Local business owner tells story of encounter with explorer

Jules Wiinnfield stopped in at Dollhouse Dreams in Fort Madison on his trip from Minnesota to New Orleans by canoe along the Mississippi River. Photo and story by Brenda Derr Dollhouse Dreams.


FORT MADISON – Jules Winnfield has been on a mission to travel down the Mississippi by canoe – a trip of over 2,100 miles.

He started at Like Itasca, Minn. and has traveled 30 days so far.  His goal is to end up in New Orleans by August 10th.  When Jules started off, he was only traveling about 10 miles a day.  Jules thought that if he continued at that pace it would take him 210 days. So, he upped his pace and is currently trying to travel 25 to 50 miles a day.  Jules said he never trained for this type of trip before, so he had to work hard to build up his endurance.  But if he had trained he said he probably would not have done the trip, because its very hard work.

Jules biggest challenge has been the weather. Some days its just too hot, but he just continues to push thru.  He did run into some storms up by Dubuque and it was very challenging for him.  The main thing is to just paddle in a straight line into the wind.  If you start to spin, then you’ll spiral and tip the canoe.

I asked him why would you take on such a trip?  Jules said it was always a dream. “The Great American Dream”.  Jules, who is 28, manages a moving company. Jules said that his boss was excited for him.  His said his boss told him that not many people would take on such a adventure, so he supports Jules and wanted him to live out his dream.

I also asked Jules what he does for money.  Jules lives on a budget of $5-10 a day.  The rest of the food he manages to find on his own.  And he spends his nights in a hammock on different islands.

Jules shared that a couple of years ago he cycled from coast to coast in the U.S.  It took him 95 days at about 100 miles a day.

When asked if he kept in contact with his family and friends. Jules shared that he left all his electronics at home.  He really wanted to experience nature and all its beauty.  So, 30 days so far without any electronics.  That is a achievement in itself.  Jules will, however, sends out a post card to his family with little hints of where he is. It is up to them to figure it out. “It’s a game for them”.  That way his family knows he is okay and they don’t worry about him.

I caught him walking down the street without any shoes, so I knew he had a story to tell.

I hope you find this story interesting.  We have so many interesting people come in from all over the world.  And it is always nice to stop, take a break, and find out what their story is.  You just never know who you will meet, but just know that everyone has a  great story!  Good luck Jules! 

1 thought on “Local business owner tells story of encounter with explorer

  1. A Texan for many years now but had my first job in Ft Madison, IA at Schaeffer Pen Co when I was fresh out of High School back in the 60s. I enjoyed hearing about this young man’s adventure and wish him good luck in his future endeavors.

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