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Eddy Ferreira, 69, left, and Jan Broennich, 68, both of Norway, left Saturday to row down the Mississippi in a fiberglass replica of a faering, an open boat with two pairs of oars. Pioneer Photo/Bethany Wesley

Norwegians to row down Mississippi

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Eddy Ferreira has been waiting 30 years to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip down the Mississippi River.

So what were another few weeks?

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Ferreira, 69, and Jan Broennich, 68, both of Norway, arrived July 26 in Bemidji expecting to begin their voyage within about a week.

They figured the boat would arrive soon enough and they could get on the water after a day or two of getting their possessions and plans in order.

The boat, Emma, didn't arrive until late last week.

When it did, the men were off, even leaving one day earlier than planned.

"This trip is not to set a record," Ferreira said. "It's an adventure for us."

Indeed, it is adventure Ferreira had been hoping to take since he was 35 years old.

He had actually planned a trip in honor of the United States' 200th birthday in 1976. He and friends were going to come in canoe through Montreal, canoe across the Great Lakes and then eventually go down the Mississippi River.

But it didn't happen and the group split up, he said.

"The thought never left my mind, so I picked it up again several years ago," Ferreira said.

Ferreira asked his friend, Broennich, if he would be interested in joining him.

"I thought he was joking," Broennich said.

"After a while, he found out I was really serious, and he still agreed," Ferreira said.

The friends, who are chronicalling their journey online at oldmensriver.com, are going down river in a fiberglass replica of a faering, an open boat with two pairs of oars with room for two people.

"The planning of the trip has been going on for a long time," Ferreira explains online. "Many books have been read, a lot of (e-mail) pages have been copied. Last fall, my wife and I drove north, along the river from Memphis, Tenn., all the way to Lake Itasca, Minn."

He said the Headwaters of the Mississippi at Itasca, are too shallow for the boat, so the duo planned to depart from Lake Bemidji.

Actually, they ended up leaving Saturday just south of the Ottertail Power Co. dam.

"A lot will depend on the weather and many other small things, but most of all it will be our own conditions that will decide whether we are (going to) make it or not," Ferreira wrote.

Y bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

Eddy Ferreira has been waiting 30 years to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip down the Mississippi River.

So what were another few weeks?

Ferreira, 69, and Jan Broennich, 68, both of Norway, arrived July 26 in Bemidji expecting to begin their voyage within about a week.

They figured the boat would arrive soon enough and they could get on the water after a day or two of getting their possessions and plans in order.

The boat, Emma, didn't arrive until late last week.

When it did, the men were off, even leaving one day earlier than planned.

"This trip is not to set a record," Ferreira said. "It's an adventure for us."

Indeed, it is adventure Ferreira had been hoping to take since he was 35 years old.

He had actually planned a trip in honor of the United States' 200th birthday in 1976. He and friends were going to come in canoe through Montreal, canoe across the Great Lakes and then eventually go down the Mississippi River.

But it didn't happen and the group split up, he said.

"The thought never left my mind, so I picked it up again several years ago," Ferreira said.

Ferreira asked his friend, Broennich, if he would be interested in joining him.

"I thought he was joking," Broennich said.

"After a while, he found out I was really serious, and he still agreed," Ferreira said.

The friends, who are chronicalling their journey online at oldmensriver.com, are going down river in a fiberglass replica of a faering, an open boat with two pairs of oars with room for two people.

"The planning of the trip has been going on for a long time," Ferreira explains online. "Many books have been read, a lot of (e-mail) pages have been copied. Last fall, my wife and I drove north, along the river from Memphis, Tenn., all the way to Lake Itasca, Minn."

He said the Headwaters of the Mississippi at Itasca, are too shallow for the boat, so the duo planned to depart from Lake Bemidji.

Actually, they ended up leaving Saturday just south of the Ottertail Power Co. dam.

"A lot will depend on the weather and many other small things, but most of all it will be our own conditions that will decide whether we are (going to) make it or not," Ferreira wrote.

bwesley@bemidjipioneer.com

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