Day 40 — Oh Bulgur

by Katie on February 11, 2010

Ocean rowboats are good for one thing and one thing only: rowing. Anything else is awkward at best, especially cooking.

Tonight I was cooking dinner in the cockpit with a small Jetboil stove. I could not ask for a more efficient and compact stove but it is handheld and the boat is without a place to secure the stove. With stove in hand, I was hit by a wave, slid off my seat, and beans and bulgur went flying in every which direction. Oh, bulgur. Nearly had my shoes on fire when the stove landed in my foot well, still aflame! I couldn’t help but have a good laugh, although my hungry stomach was not very pleased (and I’m sure I would not be either if it was my only stove). Just another one of the many awkward moments living on a rowboat!

Aside from the minor stove drama, there has certainly been a shift in mentality after reaching the half-way mark. The more competitive and goal-orientated Katie has emerged and left the laid-back version behind. Very focused on progress now with calculating best speed per hour, setting several targets a day, seeing what the max speed is, etc. Maybe the motivation stems from finding out that I am making better progress than some of the big, burly men rowing solo across the Atlantic at the moment, too. Was getting a bit carried away with watching my progress on the gps tonight and was rudely interrupted when a flying fish hit me, er, in the bum! It was not a small one either, and rather startling to be hit without warning in the dark of the night. Perhaps it was a sign to slow down, stop and smell the roses. Or fish, or whatever.


Claire Mullee February 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Hey Katie! How are things going so far? Allie says hi and wants you to post more pictures. Tommy says the same thing. I love you so much. Good luck on the rest of your row. Claire, Allie, and Tommy.

OurAsylum February 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Katie, after 30+ years of trying, I forced myself this month to finish reading Moby Dick, sort of in your honor. I am sorry to report that Ahab bought it in the end (sorry for the spoiler) but I am GLAD to report that I got to hear your satellite interview with PM today as my reward. You sound GREAT! And it’s nice to read that you’ve still got enough oomph left to want to push even harder. Glad you didn’t burn your foot off though; that would’ve been awkward. Row Katie, Row!

Nicolioli February 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

lol I like how you now use Katie in third person:)jk You are awesome and I am glad that after over a thousand miles you are even more motivated. Oh, and I have also been reading up on the other ocean rowers and these overly buff men have nothing against the strength of Buddha Katie! I hope you have a nice night and an especially gorgeous sunset:)

Donnie B February 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

The phenomenon of witnessing has no ABC or XYZ. It is a simple phenomenon. It is a single step. It is one process.

The journey of two thousand five hundred miles is done by the simple stroke, one stroke. You cannot take two strokes at one time even though you still thankfully have two hands and two feet. :)

Stroke after stroke, just a single stroke can be stretched to ten thousand miles or to infinity.

Watchfulness is a simple step. There is no alphabet in it. There are no beginners in it, there are no amateurs in it and no experts in it. Everybody is in the middle, always in the middle.

You are moving perfectly right.

Witness it all by simply being…

*Secure that flame thrower while cooking and save the pyro skills for Burningman!

Blessings my friend ~*~

michelle February 11, 2010 at 8:50 pm

So you are in the “finish strong” mode. Keep it up, and thank you for the last post where you reminded us of the importance of your cause. I saw on the TV some people in the popular culture climbing Kilimanjaro to bring attention to clean water. Wouldnt that be great if we all focused, if even for a day, on such a basic necessity possibly not met.
Thank you so much for each and every stroke (your friend Donnie B says it so well above!)

2070krobinson February 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm


Congrats on the progress – I continue to tell your story to anyone who will listen – your row – is so important and will certainly shed light if not water on a critical need of our brothers and sisters across the world! Remember you stand on the shoulders of many brave women – Amelia Earhart….and the like…some day a young women will want to be just like you!!!! Best, Kathy Robinson

mulleeboyz February 11, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Glad to hear “our katie” is back. Uncle pat loved hearing your voice and said of your interview, “that is so katie”. I will say again – we are proud, we miss you and we love you. PLEASE SEND A PIC OF YOU!! Dirt and all – we long to see your face!!

alli7 February 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Hi Katie!
I first heard about your trek on NPR weeks before you started and I’ve been following ever since. I am amazed at your strength and determination. I hope you will write a book about your journey some day, as I’m sure it will be a great read! Good luck rowing the second half. Take care out there!

Ashley February 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Katie!!! I Looooove when I see a blog update from you!! I can’t believe how well you’re doing. Your stories crack me up…fish on the bum…yikes! Jet boils are dangerous even on land!! Close call, glad all is OK. Can’t wait to see you finish this one out!! Keep on being AWESOME!

Rick Barkley February 11, 2010 at 11:32 pm

oKay…not TOO agressive oriented. Not to wear yourself out on the downside. Okay to expend when the adrenaline gets kicked in, but not for too long without proper (as much as can be) rest. Here’s your laugh for tomorrow. No one knew about the couple going fishing in Olean, who walked to the river and interrupted my evening bath. Couldn’t believe they went DOWNstream to get away from me!Carry on!

live curious February 12, 2010 at 12:20 am

Um… did you say that you are JUST NOW getting focused???? Girl, you rock the ocean. I have kept your page up since you left the coast of Africa. You are truly an inspiration, and one of the strongest people I have ever had the priveledge to voyeristically watch on the internet.

mostthingsonce February 12, 2010 at 12:48 am

Hi Katie; Thank you for such a descriptive post. It”s like watching a video. I hope you don’t inadvertently drop the stove overboard. That would be a disaster! About that fish that hit you on the bum, some fish can be awfully fresh, don’t you think? It looks as though you are having fun. That’s just great. All the Best,
Vancouver, Canada

Paul February 12, 2010 at 1:44 am

Mac & cheese would have stuck to the sides of the pot, one of its few advantages. Fortunately you are well provisioned. Enjoy the other tasty treats you have along.


Ben Larsson February 12, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Hi Katie!
I like your enthusiasm. You are really something extra! Go the last part also, will be a piece of cake!

Ben, Sweden

btaffee February 12, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Hey Katie, It is good to know that all is well with you. I talk about you often with my friends and have shared your site with several of my them. Love to read your blog. I am soooo proud of you. You go girl!!!! Roberta

elli February 12, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Katie – after 40 days and more than 1,000 miles you still have a sense of humor! I’m so proud of you! I realize that i don’t know you, but you have become very dear to me. I have children a little older than you. You’re in my thoughts every day. Keep up the amazing work and keep smiling!!!!!!!!!!

Mentor John February 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Katie -

I love following your blog and I read it everyday. I agree with the others – please post more pics if you can. I too have begun a journey of my own – to run the Cleveland Marathon this year – I know its not rowing the ocean blue – but it seems as though it is to me. My prayers are with you daily and may God protect you on your journey.

John W.

Willowick, JohnR February 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Hey Gal; what an insperation to all. Enjoy following your blog. Best of health to you for the rest of your journey. GOD SPEED

yogi February 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm

There was a big article about you in The Plain Dealer today! We are all so proud of you and can’t wait to see you in person, which will very soon at the rate you are rowing! I think your next goal should be the summer olympics in London 2012!!! KATIE ROCKS!!!! :)

bethP55 February 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Hi Katie,
Sorry about your dinner but glad to hear about your motivation. You are one amazing young lady – you have a spirit that can carry the world to great heights! You are inspiration par excellence…keep up the great job. Oh, and stay out of the flight pattern of those airborn fish!
All my best,

gescover February 12, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Hi Katie,

Water is so important…the winter olympics start tonight I will be thinking about you as I watch the athletes during the opening ceremony.

Keep rowing, you are almost there!

Kevin P. February 13, 2010 at 12:34 am


I ran five miles today. I thought I did pretty good for myself. For my accomplishment, I drank a beer. Then I found about what you were doing and now my awesome run sucks. No matter what I do, I’ll feel like an unaccomplished, sedentary waste of life. Thanks.


P.S. Keep up the good work. Be safe and take care.

Lori Sebulski February 13, 2010 at 12:46 am

Hi Katie! Your blogs make me smile everyday. I think of you often and can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures. You have come such a long way….I can’t believe you are the same girl I knew from the library :) Row, Katie, row! Xo


bykrdad2 February 13, 2010 at 11:22 am

(From mini-Wilson II)

Hiya Katie!
Hey, I heard you weren’t talking to my twin. What’s up with that???? Did he do something wrong? I sure hope he hasn’t been secretly hitting the Snickers (oh nooooooo, not the Snickers!!!!!) Ha ha. Actually you know that’s ok. Growing up we’d spend MONTHS right next to each other and never say a word. Besides, I can tell you from experience he’s not the world’s best listener (having no ears doesn’t help).

Like many twins though we have this uncanny ability to know what each other is thinking and I can tell you he’s thrilled beyond words to be part of your epic journey and noble cause. That’s one reason why he’s smiling 24/7 (even if it weren’t painted on he’d be smiling!) If you hold him real close to your ear you also might hear him say: “Katie, you’re doing GREAT! We are soooooo proud of you and the difference you’re making – you’re one in a million. Actually, as an ocean rower you’re more like one in a hundred million.” He’s also channeling dermotologists everywhere in saying “Be sure to wear your sunblock!” And finally, after a recent incident he found absolutely hilarious he’s saying “Don’t let the fish hit you in the bum!” Now THERE’S some advice you can keep the rest of your life, eh?

Keep rowing girl. We are looking so forward to seeing you when you get back. And I’m looking forward to hearing from my twin what it was really like! All the best.

mini-Wilson II (aka “The Deuce”)

Brooke February 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Hi Katie. Nice to make your acquaintance Cleveland, OH to Wide Open Ocean, Planet Earth. I learned about your *insane* adventure this morning over breakfast with friends, after just finishing my 18 mile trail run. (And to think I was feeling quite pleased until you uber-trumped me!) One of the friends (the city prosecutor) has been following you and is responsible for turnig me on to your amazing water project. I’m in! I wish you all of the best….and I will be watching. 8>)

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