Monday, August 07, 2006

Paddles not Pollution

Due to some computer problems and travel this weekend I have been unable to post for a few days but hopefully I will be back on schedule this week via daily postings. First my computer issues -- having grown up around a family-owned small business I am a big fan of this company model which was confirmed this past week when I needed some computer updates. To compare costs I contacted the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy along with "Global IT", a small consultancy owned by one of my neighbors in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Overall costs were very similar but the difference was that my neighbor was willing to do the work the same day (Friday evening actually) because he had travel plans this past weekend. By contrast, Geek Squad told me, "hopefully we would have it completed on Monday for you to pick up........" (a full 3 days later versus same day service from my neighbor).

I was glad to have the computer returned on Friday night since I had my own travel plans this past weekend as a participant in the annual "Mississippi River Challenge",, (MRC). The MRC is a annual 44 mile, 2 day paddle down a stretch of the Mississippi River which cuts through the Twin Cities of Minnesota to raise funds to support the work of the Friends of the Mississippi River.

My partner for this trip was Pete, a fraternity brother from Iowa State University, and a veteran of our canoe trips to the Boundary Water Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota. Beyond Pete I want to thank all of my friends who contributed money as donors to this worthy cause. The trip itself was a "challenge" on the first day due to an all-day head wind that worked against us. The second day was a challenge because we did not get much sleep the night before due to a VERY serious rain storm but the water and wind were calm so overall the second day presented great paddling.

Overall I enjoy this annual charity event especially since it is focused on one of my hobbies - canoeing - and because the event is focused on raising public awareness about the quality of our waterways. Sadly, I saw a lot of garbage along the river - primarily plastic bottles - which gave me several ideas for next year including asking companies like Cabela's or Gander Mountain to donate fishing nets for each paddler on the the MRC so we can all work to clean the river along the way. A great model for such a full-blown clean up could be the "University of Okoboji campus clean up" ( which includes scuba diving focused on cleaning the Okoboji lake system in Northwest Iowa.

All things flow downstream,


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