Day 9

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Eric offered a cup of coffee and breakfast before I shoved off. Just as I finished my coffee, Eric asked me if the swing moved last night. He told me he wakes up most mornings and it's twisted. He's even caught it swinging by itself before. "Check please!" 

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Eric, Rick and Craig took great care of me. I appreciated the hospitality they provided. Eric helped me carry my kayak down to the river and they all waved goodbye. My shoulders have felt sore for days and I've been waking up with a sore throat. For the first 15 miles it was gone. I paddled away feeling like I had day 1 strength. 

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Before I left, Craig insisted that I look at the weather radar with him. He said I might have heavy thunderstorms today but looks like it could barley miss me. It did, which was a bit of a miracle.

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I always loved my Dad's handwriting. This is a note he had on his desk. He was the master of note taking. His desk, work files and Bible were heavy from ink. Not only did he take incredible notes throughout life, he applied them. He started on the wide road like everyone else but was faithful to the lonely narrow roads too. My Dad and the River of Life are teaching me how to navigate the narrow stretches. The first 20 miles feels like a major accomplishment. The last 10 to 15 render me exposed. My highest aim is to finish this adventure to honor my Father and to keep the same tenacity with life when I return home - More than a Conqueror with a thicker shield. 

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Today I had extra incentive to finish the day strong. I was going to reunite with my family. They were meeting me at Gallipolis, Ohio. I couldn't wait to see them. They also brought along a special guest. One that would make this trip complete, my Mom. 

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Later that night, we all went to get dinner near the downtown of Gallipolis. My Mom asked me what the best part of my adventure was so far. The answer boiled to the top faster than she could finish the question. It was family! By far, the best part of each day is seeing my family. This is something my Dad taught me. God tells us to delight in him and he will give us the desires of our heart.

A few days ago, I had a flashback to 3rd grade. I was asked the question that is over asked of kids, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" They should ask, "what gives you your greatest joy in life?" I finally remembered my answer after all these years. The real answer wasn't a major league baseball player. It was something much deeper. It was an adventure guide. I remember feeling bad for writing it down. It felt too outlandish and too unknown. 

Fast forward later in life, I had long forgotten my purest joy - adventure. I went through the conveyor belt of life, mindlessly eyeing the "prize" that others deemed valuable. After graduating college, I went out West with a friend and fell in love with the Rocky mountains. I felt like a fish that someone accidentally dropped in water for the first time. I didn't want to come out. I had made up my mind, I was leaving the flat and boring Midwest for a "real adventure".

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The mind-opening trip out West occurred when I was dating Sarah. Shortly after getting back to Cincinnati, Sarah and I went on a movie date night. The movie, "Into the Wild" just came out into theaters. I was enthralled with the adventure playing out on the big screen. My escape plan from the boring Midwest was closer than ever until a part in the film that forever changed my life. "Into the Wild" was a movie based off Christopher McCandless's journey to true happiness that was cemented by making it to Alaska.  Here's what changed me, Christopher journaled in his diary, as he met his demise in an old lonely school bus. He wrote, “Happiness only real when shared.” I did a complete 180 next to Sarah, without her hearing the Tectonic shift happening in my soul. I started to see that my greatest adventure in life was family. Sure, the Rockies definitely get my blood going more than Sharon Woods, but my peaks in life became Sarah and my family. My Dad's greatest joy and desire, outside of his faith, was the adventure of family. So is mine. I love you Dad!