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Flight problems make Hoff's trip back hectic

The following is a recent segment of Larry Hoff's journal entries as he makes his way on the second leg of his journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Hoff began the first half of his adventure to paddle and portage across the United States on ...

The following is a recent segment of Larry Hoff's journal entries as he makes his way on the second leg of his journey from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Hoff began the first half of his adventure to paddle and portage across the United States on June 3, 2006. He hopes to finish the journey this July.

UPDATE: As of Tuesday morning, Hoff was in a town called Camas, Ore. He said he expects to reach Portland this afternoon and, if all goes well, should be at the Pacific Ocean by Friday, July 6.

Thursday, June 28

Back to Portland

I hope today is not a sign of how the finish to my trip is going to be. I was supposed to fly out of Duluth at 12:45 p.m., but ended up leaving at 2:35 p.m. because of plane delays, which meant I would miss my flight from Minneapolis to Portland. In the end, I got to Portland at 9:30 p.m., which is 11:30 p.m. central time. I was rerouted from Portland to Boise, Idaho and then to Portland. Not a pleasant day.

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On the good side, my friend Jim was there waiting for me with a smile. LuAnn was able to get in touch with him earlier in the day to let him know I would be late.

Well, the day ended with a two-plus hour drive to Biggs, Ore. where we were able to get a room for the night. So, at 1:00 in the morning, (3 a.m. central time) I'm in bed, hoping this is the bad day and tomorrow I will have good paddling conditions.

Friday, June 29

Irrigon, Ore. to Biggs, Ore.

Jim and I picked up my gear in Irrigon, Ore. and headed to the nearest restaurant for breakfast. The morning was beautiful and there was little wind, so I'm hoping for a good day of paddling. This area all the way to The Dalles is a big wind surfing area, so getting through this section could be very tough, but right now it is relatively calm.

Jim lets me off at the boat ramp west of Irrigon and, because the highway goes right along the river, we hope to meet around 3 p.m. I say goodbye and I'm off.

It feels good to be back on the water, conditions are good and I figure I can make it to Biggs, Ore. by 7 or 8 p.m. -- about 40-plus miles away.

Everything is going good until around 3:30 p.m. I'm feeling very lucky that I have little wind and am able to make good time. I figure I'm a little under 20 miles from Biggs when a breeze starts up. Then, in about 30 minutes, the little breeze is a 20 mile an hour wind and I'm back into high waves again. For the last hour I've been looking for Jim but do not see him. Also, because I figured I'd be meeting him I did not put my bike or trailer in my canoe so all I can do is pull over somewhere and hope he shows.

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I continue to try and make headway but can make little, so I give up and pull over along the OR side of the river. Now this is the side where Jim is supposed to meet me. But the road is also a freeway so getting out and meeting Jim will be a slight problem. I now wish I had my bike and trailer. Big mistake!

Eventually, Jim calls my cell (very lucky to have reception where I am). I let him know approximately where I am and he tells me he's been back and forth in that area for the last hour and could not see me. I guess I must have looked like part of a wave or I was just out of sight when he passed.

Anyway I get my gear up over the riverbank, back across a railroad track and then over the barbed wire fence along the freeway and we head to Biggs where Jim has a room for us.

The day ended being about 15 miles short of Biggs, which also means I have 15 miles to make up because I will need to get back into the water tomorrow at the Maryhill State Park. It is across the river on the Washington side from Biggs. There are no entry points between where I got out and Biggs. Besides, I do not think the State Patrol will like it if he sees us reentering alongside the freeway tomorrow!

All in all it was a good day. Even with the frustration both Jim and I had in not finding each other when things got tough, we both are still smiling.

I was back on the water and I felt good.

For more about this adventure, visit Hoff's Web site: www.lhoff.com .

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