•      I purchased my first canoe in 1997 and having lived right on the Winnebago River for more than 20 years already, it is rather embarrassing to admit that I had floated it only a few times.  Family, church and school activities, a full time job, farmer's market, and livestock were all a higher priority.  After realizing how much our family and friends enjoyed a nice float, we offer complimentary canoeing to our B&B guests.
           The bicentennial recognition of  Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery trip on the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean and back struck a nerve in me. The hardships and experiences the group had is unparallelled in U.S. History.  I still think I may have been born in the wrong century.
           A very good canoe friend always gave me a hard time about floating in unnamed canoes.  His canoes all had very catchy, Irish-based names that one had to learn to pronounce and appreciate.  Today my fleet of 10 vessels are named after key members of the Corps of Discovery.  S'cagawea and I go on many dates together.  Jean Baptist is also a go-to canoe at anytime.
           In October 2003 I set a personal  goal to be on the water in a canoe at least one time each month of the year.  Even through minor health issues and uncooperative weather conditions, it has been an interesting run that I sincerely plan to continue.  Although usually right here on the Winnebago, the goal has also taken us to the White Cliff section of the Missouri River in Montana, the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia, the Minnesota and Mississippi River confluence, many trips to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area, the Rio Grande River in southwest Texas and the Jacks Fork River in Missouri.
           Full-length rivers completed here in Iowa include the Winnebago and Volga Rivers.  Major sections of many other Iowa streams have been personally explored, and dozens more are on the to-do list!  Sunrise, sunset, and the New Years Eve Blue Moon float are the most special.

           No two canoe floats are identical and in addition to a myriad of bird species sightings, I have encountered deer, coyotes, wolf, raccoon, woodchuck, mink, beaver, otter, opossum,  weasel, red fox, and several species of turtles.  Alligators in the Okeefenokee are a special memory, and our resident eagles nest and owl cave provide surprises every year.
           Finding remnants of the 1850's wood dam on the Winnebago River near Portland is a nearly forgotten piece of local history.  If you love to canoe or kayak, become a fan of the Cupola Inn Bed and Breakfast on Facebook where you will enjoy Winnebago River adventures such as Owl Family Chronology, Turtle Tag, Easter Eagles, and Full Moon Float.

           The spiritual refreshment, quiet solitude, and joy of discovery that comes only from the seat of a canoe has become a passion that is so intricately simple.
           Time and river conditions are the only limitations.  You are welcome to join me.

    • From the journal of Meriwether Lewis, April 7, 1805: "The party are in excellent sperits, zealously attached to the enterprise, and anxious to proceed; not a whisper of murmur or discontent to be heard among them, but all act in unison, and with the most perfect harmony.  I could but esteem this moment of our departure as one of the happiest of my life."