Minnesota to New Orleans

река миссисипи

After several months of planning and improvising a craft from an old pontoon the reality was that we were actually riding the current of the mighty Mississippi River.

For a week in May and the full month of June we lived aboard the majestic craft (below) ‘Freebird.’  A simplistic voyage covering 1700 + miles of The Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans; the trusty kayaktraveller‘ in tow.

Our daily log links are the links to the right column on this and each page –



The scenery and activity surrounding the Mississippi River was an interesting change from the ‘normal’ setting of the Carolina’s.  The 32 days onboard were spent walking the deck, observing, standing rather than sitting, and simply ‘absorbing’ the features as we drifted by – a ‘throw-back’ of early American adventure.

Beyond the perpetual motion beneath us, ‘towboats’ were the most predominant feature and # 1) topic of conversation along the river.  Other conversation points with folks along the river seemed to be unanimous at # 2) their personal desire to ‘go down the river,’ and # 3) catching and eating catfish from the river.

We took alot of pictures and learned firsthand the remarkable nature of those folks along her banks.  I cam attest to the fact that the Mississippi is indeed an “interstate of waterways” –  truly the ‘backbone’ within our country in moving bulk commerce on a massive scale – in a safe manner.


From this tiny vantage point, the unexpected bonus was in surpassing New Orleans and weathering a couple of days along the Gulf’s Intercoastal Waterway.  New Orleans to Biloxi, Ms. was an added horizon.  I did not want to get off of the water nor the trip to end – but in the end the little ‘raft’ (Freebird) was no match for the ‘rolling swells’ of the “anti-Gulf.”

A tired bird in Biloxy

Of course with any adventure such as this it takes the support/words and effort of friends, family, and folks along the way to make it ‘full-circle,’ thank you – you folks know who you are.

In working back through the notes I will elaborate a little more where I couldn’t while on the river.  On the lower Mississippi cell towers were few and reception was scattered – plus there was just too much for me to take-in.  I really wanted to look around, it was time away from this computer… time well spent.

For the most part the camera held our notes, as for the video’s – be reminded that my broadcast voice sucks (plus with some of those drink concoctions it really didn’t matter) what I did do was push the button; and did it.  Within the effort we could’ve been living a hundred years ago, on the river and ‘doin-it’ – for those 32 days of June – that was all in the world that mattered…

My Mom riding before decommishoning the 'bird'

Mom (Marie Hilliard Haynie) a last ride in ‘Freebird’ before ‘scuttle’

Once back in the Carolina’s I really hated to pluck the bird’s feathers but it had to be done (the vessel had another life.  Check the ‘Ghost of Freebird’ link over there to your right.  The simple practicality of the vessel worked well.

The complete trip was an outstanding ride on one of mother nature’s continental tear ducts;  hopefully this blog and the notes within may provide some perspective for those with a similar interest.  Check out the questions section of for more detailed answers surrounding the logistic’s of such a ride – a post for each day


blogsurfer.us                                                                                         .                                                                          river cruise

Canoe/kayak info

Water clarity- 4 upper, 2 lower

Natural Quality – 5 (Upper Mississippi)

Difficulty – moderate, you will become advanced with time

Best thing about the water – it’s temperature

(this is a commercial waterway)

“Traveller’s” updated adventures

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. huckleberryfinn09
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 09:58:00

    We are almost there! We passed Baton Rouge yesterday and are going to be stopping in LaPlace tonight. Tommorrow we shall be making our way up the inter coastal water-way to a small Marina where we will be locking huckster to a tree and begin our next voyage aboard the 40′ sailing vessel Nerius and move her from the Alabama to port in New Orleans where myself and rich will live aboard her while we get our EMT certs.

    You most certainly left a trail behind you, we have been bumping into people every hundred miles or so who encountered you on your trip. It seems that your last statement about the trip being a necessity is a true one. People most certainly need see stuff like this happening!

    Catch ya later,

  2. Jared A Siefken
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 11:01:53

    Wow!! What a great adventure! This hits so close to home for me! I grew up a river rat in the Burlington (Ia) area and currently live in Fort Madison, so some of your pics were quite familiar to me. I guess the first thing I noticed was your IAFF emblem. I have been in the Fire Service for almost 12 years now, and a career Firefighter almost 5 years. (local 607) I have owned boats all my life and have spent some of the greatest times of my life on the river.(not tom mention all the beer consumed) I’m currently building a boat. Nothing big, just a little 14′ v-bottom. It’s coming together nicely but slow..lol. My next project is in the planning. I want to build a small houseboat, and my wife and I take it to New Orlens. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. It will still be a few years before I can do it, but after reading your adventure I’m stoked and want to go now. Thank you for sharing your adventure. I hope someday you’ll be reading about mine. God bless my friend. -Jared.

  3. Dave Wilson
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 17:50:29

    As I scroll through your log, its like taking the trip myself. Done a lot of solo trips, never one of this length, or on waters this big, but if live long enough, I will!! Did you see (& Hear) the Natchez Steamboat in N.O.?? About 10 o’clock each night when it returns from the “dinner cruise”, it lets off steam and shakes the buildings of N.O!!! I swear the echos last four minutes!! Also, the river is a magnet to many men …. I need to get back to it REAL SOON!!!!!!!!!

  4. Tom Haynie
    Aug 11, 2009 @ 07:57:49

    Thanks for your comments, I hope that each of you can experience the time on this river, its a great adventure. I did see (and have a few pic’s) the Natchez, I hung around with her for several hours before heading into the industrial canal – and the intercoastal. Its worth the effort…….

  5. tom
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 11:03:34

    enjoyed the ride, although it was not on the river, but on web. thanks for sharing the adventure.

  6. Tom Haynie
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 15:51:41

    Thanks for reading along Tom, hope that you find and experience many special adventures of your own. Go for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: