2003 World Record Set:
18 days, 4 hours, 51 minutes!

The Mississippi River Challenge for
Rett Syndrome & Leukodystrophy

- May 10, 2003 6 AM to May 28, 10:51 AM 2003-

A 2,348 Mile Marathon to Support a Marathon of Research!

Bob Bradford, forward position, Clark Eid, in the back, approaching L & D 24

May 14, Tuesday























Text Updates from our Race Web Log


Update from Dana Hanson, per Stan Hanson:

The paddlers arrived at Sauk Rapids, MN, in the dark at 5:30am.  They enjoyed their breakfast, and once daylight made its appearance, the group scouted the rapids for which the city is named.   The video camera was mounted on the back of the canoe so they could get some pictures while they canoed the rapids.  Shortly after 6am, the paddlers shot the rapids and were on their way.

While Stan and I were talking, they were all portaging in St. Cloud.  People were shaking their hands, and the paddlers were in good spirits.  Ken Ketter had joined them and was portaging right along with our Team.  He will be joining the paddlers on the water from St. Cloud to Coon Rapids, and possibly beyond.  By the time Stan's and my conversation ended, they had arrived at the other end of the portage.  I could hear everybody talking in the background.

Stan anticipates that they will be at and thru St. Anthony's Upper and Lower Dams before this morning is over.

Stan has finally hooked up with a St. Louis radio station, KLOU 103.3FM, and interviewed with Smash, the morning DJ from 5:30am to 9am.  Smash said he is amazed at what Team Hope is doing and has asked Stan to call in early every morning.  He's scheduled short but thorough segments on what is happening.  Smash hopes to get a bunch of people together to greet the paddlers when they arrive at the Arch in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, at 10am on Tuesday, May 20.


  From Dana Hanson, per Stan Hanson:

Stan called around 12:20pm CST -- using his cell phone instead of a satellite phone!  The paddlers are 32 miles above Coon Rapids.  The head wind has picked up a lot, making paddling more difficult.  Ken Ketter is still paddling with Bob & Clark, and he has invited them and the land crew to a feast of lasagna dinner.  Only 34 miles downstream, on the western edge of Minneapolis!  He's made arrangements for several of Bob's friends to meet them there, including Gene Jensen, a boat builder.  Hopefully, Clark & Bob will be able to get at least four hours of deep, well-deserved sleep (in a comfortable bed) before leaving Ketter's Landing.  The crew right now are all playing like gophers. 

Our Expedition, which Stan got out of the shop yesterday, is working great.  Then I heard, "But another couple trips down the Mississippi, and I might have to trade it in."  There was a long pause.  In the back of my mind I was remembering how it took only six months after the Great Mississippi River Race of 2001 for discussions to start up about the Mississippi River Challenge of 2003.  I asked if they were already talking about the next race for Rett & Leukodystrophy.  He laughed.  Never did get a truly direct answer..... hmmmmm


Clark called around 12:30 CST and said they were heading towards the Twin Cities.... said 4 paddling friends of Bob had been with them and that it was great to have the company on the water.... also said when he was suppose to sleep last night a downpour began and he got soaked, and apparently did not sleep. He is quite tired. I hope he sleeps before he starts seeing 12 foot beaver tails again...

He mentioned seeing Brie and Brianna, 2 girls with Rett syndrome who were at the Headwaters in our previous race in 2001.... and their mom Danita. I can't remember if he said their grandmom Diane was there - but I suspect she was if she could have been. I first actually "met" Diane online years ago on a couple Rett Syndrome email listserves - she is very active in her grandchildren's lives and very knowledgeable about the day to day ins and outs with Rett Syndrome. Clark was very happy to see them all, and of course, eat the pizza they had brought for Team Hope.....

I told Clark the website maps from Where Are They Now? were updating very quickly and often now. The Automatic Positioning Radio System and Global Positioning System that are tied to the race canoe work in tandem to send a radio signal that includes Clark's call wb0oly, and their longitude and latitude position to a a radio/computer program system set up at Findu.com . That system at Findu.com in turn uses that information and maps from MapBlast to generate the maps folks are seeing on our event website. Steve Dimse, who runs findu.com, allows us to frame those maps right into our site. Talk about helping a fellow ham!

Special thanks to everyone who helped with that. It really does make the race more exciting for those of us watching from the web. Steve Dimse will try to put together a short QuickTime movie for us summarizing Team Hope's progress that we can use for our website.

Clark said they got great "on the water" video shots when going through the rapids today. We hope to use this footage to help produce a documentary about this adventure, Rett Syndrome, and Leukodystrophy after we smash the record..... anyone interested in helping with that should feel free to contact us.



From the National Weather Center:

Minneapolis, MN weather forecast for Wednesday, 5/14/2003 -
This afternoon - Showers likely and a chance of late afternoon thunderstorms. Highs from 64 to 67. Southeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70 percent.
Tonight - A 60 percent chance of showers this evening. Then partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 40s. East winds 5 to 10 mph.


Everybody has arrived at Ken Ketter's place in NW Minneapolis. Clark &Bob and a few other canoeists showed up right at 7:15pm. They will be eating lasagna dinner and relaxing for a while. Although Stan indicated earlier that they would try to have the paddlers sleep in comfortable beds for several hours, he's not sure if they really want to stop that long. Guess we'll find out later.

While waiting for Clark & Bob, Stan did quite a bit of talking with Gene Jensen -- a "paddling, canoe-designer, builder" legend, probably 80-something years young. He had great stories about Verlen. We'll have to get details on the good stuff later!


Clark is calling me right now - said it's very very very windy... also that there were 7 canoeists with them today paddling from time to time ... very nice... they love it when folks paddle with them....We are hoping to get some pictures online soon from some of the fellow paddlers!

Clark said they are about to start going through the Locks and Dams. The Lock and Dam masters have quite a task and we were grateful for their kind assistance during our 2001 Mississippi adventure. Kent Spading is our Army Corp of Engineer liaison, and has helped alert folks to our 2003 race. I'm sure things will go smoothly through the Locks and Dams overall, I just worry more about the night time travelling in general. On a great note though, the lighting on the race boat is spectacular - with our sponsor's Nite Rider lights and our GreatLand Laser signaling devices, the paddlers should be easily seen and see well themselves. Many thanks to Princeton Tech also, for the headlamps for the Road Crew, and to Luminox for watches for the paddlers .... it all helps tremendously at night, and that's 1/2 the race!

The team is presently at Ketter's Canoes in the Twin Cities now, inside for the moment to get out of the wind, to eat, and to get ready for the next section.... I told Clark the weather report indicates the wind may be continuing, and the chance for rain high. The Team sounds fine overall, no problems reported, no concerns. Clark sounded tired, but well. I'm hoping to talk with Bob next time :-). They are all so very busy right now... I'm just glad they are all ok.


After scouting the Diversion Channel near Aitkin, MN two nights ago, we went to a boat ramp on Highway 6 north of Crosby, MN to wait for Bob & Clark. I slept under the stars in the bed of a pickup truck Stan had on loan while his truck was being worked on. I awoke in the morning to find frost on my sleeping bag! Yep, it was cold...

We had a great dinner at the portage last night in Little Falls, MN, courtesy of Danita and family (thanks again, Danita!).

Windy today; VERY windy. It was a long trip for the paddlers from Sauk Rapids to the Twin Cities, where we are now. Everyone on the road crew had a chance to take a shower at Ketter's; for most of us it is only the second shower we've had since last Friday or Saturday.

Bonnie Riley came to Ketter's Canoeing and met everyone and gave Angie several "Mississippi River Challenge" blankets which she made.

A note about our position updates (APRS): it only works automatically when the boat is in an area where there is another radio which can receive the signal. It first started working last night near Little Falls. I noticed that it was not doing updates between St. Cloud and Minneapolis. This is normal, as there are areas of the country with few or no stations. It should work well, on the other hand, near large metro areas, where there are likely to be many stations which can receive the signal from the boat.

I've got some really cool audio of Bob & Clark recorded while they were in the Diversion Dam near Aitkin the other day. When I get a chance I'll edit some clips and put them on my website.



Whohoo, more updates! It was a hard day for me today going cold turkey without being a Team Hope groupie. I am sure I was having withdrawal symptoms. After spending 5 days in a row chasing Team Hope around Minnesota it was hard to be at home wondering what was going on. It is good to hear everyone is doing good and got a hot shower. Thanks Ketters!

Chuck and Lisa Evert who are parents to Jill, with Rett Syndrome are going to be traveling with them tomorrow and possibly Friday too, we should be getting some good updates from them also.

I have gotten a few responses from Rett families who live down the river a ways and want to be there to cheer Team Hope on in the next week or so.

-Tammy Hanson


Jessica Phelps writes:

It's been a lot of fun & I wish that I could do this every year! Everybody has been really nice & done a lot for us: cooking, showers, and a good place to sleep and rest better.


Angie Phelps writes:

Great people are all along the Mississippi River. Kenn Ketter, Al DuBois, Keith Canny, and Lee Jarpy put in at St. Cloud Dam and paddled for over 12 hours with Dad (Bob) & Clark. Ed Arenz, Chuck Ryan and Tom Gardner joined them during the day for a few hours too.

Ken's wife Beth Sikkema made Lasagna and Sarah Kueffer opened her home (also the home of Ketter Canoeing) and let Bob, Clark and the Road Crew take naps and showers.

Bob's snowshoeing friend Bonnie Riley made some lap throws that are embroidered with "Mississippi River Challenge - TEAM HOPE - May 2003" to give to kids along the way. She also made "racing cookies" for the guys.

Gene Jenson (Jenson Canoes) stopped in to see how the course was going. That meant a lot to Team Hope.

Crew Member Tony Swenson came back to visit us at Ketter Canoes! We were glad to have him back with us again, if only for a short visit.



At Ketter's Canoes in Minneapolis, MN, 05/14/2003, L to R: Clark Eid, Bob Bradford, David Phelps

At Ketter's Canoes in Minneapolis, MN. L to R: Clark Eid sitting, David Phelps, Jessie Phelps, Stan Hanson, Bob Bradford



Race Updates Next Day May 15