June 9, 2011 Midnight

I am awakened by a laser beam of light from a passing tug. Checking us out as they pass by, the beam of light illuminates the “Belle” and what I see all around us is a swarm of giant mosquitos feeding on us in the night. I now hear the high-pitched buzz and feel the itch of their bites all over my exposed body. Instantly I cover up with my sheet from head to toe. This tactic only trades the discomfort of their bite for the suffocating heat, cut off from the meager breeze that was. These were the conditions that Gator and I endured until first light.

The mosquitos left us sometime that morning and as the sun began to rise, we pulled out of our eddy heading North towards Alton, Illinois and the boat ramp. It was slow going but we found that if we stayed out of the main channel the lesser current allowed us to move up river. Eventually we locked back through the Mel Price lock and dam and saw Alton in the distance, the last leg of our journey.

As we approached the Alton Marina, we could see my truck with the trailer backed into the river, Tom standing at rivers edge taking pictures, pictures of the end, dammit

As Tom pulls us out of the river I am angry that we were stopped, not by the river itself, but by someone telling us again that we should not continue on, we won’t make it, the “doomsday people.” I feel that if allowed to continue, we would have been past St. Louis by now heading towards new Orleans. Maybe it is for our own safety but it would be nice to make that decision based on our experience and what we see, not someone else’s lack of confidence.

Making this trip, though challenging and filled with unexpected events, it was definitely 2 weeks of fun and excitement. The Mississippi provided us with an adventure that not a lot of people get to experience. The highs, the lows, the people and all the river has to offer has enriched our lives. As we travel back to Asheville and that other world, we reflect on our journey and know that we have a story to tell, one of adventure on the Mississippi River.


11 Responses to “UM June 9, 2011”

  1. Pat Pollard Says:

    sorry to see you had to abort, the main reason they close the river is so the wakes coming off boats dont damage or cause havick on people and their property and of course your safety

    1. Tom Haynie Says:

      On a craft such as the Bell, any waves are negligible as it ‘floats’ downstream – then they throw the ‘safety’ thing at you – doggone people, let adults accepting the consequences – be adults.

  2. Mike Hintermeister Says:

    Sorry you couldn’t finish your adventure, it has been great to follow. Best of luck in the future.
    Mike @ Mississippi Marine, Inc.

    1. livinlif Says:

      Thanks Mike for all the help!

  3. Bad Alien (AKA Ten Tows) Says:

    So, what’s next??? Can’t wait!

    1. livinlif Says:

      The Appalachian Trail in Maine is waiting for me in September.

  4. Pat Pollard Says:

    I agree Tom, there boat did not give off much wake,having just sandbagged a friends house where the wind was making more waves than any boat could ever make, and the waves just kept on coming and coming, this past weekend somewhere up north very similar situation,as the BELLE ,however they capsized,both guys got to shore.boat went over the lock . rescue crews did a great job happy ending,much better than the body poping up months later,or the family wanting crews dragging for the body for days.

  5. Caren Says:

    How about floating around Lake Lanier and stopping to see you little sis??

    1. livinlif Says:

      I hope to come see you soon.

  6. Stan Says:

    any chance that you are planning another trip? My brother and I are planning a similiar trip for 2013. start in Bellevue, Ia near his home, down the Mississippi, up the Ohio, up the Tennesse river, kentucky Lake and on to Florence Al, where we have a winter home.

    any suggestion, warnings, advice, tips, or other changes you would make would be appreciated.

    Stan C.

    1. livinlif Says:

      Sorry for the late reply as I was on vacation. Yes, I am planning another trip since the last one went so wrong. If you’ve read my blog, you understand.
      The thing that would have saved us a lot of trouble, is a substantial back-up motor, not a trolling motor like we had last year, it was inadequate. You need at least a 5hp. The problem is where to mount it for quick access in an emergency and the added weight. I still haven’t figured it out yet. We towed a canoe behind us as an escape vehicle if all else fails. It tkes a tow about a mile to stop and if you break down in their path you are out of luck. Everything else went great. Be prepared for mosquitos. They will carry you away in some places. Finding gas can be an issue too. We carried about 40 gallons and at idle speed, you can go pretty far. Carry a hand truck in case you have to walk for gas. We had to several times. I’d like to follow your blog when you go. Stay in touch.

      River Dog

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