By Associated Press - Friday, July 24, 2015

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - A Minnesota man pulled into a Muscatine, Iowa, harbor this week along his solo journey down the Mississippi River in a distinctive boat called the Box Turtle.

It took 64-year-old Bert Chamberlain, of Moorhead, Minnesota, around two years to construct the red-sailed boat that’s painted a bright blue, the Muscatine Journal (https://bit.ly/1SFY3kF ) reported. While putting together the boat, one person had thought he was building a sandbox for kids to play in, while others speculated that he was building a submarine, he said.

“I could’ve bought a boat, but it would’ve been someone else’s boat,” Chamberlain said. He added that another boat wouldn’t have given him opportunities like the Box Turtle does in starting conversations with others.

“The Box Turtle has been my ambassador on this trip,” he said.

Chamberlain began his trek July 5 from St. Paul, Minnesota, and said part of his voyage down the river is to inspire others to pursue adventure. Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” served as an inspiration for him for the trip, along with his hero, traveler Lowell Thomas.



Although he initially planned to travel to New Orleans and put his boat in Gulf of Mexico waters, Chamberlain said he now plans to head to Mobile, Alabama, because he was told that the last few hundred miles of the river isn’t the safest excursion for a one-man crew in a little sailboat.

Chamberlain said he’ll take an alternate route to get to Alabama along some other waterways, though he said he isn’t quite sure of those details yet. Since his trip isn’t a race, he said he has time to figure it out.

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Information from: Muscatine Journal, https://www.muscatinejournal.com

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