Submitted by Michael B. Chutz
At the November 17th meeting of the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard, the guest speaker was the person known as Outdoor’s Man, Adventure and Daredevil, Captain Joey C. Cargol. Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans, Louisiana, the river has played a significant role in my life. As a child I watched the tows and ships pass along the fast-moving currents of muddy water. It was mesmerizing to watch the white foam dance on its almost chocolate-colored waves. At night, as I laid in bed, I would hear the horns and whistles of the boats plying their trade of moving the never-ending supply of goods from around the world. I marveled at this great river and often wondered how this huge river with its massive docks and big ships could start from such a small stream that could be stepped over. As time passed the river never let go of me. I currently pilot large ocean-going ships to and from the Port of New Orleans, but the dream of canoeing her and seeing her evolve from a stream to a river never left me.
Expedition H2020 grew from that childhood dream, but canoeing the length of the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Lake Itasca, Minnesota 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico is no small task. It has taken me years to turn that dream into a reality.
Originally planned as a test of will and a youthful desire at 10 to experience traveling through the heart of America. The trip later gained a new purpose evolving into a scientific expedition. Water samples were to be collected at intervals along the way and blindly tested by a third party. A true and independent water study of the complete river system. The current Covid-19 pandemic has forced me to abandon that mission just before I begin. Unfortunately, the ability to ship and test samples in a timely fashion is no longer available so Expedition H2020 has again evolved into a “Covexit” of sorts. A trip to inspire others to get out. Despite the “new normal” of social distancing and PPE I aim to prove it is still possible to leave the house and travel, explore, and get your hands dirty. Life is too short to waste even a single moment. So come along with me as I journey down the heart of our great country, through ten states, on our nation’s greatest waterway, the Mississippi River! Look up his 70-day journey on FaceBook Expedition H2020, down the Mighty Mississippi and it’s 28 dam’s, tropical storm, the lowest level in 20 years, and his many dangers. The adventure of a lifetime, great story 2,552 miles long and 70 days!!!