June 17    Two calm days in a row!  Unprecedented in the Dakotas.  If I
                    could get rid of this pain in my shoulder, I could really celebrate - 
                    even bypass Mobridge and continue on to Bismarck.  I did stop in
                    at a clinic here in Mobridge, and they gave me some anti-
                    inflammatory drugs stronger than the ibuprofen Iíve been taking.
                    If they work, Iím back in business again.

June 18      Iput in a long day, 10 hours of paddling, in order to take
                    advantage of a light tailwind.  It was one of those rare calm days,
                    and I wanted to go as far as I could.  With the light breeze (and
                    the help of some anti-inflammatory drugs I picked up from the
                    Mobridge clinic) I mad 36 miles, and Iím camped right on the
                    South Dakota-North Dakota border.  Just outside of Mobridge the
                    railroad bridge has a long jetty which significantly narrows the
                    lake.  I crossed over to the left/west side, thinking I could still
                    take advantage  of the SE winds predicted for tomorrow and be
                    more protected from the NW winds which inevitably follow.  As I
                    was crossing, a boater whom Iíd met at breakfast advised me to
                    stay on the right/east side, but I was already committed.  He may
                    have known what he was talking about, because campsites on this
                    side are hard to come by.  All the protected inlets are mud flats,
                    like the one Iím on tonight, and offer little shelter from the wind,
                    which threatens to pull up my poorly anchored tent stakes.
                    Thereíll be no rain tonight, so Iíve left the outer cover off the tent,
                    giving it less resistance to the wind.

June 19      Well, it looks like I should have stayed on the other shoreline.
                    Winds were from the ESE today, and stronger, which meant I had
                    big waves breaking over the back of the kayak from an angle.  In
                    one particularly exposed area this morning I got knocked over.  I
                    was near shore, in only about 3 feet of water, but I had trouble
                    pulling my release strap and the waves kept pushing me under.  I
                    managed to get free, but it was too close a call.  I think the only
                    thing that saved me was that  at the critical moment I was able to
                    fight off the panic enough to do what I had to do to get out.  It
                    took me a while on the beach to collect myself, I was so shaken.
                    After an hour or so, the wind died down a bit, and I ventured out
                    again, but I was scared to death.  After I got around that one cape,
                    I was slightly more protected from the waves, and I pushed on,
                    fearfully, past Ft. Yates and up to near the Cannonball River.

June 20      As expected, strong NW winds today, in the 40 mph range.  I
                    broke camp and set out at 5:30, without breakfast, knowing I
                    wouldnít get far, but wanting to make some progress before I had
                    to pull in.  I got as far as Ft. Rice, about 8 miles.  I might have
                    gone a little further, but it looked like a lot of sandbars and tree
                    stumps ahead, so I figured Iíd be better attacking that section
                    under calmer conditions.  I guess my choice of shorelines worked
                    out.  On the other side I wouldnít have been able to get out at all.
                    Since my dunking yesterday, I find myself much more fearful on
                    this lake.  For the first time, the thought has entered my head that
                    I could die out here.  This is something that never occurred to me
                    before.  I imagined the possibilities of injuries, discouragement,
                    isolation, emergency hikes to civilization, but I never imagined a
                    situation that would be truly life-threatening.  Now that the
                    thought has entered my mind, Iím having a hard time shaking it.

June 21      More 40+ mph winds today, and traveler's advisories for high
                    profile road vehicles.  I set out at 5:30 again, like yesterday, and
                    got past the tricky section above Ft. Rice.  I pulled in below Huff,
                    where the river is more like a river again, and Iím waiting out the
                    wind.  Iíve reviewed my journal notes, and these are my
                    observations.  First, itís obvious that Iím beginning to struggle
                    with this journey.  Itís taking its toll, physically and
                    psychologically.  Second, these lakes are no fun at all.  Except for
                    days like today, I can always make better mileage on them than on
                    the lower river section.  But they are so tedious and boring, the
                    same endless expanse of water, the same treeless hillsides, the
                    same grinding wind.  They donít even hold historical interest - all
                    the Missouri River history, including the Lewis and Clark sites,
                    have been drowned by these dams.  Plus, as I learned the other
                    day, the lakes can be lethal.  And I still have the two largest to go. 
                    Itís amazing how the hand of man has affected the river.  Below
                    the dams, channeling and dikes have made the river completely
                    predictable.  Above them, the river has been obliterated.  At least
                    below the dams, I had the excitement of what might lie around the
                    next bend.  The high points of my travels on the lakes have been
                    the wonderful people Iíve met during my stops in Chamberlain,
                    Pierre, and Mobridge.  Third, in the course of struggling so much
                    with the river and my need to reach the Continental Divide, Iíve
                    lost sight of Lewis and Clark and their expedition.  Of course,
                    thatís easy to do on the lakes, where all evidence of their journey
                    lies under 50 feet of water.  I wish I had more time to complete
                    my journey - a year and a half instead of 7 months - so I could
                    relax more and take what the river and weather give me.

June 22      Calmer winds today, and the Missouri has become a river again,
                    with defined banks, bends and current.  I could feel the history as
                    I slipped by the Native American sites and Ft. Lincoln.  And I
                    could paddle comfortably again, without fear of death.  Coming
                    into Bismarck was the most pleasant part of the river Iíve seen in
                    a long time.  Four lakes down, two to go.

                    Click here for days 77-86 of Richard's journal