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Not quite lewis and clark

And So it Begins

“Yogi get away from there!” I shouted as I meandered through the three-quarters of a mile loop that made up my hometown neighborhood. For a 15 year old 16 pound dog Yogi still had some giddy up if he thought there was food involved. Despite multiple tugs on the leash he wasn’t going anywhere, and rather than drag him the rest of the way home, I decided to wait it out as he sniffed around. Besides I was in no rush. It was Christmas Day 2016, the family traditions had long since wrapped up, and now there was business to attend to.

You see, Yogi and I were not the only ones out on the road. We were accompanied by my brothers, Trent and Clint, and the four of us made up one of the sorriest entourages ever assembled. It didn’t matter though. We needed a secluded place to talk, and the cover of walking the dog provided us with the perfect opportunity.

(There he is, the one they call Yogi. He's calm now but don't let his current demeanor fool you.) 

Why did we need to be alone you ask? Well, the discussion of doing an extended trip (we’re talking months here) had been kicked around for years, and now our self imposed deadline to make a decision was fast approaching. Believe it or not, Tom and Liz (our parents) were not thrilled with either the idea of us quitting our jobs, or the possible adventures we’d come up with. So in order to be out of earshot, here we were; coming down the back side of Arleen Drive that made up the toupee looking outline that was our block.


(Has there been a more perfect comparison? I think not!)

Just like our misshapen route, our path to this point had its fair share of twist and turns. This trip idea started back in 2014 when Trent was set to graduate from college.  I was ready to walk away from my morning show radio gig, and Trent wanted to go on one final adventure before he entered the, “real world.” Back then, our plan was to do a cross country road trip, but things never materialized. Instead, I took a Sports Director job at a New York TV station. Meanwhile Trent went out and hiked the Appalachian Trail. Each decision provided us with valuable experiences, and inadvertently led us to this fatefull walk.

We had entered the final bend of our lopsided loop and now it was time to make a decision. At this point it was between two options; in one corner stood a canoe trip that would conquer the entire Mississippi River, and in the other a cross country bike excursion. Trent and I favored a water adventure, but we were willing to abandon it in order to include the youngest Fontanella. You see Clint is not the strongest of swimmers so the thought of a 2,320 mile water expedition was not his idea of fun.

That’s when Clint, who had been uncharacteristically quiet thus far, spoke up. He had thought it over and this idea of, “roughing it,” no matter the specific conditions, didn’t appeal to him. If he was going on a vacation he wanted to enjoy himself. He’d be interested in joining us for a long weekend, but he wasn’t ready to commit to a multi-month mountain man lifestyle.  We pleaded with him for a few minutes, but when it became apparent he had made up his mind; it took only a second for Trent and I to come to a decision of our own. We were going to canoe the Mississippi River.

That was it. There was no grand decree, no mass announcement on social media; just a simple statement followed by a combination of both shock and excitement. As the blue door of the Fontanella house came into view I suddenly felt a sense of accomplishment despite being no better prepared for this trip than when the walk began. We had decided on our grand adventure, and for today that was enough.  The first hurdle had been cleared, and now the real work was about to begin.



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