June 3: What an eventful day!  Planning to portage Ft. Randall Dam 
                  today, I got an early start and was instantly annoyed when
                  I encountered a series of mini-dikes, signs of Corps work.
                  After yesterday's stretch, they struck me as not only 
                  unnecessary, but also aesthetically displeasing.  I also had
                  a strong taliwind, which made reading the current difficult. 
                  Things picked up when I saw 3 bald eagles soaring 
                  overhead, and after that I came upon 2 deer swimming 
                  across the river, I guess to seek asylum in the wildlife refuge
                  on the other side.  About that time, I passed through
                  Nebraska, and now I'm flanked by South Dakota on both
                  sides.  As I approached the dam, I had a major scare.  I had
                  to cross the river to portage from the other side, and the 
                  current below the dam was incredibly strong.  Not only that,
                  but the strong tailwind roiled the surface into something 
                  resembling the Colorado.  Midway through the crossing I got
                  hit by a gust of wind and a surge of current at the same time
                  and almost capsized.  Had I flippedat that part of the river I
                  would have been in big trouble.  When I got to the other side,
                  I realized my heart was going a mile a minute and I was 
                  shaking - from sheer terror.  When I got my gear out and 
                  prepared to use my new portaging wheels, Clarence Nedved
                  and Raymond Soukup, who'd seen me cross the river, offered
                  to give me a lift in their truck.  Not only did they take me to 
                  the top of the dam, but they also drove me into Pickstown to
                  get supplies and dropped me off right at the boat ramp on the
                  lake side of the dam.  I couldn't have asked for kinder or more
                  generous samaritans.  After thanking them profusely, I put in
                  and ventured out into the lake.  I realized instantly this was a
                  big mistake.  The wind had churned the lake into 4-foot swells,
                  and I could see even the small motorboats struggling.  I
                  managed to get around the point into a safe marina, 
                  convinced that the wind was purposefully trying to kill me 
                  today.  Here I had my second stroke of good fortune.  As I was
                  paddling over to talk to Mike Tadlock and Steve Slocum, two
                  men who had recognized me from the Sioux City article, my
                  rudder cable snapped.  Had it broken when I was crossing the
                  river, or in the lake, I would have had a major problem.  To add
                  to my luck, Steve was a marine handyman, and he managed to
                  repair the cable.  They both invited me to camp at the Ft. 
                  Randall Boat Club site, where they are members.  Later, Mike
                  gave me a tour of Ft. Randall, and we had dinner and beers 
                  together.  Two more generous samaritans.  I went to sleep
                  feeling blessed with good luck.

     June 4: Strong headwinds today, but still I made 26 miles, a major
                  accomplishment.  On these lakes, I'm finding headwinds less
                  of a problem than crosswinds, which are much more 
                  worrisome because they could capsize me more easily.  I did
                  get drenched plowing through the waves, and stopped in the
                  afternoon to build a fire, dry out, and warm up.  I get 
                  apprehensive paddling on these lakes in the wind.  Perhaps if
                  I were a more experienced kayaker I'd be more confident, but
                  as a novice these 3-4 foot swells scare me, especially when
                  they hit me crosswise or from behind at an angle.  People tell
                  me to expect 6 foot swells on the larger lakes ahead.  I expect
                  to stay ashore rather than face them.

    June 5: I made 32 miles today!  Helped by a SE wind, I zipped along at
                  almost 4 mph.  When I was out of the wind, or when it wasn't
                  too strong, I could relax, take pictures, and enjoy the view.
                  In the wind, even when it's at my back, requires total 
                  concentration, so I focus only on what's immediately around 

    June 6: I arrived in Chamberlain today - 29 miles in only 7 hours of
                  paddling.  That makes 88 miles in 3 days.  Like yesterday I was
                  aided by strong SE winds.  At one point, with the wind at my
                  back, I felt like I was surfing.  It was exhilarating, but it still 
                  made me apprehensive.  I'll stay in Chamberlain for a day of
                  rest, then push on to Big Bend Dam on Thursday.

June 7-8: After a pleasant stay in Chamberlain, S.D., I set out for my 
                  third dam  - Big Bend Dam at Ft. Thompson, S.D.  Things went
                  smoothly for the first hour, but then the wind picked up again.
                  At mid-morning my rudder cable snapped again, and I patched
                  it as best I could.  After I repaired the cable, I called The 
                  Wilderness House, where Chris said he'd send me a kit with
                  replacement parts.  I'll pick it up in Pierre, if I make it that far.
                  Paddling in these windy conditions has become incredibly 
                  stressful.  Even when it's at my back, I constantly have to 
                  worry about keeping my balance.  When it's across my bow, I
                  worry about being tipped over.  When it's in my face, making 
                  progress becomes a physical strain.  Onthe other hand, my 
                  new wheels worked like a dream for my portage.  I pulled the
                  kayak, fully loaded, almost 2 miles with a minimum of effort.

    June 9: Once again, the first hour was relaxing and fairly easy going.
                  Then the wind started up again, and by noon I had to contend 
                  with 3-4 foot swells.  The last two hours were brutal, with 
                  gusts at time so strong they literally stopped me dead in the
                  water.  I feel like I'm being battered down physically and
                  psychologically.  In conditions like these, I worry about 
                  damage to my wrist and shoulder, I worry about the rudder
                  cable breaking, and I worry about flipping and drowning.  A 
                  couple of days ago someone asked me if I was having fun.  I
                  wouldn't call this journey exactly fun.  At times it's been 
                  enjoyable, it's certainly been rewarding, and I've met some 
                  wonderful people, but fun it's not, especially with this 
                  relentless wind.  At least the water is clean enough for a cool
                  swim at the end of the day.  And I passed the 1000-mile mark

                    Click here for days 64-70 of Richard's journal