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 18, Sunday










































Text Updates from our Race Web Log


The paddlers arrived in the sleepy island town of Sabula at 01h00, and departed 19 minutes later. This has to be one of the quicker pit stops during the whole trip. Clark remained in the boat, ready to sleep for a while. Bob got out to stretch his legs and get some food, which he plans to eat while going through Lock #13.

Angie and her three kids (David, Jessica and Jake) will be leaving this morning and returning home. We wish them a safe return trip to Michigan, and thank them for all of their hard work and effort. They will be missed by both paddlers and crew. [Angie will rejoin the crew in about a week.]

We are now heading for Camanche, where we expect the paddlers to arrive at around 05h00.



Weather and Flood outlook for Rock Island, Illinois, a city the paddlers are heading towards today:
Today. Partly cloudy. Patchy fog early. High in the upper 70s. East wind around 10 mph.
Tonight. Partly cloudy. Low in the lower 60s. East wind around 10 mph.
Monday. Partly cloudy. A chance of thunderstorms late. High in the lower 80s. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming west in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30 percent.

Flood reminder (good news for the paddlers):




Stan and Clark are calling now, Stan said it's a little chilly but warming up.... Stan expects to have to start getting ice for the paddler's drink today. Stan sounded great and relaxed as always. I'm not sure what he was thinking when he said he would be the Road Captain for this motley crew, but you would never know the stress that he and the road crew are under when you talk to him.

Clark got on the phone and said they are 150 miles ahead of the 1984 record and he thinks they stand a good job of breaking 20 day mark at this time. He said they are "pumping" and that the whole team is "jelling" well (hope I spelled that correctly). He also said he is paddling this next section and Bob will be sleeping a little bit.

Clark said they had a couple of paddlers (friends of Bob's) who came out with them yesterday and paddled with them for a big part of the "pond" - Pond 8 he said - basically a pond of stiller water above the locks and dams that have less current that is usually slow going for the paddlers. The paddlers very much appreciate the company of the many paddlers who have joined in with them from time to time!

Clark also mentioned Angie and the kids were leaving for now, and they were sad to see them go. While we were talking he was being offered food from the crew. He said he is being fed very well - I suspect largely due to Janet's cooking and making sure everyone is as comfortable as possible. If any of you ever meet Janet Bradford, you know she is an incredible cook and team player. When Bob and Janet came to our home last New Year's eve (to deliver Clark's boat) Janet was such an incredible help in our home that I asked her if she wanted to live with us! Unfortunately, she declined, citing she would miss her family and the grandkids too much :-). She cooked, she cleaned, she played with Noah, she read books to Amanda, she walked the dog - every day - and she even folded our laundry and put it away. It was amazing to watch her energy and kindness. I can only hope to be such a hard worker some day!

Back to the food - Clark said they burn about 10,000 calories a day and really have to eat constantly to stay physically well enough to continue paddling hard. I remember from his last trip down the Mississippi he lost substantial weight and muscle, especially in his arms, even though he had plenty to eat on that trip too. I hope Clark and Bob can stay ahead of the calorie burn this time. Sounds like Clark has not to eat the wrapper on any food item yet.

On a note "closer to home", my daughter, Amanda, who has Rett syndrome, is fairing well. She has been home bound since last October with seizures, but is doing very well in the last month due to new med - Keppra if you are wondering - and is like a whole new person. Walking again, talking again, demanding chips for dinner and calling me a "meanie" when I flip on the news for a minute when I should be letting her watch Nickolodean.... basically back to her old self. It's nice to see. We even went through the drive through at MacDonald's yesterday, and she was quite happy for that. We still have to go slow and take one day at a time, as she is recovering from 6 months of being home bound. Many thanks to all our friends who are helping us out while Clark is away!

I told Clark that our son Noah, last night, while building his new lego race boat (670 pieces, ridiculous) announced he was going to be the first 6 year old to go down the Mississippi and he would set a new world record. I told him he was just the 6 year old to do it. Like his father, he has great dreams and aspirations. I remember when he was 4, he told Clark and I when he grew up he was going to raise the Titanic. When we told him how big it was, and where it was, he actually worked through some of the logistical problems - he had clearly thought it through prior to the conversation. He had even thought about how to put it together again - duct tape. He seemed very concerned about getting the people out who were stuck in there, which is another story of course. Bottom line, like his father, he clearly works on trying to help others by doing something kind of crazy and unusual....

Good luck to Team Hope, and good luck to all of you out there who are doing what you can to help those suffering from Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy - and may you all be wildly successful in your dreams!


Just spoke with Stan. New thoughts to be added to what's below -- They already miss Angie, but she indicated she'd try to come back on Thusday or Friday! Don Bradford (Bob's brother) has joined them. I'm sure he is every bit as helpful as Angie -- but he will have to prove his mettle first! The paddlers left Commanche, Iowa, at 7am -- 6:58 according to Andrew! Guess Andrew is probably right, as that puts them another 2 minutes ahead!

Bob drew up a tentative schedule for this trip - where they wanted to be when. It only took a few days before Clark started calling him sadistic! Clark mused that only a mad-man could come up with such a grueling schedule, as they are already 14 hours behind the "wannabe" list. Bob says he just doesn't know where he could have gone wrong! But regardless - they ARE 160 miles ahead of the world record, which equates to being at least one whole day ahead! And they have about 1,450 miles to go!

Their next scheduled stop is at Lock & Dam 14. Two years ago, the river was flooded. A concerned citizen at this location called the local sheriff and told him he'd seen what he believed to be a capsized canoe in the middle of the flooded Mississippi River. The sheriff called out the rescue helicopter. Clark was woken up from a sound sleep inside the "bubble" of his hand-built kayak (a beautiful piece of work) by the helicopter hovering overhead! They were all landbound -- both Team Double Helix and Team Kruger -- for several hours explaining what was going on. Hopefully they won't encounter that delay this year, as they're armed with letters from the Coast Guard supporting their endeavor! Good Luck Team Hope!

I just want to remind all readers that Mary is always honoring other folks with her words. But everyone needs to know how truly dedicated she is, both to this cause and to her family. She's truly a remarkable woman, handling everything on her own while Clark is gone. Her stories of Amanda and Noah give you only a small glimpse into her life. But her family is the center of her life! Thanks, Mary, for all you have done to put the wheels into motion, enabling us to experience two of the greatest races of all time -- the Mississippi River Challenge of 2003 for Rett Syndrome and Leukodystrophy, and the Great Mississippi River Race of 2001 for Rett Syndrome.
Thank you, Mary!



Just received an email message from Bruce Bryant. He writes:

Some great news! My persistence has paid off. Your story has been picked-up
by the Associated Press! This could lead to fantastic media coverage later
down the river. I'm thinking: The Today Show or Good Morning America, CNN? I
spent about 30 minutes talking to a reporter for Dubuque's Telegraph Herald
newspaper. I explained your story, but I still wasn't sure she was going to
give it much of a spread. This reporter told me that this story would appear
on the "Events in the Tri-States" section in NEXT Wednesday's paper. This is
a very small and minor part of the paper. That didn't sound good enough for
me. My nephew,(Craig) that was with me taking pictures during your time in
Guttenberg, has GREAT connections in the media too. The two of us finally got
two decent reporters to get involved. With their help your story is now apart
of the Associated Press! Your story is now going around the world! Wonderful
news from the newly formed Public Relations Division of Team Hope. :)

Bruce Bryant



The paddlers stopped briefly in Le Claire, Iowa, and left at 09h45 for Lock/Dam #14.



Finally got cought up with stuff around home. Lisa and I spent part of the day thursday near RedWing and I caught up with team hope on friday morning in LaCrosse. What a fun time and to feel so welcome by everyone. Thursday we took rhubarb pie and the famous rice krispie bars everyone was happy. We left team hope about 2pm to get our rett angel from school.

On the way home i was coming up with a plan for desert at Wabasha .So when I got home I called a cousin of a cousin who owns the DQ, he wasn't there but the crew made treats and delivered them to Team Hope under the bridge. I talked to Neal Hedquist on sat. and he was gracious enough to donate the treats so a big thank you to neal and the DQ staff. Friday morning I left town and found the crew in LaCrosse.

I followed them to Lock&Dam 8 were I got to say goodbye to Bob & Clark and the road crew. I told them if they needed anything or help in anyway to let me know. They all teased me and said we will call just before the end and you can bring something and join them for the party . I will end this for now my two fingers are getting sore. To TEAM HOPE keep up the great work and we'll chear you on from here. We love you guys! Chuck,Lisa,Jill Evert


At 12:15pm, the support crew is in Buffalo, Iowa (just southwest of the Quad Cities area) waiting for the paddlers. They are expected about 2pm. Stan reports that today is cloudy, warm (but not too warm), and with no rain. Good paddling weather.

If it's not one thing, it's another. The trailer has lost its battery power. Bill and Don traced it to a blown fuse for which, of course, they don't have a spare. Looks like it'll be Muscatine, Iowa, before they're in a position to get a replacement. That's several hours away.

The crew checked out "Clark's Landing," an eatery close to where the support team is located. Unfortunately, they close at 1pm today, so they won't be able to feed the paddlers there. However, they bought an apple nut homemade pie -- must weigh 40 pounds according to Stan -- with which they'll surprise Clark & Bob. So at least they can have a small special treat from Buffalo, Iowa.

After Bob & Clark leave Buffalo, the plan is to next meet in Muscatine. The stop after that will be in Nauvoo State Park in Illinois. They're just getting closer and close to St. Louis all the time! Maybe that potential "midnight" stop will move up several hours. That would sure be nice!


Am I reading the last Where Are They Now statistics correctly? That the team is over 180 miles ahead of the 1984 record? Man, they are flying, and that map was last updated over 30 minutes ago, so that statement is already dated......

I had to laugh at Dana's earlier post about Clark calling Bob a mad man - Clark made a similar remark to me when I told him this AM they were at least 150 miles ahead of the 1984 record, but about 1/2 day behind their own tenative schedule (which Clark had handed me about 2 weeks before he left and said, "Oh, do you have this?").... Anyway, he replied laughing, "That is a madman schedule!" to which I replied, "That would describe you and Bob, would it not?" and he laughed and said he guessed so. Hmmm, I'm not sure if Bob is or is not a good influence on Clark..... well, he must be a good one, as Clark shaved his head at the Headwaters so he could be more like Bob :-).

Glad also to know Don Bradford has joined the road crew Dana, I had not realized that... I will add him to our official team roster! Exactly how many Bradfords are there in the world? They seem to be limitless - and they had already made up over 1/2 the team.... talk about dedication!

Well, I'm off to add a link to Andrew Gribble's audio log to the website.... a log of the team talking here and there..... stay tuned everyone....


The crew is waiting for Bob & Clark at Riverside Park in Muscatine, Iowa, where we expect them to show up any minute now. The dark clouds in the west have given way to partly sunny skies. The temp is in the 70s. This is a HUGE change from the weather we experienced a week ago in northern Minnesota.

UPDATE: Bob just called on the sat phone. There is a 1 to 1 1/2 hour wait at Lock 16. They have elected to portage, and anticipate arriving here in about 30 minutes.



As of 6:18 PM this evening, Clark and Bob are putting the canoe in and pulling away from the highway 92 bridge in Muscatine, Iowa. Next stop will be New Boston. (My earlier report was in error -- trying to help push them ahead!) Stan and others are off to Walmart to try to find the right fuses for the trailer so they can power it by battery.

I talked with Janet for a few minutes. She said she usually cooks on her tailgate. She is able to lift the door up and over her head so she stays dry if it's raining. I asked how she cooks for that many people. She said that she's only cooked for everybody a few times. Most of the time she's rushing just to get Bob and Clark fed. They worry about themselves later. As it should be! They're good crew!


The road crew is sitting at a landing in New Boston, IL. From the chatter on the marine radio, it sounds like the canoe may be being locked through as I type this. We are about three miles downstream from Lock # 17. New Boston resident Clint Miller brought us mirelles mushrooms, and is waiting with us at the landing for the paddlers, who should be along in no more than an hour.




Paddlers arrived New Boston 23h44. Bob's first words: "Oh, I remember this place now!"





Bob Bradford, his brother Don Bradford, Clark Eid at Buffalo, Iowa, 5/18/2003. Picture by Andrew Gribble

For more race pictures see Race Pictures