May 13: For the first time, I feel truly exhausted, both physically and
                  psychologically.  A strong current and another day of 25 
                  mph+ headwinds meant that I only made 17 1/2 miles in 
                  7 1/2 hours of paddling.  I didn't see much wildlife today, 
                  but after the first half hour conditions were so difficult I 
                  wasn't even looking.  The only positive thing about today is
                  that I finally made it out of Missouri.

   May 14: Thank God for days like today: no wind, lots of wildlife, and I
                  got to meet some truly decent people.  At breakfast this 
                  morning a beaver paddled right by me, and later, four deer 
                  ambled down for a drink no more than 20 yards from me.
                  The river has been teeming with catfish (another leapt 
                  across my bow), and I saw several more water mocassins 
                  sunning themselves along the bank.  In Nebraska City, 
                  where I pulled in to get water, I met Earl Chamberlain, who 
                  not only drove me to a convenience store, but also gave me
                  a guided tour of the city.  Further upstream, I met Tom Duey
                  and his son, Chris.  We got talking, and when Tom discovered
                  I needed a river map he motored back down the river to his 
                  house and sent Chris back with a map which accurately gives
                  the river mileage and launch sites all the way up to 
                  Pickstown, S.D.  It turns out Omaha is only 38 miles from my
                  campsite, and Sioux City and Yankton are much closer than I
                  had thought.
                  Made 21 miles in 7 1/4 hours of paddling.

   May 15: My first 25-mile day!  A southern breeze helped me 
                  throughout the day, my wrist felt OK (though not 100%) and
                  I saw a bald eagle this afternoon.  This evening, as I was 
                  setting up camp, an odd-looking boat crossed the river to my
                  side.  I thought it might be someone telling me I couldn't camp
                  here, but it turned out to be a fellow adventurer named Doug
                  Leaply.  Doug is about midway through a coast-to-coast trek 
                  in a motorized catamaran/canoe vessel he put together 
                  himself.  He had heard about me when he stopped at Fort 
                  Osage, and had been hoping to catch up with me.  He's headed
                  for the Pacific via the Missouri-Yellowstone-Snake-Columbia 
                  river route, and I am most impressed with his ingenuity and 
                  self-sufficiency.  He's also an experienced competitive 
                  white-water kayaker, and when he discovered that this trip is 
                  essentially my first time in a kayak he couldn't help but laugh.
                  I have to admit I felt he was a far more canny and worthy 
                  outdoorsman than I'll ever be, but he was tremendously 
                  impressed with and supportive of my project.
                  Only 13 miles to Omaha!

                    Doug and his home away from home.

   May 16: Doug and I set out together, after taking pictures of one 
                  another in our boats.  I kept him in sight for an hour, but when
                  I stopped to ice down my hands, I lost him.  Later, about a mile
                  below the Omaha marina, I saw him coming up behind me.  It
                  turned out he had stopped to make some phone calls.  We 
                  pulled into the marina together, which was much to my liking.
                  Before he pushed on he gave me some useful kayaking advice,
                  and he promised to leave me a message at the Yellowstone-
                  Missouri fork, a la Lewis and Clark.    I'll look forward to finding
                  it, and I wish him well on his journey.  After getting my 
                  Enterprise rental car and checking into a motel to clean up, I 
                  had dinner.  To give you an idea of what a week on the river 
                  does to my appetite, here's what I ate: on the way to the 
                  restaurant I saw a Dairy Queen and stopped for a banana split.
                  Then I had dinner, which consisted of a bowl of seafood 
                  gumbo, salad, 4 biscuits, a salmon steak, shrimp, baked 
                  potato with butter and sour cream, broccoli and carrots, all 
                  washed down with a pint of Guinness, followed by a desert of
                  key lime pie.  Then on the way home, I stopped at the D.Q. for
                  a large strawberry sundae.

May 17-18: Stayed in Omaha, where my parents joined me for a visit.  It
                  was great to see them, and their encouragement was a real 
                  boost.  I had my first radio interview on a talk show hosted by 
                  Deacon Jones (no, not the football player) of KFAB.  He was 
                  something of a history buff, knowledgeable on the subject of 
                  Lewis and Clark, and the hour passed all too quickly.  I also 
                  stopped in at The Corps of Engineers to get maps of the lakes
                  I'll encounter further upstream.

   May 19: Back on the river after an enjoyable stay in Omaha.  I had a
                  frustrating time today.  First, the current was much stronger 
                  than I had expected.  For some reason I assumed that above
                  Omaha it would diminish, but if anything it's stronger.  Second,
                  the Omaha newspaper had predicted south winds, but instead
                  they were from the north-west, in my face.  Finally, I capsized
                  for the first time in my life.  I'm still not sure what happened,
                  but as I was going under a tree, my paddle got caught in a 
                  branch and the next thing I knew I was upside down.  
                  Everything in the kayak stayed dry, but some of the gear
                  topside was ruined.  My radio and binoculars were destroyed,
                  as was my copy of the abridged Lewis and Clark journals, but
                  I managed to dry out my maps, my wallet, and my emergency
                  traveller's checks.
                  22 miles.

                    Click here for days 43-49 of Richard's journal