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Lower Mississippi River Dispatch No. 293

Monday, June 15th, 2015

A l l H a i l t h e Q u e e n !

Grasshopper Canoe below American Queen (John Ruskey)

Upcoming Outdoor Recreation Events along the Lower Mississippi River for June, 2015 in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana:

Tonight! -- Bike and Build in Clarksdale

Monday, June 15, 2015 6pm Community Potluck

South Carolina to Santa Cruz Tour

in Clarksdale, Mississippi on June 15/16th

(keep reading below for more details)

Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Memphis, Tennessee

Largest and oldest Canoe & Kayak race in the South

(keep reading below for more details)

Do you want to race with the Mighty Quapaw Team?

Now filling seats in the big cypress strip voyageur canoe, the Queens of the Lower Mississippi, for entry in the Outdoors Inc Canoe & Kayak Race, Memphis TN, June 20th! (keep reading below for details)

Canoe, Kayak and Stand-Up Paddleboard Rescue Workshop

Quapaw Canoe Company - Helena Outpost

Saturday, June 27th, 10am-5pm

All Day Annual Training event in the Helena Harbor

(keep reading below for more details)

Transylvania Daytrip

Monday, June 29th, 8am

Leaving from near Transylvania, Louisiana:

Louisiana Delta Adventures: Mississippi River Daytrip

Goodrich Landing to Madison County Port

Twelve Miles, Free, Open to the Public

(keep reading below for more details)

All Hail the Queen:

The American Queen 20th Anniversary

by “Driftwood Johnnie” John Ruskey

In the never-ending roar of economy along the river, every once in a while a piece of poetry comes swirling down the main channel, and eddies out in the imaginations of the people who flock the shoreline of that “strange brown god,” (T.S. Eliot)

“I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins…” (Langston Hughes).

I was a deckhand on the Mississippi Queen several decades ago, but my first memory of steamboats was back in the 1980s when as high school graduates my best friend and I built a raft and floated the Mississippi on a grand 5-month adventure. Towboats populated the river and were our cautious friends. But there was nothing like the thrill of waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the Queen pass by -- which was like watching a castle of lights move up the mysterious blue-black darkness of the big river.

We were immediately transformed back into the day & age when Huck and Jim were hiding out on Jackson’s Island below Hannibal with “the stars over us sparkling ever so fine...” (Twain).

...and passing steamboats would silently slip through the dark silhouettes of willows along the shoreline and the flickering lights of the steamboat would be blinking on and off same as the colorful stars above… and a “whole world of sparks would rain down on the river…” (Twain).

“...She is long and sharp and trim and pretty; she has two tall, fancy-topped chimneys, with a gilded device of some kind swung between them; a fanciful pilot-house, a glass and 'gingerbread', perched on top of the 'texas' deck behind them; the paddle-boxes are gorgeous with a picture or with gilded rays above the boat's name; the boiler deck, the hurricane deck, and the texas deck are fenced and ornamented with clean white railings; there is a flag gallantly flying from the jack-staff; the furnace doors are open and the fires glaring bravely; the upper decks are black with passengers; the captain stands by the big bell, calm, imposing, the envy of all; great volumes of the blackest smoke are rolling and tumbling out of the chimneys…” (Twain).

...and out of the smokestacks -- those fiery sparks mixing with the reflections of everything above, and it seemed like on the face of the river the earth mixed with the heavens, and then a little later the waves would “joggle the raft a bit…” (Twain) and everything seemed deep and mysterious, and soulful, like those “dark and dusky ancient rivers” that Langston Hughes speaks of...

So thank you, thank you, thank you American Queen for keeping the magic alive, even through this dark period when the Mississippi Queen languished under the Greater New Orleans Bridge, and our Congress got sidetracked a bit and dry-docked the Delta Queen in Chattanooga. Thank you John & Claudette Waggoner for bringing that magic back into our lives and keeping that incomparable steamboat rhythm rolling up and down the river, with all the power and rush of the frothy muddy water boiling out from behind the beautiful red paddlewheel of the America Queen.

If John Hartford was here this morning, he might sing something like this:

Oh the American Queen

Coming up the Mississippi.

Oh the American Queen

She’s the Queen of the South.

Oh the American Queen

Coming up the Mississippi:

Biggest steamboat

That ever was afloat

On the Mississippi River today.

And to the captain of the vessel, from one river rat to another: Our paddles are up to you: All Hail the Queen! All Hail the Queen! All Hail the Queen!

(Speech delivered by John Ruskey, “Driftwood Johnnie“ at the American Queen 20th Birthday Celebration, June 12th, in Helena, Arkansas)

30th Annual Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Memphis, Tennessee


Joe Royer/Mary Hays






5000 meters or 3.1 miles


This canoe and kayak race is held on the Mississippi River in Memphis. The river is the largest in the U.S. It has strong currents and powerful eddies. The wind can also create additional problems for the canoeist. The start of the race will be at the mouth of the Wolf River. The course will take us out of the Wolf River into the Mississippi River; down under the I-40 bridge; past Mud Island Park and up into the Memphis Harbor to finish.

Huck & Jim by Thomas Hart Benton (Missouri State Capital)

Do you want to race with the Mighty Quapaw Team?

Now Filling the boat:

Take a Seat with the Mighty Quapaw Team in one of our big cypress strip voyageur canoes for the: Outdoors, Inc. Canoe and Kayak Race, Saturday, June 20, 2015, Memphis, Tennessee

Meet Place: Top End of Mud Island

7-8am Meet Time: (get your race package, use the bathroom one last time, look for big canoe near ramp at south end of parking lot, or in the water at the Wolf River Confluence start line)

8:30am Warm Up: (load canoe and make a warm-up run on the Mississippi and Wolf Rivers)

9:20 Contestant’s Meeting

10:00am Race Start

10:20 Finish Line (best place for your friends and family to watch us cross the finish line is from the edge of the bluff at Jeff Davis Park. Park near the Memphis Visitor’s Center south of Pyramid)

11-12noon Paddler’s Party at Jeff Davis Park

12noon re-load canoe and shuttle back to Mud Island top end.

Quapaw Provides: expert guiding, voyageur canoe, bent shaft paddles, lifejackets and all necessary river gear, first aid kits, VHF Marine Radio, and all necessary emergency gear.

Charge: $125 per person includes registration fee for race, a seat in one of our big canoes, paddle, pfd, all necessary river gear, iced water bottles in cooler, and shuttling.

Bring with You: shoes you don’t mind getting wet & muddy. Long sleeve shirt & long pants. Water Bottles. Cell Phone in Ziplock. Waterproof Camera. Sun Screen.

Voyageur Canoes: 14 maximum each. Lovingly hand-crafted in Clarksdale, Mississippi

To reserve your seat: contact John Ruskey

Canoe, Kayak and Stand-Up Paddleboard Rescue Workshop

Quapaw Canoe Company - Helena Outpost

Saturday, June 27, 10am - 5pm

All-Day Annual Training event in the Helena Harbor

The Mississippi River presents many challenges for paddlers, but when properly approached by experienced paddlers with the right equipment it can be the amongst most rewarding paddling in North America.Safe Paddling on the Lower Mississippi River involves: 1) advanced paddling experience, 2) good preparation, 3) The Right Vessel and 4) the right equipment. This annual workshop conducted by Quapaw Canoe Company will help participants learn the basics of the self-rescue method. We will provide vessels, pfds, paddles, and all rescue equipment. Dress for the weather. Bring sun protection. Everyone must swim! You will be getting wet! Wear swimsuit or clothing you don’t mind getting wet. Pack towel and change of clothes. Pack 2 water bottles and snacks in small daypack or drybag. Pack a sack lunch. Wear shoes that can get wet and muddy. Bring your own notebook and camera. We will provide drybags for waterproof protection during water exercises. 10am: Quapaw Canoe Company, 107 Perry Street, Helena, AR. Guide’s meeting. 11am: Load up and drive to Helena Harbor. 11am-3pm: Rescue Workshop for Canoes, Kayaks and Paddleboards. 3pm: Return to Base for short workshops on Rescue Protocol, 1st Aid, and other topics. End Time: 5pm. $50/participant includes all equipment. For more information about Rescue Technique, visit the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River: Safety Section:

Monday, June 29th, 8am

Leaving from near Transylvania, Louisiana:

Louisiana Delta Adventures: Mississippi River Daytrip

Goodrich Landing to Madison County Port

Twelve Miles, Open to the Public


This is a twelve-mile daytrip paddle down the big waters of the Lower Mississippi River, the largest river in North America. Enjoy stunning views of the Louisiana/Mississippi Delta and long distance sights of islands, floodplain forests, and giant flocks of birds. Main channel is your fastest route, but many alternate routes are possible during higher water levels.

Put in at Goodrich to Madison County Port. Paddle in the main channel for the quickest route (11.6 miles), or follow alternate routes for visiting islands, back channels and other points of interest. Appropriate for canoes, kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboards, but only for experienced (and strong) paddlers capable of big volume waters, big waves, long crossings over open water, chaotic currents and possible side winds, head winds or tail winds. Carry VHF marine radio and use US Army Corps Maps of the Lower Mississippi for navigation. In general stay off the river if the wind is gusting above 20-25 mph. Please read below for more instructions and precautions.

Mississippi River Maps & Mileage

For best navigation, use the US Army Coprs of Engineers 2007 Maps of the Lower Mississippi River, which can be viewed or downloaded from the following website: Mileage refers to the number of miles above the Gulf of Mexico (at the Head of Passes). This section of river begins at mile 468.6 and ends at 457, hence it is approximately 12 miles on the Mississippi River.

River Speed and Trip Duration

The Lower Mississippi River averages 3 mph at low water, 5 at medium water, and 7 at high water. An average paddler can make 2-3 mph. Making adjustments for wind speed, stops along the way, and any alternate exploration, you can use the above to roughly estimate your time of travel on the big river. The last unknown factor is towboats. You might lose time due to necessary waits for passing tows. Never try to outrun a tow, and never paddle across their line of travel.

Expert paddlers only!

Expert paddlers only on Mississippi River. Must be very familiar with your canoe or kayak, its abilities and its limitations. Should be able to self-rescue in your vessel if necessary. Your canoe should have high enough sides (recommended min. 13") and ends (recommended min. 20-22") to handle waves. No racing canoes. Kayaks should be made for big open waters. If your kayak has an open cockpits you should bring and wear your spray skirt during inclement weather. Sea kayaks are the best for the Mississippi because they are made for the big waters. Shorter kayaks are okay, but playboats are generally not recommended unless you are a very strong paddler because they are slow. You should be strong enough to paddle through big waves, strong winds, and make long-distance ferry crossings from one side of the Mississippi River to the other (usually a mile or more). You should be comfortable paddling in the vicinity of 1/2 mile long towboat/barges. You should be able to negotiate big strong boils, powerful eddies, and possible whirlpools. You should strong enough to paddle through transitions of fast currents (such as coming out of an eddy into the main channel). You should be strong enough to handle long sets of wave trains, sometimes a mile or longer, with waves coming from multiple directions.

Towboat Protocol

Towboats are paddler's most dangerous hazard. Towboats can't stop easily, and they often can't see you. But the good news is they move slow (10-14mph) and their motions are usually predictable. In general upstream towboats seek slow water and downstream seek fast water. The most dangerous place around any tow is in front of the tow. It is usually safe anywhere behind their route of travel. Never try to outrun a tow, and never paddle across their line of travel. Carry VHF marine radio and monitor channel 13 for traffic in the nearby vicinity. For more information, go to:

What to Pack:

In your vessel be sure to pack bow and stern lines, rescue rope, bailers and sponges, and at least one extra paddle. Bring VHF marine radio if you have. Bring cell phone in waterproof container. Wear clothing appropriate to weather, but also pack (in waterproof drybag or drybox) rain gear, change of clothes, fleece or woolen tops and bottoms. Pack extra food and extra water. Pack at least one gallon of water per person per day during hot seasons. For more reading and a complete description of paddling the Lower Mississippi River, please go to the Safety Page for the Rivergator at:

Mississippi River Water Levels

Paddlers can view water levels for this section of Mississippi River using the the Vicksburg Gage

Low Water = 0 to 20 VG

Medium Water = 20 to 33 VG

High Water = 33 to 43 VG

Flood Stage = 43 VG and above

VG = Vicksburg Gage

To view water levels, go to: Paddlers are advised to stay off the Mississippi River at or above flood stage, which is 43 on the Natchez Gage.

Trip Description:

Goodrich Landing


Madison County Port

Note: For photos and a complete description of this stretch of river please visit the Rivergator: Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Mississippi River which can be seen at

Goodrich Landing to Madison County Port:



Canoeists and kayakers can stay Main Channel to find the fastest route, or if the water is high enough jump behind Willow Island and Tara Island for back channel paddling (above 25VG). Opportunities for deep woods exploring by canoe or kayak is found paddling into the wonderland of Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff. You can paddle up the Eagle Lake Pass only when the river is bankful 35VG.

Main Channel

The fastest water in the Main channel follows predictable lines around Willow Island. Approach left bank past the mouths of Chotard and Eagle Lake Pass, past Tara Landing and then ease back across mid channel and slide towards the left bank past the Madison Parish Port and Tara Island, and stay right bank all the way down to Paw Paw.

Mile 468.6 Goodrich Public Boat Launch

Steep concrete ramp made from revetment falls steeply into back channel at base of Cottonwood Bar. Road access from US 65 over levee. Parking and ramp located south of Bunge grain elevator. Do not leave vehicles overnight.

Willow Island Back Channel

Willow Island back channel opens through in low water, around 15 Vicksburg Gauge, with good flow in medium water 25VG. By 35VG the back channel is flowing as fast as the main channel and long-distance paddlers might want to use it and shave off a few precious miles.


The Main channel runs southeasterly from Cottonwood Bar into Willow Cutoff (1934), and continues south around Willow Island, and then slides southeasterly past the Madison Parish Port at Milliken Bend towards Paw-Paw. The five mile channel between Cottonwood and Willow almost a mile wide and nearly featureless. For expediency the strongest flow is found right bank descending past the Goodrich Light (RBD 466.9 and Dogtail Landing (RBD 466.5). You’ll want to avoid the long series of wing dams (Tennessee Bar Dikes) lines the left bank. As with all dikes, these slow the water, create turbulence, and you will have a long line of buoys to weave through.

As you enter the cutoff a scrubby group of willows atop a mid-channel island will take shape and grow in size. This is appropriately named Willow Island, since not much else grows here. You’ll find a few cottonwoods, and some flowering bushes and grasses such as buttonbush, and maybe a few migrating invasive plants. Tumbleweeds have been seen in recent years. In the low water of 2012 we discovered a plot of watermelons near the Willow blue hole. Willow Island is predominantly composed of young willows. But these small trees are nothing to scoff at. They have survived many years of high waters, high winds, severe thunderstorms and the nearby crossing of an F-4 tornado (see below). Even the great flood of 2011 failed to unearth the willows of Willow Island. There was no sand to be found on May 21, 2011 when the river crested but the willows were still there, making their presence known by their leafy green tops reaching towards sky above the churning mass of orange-brown water.

At low water Willow Island extends 3 miles north to south with a high point near mile 460.5 and a short ridge not far below at 460 topped by a single line of mature willows. There used to be a channel in between the two high points, but the 2011 flood filled it up and now they are connected by a long high plain of sand that starts going under around 30VG. The huge Willow Island back channel opens up in low water, around 15.

Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff 461 LBD

The Mouth of Chotard Lake/Terrapin Neck Cutoff opens up to paddlers in low water around 16 VG, maybe a little lower, maybe a little higher, changes from year to year. Two mile narrow chute opens up into a giant oxbow lake. Two miles across lake to Laney's Landing, or continue beyond for exploring, birding and fishing.

Chotard Lake: Laney's Landing

Well-designed concrete ramp at the edge of Chotard Lake north of Eagle Lake. Ample parking, and safe place to leave your vehicle for overnights. Check in at store. Formerly private ramp now made public through 2011 acquisition by the Miss Dept of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.


For a spectacular glimpse into the hidden jungle you’ve been paddling through (but can’t see from the main channel) duck into the narrow opening left bank descending near mile 461. This is the entrance to Chotard Lake. You are in for a treat. Especially if it’s hot, or cold & windy. According to local resident and river expert Tommy Shropshire, “Chotard is connected to the River by a narrow canal that is unobstructed except by an occasional fallen willow or log. Below 16 VG you'll likely bump bottom or maybe an old stump. Each year it continues to silt-in and becomes more shallow. Pending the rate of rise & fall, the meandering access to the canal also changes. So folks should note that what one saw last trip may or may not be the same this trip.”

You are the edge of an extensive vibrant bottomland hardwood forest which stretches out here almost unbroken to the Loess bluffs at Vicksburg. This is the old route of the Terrapin Bend Cut-Off of 1886. Enter the narrow channel and meander the best part of two miles through dense overhanging willows to reach the wide expanse of Chotard Lake beyond. There is a private boat launch two miles down the lake on its south shore called Laney’s Landing which you can use for a small fee. Chotard cuts a hairpin curve through the woods and connects with two other large oxbow lakes, Tennessee Lake and Albemerle Make, creating endless possibilities for paddling and exploring in all directions. Other connected lakes (depending on river level) include Vining, Louisiana, and Airplane Lakes. Go to Google Earth (link provided below). When viewed from above this curvy collection of cut-offs and cuticles creates as swirling watery/woodsy wilderness, a land of the lost, a veritable paradise for paddlers!

“The two abandoned riverbeds, Albemarle Lake and Lake Chotard, have now become popular hunting and fishing resorts. Together the two lakes cover more than a 1,000 acres. Since both are on the river side of the levee system, they have not suffered as heavily from agricultural chemical pollution as some of the landside oxbow lakes, and they are periodically restocked when the Mississippi rises high enough to flow into and through its old channels.” (Historic Names & Places)

Eagle Lake Pass LBD 458.8

At low water this is nothing more than a ditch through the scraggly tornado ravaged woods. At medium water you can paddle in a short ways but might have to portage over fallen trees and a beaver dam. At high water you can work your way a little over two miles through this wildlife-filled chute to where it opens up into a small lake at the base of the levee.


Every year at the end of August thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of waders including anhingas, egrets, herons, roseate spoonbills, terns, killdeer, double breasted cormorants, sandhill cranes -- and many others -- roost in very particular and very remote wetlands along the Lower Mississippi River. This roosting period always occurs at the end of August. It’s predictable as the start of school. The only unknown is exactly which watering hole the waterfowl gang will gather at. This seems to change from year to year and epoch to epoch.

Some of these gathering places are located within the 9,000 acre Tara Wildlife Preserve. Ten years ago Halpino Lake was the place to be at sunset. As you’re coming down the Mississippi River you might get lucky and stumble into one of the these watering holes filled with thousands and thousands of squawking birds shaking their tail feathers and spreading their wings in and out as they make their final adjustments before settling in for the night. This is a remarkable sight. But equally remarkable and maybe even more startling is the scene gathering on the other end of the lake. Imagine an open air bus driving up, driven by a jocular Aussie named Gilbert. The people on board the chopped-off school bus all have big cameras and spotting scopes or binoculars. Gilbert and his crew swiftly offload the bus and set up a table full of bottles and start popping corks. The birders filter through in between glassfuls of wine and watching the waterfowl. Have you dropped in on some sort of American Safari? Well, yes, you have. Welcome to Tara Wildlife celebrating its annual “Stork & Cork!”

Tara Wildlife celebrates the river, its bottomland hardwood forests, and its waterfowl with an annual Mississippi River Nature Weekend (“Stork & Cork”) towards the end of August and a Spring Birding Weekend at the end of April. Tara’s philosophy is founded on a strong commitment to the management, development and sustainable use of a broad spectrum of natural resources. Tara recognizes the importance of wildlife, timber, water, wetlands, agriculture and recreation in maintaining a high quality of life for current as well as future generations. To this end, Tara has endowed the future by placing all 9,000 acres under conservation easements. As a further commitment to conservation, in December of 2001 Tara was deeded to a private foundation, Purvis Grange Foundation Inc. While promoting an appreciation of the environment through educational and direct-performance activities that conserve land and protect the wildlife that inhabit it,Tara is a model center for the study of habitat and the animals that are part of the ecosystem. Maggie Bryant, Tara’s Founder, is a past-two term Chairperson of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and retired from her board position in 2001. Maggie has been awarded the prestigious Chevron Conservation Award as well as the Governor’s Award for Conservation in Mississippi. She is active in conservation measures around the world. (From the Tara Wildlife website)


Primitive launch point. Carry your vessel to the water’s edge over mud, sand, gravel, rip-rap and whatever else you might encounter there. No concrete, no improvement. Rough parking on muddy gravel above rip-rap. Don’t leave your vehicle overnight and plan to arrange a shuttle. In an emergency you could find water at the nearby Bunge Grain elevator offices. But otherwise keep on downstream for resupply in Vicksburg. Land access from US 65 at Talla Bena.

Mississippi River Water Levels

Paddlers can view water levels for this section of Mississippi River using the the Vicksburg Gage

Low Water = 0 to 20 VG

Medium Water = 20 to 33 VG

High Water = 33 to 43 VG

Flood Stage = 43 VG and above

VG = Vicksburg Gage

Low Water on the Vicksburg Gage is 0-20. (Giant sandbars, back channels not passable) Medium water is 20-33 (Most back channels open, water flowing over dikes). High Water is 30-43. (All back channels open and flowing strong). The river is bank full at 35 Vicksburg Gage, and at 40 almost all islands are under water. Flood Stage: 43. To view water levels, go to: Paddlers are advised to stay off the Mississippi River at or above flood stage, which is 43 on the Natchez Gage.

Contact: John Ruskey 662-902-7841

Mark Peoples 662-902-1885; Braxton Barden: 706-340-2962

Bike and Build

South Carolina to Santa Cruz Tour

in Clarksdale, Mississippi on June 15/16th!

Quapaw Canoe Company and the Lower Mississippi River Foundation will be hosting 35-40 riders & guests from the acclaimed Bike & Build organization on Thursday-Friday June 15-16th in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Bike & Build riders will be conducting a free bike clinic with bike repairs for Clarksdale kids at 5-6pm in Clarksdale as part of their mission.

Clarksdale is on the route for the May 22 - August 11, 2015 South Carolina to Santa Cruz Bike & Build tour (SC2SC). This route will take them off the Atlantic seaboard, through Appalachia, across the Mississippi Valley, Across the Great Plains and over the Rockies to the Pacific Coast in an epic journey of over four thousand miles!

Monday June 15th

3-5pm riders arriving in Clarksdale

5-6pm bicycle workshop at Quapaw Canoe Company 3rd & Sunflower

6-7pm Southern Potluck Supper: Please bring a potluck dish and meet the international team! Musicians, bring your instruments, and show them the soul of Clarksdale.

Tuesday June 16th

8am Potluck Breakfast: Please bring a breakfast dish and send the international team off on their day’s adventure with good Clarksdale cheer and southern spirit!

Bike & Build works with young adults in cross-country fundraising cycling trips. Each rider fundraises before the trip, and the proceeds from their trips are then disbursed to affordable housing organizations to underwrite projects chiefly planned and executed by young adults in this age group. Clarksdale Habitat for Humanity has been awarded several grants in previous years by the SC2SC group, but this year the award will go to the Spring Initiative Program.

Besides coordinating meals, Quapaw Canoe Company will be providing housing in its Driftwood City International Youth Hostel (under construction) for the Bike & Build team.

Please call hosts Mark River 662-902-1885, Braxton Barden 706-340-2962 or John Ruskey 662-902-7841 for donating food or more information.

Bike & Build

South Carolina to Santa Cruz Tour

4265 Miles

May 22 - August 11, 2014

Starting in historical Charleston, the South Carolina to Santa Cruz (SC2SC) route will be a Bike & Build journey of epic proportions. Riders on SC2SC will log more build days than any other trip in Bike & Build’s history, funding and building an entire house in the process. From its scenic beginnings in the Lowlands of Carolina, the trip makes its way West through the heart of the South, with stops in amazing Southern cities such as Columbia, Athens, Birmingham and Little Rock. After leaving Arkansas, the route will slowly start to make its way up towards Colorado, eventually riding North alongside of the Rockies and into Colorado Springs for a Blitz Build with Pike’s Peak Habitat for Humanity. Over the course of nine days SC2SC will build an entire house on top of the foundation laid the week before by the North Carolina to San Diego route. After the Blitz the trip will continue to head Northwest with stops in Salt Lake City and Boise, eventually taking a turn to the South when it reaches Oregon. The remainder of the trip will be spent riding through the lush California valleys, eventually meeting up with the Pacific in beautiful Santa Cruz.

May 24 - Charleston, SC

May 27 - Sumter, SC

May 31 - Greenville, SC

Jun 10 - Tupelo, MS

Jun 15 - Clarksdale, MS

Jun 20 - Oklahoma City, OK

Jul 2 - Colorado Springs, CO

Jul 13 - Silt, CO

Jul 18 - Provo, UT

Jul 24 - Twin Falls, ID

Aug 7 - Davis, CA

Aug 10 - Santa Cruz, CA

What is Bike & Build?

Core Values

Young Adult Driven:

Bike & Build unlocks the potential of young adults to do incredible things. Our participants are the face of our organization, and the driving force behind all that we strive to accomplish. Through engaging young adults as active agents and ambassadors for affordable housing efforts, Bike & Build enables them to test their limits, become engaged and active citizens, and impact the housing landscape.

Vision Statement:

Bike & Build envisions future generations who are committed to a lifetime of civic engagement and who inspire individuals and communities to create fair, decent housing

for all Americans.

Mission Statement:

Through service-oriented cycling trips, Bike & Build benefits affordable housing and empowers young adults for a lifetime of service and civic engagement.


We aim to instill a sense of empowerment among all of our participants by offering them the opportunity to accomplish big things and tackle big problems.


We always aim to do what is right for our participants, our donors, and affordable housing partners. Bike & Build values integrity, transparency, and honesty among all of our constituents.


We like to have fun, and aim to build a culture and organization where we all have a good time while helping others.

The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch

is brought to you courtesy of:

The Lower Mississippi River Foundation

Photos and text by John Ruskey, (c) 2015 except where noted