August 19, 2012

Blackwater Run 2012

Well here we go again with another attempt at the mighty Mississippi, only this time instead of dealing with an historical flooding situation, we will be dealing with the exact opposite, an historical drought. As you recall last year, our journey was halted prematurely by the Coast Guard due to the rising flood waters from the Missouri River. We were forced to travel back upriver where we ended our trip. I have been monitoring the river levels for some time now and have just recently made a firm decision to go for it. It’s been an “on again, off again” situation over the last month or so because of the media reports of extreme low levels on the Mississippi and the related issues concerning commercial traffic halting, closures due to dredging operations and the narrowing of the main channel. Why attempt a trip now with so much stacked against us from the start? Well, the flip side has been, when I call the individual locks and talk to the lockmasters, they tell me that everything is business as usual, no problems. So, here we go.

Several weeks ago my brother “Gator” and I “Riverdog” picked up the “Joanie Belle” from Lake Keowee in South Carolina where she has been utilized as a typical pontoon over the summer. We carried her back to Asheville and began the rebuild to her previous Mississippi River specifications. With some new modifications, she sits in the driveway ready to hit the road. So, on August 28th, we will head out for Minnesota. At this point in time, we have yet to decide on our entry point. If we don’t enter at LaCrosse as we did last year, we will travel further north and put in above lock & dam # 1 somewhere around Bryant Park, Wisconsin. Our goal this year is to make it to Memphis in 20 days (without trouble)!!! I say this particularly because of the major issues we ran into last year. If you did not follow the blog last year, you can visit the website here.

The Re-build Begins

Minor Modifications

August 27, 2012

So, on the morning of August 27th, we said our good-bye’s and headed down the road. It’s a beautiful day and we hope to get somewhere past Chicago tonight.

The “Crew”

Meet Richard, my brother aka “Gator” originally from Texas, most recently living in Charleston, S.C. with his high school sweetheart, Julie.


I’m Carlton aka “River Dog”, firefighter from Asheville, N.C. This is my third trip down the Mississippi. My first trip was with Tom Haynie ( I made it to Memphis and had to abort due to work. Tom made at all the way to the Gulf. This trip we hope to make it to Memphis again where we can enjoy a beverage or two on Beale Street.

“River Dog”


Joe “The Driver, Mechanic Extrodinare” met us early this morning at my house in Candler where we loaded up the truck and “The Belle” and pulled out heading north. The trip was long and fairly uneventful. We made it past Chicago the first day passing time the best that we could. We got a hotel for the night and turned in early. Dreams of far-away islands of paradise invaded my sleep, clear blue seas, ships in the night.

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4 Responses to “Blackwater Run 2012”

  1. Good Luck and Have Fun!!

  2. It was nice to meet you at Hoppies! enjoy your adventures!

  3. Ned Zuelsdorff Says:

    What modifications do you recommend? I’m thinking of doing the trip with a 24′ pontoon boat and 25 hp outboard. Do you think a 25 HP is adequate? Thanks.

    1. livinlif Says:

      Ned, sorry for the late rely. I wouldn’t go with less than 40hp because of the strong currents, winds, and choppy waters at times. The main thing is to be able to get out of the way of tows in a hurry when necessary.

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