May 5-7:  Stayed in St. Joseph, Mo for 3 days, longer than I had 
                   planned, but my wrist needed the rest.  I'm worried that I
                   might have developed tendonitis, which could become a
                   chronic problem.  St. Joe's was one of the primary jumping 
                   off points for westward expansion in the 19th century, and
                   it's known as the birthplace of the pony express.
                   Appropriately, I stayed in the Pony Express Motel.  During
                   my stay in St. Joe's, I experienced the only vandalism I've
                   encountered so far.  While I was picking up my rental car, a
                   dog chewed up one of my freeze-dried dinner packets.  Alas,
                   no Wild Thyme Turkey for me until the next set of supplies!
                   If this is the worst I have to face in terms of vandalism, I'll
                   be happy.  While in St, Joe's I finally got a chance to read a
                   month's worth of e-mail.  Many thanks to all of you who have
                   wished me well!

     May 8:  A difficult day to return to the river.  The early morning was
                   calm, but by noon the winds had picked up substantially and
                   were so strong by the afternoon that I had to stop early, for
                   fear that I would aggravate my wrist.  It still feels weak,
                   even after the rest, and I'm very concerned about whether 
                   it's going to recover.  The optimism I felt before St. Joe's is
                   waning, and I'm increasingly pessimistic about getting to the
                   Divide in time to avoid snow.  My hope is that I haven't 
                   reinjured my wrist, and that the wind will diminish tomorrow.
                   One notable sighting today - a pelican.  What's a pelican 
                   doing in St. Joseph, Mo.?  Thunderstorms predicted for 
                   tonight.  Only 12 miles today.

                                   Richard on the go.

     May 9:  It rained last night, heavily at times, but I stayed dry and 
                   warm.  I made 21 miles today, but it was a joyless, grind-it-
                   out kind of day.  The winds were just as strong today, plus
                   it was cold and rainy.  I'm trying a new routine now: paddling
                   for shorter intervals and adding more breaks in the day.  
                   During the breaks I'll soak my hands in the cold water of the 
                   river, in hopes this will ease the problems with my wrist, and
                   I'll take regular doses of ibuprofen to see if that helps.  My
                   wrist felt weak but OK this morning, but started to get sore 
                   in the afternoon.  One most unusual sighting today - a large,
                   healthy, handsome dog lounging on the bank, miles away
                   from any human settlement.  Was he a wild dog, or a 
                   domestic dog out on an adventure?  He looked too well-fed to 
                   be a stray.  I built a fire tonight, as much to cheer me up as to
                   dry my boots and socks.

   May 10:  What a difference a day makes!  The winds diminished 
                   somewhat, and shifted so they weren't in my face.  I also 
                   encountered fewer dikes, which meant less time in the 
                   current and more time to develop a steady paddling rhythm.
                   The day started with two good omens: a catfish I startled 
                   leapt clear across my bow, and I spotted two deer watering 
                   at the mouth of a little tributary.
                   I made it to Nebraska today - no more Kansas - but it will be 
                   a couple of days more until I pass through Missouri.  The 
                   scenery here isn't appreciably different from most of western
                   Missouri, just a little flatter since Kansas City.
                   I'm getting frustrated with my maps.  They have failed to 
                   indicate two settlements I've passed and, more annoyingly, 
                   they consistently understate the length of the bends I have 
                   to go through.  My rule of thumb now is to look at the map and
                   add 45 degrees to any bend they indicate.  I've also learned 
                   that there is no such thing as a straight section of the river:
                   I'm either entering a bend or coming out of a bend.
                   Lots of birdlife today: brightly colored yellow warblers, 
                   red-head woodpeckers, plus the usual array of ducks, geese,
                   egrets, heron, coots and wild turkeys..
                   Made 23 miles to pass the 500-mile mark.  Only 2000 more to
                   go to the Divide.

               The riverbank, peppered with swallow nests.

   May 11:  A hot, windy day.  The wind was as strong as it's been for a 
                   while, and for a change it was mostly at my back, but despite 
                   the helping wind I had another taxing day.  I discovered that a
                   5 mph tailwind helps me much more than a 30-mph tailwind 
                   because the stronger wind chops up the surface of the water 
                   so much that it's difficult to read the current and impossible to
                   develop a good rhythm.  My wrist didn't start to bother me 
                   until the sixth hour of paddling, so my cooling-down routine
                   (and the ibuprofen) may be helping.  It still feels like it's only 
                   at 50-75% of full strength.
                   Made 21 1/2 miles.

   May 12:  Strong winds, and a surprisingly strong current.  I felt weak 
                   today, perhaps from lack of sleep.  Severe weather warnings 
                   dominated the news last night, and I could see tremendous
                   lightning activity south of me in the St. Joe's area.  My new 
                   gripe is with radio weathercasters.  Either they fail to 
                   mention the wind direction and velocity, or they say it's going 
                   to be "breezy".  I've learned that "breezy" means 15-25 mph,
                   strong enough to be a pain in the ass for me.  "Windy" means
                   25+ mph, and a real beating.  I found myself really disliking 
                   the river today - the relentless current, the difficult dikes, the 
                   headwinds, the monotonous landscape, the mud.  At least my 
                   wrist held up OK.
                   I saw a water mocassin today, curled up on a limb that was 
                   streched out over the water about head-high.  I now have 
                   misgivings about ducking under branches, as I have been 
                   doing, and about soaking my hands in the water.
                   Made 20 miles, barely.

                    Click here for days 36-42 of Richard's journal