La Crosse, Wisconsin
August 24, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

I power all my personal devices (i-Phone, Go Pro, camera) with solar power. I have a Goal Zero solar panel, which I strap to the front of my canoe, and a Goal Zero Sherpa power pack, which charges from the solar panel. I then charge my personal devices from the Sherpa. This is the same equipment I have used in the mountains.

Unfortunately, the wires on my solar panel broke several days ago. So, I called Goal Zero on August 22 and and ordered another solar panel for one-day delivery to the UPS store in La Crosse, my next destination city on the River.

I was on the River on August 23 at 7:30am. I arrived in La Crosse at 9am and visited the UPS store. First, I shipped home my canoe wheels, which I won’t need anymore. Then, I inquired about my solar panel. The panel had not arrived. I called Goal Zero to determine the UPS tracking number for my shipment and was told the shipment is lost.  Goal Zero confirmed they shipped another solar panel, but it won’t arrive until August 24. So, now I’m stuck with another zero day on the River.

Then, the good news arrived. La Crosse hosts the “Great River Folk Fest” from August 23-25 at the Riverside Park along the River. I love folk music. The program began at 5 pm and featured local musicians and singers and an open mic. I knew I should have brought my ukulele! At 7pm, the main band took stage. This year, the Cactus Blossoms was the featured musical group. The Cactus Blossoms perform old-style folk music from my era. So, I was happy for the distraction and delay.

With help from a nice stranger, I pulled my canoe from the River and parked it in the fenced-in area where the festival was taking place. Then, I checked in the historic Charmant Hotel, which is one block from the River. The Charmant Hotel was once a candy factory. I searched, but never found the Golden Ticket. But, for breakfast, I enjoyed an Everlasting Gobstopper.

I really enjoyed the folk fest. And, my solar panel arrived on time. So, today, I’m back on the River.

This is why I love traveling solo. The side trips up and down streams, creeks and rivulets add enormous pleasure and richness to the journey. Some of my best memories from my mountain trips all around the world are the times I took exploring the cities, towns and villages off the beaten path and meeting such genuinely nice people.

My mantra for the River is the same as it was for the mountains. Never hurry. Chart your own path to the summit. Relish and enjoy the journey. Never allow setbacks to diminish the dream. Capture the experience forever in your memory.


Dakota in the morning

Hiawatha in La Crosse

Charmant Hotel

Solar panel & Sherpa

Folk Fest

Folk Fest