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Tiptonville, Tennessee. 29th Sept.I have been reflecting on how I feel, with now 22 days rowing left in our march south and New Orleans. A couple of factors are weighing in just now.The first is psychological. When I was (trying to) prepare for this marathon, I spent hours on the rowing ergometer. I have one in the bike park at my office, one in France at our house in Chamonix and whenever I went to the gym. Whilst the erg, as it is unaffectionately known, is a very effective physiological training tool, it is painful and also pretty boring....read more
Tiptonville, Tennessee. 27th SeptemberI write to you from what is now indisputably the Deep South of the US. I have now rowed nearly 1,500 miles and have around 850 miles to go to reach New Orleans on the 25th October. I now need to address the fundraising aspect of this challenge in deadly seriousness and I need help from each and everyone of you.From this weekend, we will be at approximately $400,000 in current fundraising, with one month to NOLA. By the time we reach NO, I need this total to be at or about $750,000 because when we get to...read more
Cairo, Illinois.For quite some time now, at least two weeks before we reached St Louis, there has been a great deal of chatter amongst the team about “the South” of the USA and the Mississippi river in particular. We have canvassed opinion everywhere we could – in the locks, in the hotels, on the streets, in the shops and in the restaurants. Whenever we asked, we received a different answer. Certain elements were always agreed. When we reached Arkansas and Kentucky, we would definitely be in the south. When we were in...read more
I would not consider our new enemy a villain in the same category as headwinds, mosquitoes, deer flies, leeches, water snakes, snakes, snapping turtles, alligators or Asian jumping carp (about which, more anon), but it does have the capacity to derail us, to whit, this morning. Today was a long day, and one of our key supporters, Chris Gate, has jetted in to row for two days, whilst fitting in two meetings tomorrow in Kansas City and St Louis. Quite how he will manage this is a mystery to us, but he seems sanguine about the arrangements. So...read more
This journey seems more than usually well stocked with pivotal moments. We have enjoyed several so far – starting at Itasca, the first hundred miles, reaching Minneapolis, reaching 1,000 miles, passing halfway. So now we have left St Louis and begun our journey to the lower Mississippi and the south of the US. We knew we must be getting towards the south when we enquired of a passing tug whether they could pick us up on their radar, as we had fitted reflectors for the purpose. The skipper replied (imagine the very broadest southern...read more
St Louis, 20th September.First of all, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all who have contacted me, directly or indirectly, following my last blog. I know that it stirred some concerns about my state of health and psychological well-being. I received dozens of supportive emails, all of which counted and two or three were pivotal. I was feeling especially low at that point, but I woke the following day in the knowledge that if I could get through one last effort, I would have two rest days to recover.We completed the day in bright warm...read more
Today, as you may know from reading part 1, we celebrated reaching halfway on our odyssey down the Mississippi. This was a major milestone, physically and psychologically and I was delighted to have made it this far, helped every day by Paddy and the team. But given that this blog aims to be a true reflection of our journey, I have a confession to make – I am really, really tired and on my uppers. I woke after a difficult night, worrying about the fundraising and how I can do more, really needing more sleep, but 06.00 came around fast...read more
Today was a major milestone for me, Paddy and the project. After the first 6 miles, we reached halfway to New Orleans and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne, shared with James Whitworth, who was rowing with me, and his girlfriend Olivia Cazenove, who was steering us, plus Stephen Gillespie and his daughter Maeve, who were with Paddy. The rest of the day will be part 2, but before you all decide that I am a grumpy curmudgeon, I will share with you a letter from our good friend Dave Davies of Hannibal, Missouri, the worlds’ happiest...read more
It is all go here at the Mississippi Million project. Graeme and Gillian return from their two week break for the rest of the project. Jerry Rees rowed with us today and tomorrow. Stephen Gillespie and his daughter Maeve also rowed today and the latter two have three more days rowing before they depart at St Louis. I want to begin today’s blog by paying tribute to Stephen here, because how he managed to talk Maeve into this remains a mystery to us (and, I suspect, Maeve).Stephen I have known for many, many years and he is a great...read more
Two days ago we were joined by old friends, Mike and Kate Colling, Mike to do two days rowing and Kate to tell us how to do it. Along with many of the nutcases that have signed up to row and raise $1,000,000, Mike does not have a background in rowing by any means, but he has applied himself to learning the art of skiffing from Graeme Mulcahy, spurred partly by the terror of the river and partly by the terror of letting anyone down. A powerful couple of incentives.So they arrived and Mike was ready for pretty much anything, having followed...read more