COPD AWARENESS ADVENTURE CRUISE
Everyone who’s read Huckleberry Finn has to have dreamed of floating on The Big Muddy. I did at a college on the river’s banks about 30 miles north of Hannibal. As part of the Great Loop I did the lower part of the river from Alton, IL, to New Orleans but there’s that long stretch between Minneapolis and Alton I’d like to close.
But I’m 74 years old. Had a heart attack ten years ago and I carry three stents in my coronary arteries. My fingers are gnarled with arthritis. AND I have severe COPD. BUT there are still some whack-o schemes I’d like to pull off. With just a monthly Social Security deposit, I’m asking for help to accomplish this one and to raise people's awareness of the disease along the route.
When I started this campaign I was looking for funding to buy a boat to accomplish the wish. In less than a week someone came forward and GAVE ME A BOAT!!! But there’s a lot of miscellaneous gear like a camp stove and cooking utensils, foul weather togs, a hand-held VHF radio to talk to lock masters, anchors, fenders, rope, etc. that I’d need. I hope to raise $5,000 for the venture.
Having done the lower part of the river I’d veer left at the Ohio River and take the Tennessee Tombigbee to Mobile, AL and the Gulf of Mexico. That route was only in the talking stages back in ’75. Most nights I’d anchor or beach the boat on an island, not just to keep costs down, but because I like the tranquility being “on the hook” offers.
Part of this idea, which I’d document along the way, is to convince people with similar health problems not to confine themselves to an easy chair. Voyages like this generate media attention along the way and I'd use that time to raise people's awareness of COPD and to try and show others with COPD that they can accomplish their dreams, too. Slower than most people because of breathing difficulties but still it's no reason to confine yourself to a chair in front of the one-eyed mind-destroyer. If I get enough funding to do this, whatever money is left at the end of the trip will be donated to the American Lung Association. If I don’t raise enough money by winter’s end I will donate what has been raised to the same cause.
I'm going to finance a lot of this on my own, but I live on a fixed income of Social Security and need your help to raise enough money to buy big-ticket items like an outboard motor.
The boat is located in the northwest corner of Vermont. Naturally the original idea was to prep the boat in the Spring and then tow it to Minneapolis. But the donor wrote: "I don't know how much time you've allotted to this scheme, but you could hop on the Erie canal and putt out to Buffalo without losing too much skin, and then trailer to M/SP."
Hadn't thought about that. I could actually splash the boat in Lake Champlain at Burlington, Vermont and run down the lake and into the Champlain Canal that actually leads into the Erie...
I went through the Erie Canal in the Fall of '74 and it was a great run and I'd often said I wouldn't mind doing it again. I think I will this May or June. All along the way on both the Champlain and Erie Canals there are free town docks with facilities like electricity and water. This is the way to go.
Not only that, but the donor is going to keep it at his location over the winter. Angels DO exist.