I’m about as ready to go as I can be – but still, two more weeks. One more run of extra shifts to work, but from there it should be clear sailing, to speak. All the ‘gear’ is in one place, mostly loaded on the truck – new wheel bearings on the trailer, boat motor serviced and prepared, truck serviced and tires rotated. The road part concerns me as much as the river part – not the traveling because I love to cover the miles – but just the little things that cause breakdowns along the way. My Dad was an ‘old-school’ traveler, always traveling with an extra quart of oil, can of tobacco, water, tools, and crackers/peanut butter – which on more than one occasion were used to get us there or back. I plan on ‘babying’ the truck for the long ride, and if it goes as well as the 60 mile ride from the lake (the bird pulled easily in tow) it should be fine.
Two firefighters (Jason and Brian) are helping me get the bird to Wisconsin and then returning 1000 miles with the truck, their help is invaluable and much appreciated. We have done a lot of kidding around the past few months around the fire station about the long day/night ride in the truck (“like migrant workers”), and travel food arraignments (“crackers and peanut butter”), and bathroom needs (“we’ll throw you an empty milk-jug”) – yet they have remained steadfast and loyal for the task. I have done nothing to make the ride sound glamorous (“expect the worse”) – as I’ve said about it all, expect crude – we’ll work up (the trip for me is a break from ‘expectations’).
Plans are to leave from work the 27th, drive all night and then assemble the bird in the Best Western parking lot the following afternoon – Carl aka riverdog will ‘fly in’ (wuss) and meet us there, all ‘fresh’ and ready to go – I guess the first round (or two) maybe even supper will be on him. Then after a final night in a real bed (for two months) we will “shoot-the-bird” and start the river trek – Jason and Brian will return with the truck.
While on the river thirty miles a day would be a clean average, leaving room too for days that we could remain in place for one reason or another (visiting, or recreational reasons) and of course ‘Mother Nature.’ I’m hoping that last year was the year for long-term closures of the locks due to spring storms and flooding – and thinking that this doesn’t occur every year, maybe this year could be the one for a clean run.
We will keep you up with our adventures each and every day that we have internet service – which I believe will be frequent on the Upper Mississippi, and sporadic on the Lower Part – within it all I expect every bit of wet, incredible, miserable, wonderful, boring, awesome, frightening, fun, impressive, surreal, and in the end, fulfilling – please stay tuned as we find the appropriate words of description to complete our list…….……
(River temp 66 degrees at St Louis)