Friday, April 20, 2012

2,400 miles down the Mississippi - by muscle!

I'm intrigued by a Web-based TV 'travelogue' that was launched a couple of weeks ago.  GrindTV reports:

After spending 100 days paddling down Alaska's Yukon River in 2006, Canadian Brett Rogers contemplated his next move. Returning to a life of normalcy was not an option, so he began planning a project called "Old Man River". Years later, using past connections through actor Dan Aykroyd, Rogers and crew funded a 2,400-mile paddle down the storied Mississippi River on a 32-foot York boat. They endured fierce storms and a month of rain. They portaged their 1,000-pound vessel over 15-plus miles and came face-to-face with some of the world's most intimidating industrial landscapes.

The end result is a 10-part web series with new episodes being released every Tuesday. Intrigued by Rogers's expedition, we asked the adventurer about leading such an epic river journey.

How were you guys able to escape the responsibilities of daily life like jobs and family for 100 days?
Everyone on the crew was at a crossroads with their lives and so the timing was perfect. Everyone had just graduated from school or was in between jobs. For me, I had been doing some freelance work in television and was teaching documentary part-time at a college but my focus had always been (and still is) to build a career on storytelling around water, so for me it was a no brainer.

How long did it take to build the York Boat?
The boat build was over a 3-month span but we built 90-percent of the boat in 6 weeks. We had a boat builder give us guidance, but Cliff (my first mate) and myself did 90-percent of the labor.

Was there a time during the expedition you were worried about the boat falling apart?
We really believed in our wooden boat. That said, the headwaters for the first 500 miles were extremely shallow and our boat was taking a beating. We knew at some point we would have to undertake major repairs or risk causing major damage to the hull, which would jeopardize the expedition.

There's more at the link.  Recommended reading.

The first two episodes of the Web series have already been released.  Here they are.

Subsequent episodes will be released every week.  You can follow the series at its Vimeo channel, where all the episodes will become available for viewing as they're released.  If the project interests you, I suggest you bookmark the Vimeo channel for future reference.

Looks like a lot of hard work - and a lot of fun!  Congratulations to all concerned.



Old NFO said...

Interesting story, and Ol' Man River has NOT improved significantly... They have a challenge in front of them!

trailbee said...

What a challenge! Thanks for posting these two vids.

Anonymous said...

Eh. When they row UP the Mississippi, then I'll be impressed.