Vicki and I got caught up in a traffic jam going to DFW, we were cutting it really close to checking all the bags and parking the car.  I had hoped that by telling the airline representative that I was traveling to Mongana to canoe for 4000 miles that I might get a discount (or waiver) on the checked bag fees.  He wasn’t impressed. $75 later I was on my way.

We got back on track and headed to Canada on Friday.  I was pleasantly surprised when Mary and Marlin Bayes, owners of Clipper Canoes,  and staff spent 2 hours with me going over all aspects of the canoe and transport.  They also took the time to give me a tour of their warehouse and manufacturing facility.  First class organIzation for sure, eh?  I owe them a great bit of gratitude.

Clipper Canoes Storefront in Abbotsford Canada

Clipper Canoes Storefront in Abbotsford Canada

Standing in front of the battleship.

Standing in front of the battleship.

A peek inside Clipper Canoes manufacturing facility.

A peek inside Clipper Canoes manufacturing facility.

Me and Mary from Clipper Canoes.

Me and Mary from Clipper Canoes.

Loading The Helinda for the road.

Loading The Helinda for the road.

Ready for the trip?

Ready for the trip?

One last look at the vessel.

One last look at the vessel.

Driving back from Canada, we encountered Seattle Friday afternoon traffic which delayed our arrival in Richland, WA.  I had anticipated Saturday to be a nice day spent with family but that fell apart.  My Father insisted that I practice packing and unpacking all of my worldly canoe trek posessions.   This may sound simple, but the reality is this is very time consuming activity.  Additionally, the few items that I had anticipated buying mushroomed into full fledged shopping spree!!  My family could not get enough running around to Harbor Freight Tools, Ranch and Home, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Walmart, etc.  That was Saturday!!

My father and I organizing gear.

My father and I organizing gear.

The knot strikes back!!

The knot strikes back!!

We all decided it was wise to test the canoe out before the big launch.  Vicki and I took a nice float down the Yakima River.  Everything was going according to plan until we landed the canoe.  Upon landing at a very narrow and steep gravel boat launch, we were hugging the bank waiting for a boat trailer to clear the ramp.   After clearing the ramp, I decided to see how deep the water was using my paddle.  It appeared to be about 1 foot deep so I hopped out of the canoe and quickly realized I had misgauged the water depth and found myself in about 4 feet of water.

Off on the Yakima River

Off on the Yakima River

This in itself would have been problematic given the fact that my phone, Vick’s phone and camera were in my shorts pockets.  The real problem was that I did not share my intentions with Vicki who was not prepared for me to exit the boat.  She was promptly dunked in the Yakima River as the canoe tipped.  We were able to secure the canoe and make our way back on to the shore.  The electronics however did not fair as well.  Vicki’s cell phone and my camera are currently on the physically unable to perform list.

Fortunately, my wife had suggested a waterproof case for my phone and it works!  My phone is still functioning properly.  The good thing about our arrival is that my Dad had a cold beer waiting for us.  The problem was he had expired plates and the park ranger was there to greet us.  Luckily, the Park Ranger was very understanding and suggested he get his plates updated as soon as possible (this is his second car that he does not drive very often).

I love 80's shades.

I love 80’s shades.

On Monday, we left Richland, WA about 8:30 am with an expected arrival in Butte, MT around 5:00 p.m.  This got off track when I suggested to hit a phone repair shop in Idaho. This did not work out well and 4 hours later we were back on the road to MT without a working phone.  Wet IPhones do not dry out quickly.  Thanks for trying Rory!

Hello Montana!!!

Hello Montana!!!

Oh, and the Rivers in Montana are quite high…..happy Launch Day everyone.

Regards,

Keith

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15 Responses to The Long and Arduous Road to Montana

  1. Scott Makar says:

    So far, this is better than any documentary that I have ever seen. Good luck on launch day, Keith, and keep updating us.

  2. Kent Schreyer says:

    Keith,
    You are already learning valuable lessons that you will be able to draw on during this journey. Don’t get in a hurry. Think before every move. Plan, replan and plan again. Best of luck in getting off today. Keep in touch and God Speed.

  3. Patrick says:

    I have a feeling that dunking Vickie was intentional?????
    Hope the launch goes well.

  4. David Neill says:

    Breathe deep the clean, big sky air! Tuned in full time to the adventure ahead!

  5. J-DUB says:

    and all people sitting in their offices like myself wish you luck! I’ll live vicariously through you for several months…..JW

  6. J says:

    I now know how all of the prisoners in Shawshank felt when Andy left. All we are talking about are your updates. I’m sure the site will soon be blocked. “I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone. I guess I just miss my friend.”

  7. Wajid says:

    Good Luck today Keith, sending positive energy your way. Sounds like the adventure has already begun!!!

  8. Larry says:

    It has been suggested that we all should observe a moment of silence as the journey begins.

  9. Bill says:

    We also got an email from the firm reminding us of the “No Gambling Policy”. I guess the over under wager is canceled. Video the champaign bottle shattering on the canoe!

  10. Mae says:

    What a wonderful start!

  11. Elizabeth Bienkiewicz says:

    Absolutely love the name of your canoe. I have fond memories of the Linda Marie docked in Fairhaven many years ago. xoxox

  12. Amy Lynch says:

    This is so exciting!! Good luck on the adventure and watch out for those bears!

  13. Ron Haney says:

    Great job Keith! I’m with you in spriti buddy!

    Ron

  14. Peter says:

    I don’t know you, but I admire what you are doing. As someone who has embraced the unknown hitch-hiking and cycling across continents, I understand the magnitude of your journey. Get out of linear time and move to flexible time — this may happen as a matter of course. Understand that 98% of what you experience will be great, especially in retrospect. Appreciate the fact that your body will undergo significant changes to toned, fit and healthy — the body is the bus, the spirit is the journey! What a wonderful once in-a-lifetime opportunity you have at hand — savor it fully. And good luck today and tomorrow. Congratulations on choosing a path that diverges from the tried and relatively mundane.

  15. TG says:

    You dunked your wife! She is truly a gem.

    Am enjoying the blog. It’s a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in Memphis, and there’s nothing better than reading this while enjoying a hot bowl of soup.

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