CNN iReporter Neal Moore has co-authored "Down the Mississippi: A Modern Day Huck on America's River Road" with Mark Twain Museum Executive Director Cindy Lovell. The book is about Moore's travels along the Mississippi River. Moore talked with us about his experiences.
Where did you get your idea?
I had been in love of the idea of the Mississippi River for a long time, but really being an ex-patriot off and on for 20 years - living in Africa and East Asia - the idea to come back to my home country, my own backyard so to speak, and to really experience it from the epicenter from the Mississippi River. And try to document the economic downturn, the start of it, was something that really appealed to me.
How did you train for this trip?
I went to the local gym in Taipei for about eight months. On the rowing machine, I couldn't last for five minutes. The first day was five minutes, the next day was 10 minutes and then I sort of built up steam and lots of other exercises too. But at the end I actually felt like I could go forever.
Were you nervous at all to do this?
I wasn't scared of the danger aspect, I was scared of the fact coming from city-living, my entire life, I was worried about the concept of putting yourself out there into nature, living with nature.
When did you start to feel like a modern-day Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer?
Must've been, maybe day 10, there was this current in the river - which was rare - and I just laid back, and I'm not a smoker, but I had a pack of American Spirits just for Americana-sake. And I just laid back and I took off all my clothes except my shorts, I just laid back with my French Foreign Legion hat, struck a match and I just watched the clouds twirl by. I embraced my inner-Huckleberry there.
Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post