More of his life experiences are documented in My Personal Memoir, Volume Two. Ohio River Trekking on a Small Budget: A 981-Mile Adventure. A True Appalachian Story.
Russ’ lifelong dream of trekking the entire 981 mile Ohio River by boat became clear to him when he was 12 years old. From the time he was old enough to understand that books could take him along with frontiersmen, he read countless records of their travels and exploits.
Personal experience demonstrated to him that Mark Twain’s fictional characters Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were not as fictional as might be perceived by most people.
Russ, his dog Pax, 12 year old grandson Cade Gilliland, and long time traveling buddy Gary Bergstrand encountered dangerous barge traffic, sites visited and written about by Lewis and Clark, their boat being grounded for two days, lightning strikes, serious weather, a stripped out steering gear, extreme Ohio River flooding, a broken trailer axle, the Masonic Lodge loaning them an Ohio flag, an insect attack, a tornado and much more. All while becoming acquainted with some of the nicest people anyone can ever expect to meet in a lifetime.
What a way to experience America! You need to live your dreams, too.