20 days out on a shanty boat
by Robert Wildwood
We made it to Washington, Missouri today, a fine old library here. The Snowball and The Two Headed Dog, safely tied up to the rocky bank. Immediately upon stumbling up to the top of the bank a fellow in a car stops by to chat, he’s gone down the river, and out on the ocean. He gives Peat a ride to the marina, looking for a prop to get our third engine running. The space shuttle has triple backup systems, and so will we. St. Louis is a wild bottleneck in the river, and right after the Missouri joins it, so the extra thrust will put us into the proper orbit as we pass over the wreck of The Circle Of Death, the appropriately named boat a friend of ours nearly went down in a couple years ago.
Today is my friend Siobhan’s birthday, happy birthday! Mostly what i have to do is make sure i call and get ahold of her. Just one phone call. That’s top of the list in town. Next on the list, hmmm… Perhaps a little debby snack. Who knows. Or Stag beer. Everything is better with Stag beer. If only we were sponsored by them, and could pick up a case or two in every town… Maybe there is something to this big money boat trip thing. Aw, hell. I took the canoe into town today and watched from the top of the bank my boat, The Snowball, come into shore. What a terrifyfing sight! The current sweeping it down, the 3.5 horse power motor working for the shore! The boat is only 8 foot wide by twenty feet long. It looks so tiny on the big river, back in the driveway in Kansas City it seemed huge, like we could each build our own cabin on the deck.
We have a new sturdy roof built and it even seems water proof. Ready for the next raging fist of atmosphere to massage our blue tarps. The zipper on my tent blew out, jammed with mud and sand. I sewed up the zipper and cut out the screen from the door window, so now i go in thru the window. Peat sleeps on the boat under a mosquito net mostly, cause his tent is busted. Maybe Ged clawed a hole in it… Fern and Bella share a tent. Z. and S. alternate, one sleeping on the boat, one in a tent. After the storms the river dropped down a bunch, five feet one night. I awoke to see The Two Headed Dog with a space you could crawl underneath it. S. woke up wondering why her head was lower than her feet, and then turned around and went back to sleep. It’s a small aluminum boat so easy to slide off the shore. Our boat, the plywood pontoons, not so easy to slide, but everything is a lot of mud now so you just loosen the rope and it oozes back into the river.
Been foraging a decent amount, Goosefoot, Stinging Nettle, Wood Nettle, Evening Primrose, Wild Grapes.
Between the two boats we have found 5 plastic decoy ducks that now happily trail along the sides on our journey.