Official Neal Moore Topps Baseball Card

From the start, Allen & Ginter, the first trading card company in the United States, specialized in world champions in sports, actors, world leaders, and/or the weird. It’s an honor to be recognized in this year’s set.

You can see the history of Allen & Ginter, and how Topps has revived it here: https://www.mlb.com/video/mlb-s-carded-allen-ginter.

Topps Allen & Ginter 2022 has launched! Pick up a set today from your local hobby shop or Topps.com!

22 RIVERS across 22 STATES in 22 MONTHS

A lone canoeist crosses America in search of what binds us together

By Derek Burnett

Reader’s Digest

Neal Moore is descending New York State’s Mohawk River by canoe, approaching the end of a journey that began 22 months and more than 7,000 miles ago. His paddle has plied 21 bodies of water so far on his way across the continent. Downstream always means easier paddling, yet dangers abound – wedge up against a log or rock, and the current will flip him and sink his earthly goods. All those upstream slogs were worse, of course. His eyes would scan the river for the calm seams of flat water, the points of land that subdued the stream and made the way less difficult. Lest he surrender hard-earned progress, he would dig and dig long past the burning of his shoulders in midmorning and on into the long and stifling – or freezing and windblown afternoon.

“Twenty-two rivers, 22 states, 22 months of journeying” has been his declared objective. “Stringing together rivers” and the people along them to see what still connects us as Americans in divided times.

At evening, sunset often beams upon a chosen spit of sand – the river showing him where to camp. He likes islands for their safety from animals but also from people. An hour before nightfall he unloads his gear, pitches his tent, fixes some supper, maybe cracks a beer. And then he dines in perfect solitude seated upon an overturned plastic bucket, watching the timeless mystery of day becoming night. Music of coyotes, crickets, frogs. The silent coming of fireflies from out across the water, piling into the willows above his head. He turns in early, marveling at the strength in his 49-year-old limbs, which increases by the day. He’ll will himself awake one hour before dawn, and in concert with the first hopeful rays of morning he will push off into the stream, leaving nothing behind but the notch in the coarse sand where his canoe has passed the sacred night.

WHEN MOORE WAS a 13-year-old growing up in Los Angeles, his older brother, Tom, whom he adored, crashed his Mustang and died from his injuries. Devastated, Moore passed his teenage years in a spiraling funk – drugs, attempted suicide – made worse when his beloved mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and began a slow decline. His father was a fifth-generation Mormon whose pioneering ancestor had led a company of handcart-toting emigrants across the prairie to Utah. Now, with her health dwindling and her son hopelessly adrift, his mother stated her dying wish: for Moore to serve a two-year mission to spread the gospel, as is traditional for devout Mormons between high school and college.

Moore was anything but devout. But his mother wanted him to do something transformative. To do something pure. If she died while he was away, he was not to come home for the funeral. Surprising even himself, he went. His assignment was South Africa, 1991 to 1993. During his first month in the field, he got the phone call he’d been dreading – his mother had passed. Honoring her request, he stayed on.

The mission changed his life. In South Africa he learned to live outside his dark thoughts. To serve wholeheartedly. To walk freely among strangers and learn their stories. To shake hands African-style, thumb upward. To smile and mean it.

“When you push yourself out of your comfort zone,” he concluded, “this is when extraordinary things can happen. This is when you learn and grow.”

Over the next decades he lived as an expatriate, teaching English in Taiwan, selling antiques in South Africa, adventuring in Egypt, then heading into Ethiopia’s broiling heat. And back for a visit to his homeland in 2009 for a paddle down the length of the Mississippi River to see how the middle of America was faring during the Great Recession – this despite having never previously spent more than an afternoon in a canoe.

Cancer had taken his mother, and in 2012 it tried to take him too. He needed surgery, which left him unable to walk. Over the course of months, he crawled and then stood and then took a few shuffling paces and then got to where he could once again trek for miles. …


Continue reading Derek’s feature expedition interview in the October 2022 print edition of Reader’s Digest, available (nearly) everywhere magazines are sold.  

Partial to Home: Connecting us all

Paddling to the Statue of Liberty: Neal Moore’s grand, bittersweet finale

By Birney Imes

The Dispatch

Neal Moore paddles toward the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday concluding a 22-month-long canoe trip that took him on 22 rivers and waterways from the Pacific coast in Oregon to New York Harbor. Birney Imes/Special to The Dispatch

Two years ago as he was beginning a canoe trip that would crisscross America, Neal Moore called a friend, a fellow paddler, who lives on the Hudson River just above New York City. He wanted to know the best time of year to arrive in New York by canoe.

The friend, Ben McGrath, a New Yorker staff writer, said he would consult with a neighbor, who was a more seasoned paddler, and get back with him.

At the time McGrath was completing a book on another long-haul canoeist — one who gave Neal the idea he could travel across the country by connecting rivers and who spent a night in Columbus doing such himself.

The neighbor and Ben agreed, December would be best, after the winds of November and before the snows of winter.

Armed with that information Neal continued the journey he had begun on the Columbia River in Astoria, Oregon, with the vague goal of saying hello to Lady Liberty in New York Harbor sometime in December 2021.

Along the way Neal — an expatriate who in his 30 years abroad was a Mormon missionary and an art dealer in Cape Town and an English teacher in Taipei —  met Americans of every stripe.

They told him their stories; gave him rides to a store for provisions; provided warm meals and a place to sleep. Some even gave him the keys to their cars.

Occasionally his hosts would paddle with him, an afternoon, a day or several days. Neal invited these kindred spirits, these lovers of nature and flowing water, to join him in New York at the completion of his trip for a celebration.

They could, if they wished, paddle with him on his final lap around the Statue of Liberty.

“I chose to end at the Statue of Liberty because her hand is extended to every American,” Neal told a reporter in Pittsburgh. “We as Americans know if we fall we have the strength to get back up. I want to find what unites us. Because we all know what divides us.”

Neal’s welcoming personality and listening skills draw people out. He makes you feel as though you are part of his journey.

There must be scores of people like friends of Beth’s, who met Neal briefly while he was here, who now follow him on his blog (22rivers.com).

When Neal tied up at the dock near the Riverwalk in early April, he was 6,000 miles into his 7,500-mile journey. He said then he was on schedule to reach New York by December.

Neal’s arrival in Manhattan earlier this month was less than auspicious.

Passing under the George Washington Bridge on an ebbing tide, a strong wind turned his canoe around.

Unable to reposition his boat, he paddled the four miles to his destination backwards, which, as he said, was appropriate “because the whole (west-to-east) journey has been the wrong way.”

When waves splashed water into his boat, he put the Coast Guard on notice he might need help.

“They sent a New York Police Department boat that just went roaring right past me and never came back. It just threw one hell of a wake,” Neal told “Adventure Journal.”

On Tuesday morning at Pier 84 at West 44th Street, nine kayakers, outfitted in wetsuits and dry tops to insulate them from the 45-degree water of the Hudson River, prepared to launch.

Neal, who turned 50 just before reaching New York City, would be paddling the 16-foot red Old Town Royalex canoe he has used for the entire trip. He bought the boat on Facebook Marketplace in San Francisco while he was still in Taipei and had a friend pick it up for him.

Along the way, he’s asked benefactors and people he’s met to inscribe the white interior of his canoe with a Sharpie he carries for that purpose. He said those inscriptions, which now cover the canoe’s white interior, helped sustain him during his long and sometimes trying voyage.

Five of the nine kayakers who paddled with Neal had hosted and paddled with him when he passed through their towns.

Among their number was a registered nurse from Kansas City; a retired educator, who is now an environmental activist from Louisville; an educator from Pittsburgh and a Mississippi River guide from Clarksdale.

The morning was unseasonably warm with a slight breeze.

The paddlers would escort Neal down Manhattan’s lower west side before crossing over to the New Jersey shore, past Ellis Island and on to the Statue.

Two motorboats would accompany the group, one for the media and a rescue boat, one of which would take Neal back once he circled Liberty Island.

Ferry traffic increases in the afternoon and accordingly the waters in that stretch of the Hudson grow more turbulent, the guides for the trip said.

As the group approached the Statue around 1:30 p.m., Neal paddled his canoe out ahead of the flotilla.

Describing his mixed emotions as he approached the Statue, Neal said initially he was ecstatic. “The whole trip came back to me in rapid flashes.”

“And then I was crying,” he said.

“It’s been so much more than a physical trip,” he said. “For the biggest part of the trip, I thought it would go on forever.”

Later that evening about 35 people gathered for a reception at the Manhattan Kayak Club.

Ben McGrath, the “The New Yorker” staff writer who gave Neal scheduling advice, was one of several who spoke. Ben’s  piece about Neal’s trip was published in the magazine’s Dec. 20 issue (“After 7,500 Miles, A Long-Haul Paddler Floats Into Town”).

Ben noted how Neal had brought together our geographically disparate group, most of whom did not know one another prior to this event.

We were from Mississippi, Oregon, Montana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Indiana and New York.

“He connected us all and made us friends,” he said.

Birney Imes III is the immediate past publisher of The Dispatch.

Now we paddle for the people, for all creation

By John Ruskey

“The Belly of North America, Sea to Shining Sea”, 30 x 38, watercolor, John Ruskey
Now we Paddle for the People, for all Creation ~ by John Ruskey

I am the river
but I am lonely
where are the people?  
where is creation?

1

A young man set off in a red canoe to find out, 
to paddle for the people — and all creation
in this great nation, from sea to shining sea
stroke to the east, stroke to the west

leaving the waters of the big whales
following inland watery trails
he started up the big river Woody Guthrie sang about
“Oh, it’s always we’ve rambled, this river you & I

All along your green valleys I will work until I die”
I see wind surfers and ocean-going freighters
but where are the salmon?  And those who followed the fish?
The First Nation peoples traded up and down the coast and the big rivers of the west 

in their dugout canoes carved from western red cedar 
and the Mississippian people carved theirs from cinnamon cypress  
and did the same up and down the meandering muddy waters
of the great heart of this continent,

connecting big bony mountain ranges on either side,
and the salty sweet Gulf of Mexico in her belly
The people of the North Woods stripped giant birches of their skin
and crafted the sleekest, fastest, and finest vessels ever

European sailors entering the St. Lawrence Seaway 
were amazed at how nimble the birch bark canoes scooted over the water 
and now in a red canoe named Shannon, derived from that same tradition
a young man starts chopping his paddle left and right

back & forth, north & south, east & west
stroke to the one you love the best, stroking
with unrefined, but dedicated determination 
and rhythm, and swirls, up and down the same rivers

and now we paddle for the people, now we paddle for creation
Continue reading “Now we paddle for the people, for all creation”

Neal Moore Finishes Two-Year Solo Canoe Journey With a Pack Of New Friends

Neal Moore ended his 22-month solo canoe journey across America yesterday at the head of a small flotilla of friends he’d made along the way. The well wishers came from all over the country to share this moment with Moore, who led the way to the Statue of Liberty in the red Old Town canoe he’d spent nearly two years paddling and portaging from the Pacific to New York City.

Friends cam from Astoria, Oregon, where he started paddling 675 days before, from Clarksdale and Columbus, Mississippi and Louisville, Kentucky. A media boat followed the paddlers, carrying more well-wishers, as well as reporters from the New York Times, the New Yorker and Professional Mariner magazine. …

You can read Jeff’s entire expedition interview at Adventure Journal here.

The Carrying Place

By Neal Moore

It was always going to be a schlep. While the odyssey’s contorted route – from west [the Pacific coast] to south [the Gulf of Mexico] to north [the Great Lakes] to east [Lady Liberty] – was selected to follow the seasons, to have the chance to be continuous, to make it so, there would inevitably be places where one would need to heave-ho. And the Erie Canal was invariably going to be one of those places.

I got word back in July of this year that the Erie Canal was going to shut down navigation early, on October the 13th. And so, I made the calculation – a barter with myself, and with this voyage – to paddle half of the 350-mile Erie Canal and to portage half.

A balance in all things.

So I had the pleasure to paddle between Buffalo and Syracuse, 170 miles. For the remaining 170 miles, from Syracuse to Waterford, New York – where the Mohawk meets the Hudson – I’d portage along the old Tow Path and the Bicycle Trail.

Detail of an Oneida portage and paddlers, Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome, New York. Photo by Neal Moore.

Which I thought was appropriate, being the spot where mules and horses once hauled barges of goods back and forth before and just after the advent of the nation’s first railroad, which ran and rattled along this very corridor. 

Forty-three miles into the march, when I got to Rome, New York, the spot on the map where the first shovel full of earth was dug for the canal on July 4, 1817, the place is known as “The Oneida Carrying Place”.

“The name of this portage trail between two river systems is the ‘Oneida Carrying Place.’ It served as a major east-west route linking the Atlantic to the Great Lakes when waterways were the lifeblood of trade.” Display at Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome, New York. Photo by Neal Moore.

One can trace the history of this ancient path back in time. 

For centuries Indigenous Americans, traders, soldiers, and travelers have crossed over this very path. It is here that goods and ideas were exchanged.

Beauty along the trail. First light at Little Falls, New York. Photo by Neal Moore.

As it turns out, the boats of the Oneida and the European fur traders who came after were flat bottomed, making it easier to lift, to drag and to roll underneath with logs. 

In time, with my expedition wheels fastened firmly underneath my canoe and gear, I made the confluence of the Mohawk and the Hudson River. I here pitched my tent, to take in the beauty, to make peace with the final river to be, and to say fare thee well to my old friend, the Mohawk. And with her, my tenure along the Erie Canal.

Arrival to the end of the Erie Canal at the confluence of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers. Selfie by Neal Moore.

Oregon-to-NYC via canoe, with a hike to Cooperstown

By TARA BARNWELL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Talk about huge goals and going after them … meet Neal Moore.

He’s an explorer. He’s an adventurer. He’s an athlete. He’s a journalist and a teacher. He wants to get the story right.

Dubbed “a modern-day Huck Finn” by CNN, Moore is on an adventure of a lifetime.

“I started canoeing from Astoria, Oregon on the Pacific Coast, across our country, down south to Louisiana,” Moore said. “My final destination is Lady Liberty in New York City.”

“My big idea is not only to explore how the rivers and waterways connect but how we, as Americans, connect,” he said. “I’m looking for the ingredients of the American experience.”

That’s a lot of water miles; 7,500 to be exact. Twenty-two rivers and 22 states, all in 22 months. Quite a goal.

“I’ve always been interested in historical communities, those that are rich in history. Plus, I’m a big baseball fan. Cooperstown fit nicely into my schedule,” he said. “I actually hiked here from Little Falls; I left my canoe there and will return for it to continue my journey. I could have gotten a ride here, but I felt like walking here honors this community. I had the chance to step into the rhyme and reason of the village.”

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Moore spent his summers in Hawaii and England.

“My only brother died when I was young, and my parents didn’t want me to grow up without other children around,” Moore said. “We had relatives in Hawaii and England, and I would spend my summers there. I think that’s where my taste for travel and adventure started”.

“I’m an explorer at heart, but my profession is journalism and I teach English in Taiwan,” he said. “I saved money for a year and a half for this trip. I also deal in old relics, photos and books that sell at auction. That helps pay the bills.”

Although Moore was an Eagle Scout, he only completed half of his canoe badge at 12 years old and didn’t get back into a canoe until he was 38.

Neal’s 7,500-mile interactive canoe route across America: https://bit.ly/3fhvOyI

“I really wasn’t thinking about canoeing at all, but my friend had a dream to canoe up the Amazon River,” he said. “We made a plan to do it together. He ended up backing out but I decided to canoe solo down the Mississippi. That got me back into a canoe.”

His current cross-country canoe journey is a tough trip.

“It’s physically demanding — and mentally demanding as well,” he said.

He’s had some interesting encounters with wild animals. The most memorable was an encounter in the middle of Montana with a grizzly bear.

[And then there was the giant gator down in Louisiana. “I didn’t see the alligator at first,”] he recalled. “When I did, I froze, then I started clapping my hands. He [kept on coming, so I shined my bright diving light, and he] ended up walking away. He had no interest in me.”

A bull shark in Biloxi, Mississippi, did a “bump and bite” on his canoe.

“The shark hit my canoe hard three times, thankfully he wasn’t interested in me either!” he said.

Moore appears accustomed to taking care of things on his own terms.

“My folks cut me off financially after college,” he said. “The good part about that was that every success was mine, but then every failure was mine as well. It gave me confidence in life, I have very few fears. This trip has taught me a lot.”

Moore’s end game is paddling down the Hudson and ending up at the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday, December 14. “The final hurrah and paddle around Lady Liberty will be great. A number of paddlers I’ve met along the way and various NYC-based canoe and kayak clubs will greet me and paddle with me. Then we’ll celebrate in Midtown Manhattan.”

“The Beacon Hand of the Statue of Liberty is extended to all of us. I will earn and have an understanding of what liberty means, not only for this country but for the world at large,” Moore said. “This journey isn’t about me, its about a perfect blend between nature, wilderness and community.”

Adventurer stops in Buffalo this week on cross-country canoe trip

By Taylor Epps

ABC Affiliate WKBW

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A taste of adventure is making it’s way to Buffalo this week, as Lake Erie gets a visit from a unique traveler. Neal Moore has been dubbed a “Modern Day Huckleberry Finn” for his adventures. Right now, he’s in the middle of a canoe trip from Oregon to New York City, crossing 22 states along the way.

“To explore how rivers, people and communities connect, in search of that which unites us as a nation,” Moore said. “To applaud America, our differences and our commonalities from the West Coast to the Statue of Liberty.”

It all started in February 2020 with the goal of listening, documenting and celebrating America. He is 19 months and 7,000 miles into a 22-month, 7,500-mile journey across America.

When the pandemic hit in 2020 he was already on his way to travel through 22 states. Wherever he is in the country, he wakes up at first light, and gets right on the water.

“It’s a moment of release and a moment of pure freedom,” said Moore.

When night falls, he’ll have a quick meal of freeze dried food and set up camp with his tent.

He’s now 19 months in to this routine. Neal will be in Buffalo for two days and will continue his journey on the Erie Canal.

“So I’ll slowly make my way across New York State to Albany to meet the Hudson, which I’ll have the pleasure of being able to come down to New York City,” said Moore.

Mother nature makes canoeing across country for about two years quite interesting. Moore has come across a bull shark, an alligator, a grizzly bear and more. But possibly the scariest is the water itself.

When he got to Lake Erie, he asked some locals in Westfield at Barcelona Beach for advice.

“What do you think about a canoe onto the open lake to make my way to Buffalo,” asked Moore.

The answer: get ready to swim.

He and a friend had to come to shore after waters in Lake Erie got rough a few days ago—so rough they almost didn’t make it in. The water knocked them down and pushed the canoe on top of them. They had to wait for a wave to set them free.

He’ll finish with a few scrapes here and there, but Moore says it’s all part of the journey.

“Nature is one part of it, but really it’s the people,” said Moore.

He says the real goal of this trip was to learn about this country through the people, collecting signatures along the way.

Taylor Epps
Moore collects signatures of friends and well wishers

“Folks who I meet up with, new friends, they sign the boat and wish me good luck on the journey,” said Moore.

He’s met with people of all ages, races and origins and says when you piece it all together, you get the story of America.

“In this country we can all listen to, we can all learn the people around us can be our friends as opposed to our adversaries,” said Moore.

He’ll rest here in the 716 for a few days then embark on the next 500 miles. He estimates he’ll get to the Statue of Liberty around December.

You can follow his journey on his interactive mapwebsite and his Instagram.