Travel Journal

Time Wasted

“So there were 2 then 3 then 4 then 6 and now….. 2 more people are seriously considering coming. I was thinking the more the merrier but now our boat may meet the max capacity (even though it was born before such a classification). I think the boat would meet the challenge, what are your thoughts????????”

The Mighty Mississippi

In 2008, some friends had the brilliant idea to cobble together a pontoon boat and take it from Minneapolis to the Gulf of Mexico. Two months, one hurricane, one flood, and about 10,000 beers later, half of us made it (the other half had to go back to work).

“I had a couple emails back and forth with Ben. Sounds like the boat is a still a boat. So that’s good. A pontoon has a leak and takes on some water everyday, but it can be emptied and shouldn’t be a problem. We may set up some type of bilge/pump thing until they are fixed.

I think we are all estimating about a month of time on the river. We’ll be floating as much as we can (as opposed to motoring). I hear the river flows 2-3 miles per hour unless it gets super wide. The less gas we have to use, the better.”

Route

Mississippi River at Minneapolis, MN (downriver)
Ohio River at Cairo, IL (upriver)
Tennessee River at Paducah, KY (upriver)
Tennessee River through Kentucky Lake (upriver)
Tennessee River through Pickwick Lake (upriver)
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway at Pickwick Lake/Tennessee-Mississippi border (downriver)
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway through Bay Springs Lake (downriver)
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Tombigbee River (downriver)
Tombigbee River to Mobile River(downriver)
Mobile River to Mobile Bay …then the ocean?

Just ran the motor for a half hour without oil.

Most Played Tracks

Andre Nickatina - Train With No Love
Steely Dan - Ricky Don’t Lose That Number
Phish - Reba
R.B.L. Posse - Bammer Weed
The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
Foreigner - Urgent
Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed
River of Men - John Lurie and Tom Waits
The Police - Spirits in the Material World
Madonna - Like a Virgin

Free tomatoes

A random guy that was randomly hanging out at this boat launch in the middle of nowhere said there was a little inlet a mile down the river and his car ferry was parked in it. We could stay there that night tied up to the ferry and be clear of debris from the rising water.

We thanked him and headed over the the ferry. Once tied up, we started walking into town (it was a couple miles away). This guy pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride. Um, yeah! So he took us to old-timey downtown. Then after walking around for a couple minutes, we realized this part of town does not have food or packages, so we were heading to the newer part of town when the same guy saw us and offered us another ride to the grocery store.

Annnd, of course, when we were done shopping the guy was driving by and asked if we wanted a ride back to the boat. Then he told us how to catch craw daddies and frogs. I think he came back to the boat two or three times that day. He brought us tomatoes, cucumbers, some homemade salsa, some picked vegetables.

Stuck behind Jamie Whitten lock. Its going to open at midnight.

Hurricane Ike

I can’t remember everything that happened, but the water rose and we were stranded on the barge all day with the understanding that Jim and crew were going to get one of their tows to push the whole barge operation closer to shore so you could actually walk off.

Well, the water rose too much for them to be able to do that, so we were thinking, maybe we ought to leave…except the river is flowing fast and full of crazy trees and basically shit all over the place. Can’t really get to shore, can’t really go down the river. Whatever. We used an air mattress to get to shore.

Popeye’s Home

We took off the next morning and headed downriver, making a gas stop at Hoppie’s Marina and then another stop at what looked like a boat launch, or whatever was remaining of it.

We stopped in Chester about 10 or 15 miles downriver so I could get some internet. The town just so happens to be the home of Popeye.

After Chester, we continued on downriver, the flood has been making the current much faster, which is great for gas mileage. We were going about 5mph and getting 2mpg (I think), now it’s 12mph and 5mpg.

Stir Crazy

I made some coconut curry vegetable noodle thing everyone seemed to enjoy. There were some leftovers, so that obviously was thrown at various members of the crew. Someone threw a tomato. Someone threw another tomato. Some curry. Noodles everywhere. Ug, what a horrible mess.

The Finalé

Here is Jordan getting interviewed at the end of the trip by WKRG in Mobile, Alabama—the very same news crew that brought you Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama.