June           I stayed in Bismarck an extra day, in order to track down
23-24         information on what lies ahead and to collect myself for the next
                    lake, Sakakawea, the largest of the six Iíll encounter.  Bismarck is
                    an attractive little city, much larger than its South Dakota
                    counterpart, Pierre.  Like Pierre, thereís a well-developed
                    riverfront park area, and from the capitol building thereís a
                    fantastic view of the river.  The building itself is an incongruous
                    looking high-rise, but the rest of the capitol grounds are quite
                    attractive and include a museum and gallery.  The area is steeped
                    in Native American and frontier history.  Across the river from
                    Bismarck lies Mandan, where Lewis and Clark spent their first
                    winter in 1804-5.  In Bismarck I met Mike Olson of the North
                    Dakota Fish and Wildlife Department, who set me up with river
                    contacts that will take me as far into Montana as Ft. Benton. 
                    Then I used my Enterprise rental car to drive to Garrison Dam,
                    where I scouted out my portage route and got a glimpse of Lake
                    Sakakawea, an intimidating sight.  I also checked into a sports
                    medicine clinic to have a doctor look at my shoulder.  He injected
                    me with some sort of wonder drug thatís supposed to clear up all
                    my problems, and gave me some exercises to do to stretch my
                    shoulder and neck.  If this treatment works, Iíll be back in
                    business.  Iíve noticed that since I arrived in Bismarck the wind
                    has stopped.  I think the wind god is playing games with me -
                    whenever I stop, he stops; whenever I start again, he does too.
                    Maybe if I pretend to start, I can trick him into getting out of this

June            I started early on Sunday amid overcast and drizzly conditions
25-27         (but little wind), and paddled for more than 10 hours.  My
                    shoulder felt fine, and it was so relaxing being on the Missouri
                    when it looks like a river that I just had to keep going.  I also
                    wanted to make up for the extra day I spent in Bismarck, and the
                    lost time on Lake Oahe.  The current is not bad on the 75-mile
                    stretch between Bismarck and Garrison Dam, and I could feel the
                    history as I paddled upstream.  The weather cleared after Sunday,
                    the winds stayed calm, and my shoulder and wrist felt good for
                    the first time in a couple of weeks.  This brief respite from the
                    lakes has done wonders for my spirits, although Iím still
                    apprehensive about Lake Sakakawea.

June  27-    I survived the lake!  I hit a fortunate lull in the wind that has lasted
July 2          a week, and I managed to cross Lake Sakakawea in record time - 
                    about 180 miles in 5 1/2 days.  The portage at Garrison went
                    smoothly - I love those wheels! - and I tried to make as much
                    distance as I could each day, anticipating the re-emergence of the
                    wind at any moment.  The winds Iíve come to expect never
                    materialized, I was able to average better than 9 hours of paddling
                    a day, and Iím safely beached at the Rt. 85 bridge outside of
                    Williston.  The only tricky part of the lake proved to be the Van
                    Hook Arm, a huge bay on the north side that I couldnít cut across
                    without exposing myself to 3 miles of open water.  The best part
                    of this week is that my shoulder still feels fine.  I now have 200+
                    miles of real river before the sixth and final lake.  After Williston
                    the Missouri heads west through sparsely populated reservation
                    land.  There are some towns along the way - Brockton, Poplar,
                    Wolf Point - but access to them from the river may not be easy,
                    and I may have to take some extra time to get water.  Still, I am
                    looking forward to this stretch to Ft. Peck, where the Missouri is a
                    real river and not one of those damnable lakes.  Iíve gone nearly
                    1600 miles, thereís only 1000 miles left to the Continental Divide,
                    and in two days Iíll be in Montana.  Things are looking up.

                    Click here for days 87 - 93 of Richard's journal