Brock's Blog

view:  full / summary

Friday, July 26

Posted by paddle4kins on July 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (5)

HE HAS DONE IT! BROCK HAS FULFILLED HIS DREAM OF KAYAKING THE ENTIRE MISSISSIPPI RIVER!!

Brock and Dan reached Cooter Brown's Tavern in New Orleans at 3:55 p.m. this afternoon!!

Brock was smiling the entire time he was loading up the kayaks for the last time ever!!

Thank you to everyone for all of your support, he could not have done it without all of you!!

Brock's family would like to invite all of you to join us in welcoming Brock home to Alexandria, MN at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 at Filmore Park in Alexandria. Ice cream treats will be provided! Come and hear some of Brock's exciting stories from his 45 days on the Mighty Mississippi!! Please text/call Kendra at 320.219.2056 or email kendra.hartsell@gmail.com with any questions!  

We are so thankful that God has kept Brock safe through it all!

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans 5:3-4).

Thursday, July 25

Posted by paddle4kins on July 26, 2013 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Today was another special day, as Brock got to kayak with his dad!

Brock's mom and dad drove down to Louisiana to pick up the kayaks and bring them back to Minnesota; Brock's dad was also excited to kayak a day on the Paddle 4 Kins trail! Since they had a vehicle, Brock's mom, Juanita, and Dan Rice drove the truck while Brock and his dad kayaked.

They had an exciting send-off this morning, as Danielle Grossman from NBC33 News of Baton Rouge was there to interview them! Thank you, Danielle, for the great feature on NBC33 and Fox44! The story also aired on the Minneapolis Kare11 10:00 p.m. news tonight. Click on the "In the News" tab above to watch!

The day on the river was HOT with no breeze at all! Brock's dad said that the scenery as you get that far south is very industrial. They did, however, see one resort along the river. Brock said that New Orleans is the seventh largest port in the United States so there was a lot of "traffic" on the river! They saw lots of ships, barges and ferries. Brock said they saw over 50 barges! One interesting fact that Brock had learned from Tommy-- In the 1920s, the Mississippi State governor built the bridge at Baton Rouge too low for sea ships to get under them so they would have to stop in Baton Rouge, then transfer everything to barges to get farther north. This way it would bring more people to the capital of Baton Rouge. Wow! The things they learn on a kayaking trip!! Brock said that his dad kept up with him pretty well in the kayak! Way to go, Dad!

Brock and his dad kayaked for about five hours before meeting up with Danny and Juanita. They had been offered a beautiful place to stay in New Orleans by Ray and Kim Martin, so the four of them drove there this evening to get a good night sleep before the final day on the river! They are planning on driving back to that same spot tomorrow so Brock and Dan can finish the rest of the way on the river!

FORTY-FOUR DAYS DOWN, ONE TO GO ON THE PADDLE 4 KINS TRAIL...TRULY AMAZING!!

Wednesday, July 24

Posted by paddle4kins on July 26, 2013 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Today was a special day! Brock said that the wind was blowing WITH them for only the third day ever! YAHOO!! It was still super super hot, though. Up here in "north country" we are enjoying 70 degree days right now, but the southern states are sweltering in 90-100 degrees!! Brock and Dan made it 55 miles and stopped in Baton Rouge at about 5:30 today.

There they were met by Tommy, who is, Brock said, a "friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend!" Now that is pretty awesome work, everyone! So here is the breakdown... Brock's parents are friends with Kim Martin, who is friends with Machelle Williams, who is friends with Elizabeth, whose dad is Will, who has a friend, Tommy, in Baton Rouge. That is amazing! Thank you so much to all of you who helped set all of these people up with Brock and Dan!

Anyway, Brock, Dan and the kayaks were picked up by Tommy in Baton Rouge. He brought the guys to his house where they were able to take a shower and wash their clothes. Tommy also cleaned up their kayaks and filled up their water bottles. After that, Tommy showed Brock and Dan around Baton Rouge. Brock especially enjoyed seeing the LSU campus and Tiger Stadium! Thank you, Tommy for taking such good care of the boys!

While all of this was going on, Brock's parents, Dan and Juanita, were slowly making their way towards Baton Rouge! They left at noon yesterday (Tuesday) and drove 585 miles to Hannibal, Missouri. Then they got back in the car early this morning and drove almost 800 miles to Baton Rouge! Wow! As they pulled into Baton Rouge that night around 7:30, Brock's mom said: "Like Brock always says, 'It's what we do for Paddle 4 Kins!'" That night Dan and Juanita took Brock, Dan, Tommy and his son, Warren, out to eat in Baton Rouge.

Hard to believe there's only two days left on the Paddle 4 Kins trail! 


Tuesday, July 23

Posted by paddle4kins on July 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Brock and Dan are on a mission to finish this thing!! Today they started at 8:00 a.m. and didn't stop until 10:00 p.m. They made it a total of 66 miles with the wind pushing hard against them. They were only able to go about four miles per hour! What a long day!

They ended up stopping in St. Francisville, Louisiana where they found a Hunting Club. They decided to check it out, but unfortunately there was no one there at that time. However, their walk up to the Hunting Club was quite exciting!

As they were walking through the weeds, Brock and Dan heard a noise. They weren't quite sure what it was, but then they heard it again. And suddenly, they knew what it was... there were WILD HOGS snorting at them!! What!! I can just see those boys flipping out and trying to find those hogs!!

The boys set up camp on a beach near St. Francisville tonight. Brock was excited that they were about to hit the "less than 200 miles left" mark!! Wow!! Sooo close to the end!!

Unfortunately, Brock has been trying to send videos but he has such little service in the middle of nowhere that it's nearly impossible! Several times they have gotten 75% of the way sent, and then service is lost for as little as a second and everything starts over! Brock has mentioned many times that technology has been a huge problem on this trip, whether it be no service, the GoPro not working, the solar panels not working properly, etc... it's always something! It is quite amazing that we have been able to follow Brock as much as we have!! So, thank you for continuing to read these blogs! He loves his supporters!!

Monday, July 22

Posted by paddle4kins on July 25, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Another long and crazy day on the Paddle 4 Kins trail!

Brock and Dan started at 8:00 this morning. After paddling for several hours, they came into a severe lightning storm and had to get off the river. Brock said that there were lightning strikes everywhere! 

At this point they were in Natchez, Mississippi. Natchez is a nice size city so they were able to find a bus to give them rides to wherever they needed to go! And once again they took their "showers" in a pool at a casino! At least they're trying to keep some good hygiene!!

After they had "showered" and grabbed a bite to eat, the boys got back on the river and kayaked for a few more hours before stopping for the night at around 9:00 p.m. They ended up making it a total of 60 miles, even with a long stop!

At some point today, Brock and Dan had to fix their kayak peddles once again. (Those dang peddles have been a never-ending problem throughout the trip!) They ended up combining two broken pairs to make a good, useable pair. Brock said that they are "down to their last chance with the peddles right now!"

Here's to the peddles lasting just a few more days!!

Sunday, July 21

Posted by paddle4kins on July 25, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Brock and Dan started a little later today after spending the night at a campsite. When I talked to him at about 4:00 p.m., they had gone 46 miles and were about 30 miles past Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Although the days are starting to get long with nothing to look at besides miles of trees on both sides of them, the boys are still staying positive! They passed an island today that was FULL of deer! Wow! Brock said that it was super cool to see!

Tonight they camped at a Nuclear Plant near Port Gibson, Mississippi. When Brock told me that, I tried to play it cool by saying, "Wow, that's cool!" And Brock replied with, "Ah, more like scary!" Eeek! That's what I was really thinking!

Saturday, July 20

Posted by paddle4kins on July 23, 2013 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Brock and Dan had another strong day today! They managed to make it 70 miles and stayed at a campsite along the river about 70 miles past Rosedale, Mississippi.

I wasn't able to get a ton of other information about today, but Brock said that it was a good, "chill" day on the river...partly cloudy with a fast current!

Friday, July 19

Posted by paddle4kins on July 23, 2013 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Today was a big day! Brock and Dan were on the river by 7:00am, and began the day with a goal in mind: They wanted to break the Paddle4Kins record for kayaking the most miles in a day! They were hoping to make it from Helena, Arkansas to Rosedale, Mississippi, which is about 75 river miles.

And yes, they did it!!! With a nice pace of about 8 miles per hour, they were able to kayak 75 miles today! They arrived at Rosedale around 5:30pm!!

There they were met by Will Gurley, whom Brock described as: "one of the nicest guys I have ever met!" Will, who lives in Rosedale, is a friend of Machelle Williams and was happy to put up Brock and Dan for the night. Brock was so thankful for a clean bed and a hot shower! Brock and Dan even got their clothes washed! (No more Febreeze needed!!)

Brock also wanted to mention Will's friend, Jodi, who spent a lot of time with them in Rosedale. Will and Jodi took Brock and Dan out to eat at a restaurant, where they got to enjoy a good "southern" meal, complete with catfish and grits! Yum! Thank you to Will and Jodi for taking such great care of Brock and Dan while they were in Rosedale!

And thank you to all of you for continuing to follow this grand journey of Brock's! Each day, he gets closer and closer to fulfilling his dream!

Thursday, July 18

Posted by paddle4kins on July 22, 2013 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Yet another crazy day on the Paddle 4 Kins trail!

This morning Brock and Dan were on the river at 7:00am after a long night of sprinklers and sleeping on paver stones! After only a few minutes of kayaking, you will never believe what Brock and Dan saw... a HUGE SNAKE circling around! (Watch the video under the "Mississippi River Videos" tab!) At first they thought it was a diamondback, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was a water moccasin. When I asked Brock if they are deadly, his response was "umm, ya!!" Well, I only asked because he peddled up so close to it! I would have peddled away screaming!! I did ask him if they were scared, and of course the answer was "NO!"

After going about 35 miles, the day on the river was cut short by a huge storm that came in from out of nowhere around noon. Brock said that neither he or Dan have ever seen anything like it! One minute the sky was completely blue, and the next minute there was lightning and thunder rolling in to the point where they had to get off of the river as fast as possible. WOW!! Brock said that if they would have been on the river even ten minutes later, that "it would have been bad". For him to say that, it must have been really bad! They said that there was at least two inches of rain in less than an hour. Crazy!

Fortunately, Brock and Dan were near the city of Helena, Arkansas when they had to race off the river. They were able to find a way into town and check into a small hotel room to wait out the storm. They also went to a restaurant to get a bite to eat, where something happened that is almost too difficult to talk about. While they were waiting for their food, Brock and Dan watched a waiter "nonchalantly" walk around their table twice...all the while spraying a bottle of Febreeze! What!!! Do ya think they might need a shower?!! Brock said that his "weekly" shirt was probably the culprit. OMG!!

The boys did meet some great people this afternoon. Machelle Williams, who lives about 40 miles from Helena, is a friend of one of Brock's parents' friends and knew that Brock was going to be coming through the area. So she and her son, Brooks, drove to meet up with them. Brock could not say enough good things about her! Thank you, Machelle, for bringing the boys Gatorades and waters, giving them a ride to WalMart to stock up on some supplies, supplying them with contacts for places to stay as they continue down the river, and giving the boys some great support as they go through parts of the country that they are not familiar with!

Brock was also given some encouragement today by someone quite important. The governor of the state of Mississippi himself sent his best to Brock and wished him well on the rest of his trip! Thanks, Governor Bryant!!

Wednesday, July 17

Posted by paddle4kins on July 19, 2013 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Brock got a new partner today...Dan Rice! Dan has been best friends with Brock's brother, Stu, for many years and has become a great friend of their family throughout those years. Thanks to Dan for joining Brock on the river with less than a 24 hour notice!! (Not to be confused with Brock's second kayaking partner, Dan Anderson!)

Brock picked Dan up at the airport in Memphis, Tennessee around 10:00 this morning and they were on the river by 12:30. They put their kayaks in at Mud Island River Park, a popular tourist destination in Memphis. 

Even after their super late start, Brock and Dan managed to make it forty miles today! Wow, way to start it out with a bang, Dan!

They ended up stopping at the famous Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel in Mississippi. After grabbing a bite to eat, they decided to take a dip in the hotel's indoor pool. Brock said that he was grateful for the pool, as it was "his weekly shower." Ummmmm gross?! Brock said that he and Dan "both loved it!" Not really sure what that means, but after over a month in a kayak, this experience must have been comparable to the guy hitting the jackpot down the hall...

The guys weren't planning on staying at that spot overnight, but since it was getting late, they decided to set up their tent on a public access park lawn right next to the casino. Unfortunately, this place had different plans for them, as they found out later. Around 1:30 in the morning, the sprinklers turned on and soaked their tent and all of their gear!! UGH!!! So the boys had to pack everything up, half asleep, and find another place to sleep! They finally ended up tenting on a PAVED walking bridge overlooking the Mississippi River. Needless to say, they both had sore backs when they woke up! 

Wow, what a night. Welcome to Paddle 4 Kins, Dan!! 


Rss_feed