Having spent a grand total of 10 hours in a canoe, the first time my husband floated to me the idea of participating in a 340-mile, non-stop canoe race across the state of Missouri, I dismissed it immediately as idle talk that would go nowhere.
But six months later we brought in 2016 together — sipping champagne in a hotel room in Dallas — by registering for the race at 12:01 a.m., the minute registration for the 11th annual MR340 began.
The MR340 is billed as the longest non-stop river race in the world, and our four-man race team was comprised of me, my husband Matthew Wilson, 32, my sister-in-law Emily Bowers, 29, and her husband, Clint Bowers, 29.
Preparing for this race was not easy, but the things that could have been a real hassle — like flying myself and my husband from our home in Houston to the other half of our team in Kansas City for a little paddle practice without breaking the bank — were made possible by choosing Southwest. Also, "bags fly free" had never meant as much as it did when we were able to cart all of our gear, including paddles, life vests, water coolers and other large, bulky items to our starting point without incurring any additional costs.
A heavy rainstorm, record-high temperatures and a lack of rest proved too much for our team, and we had to call it quits after about 150 miles. But, it's still an incredible experience that I'm glad to have shared with those I love.