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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting Here Was No Small Deal

Last night we drove all night to be here for a press conference at 9 am. We did not have enough gas and getting it is not that easy in Europe. Everyone seems to be on diesel and there is none at the docks. We are trying to run light so that we can run fast so we have to stop a lot.
When we stopped at this little town, I walked up a ramp to a park area and started asking directions to a gas station. They all spoke German and very little English. I finally talked a couple of young ladies, Seven and Miriam, into giving me a ride. They were kind and took the time to get a couple of friends to ride in the car behind us.
I was impressed with her kindness and her common sense wisdom. She was willing to help a stranger, yet wise enough to be safe, so many of us find excuses not to help. I am guilty of not helping sometimes.
The gas station called the police after seeing us fill nine jugs. They pulled us over and then followed us down to the docks getting excited about the I AM SECOND Wounded Hero Voyage.
After that we drove off into the dark. Can you believe the busiest river in Europe and one of the busiest rivers in the world is not marked with lighted channel markers? Much of it has no lights at all. We were driving into the darkness and it always seemed that the canal would just open up as you got close to the end.
About 60 miles from our destination we ran aground. It was just a couple of inches deep and we are loaded down with weight. It was a hard rock bottom, the boat took it fine, and unfortunately the prop did not. The jack plate broke a thousand miles ago. Big waves often don't do equipment any favors. Since the jack plate was not working we could not suck the prop up into the tunnel. The prop hit one of those rocks and wiped out a couple of blades. So at zero dark thirty, we were out changing our prop and moving on again.
We only have a base map on the GPS so winding through a channel without lighted markers was fun. But we kept at it and arrived on time for our press conference. Unfortunately the Press, well they were not quite as committed.
But they are coming tomorrow.
Many ask “How long we are staying?” The answer is we don't know. We have to make arrangements to ship the boat back and fly back ourselves. We are trying to find sponsors for a publicity tour that could pay for the shipping or if we are lucky we can find a ship going that way with empty space.
It is very important that we get back soon as there is a lot of interest in our story. That publicity is the publicity that we will use to raise most of the money for the Do More Campaign to help wounded heroes.


  1. Ralph, Bob,
    It would be nice if 9/11 were to be declared "say thanks - buy a shirt day". That's what I'm doing (I'm waiting for 9/11 and buying 3). It's a good way to pay tribute and get involved.

  2. Sell the boat to a maritime museum. Bring back pictures, you can build a brand new boat.
    Everyone is excited to be getting you guys back in one piece for the victory Tour.
    Brenda and I are off to pack boxes for troop relief.

  3. TIME TO DO MORE: Don’t quit now! The whole world is your resource. Americans helped the English, liberated the French; so, who should be more interested in helping? Visit Normandy and Paris, why by-pass the greater opportunities? O.K., you’ve conquered the worst, the cold and misery. Make it an around the world venture. Remember, for example, there is a great deal of money just waiting in the Middle East. Again, don’t do less by skipping Paris, Liverpool, and other cities of England and France. Even Dublin where your grandmother Brown (Fahey) grew up should be visited.

    Where are your volunteer advance teams leap frogging each other to prepare the cities for your arrival? What about a special film crew for your new weekly Television show, “Boating With The Brown Brothers Around The World”?

    Also, the Mediterranean is much warmer water and the cities on the Med. are not poor. So, why quit when YOU CAN DO MUCH MORE. Again, skipping Paris is called, DOING LESS!

    Your Favorite Brother


    We Crossed The Atlantic,
    Now, Around The World.
    Let’s All Do More!

    Next Stop: Paris then to Beijing, then on to Tokyo!

    Who knows, the Chinese might want Dreamboats to manufacture the Intruder in China also.

  4. Good job Ralph and Bob.
    Uncle David just told me about your trip. Sorry I missed most of it.
    Just read your book about the first trip. Hope to read one about this trip.
    Your cousin Cindi from RI

  5. The boat is parked at the WYC in Wiesbaden. We had to rent a car to drive to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center on Sept 11. We arrived a little late as usual, not done on purpose, just always not enough time. After getting clearance at the gate, we were given a tour of one of the Fisher houses, where the family members of the injured soldier stay while the soldier is being treated at Landstuhl.

    Then we were escorted over to the hospital and visited with three of the patients. While we were motoring up the Rhine, two of the three were almost blown up by a suicide bomber while in route to the airport. After our short visit, we went over to the Chaplain's closet where they store many of the donated items. He explained the whole proceedure to us and some of the background information on the numbers of patients and the length of the average stay.

    Then we went over to the USO and showed some of our pictures and video from the trip. We stayed for several hours until it was time for us to head out. We drove out of the gate in the rented car and stopped at a public parking lot leading to some type of hiking trail, where we slept in the car. (warmer and dryer than the boat)

    The next morning after breakfast at McDonald's and attempting to get on their internet, (too expensive) we eventually ended up at Ramstein. We are still looking into all options of getting us and the boat back to the states. While at the USO that nobody knew we were heading to, our Cousin Kevin Brown, magically located us on his third phone call attempt. He found out that we were in Germany from our Uncle David living in Long Island, USA. Kevin and his family took us out to a real German restaurant for dinner.

    We drove back to the boat and spent the night again in the rented car. Bob Brown