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“I enjoyed it, but I realized I should have gotten a bigger boat, because everybody else had bigger boats,” Milfelt said. “A longer boat and a narrower boat is faster than the shorter, wider boat.”

Feeling confident in the summer of 2019, she signed up for the MR340, the three-day, 340-mile journey that’s been done in as little as 36 hours and change.

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“Well, that was the year they kept changing the date because of the flood, and eventually they just canceled the race,” she said. “Well, then, last year, the virus kicked in, and they gave us the option to opt out. Being over the age of 65, I just decided to opt out.

“So then 2021 rolled around, and I thought, ‘You know what, we had the flood, we had the plague. If the river catches fire, I’m going back to church.’”

Milfelt was ready. She convinced a friend to act as her ground crew, which she said is kind of tough, given the person follows the meandering Missouri by land and tries to be available to supply the kayaker with supplies, portage, and in the case of the MR340’s four days over 85 hours, rides to a hotel.

Milfelt said the floating was good that first leg of the MR340, and she checked in with her friend at different points throughout the day. She’d intended to make it as far as Miami, but instead, they called it at Waverly and made their way to the Holiday Inn in Columbia.

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