One Inch Above the Water, by author Jim Payne
Table of Contents
Chapter 7, Beginning

Photo Album of Jim's Adventures

The Potomac River
Columbia River I
Columbia River II
Columbia River III
New York City to Quebec
Miami, Florida to Key West
The Mississippi River

            At age 10, Jim Payne daringly rode his bicycle from his home suburb of Leonia, New Jersey along highways and across the George Washington Bridge into New York City—and then, alarmed at what he had gotten into, he turned around and pedaled rapidly back home. The episode prefigured the wanderlust deep within that, some 50 years later, gained expression in his solo kayak journeys on American waterways.

            Following in the footsteps of his father, who was an English professor at City College of New York, Jim became an academic, specializing in political science, with undergraduate preparation at Oberlin College, and earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 1968. He has written 16 books, including works on Latin American politics, foreign policy, the U. S. Congress, taxation, and welfare. His latest book is A History of Force; Exploring the worldwide movement against habits of coercion, bloodshed, and mayhem. He also penned a series of allegorical works on political philosophy, disguised as children’s books (Princess Navina Visits Malvolia, etc.).

            Successful as he was, his adventurous nature prevailed, and in 1985 he left the security of a tenured professorship to become an independent scholar and free lance writer. With no regrets whatever: “It was the smartest move I ever made in my life,” he affirms. Settling in Sandpoint, Idaho, he first supported himself fighting forest fires, shearing Christmas trees, and working as an assistant garbage collector. Gradually, he established a business as a piano technician and gained outlets as a freelance writer, appearing in Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, and Reader’s Digest, among other publications.

            In Idaho he also met and married his second wife, Judy, with whom he lives most happily, running away now and then, returning each time younger and wiser.