Saturday, February 28, 2009

Months now have passed, a bit of perspective.
There were many things anticipated about this journey, what it would be about, what it would be for, what would be learned. Overwhelmingly these expectations proved to be inadequate, inappropriate and naive. Sure, we learned about water quality and river towns, sure we learned about wild edibles and what plants don't work well to weave with. Personally however, this trip was about time, about learning to notice nine months pass down almost to each minute, and learning about each other. It is an amazing thing that Hannah and Lindsey did this thing together, it is amazing the depth with which we learned and became comfortable with each other. Our reliance on each other was so thorough that there were no quarrels ended by going to one end and the other of our tiny home, the situation demanded resolve and calm at whatever cost. We know now how dependent we are on others though we tried our best to hold our own, how grateful one can be for those things offered without any prompt and how sometimes selflessly generous to allow others to give. And the river has shown us these things. These things about ourselves as much as about itself. This river while determining how and where and why Bernadette moved and stopped, gave us this great gift, freedom and exposure. These things we have won, this project of time, of nine months, of six hundred and fifty or so miles, of space, of patience and resilience, of beauty and awe, things we struggled to not take for granted exposed to those magical moments of vacation constantly but at the cost of aesceticism and instability.
Now, warm by a fire in a home i can decorate and work on, i value the prospect of building something permanent, working on the land and learning slowly what it has to offer.
So in response to repeated urging, this is my sign off, my declaration of victory. We did an amazing thing and I have changed forever because of it.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

and something else

Regarding donations: We appreciate all the donations we have recieved. Since we have decided to stop here in St. Charles we are willing to give back any donations we've recieved, or we'll use it to rent a car to get back to the Quad Cities, and curb our overall losses.

We are now looking for a good home for our raft. It will be a platform with paddle wheels and hatches throughout. It can be hauled out if you have a trailer, or towed anywhere you'd like. Please, if anyone is interested in a mobile swimming dock, or pontoon-type boat, please email us and let us know.

We've started writing our end of the trip postcards, so if we've met you and you forgot to give us your address, you should send it on over and we'll send you one too.

Its unbelievable how amazing everyone has been, how positive and inspiring. We'll be thinking about it all for a long long time. Thank you.

So we have started to take her apart. The owner of the harbor has offered us the showerhouse to sleep in, with a back room and heat. We've been staying warm in Bill's boat (where we've been tied up for the past month) and in Jamie and Dave's boat, when the campfires have not been warm enough to keep us through the nights. It's 13 degrees right now and the wind is gusting 15 to 20mph. But yesterday we successfully moved out of the harbor during the few hours it was warm enough to break up the ice. Only paddlewheels moving us again into the slough. But oh it's frozen in now. Tied up to the rocks but with little on it. We'll be taking the walls down tomorrow and hopefully relocating them to the farm to become an outdoor kitchen? oh boy.

It's been amazing here. People are so wonderful, it feels wrong to be leaving at all. But we'll have to come back to find a home for the platform and paddlewheels once the river is soft enough to move her again. Thankgoodness for that.

Conceding Defeat

It has been weeks.

And although we excelled in the areas of solar panels, batteries, moral support, water containers, and stoves, the motor we needed came too late. Too late to spend unknown money for an unknown journey which the Coast Guard deemed crazy, impossible and forbidden.

That warning actaully just got us fired up more, they can't tell us its too cold to be on the river, they can't scare us. But after the harbor froze, and indecision continued on and on, the momentum surely abated.

Andrew and Patty came down to help finish the journey with us, and we moved up to the North Shore Oasis in St. Charles. Incredibly, amazingly, lovingly, supportive and hospitable. After a week we were three, not four, and though the campfires were warm and beautiful, and the karaoke and beer was flowing through us, the cold, the snow, the ice persisted.

We have conceded defeat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The News from St. Louis

So we've been relaxing. After another six weeks on the water it feels nice to be walking around so much. And although we've been warned by many, the encouragement by others to try and go the rest of the way is winning out. It was a hard last week on the water, and we both thought we'd had it, our bodies broken from the cold and sleeping on the hard floor, Hannah having a cold, the wind being relentless. But after thinking over the advice we've gotten from tug boat drivers, ex coast guard officers and rafters, it seems terrible to give up here without even trying the lower river. It's been done before. We just need to be prepared. And here we are preparing.

We are rearranging the boat to accommodate two other crew members, having had some makes us value their presence and getting rid of junk we've stored up seems like a necessity anyway. We've already found more solar panels, and a promise of a little heater. We are looking into buying a bigger outboard, another anchor, and another battery.

We have also set up a paypal account to try and raise funds to get these additional items, and to pay for the gasoline that we will, it seems, be using much more of downriver. The current is faster, time to dodge traffic is less and the amount of traffic increased will surely require more dodging.

Oh and Hannah's mom and grandma came and checked the boat out. Mother approved. Wheee!

Pictures to Come

So after a week with our additional crew of Patrick from St. Louis, and Alex from Winona, we arrived in St. Charles county to the back of a kind boat for resting and regrouping.

The last few days aboard were hard, stuck a million times. Our battery had drained and we pull-started our little Pushcart Rally III (the outboard) every time... warming it up as we warmed ourselves for the day and then pulling with all our might as we may need it. Which was frequent. The winds were blowing sideways most days at 15 to 20 mph.

But adventure was had, we made fires and kept warm by them, went to sleep and woke up to a frosty deck (Patrick climbed down from the hammock bed he'd been sleeping in to piss in the night and almost slipped off the boat). We drank coffee and sang songs. Lost and found many pushing poles. We had thanksgiving 2 weeks early with a family who "loved novel things."

Here we traded turnips for the bounty of hot peppers we'd traded for picking up trash in a farmers field in Clarksville... more turnips than we could eat, and now waiting for what they could be traded for. Oh what a barter economy, how lovely to participate.

And arriving in St. Charles, landing really, as we are now on land, is quite nice. Calm. Cold yes but at least dry. And nobody has to get in the water any time soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Louisiana missourri
cairo illinois
louisiana louisiana
wyoming minnesota

louisiana missourri
soothsayers knowing our outdoor sleeping
knowing our vagabonding and walkey talkeying
odd putting

and a night under a bridge next to a motel and a railroad
horn sounding

and now clarksville, abandoned from the riverview
but gardening and cooking and glassblowing
and walking and meeting many talkers, informationers

Alex from Winona is with us now, probably for a few towns next
till St. Louis probably.

And we have little if any cell phone service.
I bet we'll not be posting till we land in St. Charles for our stay in Saint Louis.
Wish us luck with the wind and cold, at our backs, our well covered backs.