ST. CLOUD - It's not uncommon to see canoes making their way down the Mississippi River for long distances - but how many people trek out with a 14 foot aluminum boat and outboard motor to navigate hundreds of miles of river?

A pair of friends is in the middle of doing exactly that.

Drew Erickson of Minneapolis and McKeon Roberts of Grand Rapids, both 22, set out from Grand Rapids last Saturday with the plan to boat all the way to the Twin Cities.

As the two spent Friday night in St. Cloud, Erickson explained how the plan was hatched earlier this year.

The two studied DNR maps of the river's path prior to the expedition. Erickson says, at first, he and Roberts weren't entirely sure if it were possible to make it with the heavy boat, fuel and all required gear, through the necessary canoe-sized portage trails.

Roberts says they've met with some roadblocks along the 300 + mile trip - one being the Blanchard Dam outside of Royalton.

Roberts adds, making it through the dam site would have been "nearly impossible," but they were fortunate to meet a fisherman who offered to transport the boat with his car.

Erickson says they anticipate another 2 days of travel before reaching their Minneapolis destination - unless severe weather forces them to make camp for longer than expected.

"Or if we bump into islands," Erickson says. "Islands usually mean we're going to have to carry the boat for a while."

Asked if they'd do it again, the pair agree they would. "Maybe south of Minneapolis, more dams with locks." Erickson says.

All told, the river trip from Grand Rapids to Minneapolis is 330 miles long, compared to 190 miles by car.