Hoff feeling better after tough day

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.

Tuesday, June 5

New Town to Williston, ND

Williston ND! I will explain how I got that far in one day.

Last night I called home and told LuAnn what had happened and that I was not sure I could continue and would decide today if I could or not. Well, with her encouragement and a great email from my daughter Heidi, I'm going. At least to try and get to Williston and then see how it goes.


Here is how the day goes. ONE of the best I've had on this adventure. Because my back and knee were hurting and there was a threat of severe weather, after studying my maps I decided to hook everything up to my bike and portage over to Tobacco Bay Resort. This was about 40+ miles by road or maybe 30+ by river. The angle I sit while biking does not hurt my back that much. My reasoning for this is if a storm does hit I will be in a better situation than on the river. Plus I figured I could make it in half a day and then I would paddle back towards New Town, and back to the resort to make up some of the river miles. Then the next day I will paddle across to the other side where I can get on to Highway 1804 and pedal into Williston. From this point on I will be hitting big mud flats which are all but impossible to get though because the river is so low. Big thing is I need to work on my emotions and I was hoping the change might help. Instead the whole experience did!

This is what happened!

1st: I got to Tobacco Bay and the resort was a ghost town. The bay was dry! Now what, do I have to pedal all the way back? Well, I found a sandy trail that seemed to lead to the lake, which it eventually did after carrying everything on my back for a mile! Managed to get everything to the lake and felt good. At least now I can paddle, plus there's another resort (Lunds) on the other side of the lake that looks active. So I started to pull my canoe into the water and preceeded to go up to my knees in mud. Took awhile to pull loose, but I did and found a different spot that I was able to push off from. I had a good four hours now to waste before I headed over to the other resort so I paddled back towards New Town for a couple of hours and then swung back towards Lunds.

As I approached Lunds I saw 4 girls swimming in the river so I paddled over to see what info they could give me about the resort. They said I couldn't get to it. There's no water in the bay.

Now what. I know I cannot go much further and if the severe weather comes, I figured I needed to be somewhat protected, so I decided to proceed to the resort and figure a way to get up to the buildings I saw.

As I paddled I could see what appeared to be a boat landing. It was out of the water, but it looked like I could get to it and then carry everything up. For the last mile I was paddling in about 6 inches of water. My thoughts were that I was going to get within 100 yds of the landing, get stuck and be sitting there with no way to get out for fear of sinking in the mud I experienced on the other side. Did make it and was able to get everything hooked up to my bike. I started up the dirt road to Highway 1804 and then to Lunds. I was feeling good that everything was turning out well when all of a sudden there was a crash and my canoe is sitting on the road with the wheels above it!

I noticed when I got to Tobacco Bay that my wheels were a little at a slant but did not think much of it for it was like that last year. Besides, a good friend, Gene Cooper, who played football for me a few years had welded the problem before I left. Gene, "It did not work!"

Now what am I going to do? I'm in the middle of nowhere with a fold-up bike pulling a canoe that is laying on the road! Again, as luck has it, I see a red pickup sitting at the intersection of Lunds Landing looking at all this. I wave and he comes right down.


Lance works for the Weatherford Oil drilling company. Now this story is long, so you will need to look at my pictures when I'm able to post them. Anyway we get everything in the back of Lance's pickup and we head into Williston and to the Weatherford shop where he figures I can get my trailer repaired. On my way in Lance tells me every resort is closed because of the low water and that I was probably correct to get out where I did because of mud flats around Williston. That made me feel good, except for my trailer.

Once back at the shop, Lance introduces me to the guys and to Tim, who figures he can weld everything back together. After some time visiting with the crew at the shop (I know they thought I was crazy) Tim says he's finished and it should hold up now. Well I get everything back in the canoe, hook the trailer up to my bike, say goodbye and jump on my bike to head over to the motel across the street, when there's a thud and I look back and my canoe is sitting on the ground! Turns out the aluminum welding weakened everything and now the wheel portion of the trailer is completely broke in half.

To be continued tomorrow! Great day! Good hard bike ride plus 15 to 20 miles of paddling and everything ends in a mess! I feel a lot better, I'm back in my element I like best. Hopefully it continues.

Thanks LuAnn and Heidi and to everyone back in New Town for the encouragement.

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

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