Archive for June, 2009

Holy crap it’s hot in Hannibal, MO

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

It’s so hot its making me sexist…bitch.

So we made it to Hannibal today, only one day later than we planned.  We’ve been having great weather for most of the week, although the temperature and the humidity are starting to take their toll.  We’ve been guzzling water and Dr. Pepper like addicts.

Two nights ago we stayed in Keokuk, IA for our last night in Iowa.  We were considering being responsible and taking the time to find a really good hiding spot for our canoe…but Transformers 2 was playing at a nearby movie theater so we went and saw that instead.  Upon returning to our canoe we met Eric and his son Nick who was very enthusiastic about our trip.  We showed them around the canoe and they suggested that we stay in the park right next to L&D 19.  We decided this was a great idea and quickly set up camp and fell asleep.  We learned the error of our ways when three freight trains drove 10 feet from our sleepy heads, blasting their air horns to announce their passage through an urban area.  Sleep was hard.

We made a stop in Quincy, IL last night and wandered into town to check out the local happenings.  Upon inquiry, we were pointed to a blues festival happening in Lincoln Park about half a mile away.  I stayed and listened to the music while Phil commenced his ramblings.  After the music ended (At 9:00!  What the hell?) Phil and I rambled around and found a fantastic ice cream parlor with great hours run by a totally cool guy named Bill.  We hung out there for awhile talking about science fiction and B-Horror movies, then bid him goodnight and returned to our campsite.  We slept well until trains came over the bridge we were camped under.  They were loud.  We did not sleep well.

Phil’s going to hang out with his folks in Champaigne-Urbana, so I’m camping alone tonight.  Next to railroad tracks.  Again.

R

Oh yeah, and there should be more pictures posted to the photobucket account soon.

Update: New pictures up right here.

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High Waters & High Times.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Greets, we have made it to Burlington Iowa and have started to really pick up the pace; all those fire and brimstone storms have started to pay off. The river is now at flood stage which has caused a well needed 3 mile an hour current. Last night my old man, brother and cousin came out to see us and spoil us a little bit. all this pampering is really making the river angry (I will let Rich elaborate), 50 mile an hour winds roared in to remind us that we still need to pay homage to the river or else it’s whrath will unfold upon us. The storm died down by the time we returned to camp and we went to bed with the melodic tune of a tornado siren.

We also got a new companion, John Cage, or “Johnny” is his name and he has already established himself has another boozer.  Them tigers, let me tell you…anyways he will be accompanying us as we continue sout. he will be taking Tchaikovsky’s place on the bow…that poor bastard.

All is well on the river front, so let the good times roll.  

Indeed, I am also very impressed with how many miles we’ve managed to pick up.  In addition to waking up earlier and earlier to avoid the blazing sun, the current has increased to up to 3 mph!  We managed a 34 mile day 2 days ago, and managed 40 miles between Muskatine and Quequeg, or wherever we ended up yesterday.

After much discussion, we decided we have appeased the river.  We made it angry by letting Phil’s Mom come out and buy us lots of food and a hotel room for the night.  In response to these heinous acts, the river threw a weeks worth of rain and rec boaters our way, including a real nasty storm just south of Savanna, Illinois.  Although more storm clouds are brewing to the west, and that storm last night kinda scared us, we feel we have appeased the river gods by losing Phil’s sunglasses and passing up free beer.

Our hearts and minds are free and clear as we exit Iowa tomorrow morn.

R.

Fire and Brimstone

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Greetings from Bellevue Iowa! Great little town it’s functional yet not too sketchy while minimizing tourist appeal. My self and Rich got an early start today…well, early by our standards, on the river by 7:30Am, we made it through Lock n’ Dam 12 and pulled into town for fixin’s and sweets. Our return to the river was met with fury, hence me sitting here waiting for the lightning to stop. 

On a public service note, myself and rich fulfilled our civic duty yesterday by reporting odd behavior in the local wild life.  We pulled off the river yesterday to make lunch at a “private” boat landing and while sitting at the dock eating bananas and fruit snacks, the sickest looking remnants of what was once a raccoon came staggering out of the tall grass besides us. It showed no fear to our presence nor any interest in the fruit snacks I threw to it.

We thought it odd because normally animals are not so eager to be our friends. The fact that he was foaming at the mouth caused us to decide that we did not want to be friends with this woodland critter. I wanted to shoot it with a well aimed shot with the slingshot, but Rich convinced me that being on private property doing so would have “lawsuit” written all over it. So we Tracked down the land owner whom hastily called Animal Control thus saving the day!

Oh! We discovered a very scientific method to problem solving and decision making. I come up with ideas and decisons and Rich comes up with resonable reasons that they would not work, if he cannot come up with any that is the decision we go with. Yay Science!

Yay science indeed.  We’ve been having some pretty interesting weather going down the river, as the cooler dryer days of Spring begin to turn into the hot muggy days of summer we’re going to have to get used to as we go further south.  Yesterday we got alot of sun, but wound up drinking about a gallon of water each as the air got more and more moist.

We stopped at a place called 9-mile island, just south of L & D #11, where we met Jeff and his dog ‘Rabies’ (Interesting foreshadowing there).  We talked to Jeff about what what we are doing, and he seemed pretty thrilled about it.  He expressed interest in hiking up in Northern Minnesota, and we were more than happy to point him to Grand Marais, the Devil Track River Trail, the Porcupine Mountains, and the Brule River, all of which are fantastic places for short or longer hikes.

Jeff was also kind enough to point us to a fantastic restaurant at the Chestnut Mountain Lodge.  Coming in from the water, we could see the cleared slopes that would be skiided down in the winter, but they keep the resort open in the summer too.  They keep one chair lift open, so we got a free lift up the mountain, watching the river loom up behind us and giving us a great view of Pool #11 (Pools are the areas just north of the locks, named after the lock that creates them.)  After eating a hearty dinner, we paid a couple of bucks to take scooters down a track that went to the bottom, which Phil dutifully flipped over on his way down.

All in all it was a great night, we found a great campsite, and we owe it all to Jeff.  Thanks alot friend, and we wish you luck in your travels as you have wished us luck in ours.

R

ps. And look at that, the rain stopped.  I take full credit.

North of Debuque

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

So we’re kinda stick about 28 miles north of Debuque.  Wind pushed us off the river in Guttenberg, so we’re staying there for the night and hopefully the weather will improve, or at least the wind will go away.

We started on the Mississippi alittle over a week ago, and the experience has been drastically different than the St. Croix and the ‘Nam.  For one thing there are a hell of a lot more people.  The big rec boaters are rapidly becoming the most dangerous and time consuming challenge of the trip, as they are more than happy to buzz past us at speeds exceeding 30 or 40 mph, giving off huge wakes that stop us dead in our tracks and often swamp our canoe.  The recurring phrase is “Dickbags”.

Going through the locks is much easier than we thought it would be, although we have to be lucky to get a good slot.  Get stuck behind a two-part tug and we’re usually looking at a 1-1/2 hour wait, which is no fun.  The barges are nor problem on the river, as the wake that they give off is minimal and they move very slowly, so its easy to see them coming.

We hope to be in Debuque by tomorrow and hopefully in Hannibal, Missouri in alittle less than two weeks.

Later days,

Rich

My friend Rich mentions all the industrial aspects of the river, but none of the natural aspects.  A few days ago we made friends with a swallow that had biffed into the water.  The little guy was limping towards shore, so we paddled up to him and helped him into the canoe, where he stayed for about 20 minutes until he dried up and flew away.  We named him Bob Schuman.

I also managed to catch the second turtle of the trip!  We were fishing outside our campsite last night when I saw its head pop out of the water.  I decided to try my luck and cast in its direction and managed to snag its foot.  I pulled it out of the water and it turned out to be a huge Mississippi Map Turtle.  Me and Rich contemplated eating it, but upon further examination we discovered it was pregnant and ready to lay her eggs.  We felt we didn’t have the heart to kill it, so we released it after further admiration of its beautiful shell.  The score remains Phil: 2, Turtles: 0.  Booyah!

Phil

And a joint note to Tom:

Dear Tom, you are going too fast.  Why don’t you try paddling that big old boat!  We’re tired!  We did a little back-of-the-envelope math, and by our calculations you will have finished the Mississippi…THRE DAYS AGO!

Hope all is well,

R & P

Photos Alma, WI

Posted in Uncategorized on June 12, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Rich’s Mom took a set of photos in Alma.  Click HERE to take a look.

Track our progress

Posted in Uncategorized on June 10, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

We’ve started posting our location on a Google map.  We’re going to try to do this every night, if the gizmo continues to work.  Click HERE to look at the map (and bookmark the location if you want to keep up to date).

Photos of the Duff Day in Prescott

Posted in Uncategorized on June 7, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Marcie O’Connor took pictures of the Hucksters in Prescott.  Click HERE to view them.