Dispatch 5 [2018]

07/01/18 AT 21:53:56

It's July!

Preparations are moving right along from the race team.  Safety teams are forming, volunteers are signing up, cities along the river are getting ready for you!

Let's talk about some of those checkpoints and way stations where you'll be stopping for supplies.

LEXINGTON:  First official checkpoint (MM317)  This means you HAVE to check in via one of the apps like Raceowl or MR340 Checkpoint Texter.  Both are free apps.  And both work for Apple and Android.  Pick one now and start playing with it to familiarize yourself with how to text in.  Make sure your physical ground crew has one of these apps so they can text you in.  That way if you are paddling by the checkpoint and don't want to stop, you can make verbal contact with them and they can do it. 

Lexington will have a concession run by the Lexington Boy Scout Troop.  They will be selling burgers, dogs, chips and drinks. 

There are toilets in the park. 

The park will be PACKED.  There are two boat ramps, side by side.  The downstream one is the larger, easier ramp to use.  We will have volunteers at this ramp to keep the waterline clear.  When you land, be ready to get your boat up and out of the way so they folks behind you can land.  This will be standard procedure at every ramp.  But Lexington will be the most crowded.

For this reason, a lot of teams skip Lexington.  That's fine.  But remember, you HAVE to check in on your phone there.  So either drop your paddle and get your phone out of the dry box and do it as you drift by OR make sure your ground crew does it when they see you pass. 

TIP:  Don't assume your ground crew can see you from across the river.  It's really hard to know what boat is what from a hundred yards away.  Come in close enough to make verbal contact with them. 

Other ramps people use in order to skip Lexington:  Napoleon, Ft. Osage, Cooley Lake Access. 

WAVERLY:  (OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT)  (MM295) Waverly has two ramps as well but these are about 150 yards apart and in two different parks.  Ramp 1 is upstream of the bridge.  This ramp will have the Waverly Scouts selling food and drinks.  It has toilets.  There is a bathroom at the top of the hill with running water if you're unsupported and looking to refill.  The local Stream Team headed up by river expert Robin Kalthoff will be working the ramp to keep it clear. 

There is a railroad running right through the heart of this park!  PLEASE be careful with children.  There is no crossing guard.  Trains just honk and blow through very fast. 

Ramp 2 is just downstream of the bridge.  There will also be toilets there.  There will NOT be food sold there is my understanding.  This ramp is generally less crowded and so may be a better choice for you if you have a ground crew and don't need to buy food.  However, it can get crowded and we'll need to keep it clear for paddlers to land. 

Strategy Tip:  Do NOT plan to sleep at Waverly.  You haven't paddled far enough yet.  It is too noisy (trains) to sleep and when you wake up in the morning the park will be empty and the next nearest racer will have a 4 hour lead on you.  The river will be high and fast and you should stop only briefly at Waverly and then try to make Hills Island or Miami.

HILLS ISLAND:  (MM281) With the water high, Hills Island will be smaller than most years but there will be room to take a break.  This sandbar is 12 miles downstream from Waverly and about 19 miles upstream of Miami.  So if you are trying for Miami but feel like you need a break, Hills Island is your place.  Cars cannot get here so you're on your own but we will have a safety boat stationed here should you have any urgent needs or questions.

MIAMI: WAY STATION  (MM263) Miami is not a required checkpoint and there is no need to check in there.  BUT it is a perfect spot on day 1 (105 miles from KC)  where lots of folks decide to get off the river and try to sleep.  The city of Miami turns their little park into a true oasis for paddlers and serves food all night long.  This is a big fundraiser for them and they use the money to fund a city project every year. 

Parking, just like at Lexington and Waverly, will be TIGHT.  Miami may be the tightest.  You should be prepared at every checkpoint to walk quite a way from your car to the ramp.  Have your ground crew get one of those collapsible wagons for hauling your stuff from their parking spot to the ramp at each stop.   

If you make it to Miami night 1 you are doing great!  You've really taken a bite out of the total distance and will have earned yourself some time to rest.  You might try resting at Miami OR if the moon is good and the weather is friendly, why not just run the night out?  It's a heckuva lot cooler and the miles are pretty easy.  If keep your stop at Miami short you have the chance to pass 100 boats that are sitting there for the night.  How often can you pass 100 boats in 10 minutes?  Make those night miles when you can.  They really are the easiest miles you'll do if there's a good sky and no fog.  If you can sleep during the heat of the day (day 2) instead, it can make life easier.

(239 mile marker) Here's a nice little ramp between Miami and Glasgow.  We try to have a safety boat there every year unless something arises.  At Dalton you can meet your ground crew and catch a nap.  Generally never crowded.  If there's 5 boats there it's a busy year.  Toilets, a couple of picnic tables.  That's about it.
Speaking of toilets, the Missouri Department of Conservation knows about the race and tries to stock the toilets with supplies.  But we put a lot of people through there so it's a good idea to have a roll or two of toilet paper with your ground crew and probably one in a ziploc bag aboard your boat in case the toilets run out.

GLASGOW: (mm226)  REQUIRED CHECKPOINT  Nice park.  Pit toilets by the ramp.  Flushing toilets if you walk across the soccer field.  Also some showers in that bathhouse.  There will be a concession there.  Nice, wide ramp.  Very actively used to launch fishing boats.  We MUST keep the ramp open for fishing boats to launch and load.  Pull your boat over to the curb of the ramp.  Town is super close.  Ground crew will be able to get groceries during business hours.  Some little cafes in town if you want to get out of the heat and take a break.

FRANKLIN ISLAND ACCESS: MM195  OPTIONAL WAY STATION NOT a required stop but a good place to rest on the long haul from Glasgow to Jeff City.  Trevor Tilton Insurance, a sponsor of the race, is hosting this spot and will be providing food and drink to racers free of charge.  We are having portable toilets brought in.  This access is across the river from Boonville and downstream about a mile.  So ground crews will have nearby access to a large town. 

COOPER'S LANDING:  MM170  OPTIONAL WAY STATION  Mike Cooper has been a friend of the race since the beginning.  His private campground is open for the race and for spectators.  There is Thai food served around the clock. 

A couple notes about Cooper's.  Parking is very limited.  There will be parking attendants to direct you to available parking.  Be prepared to walk. 

Landing your canoe at Cooper's can be a challenge, especially at night.  We won't know the details until the safety meeting regarding what the water will be doing, but at most water levels, there is a wing dike (pile of rocks) causing some turbulent water just above the ramp.  You generally have to go around this dike and then cut in behind it into the slack water eddy.  We will have a safety boat there and some volunteers to talk you through it as you approach.  Just listen to their instructions.  Short version, go past the bumpy water, then paddle towards shore until current slows.  Turn your boat upstream towards ramp and hug the shore and boat dock as you approach ramp.  Take a look at Cooper's Landing on google maps and it will make sense. 

Beautiful Park known as Wilson's Serenity Point named after the great Joe Wilson who saved this park from ruins and took care of it the last 15 years of his life.  Just across the river from the capitol and just upstream of the bridge.  Food will be sold by the local Chik Fil A.  Missouri American Water will be there with free water.  Generally an easy landing at the ramp or at some water levels, on the sandy beach just downstream of the ramp. 

Good little stop to know about.  We don't generally park a safety boat here but it's a nice park.  Showers in the bath house. 

If you can make it to Hermann, you're gonna make it!  Just 70 more miles to go.  Very nice park and the town is all right there within walking distance.  The Hermann Scouts put on a great concession with breakfast and dinner food served around the clock.  Nice bathrooms a short walk away.  Some grassy areas where you can pitch a tent.  Train runs right through but by this point you'll be too tired to care.

NOTE:  There are two ramps at Hermann separated by a long dike that runs out into the river.  If this is submerged, it creates very turbulent water flowing over it.  We suggest landing at the upstream ramp.  Then, when you leave, you can opt to carry your boat to the downstream ramp in order to avoid the turbulent water.  This is the only legal portage of the MR340.  And it's about 50 yards.  You may also land at the downstream ramp if that's your preference.  This ramp is used by fishermen to launch and load boats so be sure you move your boat out of the way if you use this ramp.

Not an official stop or way station.  We generally try to have a safety boat here.  Cool little town.  Your ground crew will like it.

Tough spot to land a canoe.  Current flowing right across the ramp.   This used to be an official checkpoint but we stopped using it due to difficulty landing there.  Great river town.  I hope they build a new ramp someday.

Your final checkpoint before the finish.  Pat Jannsen hosts and a Missouri American Water safety boat will be there.  There will be limited concessions available. 

We finish right in front of the Lewis and Clark Museum.  Missouri American Water is building us a small floating dock this year to make things even easier.  Nothing is better than plowing the nose of your boat into that mud and sand at St. Charles.  There will be yet another Scout Troop there to help you haul your boat up to the storage area.  The museum sells food and beer as a fundraiser.  The museum is also open free of charge thanks to Missouri American Water. 

Please note that parking in the lot by the museum is strictly monitored by the city of St. Charles and is supposed to be empty after dark.  We will have special parking passes available free at the safety meeting for you to place on your dashboard.  Don't forget to grab one! 

We did NOT list every single ramp in this dispatch.  There are many more where you might decide to meet your ground crew.  This is part of the grand strategy.  It's a good idea to do some research.  The maps found on this this thread are really handy:  There are 8 sheets.  One on each post.

Your ground crew, whether virtual or physical, should have a copy of all 8 sheets posted as attachments on that thread.  The paddler really doesn't need the maps but maybe a list of ramps and mile markers (and which side of the river, right or left)  That way you and your ground crew can coordinate easily.  So when you meet at a checkpoint you can tell them where you'd like to see them next and they've got a map right there.

Alright, that's it for this dispatch.  More to come soon.  Keep the faith!  We're watching river levels closely.  They are projecting Kansas City to be around 17 feet which is 86,000 cubic feet per second.  That would be considered a high water year.  Not the highest we've seen during the race but certainly up there in the rankings.  What we do not need is more rain.  This 86,000 is purely from lake releases and is the MINIMUM they are projecting without significant rain.  So help us in hoping and praying for dry, dry, dry days between now and the race.  High water is great, but nobody wants a flood delay.

See you in a few weeks!


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