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 19, Monday


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


















Text Updates from our Race Web Log

It took Bob and Clark 8 days and 23 1/2 hours to reach Muscatine. In 2001 it took Clark and me 11 days and 11 1/2 hours. The difference (2 days 12 hours) is almost exactly the time that we were grounded by the coastguard in 2001 (2 days 9 hours 18 minutes) And we had the benefit of recovering during these involuntary breaks.
Keep going guys !


Paddlers arrived Burlington, Iowa 05h45. Bob had cold cereal, coffee and fruit. Clark ate cereal and Cheetos (aka The Breakfast of Champions).

Bob hit a buoy while paddling last night; he now has a buoy sticker on his side of the boat near his name.

Warm here, even though it is early (60s). The sun and sky are presently hidden by a layer of dense clouds; clouds which will surely be burned away by the sun before too long, making for a very hot day of paddling on the Big Muddy.

Bob & Clark left at 06h35. We will see them next at Nauvoo, IL.



Looks like the team is close to the southern border of Iowa ... the next state west of them is Missouri. Illinois will remain to the east of them for quite some time. Please see our Route Map to get a the big picture of the Mississippi River....


TV station KHQA (Keokuk, IL) just finished a TV interview with Bob & Clark at the boat landing in Nauvoo, IL. They arrived at 11h30, had a quick lunch, and left at 11h55. We'll see them again at Canton, MO


From Dena Kurt... who paddled with Clark and Bob yesterday.... I'm kind of surprised Bob could not successfully boss Clark around either :-) (not):

Hello Mary - Just a note to let you know how great the mississippichallenge website is! Have enjoyed reading the log - your notes on Amanda and Noah were a treat - and living the race vicarously by following Bob and Clark's progress throughout the day is so much better than hearing about it all after the fact.

Got to paddle with Bob and Clark from Dubuque IA (Lock & Damn #11) to Bellevue IA (Lock & Damn #12). First time I've paddled that stetch with calm water! The weather Goddess was smiling on the guys that day - knows their doing it for a good cause.

Clark looks pretty good, from what little my partner and I could tell. He has a sunburned nose that is healing, and seems to be maintaining his sense of humor. Bob took a break for some reason, and Clark gunned it - got the boat running over 7 mph, with Bob chastising him the whole time, and telling him to slow down. Clark shared info on all the hi-teck goodies, and kept a running commentary going on boat speed. They were moving at a good clip the whole stretch.

Thanks for the opportunity to share in the total experience via the web!

Dena Kurt


From Dana Hanson, earlier today:

Stan called at 10:45 AM  The land crew is waiting for the paddlers at Inspiration Point in Nauvoo, Illinois, State Park (near the city of Nauvoo, for those following on maps).  Two years ago when the paddlers landed, they were exhausted from fighting high winds.  Today, however, it's beautiful with no wind.  The river is still foggy, so they can barely see the other side.  When the sun comes out, however, it'll get hot and probably humid.  That thought prompted  Stan to quickly add "ice" to their grocery list -- with extra ice for  Bob & Clark.

For those planning to attend the St. Louis Arch stop, they are currently about 200 river miles from St. Louis.  As mentioned previously, doubtful they'll be here for 10am tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.  :-(    But still about 150 miles ahead of world record pace!


Stan called at 6:30pm. Their next meeting spot will be Canton, Missouri. However, he had one incredible story for today's big event(s). The paddlers finished their interview at Nauvoo State Park with representatives of Keokuk's CBS Channel 2. Then Clark and Bob got into their canoe and headed off shore. Made for some nice, posed shots. Or so the land crew thought. Bob & Clark, however, had something different in mind. They paddled thru the fog and right out of sight! When they didn't return, the support personnel thought something fishy was happening. Nobody knew if they had water or food, and the portage wheels were still on the bank. Oooooh boy... The support crew knew they'd have to rush to meet them somewhere to check things out.

The crew zipped down 16 miles or so to the next lock and dam with the portage wheels and all the other supplies. When the paddlers got to the lock, there were three barges waiting to lock thru. It would mean a minimum of an hour's delay. As it turns out, one of the barge captains said he hated to be part of any loss of time while trying for a world record, so he told Clark & Bob to go ahead of him. The lockmaster said it was fine by him - it was the barge's call. Then the other barge captain said that Bob & Clark had been chasing his barge for 27 miles and he just couldn't shake them, so they might as well go ahead of that barge, too! (I never head what was going on with the third barge -- maybe it was already into the lock when the Kruger Cruiser arrived.) Needless to say, valuable time could have been lost either waiting to lock thru or portaging.

As a thank you, three t-shirts were given to the lockmaster. He kept only one -- one he threw to the captain of the first barge as it passed thru the lock, and another he threw to the captain of the second barge!


Clark called 6:05 PM CST, just got done with Lock and Dam 20... told me the barge/tugboat story too, thanks for writing about that Dana! Clark said it was hot today but cooling quickly. I told him a massive cold front is coming in through the midwest, and they are saying there may be thunderstorms, even hail in some places. He said it was lightly raining then, which was fine, and they were planning to paddle through the night at this time. Thank goodness Stan is always nearby with his camper if the the paddlers need to quick jump off the water and get some sleep in those nasty storms....

Clark said it was glass today - that the pond above Lock and Dam 19 was glass, for miles, and was great paddling. This was the same area that they had a horrific storm during our 2001 event, and one paddler seemed injured for some time after that. Kind of frightening to remember that. Well, today was about as opposite as it could be .... Clark said at Lock and Dam 19 they were "lifted" out of the water by a metal track, then were able to get out of their boat, pick it up, and portage around it. Hope someone got pictures!

Clark mentioned that he took several photos today from the water of various things but made sure a sleeping Bob Bradford was always in the corner of the frame. He can't wait to get them developed for the website :-). Don't worry Bob, I take bribes.

I forget to mention earlier that I spoke to Janet Bradford last night - the lone woman left on the team now that Angie left! She mentioned that by the time I called her last night, Angie had called her 3 times already! Guess Angie can not wait to get back! Janet said she's tired, but happy and everyone is great. What is with these Bradford's? They seem to actually enjoy this thankless road crew work :-). Well, I'm glad folks sound tired yet happy, and I'm sure with Janet nearby they are all enjoying home cooked filling meals.

Good luck everyone!


I CAN BLOG! Thanks Mary and hello all. I can't wait to go back to the river. I have called Mom about four times today. I call every time the crew is waiting to feed them. While I was there, someone suggested I send the kids home on a bus rather than take them. Next time maybe I'll be wise enough to take that ones advise. I guess I just wasn't liking suggestions at that time.


I just found out that an article was written in the Flint Journal a few days ago. A friend saved it for me so I'm not sure of the day. It seems that the reporter was interested enough to continue coverage on his own. He must be keeping track by the website because I don't think Mom (Janet Bradford) has talked to him since the race began.


Jessica Phelps says:
I miss Grandma and Grandpa and the road crew! I'm going to get on line every day. Good luck Grandpa and Clark! Hi Inspector Andrew!


It was an event-filled day for Team Hope. After meeting Bob & Clark at Burlington, Iowa in the morning, the road crew headed to Nauvoo, IL. The paddlers had amazingly good weather from Burlington to Nauvoo—warm and overcast with absolutely no wind. Both Bob and Clark vividly remember the thunderstorm which forced them to take shelter near Burlington in the middle of the night during the 2001 event.

Bob & Clark arrived at the boat landing at about the same time as a reporter from Keokuk, Iowa, who videotaped and interviewed the paddlers. As the TV camera rolled, Bob & Clark raced away (obviously hamming it up for the camera by going as fast as they could). We expected them to return to the boat ramp after the reporter turned off her camera, as we had some additional food and drinks to give them. But alas, Bob & Clark paddled away toward Keokuk. We hurriedly packed and drove to the next Lock (at Keokuk). As it turned out it was a good thing we did, as there was barge traffic near the Lock which would have required the canoe to wait a while before getting its turn in the Lock. Bob & Clark pulled their boat onto a walkway which had been lowered below the surface of the water only moments before. As we watched, the walkway started to rise, with Bob, Clark & the canoe on it! Bob got out and steadied the canoe as the walkway continued to rise. We gave them their portage wheels, which they put on, and paddlers and crew (sans Stan, who stayed behind to watch our vehicles and gear) walked downstream and put in in a riverside park.

The road crew hoofed it back to their vehicles at the Lock, and then went to Canton, MO. We found a boat ramp just below the Lock, and set about getting a meal ready, and doing various other chores. I called the Lockmaster on the sat phone, and discovered that there were three barges preparing to lock through; two headed southbound and one northbound. When they captains of these vessels heard about the World Record and the event, they proposed several options for getting the canoe through the Lock quickly, including a possible portage around the Lock. In the end, an act of generosity on the part of two of the tug captains allowed Team Hope to get through the Lock quickly and get down to the boat ramp, where we had dinner ready.

We are presently sitting in a boat ramp below Lock 21. Team Hope just locked through, and is approaching the boat ramp.

We saw our first mosquitoes yesterday. Whereas they were mildly annoying in Iowa, these Missouri mosquitoes are downright mean! I’ve got several bites the size of dims on my arms and legs. There are three moths crawling all over the computer screen as I sit in the minivan typing this.