Friday, October 31, 2008


it feels comfy to be here.

and we play at tourist game.

at home and huck and tom and becky. and jim.

and it's halloween is why the circles and the green, heh.

and it's halloween and we gotta go flee this candy store, out to the extravaganza on the street. over and out.

This i must mention:

The beginning of the trip was quite stimulating, fresh and new, and every library we entered was a computer waiting for reflection, waiting for an account of our adventures for the previous 2 or 10 or 15 days. It felt easy to write, worth while.
Today, it is halloween, i have eaten candy all day, sitting in a candy shop even now (instead of trick or treating, and instead of a library internet connection) writing. But outside is a new friend talking with hannah as i had been talking with him (and so many people... see, so many people) for hours, about politics, religion, deeply entering all those facets taboo in most public settings, freely, openly, without any risk for our passing and temporary nature. Outside is a halloween party, full of music, and pet costumes, probably more candy, and all the people that we have been meeting this day and a half now spent in Hannibal.

I find it hard to keep track, hard to record, hard to care about spending time remembering the details, so millions of them, when they are ongoing and always.

I have a million thoughts, i have said them a million times over to a million people with whom i've been having the same conversations, differing because of these new viewpoints i encounter. But i find dispersing my thoughts this way to be overtaking the preserving of them for later contemplation.

Let it be known, i talk about the prophet john's revelations quite frequently, i talk about an inability to relate and ignorance of the expereince of those dislike oneself, i talk about the root feeling of traveling, the tapping of a deep essence of humanity while physically moving through space and relying on reaction and spontaneity to navigate the unknown.

I find it unfortuante that there is more writing than pictures or video here, i find it unfortuante that there is even precious little of that to share with you. But hey, maybe i'll write a book someday, and hopefully remember enough of it all to fill in the blanks.

here's some about quincy:

which was an interesting place.

breezed in, truly, and it was cold and breeze should say gusted,

and ungreatly got stuck in the muck off the tip of an island maybe 200 feet from our supposed dock, and had to have the fire department get us freed, and the tv came down cos they heard that call, and so we were on tv getting stuck and unstuck. and we went to a bar until midnight, where we were transformed temporarily into two englishmen.

And then it froze. The first time, and we woke in the morning thinking, my, it must not have frozen, because we were so warm. So our plants inside, our morning bright, we awoke to a new day unknowing of what is in store.

and then we got stuck again when the water went down that night, so that the next day when it was time to leave after getting sweet deals on necessities at the marine store up the hill, we couldn't budge.

but probably it was all predestined, and turned in many wonderful ways.

with robert on his canoe catching up to us just in time to coordinate our saviour john's dredging and pulling operation. and twelve at least very nice gentlemen and even one little boy with red hair pushed meanwhile. it was pretty amazing and worked and took at least 3 hours to do.

at which point the sun was going down, and so we docked just 100 feet away at the boat club, and drank and ate for a second night until midnight. complete with the englishmen, who stayed their own selves.

We awoke, with more and more discussions, politics, reflections, observations about this part of the country, the sometimes narrowsighted priveledge of community and values of achievement and success.

We are not trying to prove anything. We are on this trip for ourselves, and sucking up as much as we can it seems to reflect back onto us in peculiar ways. As should be expected. An assumption about freeloading or an assumption about needing.

We have been thinking about hosting dinners with all the food we have accumulated. Happily now some of it donated to the Hannibal food shelf where we heard on the news the need is larger than past years.

I wonder what of this has to do with flooding, with being helped so recently, losing livelihood to natural disaster (though we've heard not to national financial crisis yet). Feeling obliged to give back though skeptical that we are deserving.

And then we floated on again, making time to the lock, though finding our canoist friend waiting there as well. We find the lock anxiously waiting our speedy entry once we have finished our bacon basil and tomato sandwitches, and with rather little interest in conversation. There is a tug waiting to lock up. We share some picture taking with Robert and then see him off down the river.

Maybe we've already mentioned: his blog, his satellite tracker, is linked in our link section.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Backtracking and updating

Pictures to come.

We must mention Nauvoo.
(there is a child moaning as he wanders around the library here, tipping over the trashcan, running behind the reference desk)
But nauvoo, we learned about weaving, weaving on wagon wheels, in triangles, making bread in a fireplace, about Mormons, oh so much about mormons, or really i should call them the saints, as that is what they seem to call themselves.

And we felt the generosity of the river, people taking care of us, more food than we can eat and more smiles than we can remember.

The wind on our side. Blowing from the north. Blowing cold from the north.
La Grange held us for a day, enduring day one of the 45 mile an hour gusts, the Mark Twain casino with free hot chocolate and warmth. The Green Chapel Baptist church with many well wishes and chili and tacos.
And then. and then.

More wind. And we're here now in Quincy finally. Stopping unexpectedly to restock, get some new paddles and an anchor light. A windy life these days have been, but we have wool and eachother to keep warm at night. And at least it is at our backs.

The accents keep changing. The cross over from Iowa to Missourri was pretty impressive. The peculiar punctuations of heed (head) and deef (deaf), heem (him) added into an otherwise standard american english accent, became quite natural in Alexandria, and Canton and La Grange, being now surrounded in a slower, more southern, or redneck (as a man in Alexandria described himself) pronunciation.

It has sure changed a lot. We met a man today, working on the army corps dredge, confirmed he was from up north, but wisconsin, not minnesota as his accent (from across the water over the engines) implied to me.

It is getting cold.
My face is red and chapped. My fingers stay warm in the yarn i'm knitting into pants. Oh warm pants.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


perhaps we should have been taking more pictures since we made it to missouri.

but it's quite something since here we've been. maybe it's many things. people here are a change. there's a new accent, with words like "heem" and "warsh." and there's something about we're come from minnesota that's far more impressive from here on out.
and we're deep in floodland. where all the houses are on stilts and half of them are unoccupied since the waters rose this year again and again.

and the factories and barges are multiplying. ten in one day yesterday.

and we're in canton, and we've been to alexandria of purple cow and wild dogs, and we'll be in hannibal and louisiana and st. louis. in weeks. and that's crazy.

lock 19: big one

we left our last town in iowa in the afternoon, to make it over to lock 19 in time for the meeting of when the winds die down and the sunlight still lasts a little while. we'd been hearing about this one from way back at lock 5a, this one's the biggest drop we'd see. scary scary. and horror stories got more horrible from burlington on. and it looked ominous enough, from miles away.

but when we got closer, the folks were nice and gentle to us. they even gave us a bag of apples from their tree, showed us how to tie up, and wished us all sorts of well.

and so we went:

fifteen or so minutes and then we were out. they said the water would be running seven miles an hour past the dam, but it was actually two. which is just fine, quite nice. and four more miles of iowa.

here's the truth of it.

it's gotten chilly.
duck hunters wake us up in the morning.
barges pass, more barges pass.
it rains sometimes.
it gets dark early.
we got more memory for our camera.
we've been taking lots of pictures.
and i hope you can tell we're smiling good.
okay, that's that.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Here and

now we are in Burlington, Iowa.
An odd sized town, full of many things, an australian coffee shop, many empty storefronts, a huge beautiful library, here, and we are dry and warm for the first time today.
The Iowa river came in and confirmed our suspicions of late that we are going
2 miles an hour.
the town of keithsburg came and went
with its trains toppled from the flood
its watermarks at chest level
its old old buildings derelict and sighing
its populus, living their entire lives in this tiny river

and we spent the night tied up on a beach next to (as we will again tonght) our new friends

Doug and Laura from madison

floating now since Wabasha in a houseboat running solar power
floating a little past the current
a little past us in the current
but stopping just long enough for us to catch up
again and again

i think we're having
venison shitake stroganoff
with them tonight.
slumber party
and music.

We talk about the end of the world. about the economy crubling.
i wonder what signs will tip us off
(here on the river)
to it when it crashes.... maybe the barges will stop. maybe everyone will hide in their houses.

but the strings of cormarants flying north and then south
and the pelicans intermingling with them
the duck blinds fooling even us humans
the rain coming and the wind changing
the blankets increasing in number
the knitting increasing in haste

continuing on and steady.

breathtaking. color changing.
we're so lucky here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


and my my, sorry for the lacking of updates here.
the truth of it is that we were on that farm out in coal valley illinois. the whole time. finishing the summer there was beautiful.
and coming back to the river now is an altogether wonderful thing.
quite a different story now. lovely.
the river is everything we'd dreamt it these days, the calm and the slow we were hoping for all summer seems to have come out for fall.
we've hardly seen a person since we left davenport, and so here it is, us and the river. and it's still quite beautiful as much as everyone everywhere always has said it gets all ugly down here, certainly, past the quad cities. but my my, sure fine, and the pelicans are flying south with us.
we're also riding a new system, the bikes got traded out for some wonderfully slouching chairs with bikechains and pedals underneath, far more comfortable and better tensioning on the belt to boot, much obliged to ian.
i don't know quite what else to say, so perhaps i'll leave it all at this.
from muscatine iowa, over and out, hblp, c.bernadette able.