A true story of courage and survival, South to Alaska carries listeners from the heartland of America to the last frontier... the hard way.
Born in the dusty heart of Oklahoma in 1916, 10-year-old Melvin sees a photograph of a cabin in the Alaska wilderness in his fourth-grade geography book and dreams of living there. Nearly 50 years later he builds a 47-foot boat in his Arkansas backyard, launches it on the Arkansas River, and cruises 10,000 miles to Alaska by way of the Panama Canal. Melvin has never been south of the United States/Mexico border and has never been on a boat in the open ocean.
"Learn by doing", he says.
In South to Alaska, author Nancy Owens Barnes takes listeners on two journeys. On one, listeners follow a young boy's dream that begins in a one-room, Oklahoma schoolhouse in 1926, and ends decades later on an island in southeast Alaska. On the other, listeners become a passenger aboard the Red Dog as it cruises along the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico where, in 1973, Melvin begins a solo journey along the Caribbean coasts of Mexico and Central America, through the Panama Canal, then into the Pacific Ocean to Alaska. Plagued by mechanical problems, international fraud, violent ocean storms, threats of foreign jail, illness and loneliness, Melvin fears a deadly end before reaching the place of his dreams and returning to the woman he loves. South to Alaska chronicles Melvin's 10,000-mile journey through a dangerous world he knows little about, to a world he cannot forget.
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