Little Falls, Minnesota
August 9-11, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

On August 9, we traveled 30 miles from our campsite behind The Bridge Tavern to Brainerd, Minnesota.

We spent the night at a Quality Inn motel in Brainerd. Jon & Jeff resumed their journey down the River in the morning. I elected to take the day off and spend it with a wonderful River Angel family who live in Merrifield, just a few miles out of Brainerd

Vickie and Major Jon Dudeck live with their young son, Hunter, in a beautiful Riverfront home located on 33 acres of rural property. They share their home with one dog and three cats. Jon just retired from service in the Army. He served in the infantry in Desert Storm. Vickie is a court stenographer in a courthouse in Brainerd. Hunter is in middle school in Brainerd. On August 9, Jon transported our boats from the River to the hotel. In the morning, he returned to transport Jon and Jeff’s boats from the hotel back to the River. He then picked me up and took me to his home in Merrifield.

This zero day on August 10, after 14 days on the River, is one of the highlights of my trip. Jon drove me all over Brainerd, to purchase needed gear and ship home unneeded gear. Jon even took me to his barber for a haircut.

In the evening, we had dinner at Ernie’s on Gull Lake near Jon & Vickie’s home. The atmosphere was really fun, with an indoor and outdoor bar and restaurant, lots of families, a play area, a marina for boats and a really good singer. The appetizers and food were fantastic. We had chocolate ice cream for desert at Jon and Vickie’s home. What could be better?

I’m so glad I took a zero day. Thanks Vickie, Jon and Hunter for your friendship and hospitality. You capture the essence of what if takes to be a River Angel. And, thanks to you Major Dudeck for your service to the country.

On August 12, I paddled about 37 miles from Brainerd to a large park behind the Grace Covenant Church in Little Falls, Minnesota. It was a fun day, made easier by my rest day.

I have now traveled 370 miles from the headwaters at Lake Itasca. This leaves me with less than 2,000 miles to my destination in the Gulf. Yippee!

(my posts are a little delayed this week because my daughter Lisa, who sends out my posts, is in on a much-needed vacation)


The Bridge Tavern

Farewell to Jon & Jeff

Vickie & Major Jon’s home on the River

Vickie, Hunter, Bill & Major Jon