Thursday, August 28, 2008


as we take residency at a farm, we'll one or the other or both be at the davenport freight house farmer's market every saturday for the next few weeks. mad farmer's gardens. we'd love to say hi... till then, much love. hb+lp.

the other crew change

so the story goes:

hannah came back up to clinton from the farm peaceful, meet andrew and lindsey peaceful, and eventually andrew back down to the farm, and further eventually hannah and lindsey keep drifting down.

and there was something new about it.
something like about staying and slowgoing deep breaths even more, long pauses, enjoy it now while the enjoying is here, crabapples and pretty little musics, sunshine and breezes.

and since we seem to be addicted to a farm in coal valley and its inhabitants, we decided to break from our pauses and river and hitch down to davenport from camanche for the farmers market. that was pretty fun. it only took one ride and there we were, and then suddenly there was a plan of another crew change,
lindsey gets to go back to the farm and sleep a cold off in a bed and with blankets,
hannah gets the company of one ian (of yon farm), one buddy dog (of yon farm) and one becky (of moline and the soon to be launched and downstream partnering sugar shaker) to bring bernadette the rest of the way to her resting spot in the quad cities. oh man.
the new crew, tho these pictures get ahead of themselves really:

can't speak for lindsey's half except that she sure seems good rested and made a nice shirt,

but on the river there were wonders, adventure surprises.
from the start and we had a ride back up river to the camanche library dock on a 96 foot yacht dinner cruise boat named lady tampa bay (yet another way to see this river my my), complete with dinner, they parked next to bernie for the night and the yacht got more attention than we did, hah.

and then yes, ian and han off and down, breezing, going to meet becky in princeton. it was quite a lovely one, ian caught on quick. lovely but/and crash landed (one paddlewheel came off 300 yards away, one motor ran out of gas 100 feet away, we paddled one wheel and one oar into a public dock next to go fish, met by a dozen denizens, drinks and dinner on them, who). was crazy but the morning was better, becky came, we got on and out, ian and becky even fixed the paddlewheel right on, the mayor even came by 7 times with longsleeves and food for us.

becky caught on fast too. and we made it to le claire that night, policemen happy to see us, residents and their gardens produce, pelo velo our personal sponsor giver of beer and coffee and the best tshirts yet, and the wind was blowing from the east perfectly on our only west stretch of the river. perfect lock and dam, perfect free ice cream from hampton's remember when, perfect landing on campbells island.

and just when we didn't think we necessarily had a place to live in the qc, a friendly boat told us we could have their slip at the island marina. well, becky left that night, and ian and i got to spend one last night on bernie for now, campstove and tent, view of alcoa factory, and buddy on bow. we met dave the marina owner funnily in the morning before the marina and then met him again inside the gates. seems we've got a worktrade for rent.

the qc papers already came, they were nice, and when we woke up this morning at our base here the mad farmer's gardens, the paper had bernie smiling on the very front page of the very paper. (and funny, mad farmer's garden on the cover of the radish, we're a bunch of celebrities here and laugh over breakfast). and that's that about that. lindsey and i are going to go finish moving off today, maybe do a little grinding on a boat, take final proper measurements and desires for the jet propulsion.

and now comes the chapter of that boatwork and this farmwork, it is good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Call for a Home in the Quad Cities

So we're approaching the quad cities now, where the plan is to stay a few weeks, repair some damages to ol' Bernie, help out on the "brother farm", take a small break. Our leads as for a safe place to dock Bernadette have fallen through. So Please Get Back to US if anyone knows of a dock with an open slip where Bernadette could stay for 2 or three weeks, preferably somehwere that is at least somewhat restricted, or where there's a good bit of monitering, becasue we're not going to be living on board nor probably there every day, and preferably at little or no cost. Please. We're making all of our wishes on this one.

Pool 13

Like a desert. I swear I saw heat waves coming off the water. And the expanse all around of no human activity. We ran out of water. Thankfully there was beer. We ran out of battery. Thankfully the pull start started. Because our legs were pretty tired. Heeding little advice given us, that pool is huge, that pool is crazy, make sure you're prepared. And Andrew has a fish bone stuck in his finger. We see bird shit island. We see the islands all around and the cormerants flocking up around, the cormerants, illinois cormerants no sign of them before Bellvue. Hours alone in the middle of the desert water lake.

Hannah comes back after a week

A week now, a little more than a week, C. Bernadette had a crew change.

Andrewc for Hannahb and what revolutions. The discovery of single person steering, loving Bernadette gently, raft swain raf's'n, in the wind, turning and using the billowing cloth, the weathervain, design feature, to know. Using the pee-board for a kitchen sink, not only a toilet, sink, washbasin. Setting up the tent onboard.

These things driving her from Dubuque to Clinton and a million adventures. A wingdam, tailwinds and strong current, requiring (after watching Bernadette skid away from us along the submerged rock ridge behind her first, or second or third tow attempt) six people (or seven?) pushing her into position for her final successful tow back out into the chanel.

Staying the night nestled in some wingdams and visited by Corey, bringing gifts, bringing company while we cooked the experimental beans (someday we're going to release the C. Bernadette book of raft cooking).

A little check up from the DeWitt of US fish and wildlife, with no compassion, robot man, following orders in such a way to pad his ego, not letting him get us riled up, not knowing what to do with the 125$ ticket we ended up with, all of our things within some kind of reminder range. I dont want to get into it, angry thinking. But now up to code anyway.

And Sebula, the island city, small and hot. Heat coming out of the ground, heat taking us down and waiting in front of BombFire pizza for our energy to return us to the raft, whe Tom drives up and tells us he left us goodies at the boat. Tomfire from Bombfire and all the ingredients delicious for a lunch, bread, tomatoes, mozzerella cranberry chutney, oh my. And then as we leave paddling on toward the bridge stopped for a bit of catfish donation, good old boys, brief exchange.

And the fish, the river fish inside with batter and fried, with fish water all over the deck all over the boat, the fishy water in the river on the swimming skin on the bluegreen algae, on the spewm on the surface, in our planters on our feet, on the deck. Covered with these fish.

And now Lindsey has some kind of cold. Andrew is back on his farm. Hannah is back with Bernadette and waiting for the rain to let up, for our battery to make its way the many blocks back to the boat, to fill our tank up with some municipal water and get on our merry way.
suddenly pictures:
so many adventures, sojourn with clara, she holds the camera, ha,

landing 615, little stop, girls gone wild:

and matt and matt who taught us how to use our radio:

and then waupeton and its kindly folk:

and their dogs who couldn't stay long:

and the tow from a kayaker:

the fog that almost ate us:

the paddlewheel that almost made it to the bottom of the river again:

the lock we eventually made it through:

and here's how we came into dubuque:

and the people were there, they were good:

and we parked by hawk's lillybelle:

and so it was and there we said goodbye to clara, tiny airport and hugs.
it was a beautiful thing to have her,
and lovely thanks for the photos, good eye:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It seems, caffeiene and sugar
up and down, feeling amped, feeling like going
moving fast, quickly and miles
moving slowly but making miles
stopping and reading the light and the fog and
no longer the swarms of dragonflies but
patches of white
pelicans lined up off in the distance
they move quickly, paddling even
and their song
like a phone alarm

and the air in the buildings now so queer and noisy
and the air in a car now so fast and raucous

the speed the open all ever expanding
the slowness and stopping and watching and dancing

sleeping with my glasses on every night to see the stars

and we got to dubuque
and clara left us
but with some sort of renewed vigor and love for the all the things
remembering again after four five days how magical it is


and a woman took our pictures as we pulled up
here is how we look now
in dubuque
outside the amazing rivermuseum (which we have made ourselves part of while we're here)


although really, these pictures do no justice.
(the lotus grow up sprung out of the water, unlike the lillies, stand up, perfect round, smell like i couldn't tell you, some kind of bygone dilation and fancy, and unworldly inside, belong here though i never imagined, with the other marshians, dreaminglike, could float amongst and between and to oblivion and do, sleep amongst them, waken smiling perfect soothed)
Just after MacGregor, we anchor in the middle of a wide part, cook dinner and look at the moon.

And then after a night convinced there were muskrats burrowing through the pontoons again, and boldly rummaging through the trash can, we wake up in the morning to find our beet greens chewed off and a new friend on board. He only stayed for a little while. I guess they're pretty good swimmers.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

oh we forgot to tell you about this guy:

from way back in La. Crosse.
Helium balloons on a fishing line. ha.

Of Late.

This is a post about team A. Ian and Lindsey.

This is IanThis is Lindsey
This is Team A.
A Stands for Awesome. because we're awesome.
Team A is going to take over the world. Even though Ian left us in MacGregor with a million things to think about. Making the bicycles efficient, making it to the Quad Cities, making it on and on and on.
Keeping it SLOW.
And MacGregor left us on our way to Guttenberg. Now here in Guttenberg, passing the beautiful calmness of the driftless. The unglaciated portion of the river we will be passing through till Savannah. We have the weekdays now, the mornings of sunlight and days of overcast, delight to calm the heat that inevitably will come at 12 or 2 or 4 in the sunburnt sunshine of my stomach and thighs. We have the river to ourselves when we aren't visited by our friends the birds, the hawk we call Jon and the yellow throated virios, the female eagles we keep seeing, maybe the same one. The evenings get busy, visitors, inquiring minds, but soon as we get Clara here tonight, we'll be a few days, hopefully the weekend, in relatively low traffic getting her to Dubuque. Hoping to retreat, maybe take some back channels, maybe some slow kayak rides into the backwaters. And we're on our way.

Some sights to see in Lansing. Iowa. It is Iowa

and the river and just past brownsville

these birds watching the river meandering around brownsville

bluegreen algae making aeneous patterns in the river, looking like quicksilver only green, our shadows moving with them.
I think this is a storm coming in. Who can really say. It's definately one of those beautiful pools before a lock and the red buoy keeping watch.

Monday, August 4, 2008


one day a few days ago, we crossed the iowa border. we've been loving it here. first lansing, now mcgregor, now guttenburg. nice nice iowa nice. visitors asking good questions, and visitors teaching us good.
and things have been happening, like wolfspider hatchings and snakes amidst our ropes, like a future rafter swimming aboard, like heatstroke in august, like friends visiting, like the quad cities and st. louis and vicksburg asking when we'll be there, like finding out big river magazine has a link to us, like backwater cruises, like eating our first ripened beans, like drinking our first hooch, like learning well that sometimes you have to let the wind do what it will, like plans for better propulsion, like first drafts of manifestos, like meditation to rock quarries and barges, like melodica to rain percussion, like twilight in lillies and loti, like sleep just off the channel.
bernadette's doing fine*, we're doing fine**. we've got a steady current of 1.6 miles an hour usually. you should come and visit. and stay a while. we've decided three is a magic number when we go. you know? good. see you soon, much love.



Brownsville, MN

So. Sorry, and sorry for the delays. The libraries and the photos have been acting up. We've a lot to update you.
Two weeks ago. Hannah had a birthday:

And remarked that "the most beautiful places, i think, are along side railroad tracks."

so often overlooked, passed by in car or on foot carelessly. We can't help but notice the runs that accompany us on both sides constantly, bringing the hulking bodies clanging and thrusting through night and day passing between the land on either side full of wild things, grashoppers and flowers.