Three Months to Go…..

Yes, that common denominator – ‘putting-in’ is getting closer.

Today I’m sitting in four or five inches of snow watching the ice cycles drip thinking, three more months and I could find myself headed down the warm Mississippi River – hopefully in shorts – and at the moment even swatting those pesky mosquitoes doesn’t seem like such a bad thing …

I continue to research and note potential stops along the river and her hazards.  Lots of appealing places on the Upper section, leaving me to pretty much relate the lower section as a giant slow moving water-chute down through the levees.  The relayed warnings of the wakes from towboats and ships make it sound like riding a moped on the interstate but I don’t buy that as an overall hazard, especially with the operators of those vessels aware of our presence – they seem to show as much regard as possible while at the same time managing their own priorities – it will just be our responsibility to return that same regard and not to put them in position to make a choice – like that moped on the interstate, if I have to stay in the emergency lane I will.

What I’ve seen from other folks is their preparation whether mentally or physically.  The luxury and a lack of pressure to remember everything all at once has been nice – the things I forget, just come to me later.   Alot like my trips to the grocery store – I don’t always have a list so I look at the trip as a time to walk most every isle and hopefully ‘jar’ my memory on what I need or wanted – I don’t always remember – so adapting is part of it too.

Now, I find myself in the hardware section of Lowe’s or one of the many thrift stores nearby looking for whatever it is that could be useful on a long day, space and weight are always in mind – not like I’m going to be floating on a boat full of crap, but simple necessities that could be discarded, lost or sunken – instead of ‘new stuff.’



Putting this whole trip together has been a series of short enthusiastic ‘benchmarks,’ with still a few important ones yet to meet, and plenty of adapting ahead too – its actually been nice to have something as interesting and historical (the River) to read about and look forward to.

All ahead, full

All ahead, full

So its the first of March, three more months – “all ahead, full.”


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. huckleberryfinn09
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 19:13:42

    Looking real good Tom. I have had a fun time playing I spy with all of the neat toys. I am kinda jealous of your spacious wheel house it looks mighty cozy. I am sure that if you just take our approach and close your eyes, the three months will pass before you know it.
    Take it easy,

  2. Tom Haynie
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 21:37:07

    Thanks Phil,

    I’m having a blast with it as I imagine you are too – I sometimes feel like its too much in comparison to your upcoming canoe trek, but then it would be neat if we could go and take everything in our room with us …. I plan on doing my share of ‘drifting,’ either way – there is an ‘aura’ about that river that is thousands of years old – we’re gonna find it and carry it with us for a long time to come.

  3. huckleberryfinn09
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 23:59:36

    You have the luxury of being able to sprawl out whenever you want. As I am sure you know from being a trucker you do not want to infringe on that very valuable space. A friend I go camping with every once in awhile has a very specific method of deciding what he brings with him. He makes three piles,
    1.Luxury 2. helpful and 3. NEEDS. after making the three piles he takes everything in the 3rd pile and leaves behind 1 and 2. Lesson learned………I suppose we are going to make a hard sacrifice and leave behind behind the cooler full of chicken and beer. A tragedy in of itself as I am sure you can understand……as nice as it would be to bring the whole room, be frugal.
    take it easy,

  4. Lisser
    Mar 03, 2009 @ 20:27:42

    Looks like you are getting a lot of work done…you better take a camera.

  5. Tom Haynie
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 06:18:15

    Count on it Melissa, now if I just had your ‘eye’ in framing a thought…

  6. Sparky
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 09:19:49

    Glad I stumbled onto your site. Three of my friends and I just finished the deck of our raft (12′ x 25′) in my garage two weekends ago. Just waiting for some warmer weather here in Michigan to get her out in the driveway so we can build our cabin. We’re putting in at Dubuque on July 3rd. Happy to see there are other folks out there with some adventure still left in ’em! I did printed off the river charts from the Army Corp website. They’re kind of small, but very detailed, and come with all the radio frequencies you’ll need. Well worth the hour it took to print off 250 or so miles worth.

  7. Tom Haynie
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 11:25:54

    Thats great Sparky, great to hear of your adventure, I wish you a boat (er raft) load of fun and adventure. I thought about printing the charts but ended up ordering a chart book of the Upper for about 40 bucks, I think it may even come in nice as a ‘keepsake’ because it will be easy to make notes and mark stopping points along the way on – I did download the charts too. I have only found the Lower available as a mail in (22.00)which I have yet to do – great to hear of your trek – keep us up or let us know how we can help or share info.

    Weathers a little better here now, I’m in the boathouse today….

    All ahead, full.


    (Where in Mich?)

  8. "Riverdog"
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 16:31:58

    3 months to go. Wow! Today I got the OK and the blessing of the dapartment to take off a month and enjoy the upper Mississippi. I never though it possible but that is a big hurdle that I can forget about now. Tom, you have done wonders since last we met to christen her. The days will go by quickly my friend and we will be toasting the sunrise soon and the moon and the trees and the water and……….

  9. Tom Haynie
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 17:10:21

    Thats Great Carl, a load off your mind I hope – Whatever ups and downs come with the journey, it will remain one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ deals – a lifelong memory.

    I know its tough prying yourself from work and family, but after a day or so on return – it will be like you never went away, you’ll be right back in the routine (and I’ll have another month to go).

    Giving the trailer some attention today, repacking the hubs.

    Welcome aboard….

  10. 11 Visions
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 20:59:53

    We have less then two months before our Mississippi trip and it really hasn’t even sunk in yet. I’m one of those people who wait until the last minute for everything so the last week is going to be the most crazy one. But we’ll get to relax once on the right, right? See you there!

  11. Sparky
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 14:35:49

    Hey Tom,
    Weather here has finally climbed above the freezing mark. Today it’s up to 60………hard to believe just two days ago the high was 12 degrees. Really puts us in the mood to get some work done on our raft. Been waiting for some warm weather to set the deck on the barrels and get started on the cabin portion. We may have to borrow portions of your ceremony for naming our raft. It’s only fitting, Anheuser Busch helped build it, they should get to be in on the naming of her!
    Wondering if you have checked into temporary out of state fishing licenses as to what they cost?
    I live in Frankenmuth, MI. The best way I can describe where that’s at, is hold up your right hand with your palm towards your face. Frankenmuth is located just below the “v” formed by your thumb and index finger. Only one state can make directions that simple!

  12. Tom Haynie
    Mar 06, 2009 @ 16:08:26

    The wife’s from Saginaw – I haven’t checked on temporary fishing permits (could probably ‘Google’ it) – should be easy to find in Davenport – I figure I’ll try to slip between the cracks…

    Glad the weathers breaking for you – gotta have a name ceremony….. sounds like your raft will be large enough to carry a couple of coolers… go man

  13. Sportboat
    Mar 15, 2009 @ 14:45:57

    Hey Tom. Me and my son (13) will be taking a Grumman Sportboat and 7 horse motor from the headwaters at Lake Itasca to Iowa – 550 or 600 river miles. We’re planning on leaving June 6th and arriving in Iowa June 20th. I suppose we’ll miss you, but I’ll keep a lookout!


  14. Tom Haynie
    Mar 15, 2009 @ 22:05:01

    Thats awesome CS, that will be quality time with your son, I did something similar (but not as spectacular) with mine when he was 13 and it was a real plus..

  15. Sparky
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 09:33:09

    Hey Tom,

    Got the Freebird completed and all ready to go?

    We’re making some good progress on our raft. About all that’s left to do is paint and name her. Never knew picking a color, and especially a name could be so hard, but we’ll get there.

  16. Tom Haynie
    Apr 02, 2009 @ 12:47:18

    Thats great, you don’t really even have to paint “it” but might as well hold something in the ‘other’ hand while looking at it. Looking forward to seeing the finished product, but more so for you guys to enjoy some hot lazy days on the river soon….

    Name might be somewhere between a spartan and a wolverine…. you’ll find it.

    Keep us posted.

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