Archive for July, 2009

New Orleans: No Bust

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Hear ye hear ye!  Let it be known that, on July 28th this year of Our Lord 2009, Philip Middleton and Richard O’Connor completed their 1,896 mile journey from Lake Nameakagen, Wisconsin to New Orleans Louisiana.  Their trip took them 66 days.

So there we are then, we made it.  We left our final campsite at 5:30 yesterday morning and pulled into New Orleans at Moon Landing right next to the French Quarter at 10:20pm.  During the course of our final day we were blown off the river four times, weathered two thunderstorms, cut ourselves up on a concrete mat, and dodged countless towboats and ocean liners, both with sunlight and in the dark.  This last day was truly a test of all the skills this river has beaten into us over the last two months, and we feel we passed its tests with flying colors.

We have met so many wonderful people over the course of this trip, and received help from so many different individuals that it would be impossible to thank them all at this time, so we extend this BOOSH of gratitude to all the old friends that helped us make this trip possible and all the new friends we made along the way.


We’re going to end the narrative of our journey here, but keep an eye on the blog, as we’ll be working on post-trip analysis stuff to put up here in a week or so.  Stay tuned!

R & P


Donaldsonville: The Home Stretch

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

So here we are in Donaldsonville, LA.  We’ve had a little trouble making our intended milage the last couple of days due to storms, sun, and wonderful people that we’ve met.  We intend to make it to La Place, LA at the end of today which will put us within striking distance of the marina we intend to stop at tomorrow afternoon.

We met some wonderful people in St. Francisville just a couple of days ago thanks to the kindness of KW, who gave us a lift into town and let us take showers at his B&B, the Shadetree Inn .  KW was also kind enough to drive us to a grocery store, where we loaded up on bread, jelly, and lots of fresh fruit.  We have devoured 6 peaches, 8 apples, and 2 plums in just one and a half days.  Our mothers are so proud.

A massive amount of wind, rain, and lightning blew us off the river yesterday, but we expect to make our target mileage today.  We will be in New Orleans tomorrow at noon, and a mighty “BOOSH” will rise to the heavens.


“We’re Not Yankees We’re Mid-Westerner’s”

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

This has become Rich’s new smart a$$ phrase to say for every person who says “so you two are Yankees huh?” We are not sure what people mean by this, but it comes up a lot and responding in this fashion seems to confuse them, which is funny to watch. So far, every stereo type about the south has been incorrect:  people with southern accents are smart,  the temperature is tolerable and the mosquitoes are weak-sauce compared to those of the north woods. On that note, the bugs down here most certainly are bigger than those of up north, but they are easier to deal with because you can see and hear them coming from a mile a way, which is something that I personally have come to appreciate. The Swarms are like little airplanes attacking; I just go into King Kong mode and slap them little buggers out of the sky, sure beats inhaling those clouds of them in Wisconsin. My point…I will take the bugs of the south any day of the week over the bugs up north!

As for news about the river conditions, so far it seems that we have arrived in the south a couple of weeks too late, we are working with a two – three mile current most days except on the outside curve of narrow bends where the speed reaches eight miles an hour. It was quite funny last night because we camped near one of these stretches and the bigger tow boats had to gun their engines to even match the speed of the river, it took one tug almost an hour to make it 1/4 of a mile around one of these curves.

Our diet has also changed, we have made the switch from eating gourmet cooking to bare bones peanut butter and jelly for breakfast lunch and dinner. Moral is still high and we are both starting to have mixed feelings about nearing the end of our trip. We are in Vicksburg at the moment and should be in New Orleans in just over a week.


Dead Man Floating

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

This post is not intended to scare our folks or make those who care  worry more, but it is rather to show that we need to pay attention and watch our backs! On Sunday July 5th, the day we left St Louis, a body was discovered by fishermen quite literally in the same area we camped. We camped on the east side of the river about a quarter of a mile past the “Casino Queen” separated from East St Louis by a maze of railroad in all directions; Anyways it has recently come to our attention that a decomposing body was discovered in that immediate area. kind of nerve racking huh?

Anyways we are in memphis and the adventures keep on coming.

Fast times in Memphis, Tennessee

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

     Ah, so many adventures since we last communicated in St. Louis.  We spent the weekend of the 4th of July camping in East St. Louis, we were busted by a friendly railroad cop named Chris who helped us find our way through the yard, we ran into our friend Katie Musick who used to go to Northland, and we’ve been rockin’ up the miles ever since.  However, we hve found that since St. Louis the towns are getting farther away from the river, so finding internet (among other things) has gotten much more difficult.

We had an encounter two days ago that we’re still analysing.  We had our first encounter with real southern hospitality, when a bunch of friendly Tennesseeans invited us to their beach where we partied it up, drank beer, and grilled burgers.  Although we could see alittle lightning way to the north, Phil and I chose to disregard it and set our tent up in the middle of a sandbar.  Well wouldn’t you know it, that night a big storm rolled right on top of us, forcing us to break camp around 2:00am and paddle across the river to find shelter from the lightning which ended up striking the beach we had just left several times.  We managed to set our tent back up without getting wet, but we didn’t get any sleep and were scared out of our minds for most of the night.  Now, if we hadn’t been invited to eat with the nice Tennesseans we never would have set up camp there and would’ve gotten a full nights rest, but because of the food they gave us we were able to do 55 miles the next day, even with a late start and a long lightning stop.

Conclusion:  Southern Hospitality…totally worth it!

So now we’re in Memphis trying to figure out how we’re going to keep going without towns on the river.  Looks like the Hucksters are going to get used to more walking!


St Louis

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

We made it to St Louis! Spirits are still high. The highlight of this past week former has been getting through all the locks…that and jumping a dam. As it turns out, just before you reach St Louis, there is a big sign that reads in big friendly letters “Canal All Boats Enter Here!” The entrance to the canal was only about 200ft wide and appeared to be blocked by rocks on both sides, upon seeing a large speed boat exit the canal we both said “Screw That!” and paddled on. It just so happens that there is a reason that they channel all boats through the canal there is a dam one mile passed the entrance, we discovered this when we were looking at a sigh on a bridge that stated
“WARNING Dam crosses full river”  What dam?” we asked ourselves then we saw it…rolling white caps popping their heads up over a small wall crossing the river, with some minor debate we decided that Huckster could handle it so, we shot through the Dam. Piece of cake I say, it was well worth the 80 gallons of water we took for the 5 miles of a boat free river way.


Celebrating the 4th in St. Louis

Posted in Uncategorized on July 3, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

So we made it to St. Louis yesterday, and after looking at our maps decided that we wouldn’t be able to make it to any other river towns for the 4th of July.  We figured this was the advantage of not being on a schedule, and have decided to bunker down here for a couple of days to watch the festivities.

We’ve had an interesting couple of days since we left Hannibal.  We had a great tailwind on Tuesday, which allowed us to make around 45 miles that day, at the end of which we found a great campsite, a huge beach with a mysteriously huge broken down duck blind.

On Wednesday we ran into a guy we’ve been hearing about for a couple days who is also canoing the river.  Mike and his dog Itsy Bitsy have been paddling for about a month after putting in on the Wisconsin River.  We’ve been playing leap frog with him for almost a week, and wen we finally caught up with him he had managed to rig up a sail to the front of his canoe, taking advantage of the Northerly winds.  We tied up to his boat and we all sailed together for about 10 or 15 miles, at which point we said our goodbyes and went our different ways.  We wish Mike all the best and good luck in reaching the Big Easy!

We’re really enjoying our time here in St. Louis.  All the security people around the parade area have been real nice in agreeing to let us park our canoe and watch it for us, and our campsite across the river is absolutely stellar.

Happy 4th of July!