Robert Wildwood's "Robnoxious Years" Blog

Forever Living The Dream

Tag: plywood pontoons

The Snowball Meltdown: Caruthersville

End of the line. Tired and broke. Caruthersville, Missouri.

We met an awesome guy named Davey from Scotland who now lives in New York, he found us a fellow at a pub in Caruthersville who wanted to take The Snowball off our hands. Our idea of setting fire to it after taking the foam out to avoid leaving a piece of floating trash on the river, does not need to happen. I like it this way better. The Snowball is a great platform: rock stage, fishing deck, party boat, barbeque, hunting, yoga and meditation, or all of these at the same time. Long live The Snowball in it’s new home.

Ah, the good times.

Ah, the good times.

More good times.

More good times.

The bad times (simulated in this dramatic re-enactment)

The bad times (simulated in this dramatic re-enactment)

Mottoring into the lower river, to the left the Mississippi River, to the right, the Ohio River, underneath us, the combined rivers, the confluence. The southern tip of Illinois in the background. Peat is playing chicken with a barge.

Motoring into the lower river, to the left the Mississippi River, to the right the Ohio River, underneath us the combined rivers. The confluence. Look ma, i'm on the lower river! The southern tip of Illinois in the background. Peat is playing chicken with a barge.

Cooking dinner. Careful now, that fire's hot.

Cooking dinner. Careful now, that fire is hot!

The mud cakes.

The mud cakes.

Our friend Davey and his Kyak which Peat is testing out as furniture.

Our friend Davey and his Kyak which Peat is testing out as furniture.

The final sunrise of The Snowball.

The final sunrise of The Snowball.

The melting of The Snowball.

The melting of The Snowball.

Burning the cabin. The glorious end.

Burning the cabin. The glorious end.

Get a load of that guy!

Get a load of that guy!

The joyride to pick up my tent from the other campsite on our new flatbed utility boat. A coast guard bouy tender in the background. Seeing the pile of our possessions strewn on the beach, a piece of conversation was overheard comming from their vessel, "Do they need help?" It really did look like a shipreck.

The joyride to pick up my tent from the other campsite on our new flatbed utility boat. A coast guard bouy tender in the background. Seeing the pile of our possessions strewn on the beach, a piece of conversation was overheard comming from their vessel, “Do they need help?” It really did look like a shipreck.

Thanks to everyone who helped us out in Kansas City, The Crooked Hat, the house across the street, Jimmy who we met at Cooper’s Landing and all the Cooper’s Landing late night drinkers, all the St. Charles anarchist people, those random donations of food from river rats loitering around boat ramps, Davey from New York, and everyone else who helped us along the way.

All the photos taken on this journey were on a $99 Polaroid a300 digital camera, thanks to Paula for giving me the thing, otherwise, there would be no photos.

See ya next time.

If you have any questions, drop me a note. robnoxious666@gmail.com

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Building Plywood Pontoons and Longtail Boat Engines out of Scrap.

Here is a link to the printed zine

published by Microcosm Publishing:

Unsinkable: How To Build Plywood Pontoons

Longtail Boat Motors Out Of Scrap

Building my longtail boat motor.

Building my longtail boat motor at Gertie’s shop. I got the 3.5hp engine from a guy on Craigslist, fifty bucks, brand new engine. The prop was $20, the u-joint $8 at Ambles, the axle $10 at a hardware store, all the rest was scrap metal: bedframes found in alleys, pipes in abandoned buildings. Total cost, adding welding supplies & hardware, would be about a hundred bucks.

Ready for the water.

Ready for the water.

The longtail, finished and painted, a close up of the u-joint connecting 3.5 hp Briggs & Stratton motor to 7' long shaft.

The longtail, finished and painted, a close up of the u-joint connecting the horizontal shaft of the 3.5 hp Briggs & Stratton motor to the shaft. A black iron pipe for the axle, an outer shaft for it to spin inside of, and a T-15 diecast aluminum trolling motor propeller from Young Props (find them online).

Strting to look like a boat. 5 gallon plastic buckeswith the lids hammered down, square plastic 5 gallon grease jugs from fast food joints, and all colors of foam jammed in every crack.

Starting to look like a boat. 5 gallon plastic buckets with the lids hammered down, square plastic 5 gallon grease jugs from fast food joints, and all colors of foam jammed in every crack.

5 gallon buckets and green foam for floatation.

5 gallon buckets and green foam for floatation.

Pink foam for floatation.

Pink foam for floatation.

Bella and Fern working on the 4' extensions to be bolted on the ends of the two 8' sections already bolted together. 20' long total, 8 feet wide. A rather minimal space for 4 people to attempt an extended voyage.

Bella and Fern working on the 4′ extensions to be bolted on the ends of the two 8′ sections already bolted together. 20′ long total, 8 feet wide. A rather minimal space for 4 people to attempt an extended voyage.

The front of the pontoon has a good angle to it. With five of us on board, we ride somewhere around halfway up the side. Pontoons are two feet wide, two feet deep.

The front of the pontoon has a good hydro-dynamic angle to it. With five of us on board, we ride somewhere around halfway up the side. Pontoons are two feet wide, foot and a half deep.

Grease jugs and buckets. When all the empty spaces are filled with foam, a plywood cap is put on top to keep everything from floating out, because the wood pontoons are not watertight. We did have some glue and we glued the plywood to the 2X4s. The deck frame here is not yet connected, Peat is drilling holes for the lage bolts that will attach it to the pontoons.

Grease jugs and buckets. When all the empty spaces are filled with foam, a plywood cap is put on top to keep everything from floating out, because the wood pontoons are not watertight. We did have some glue and we glued the plywood to the 2X4s. The deck frame here is not yet connected, Peat is drilling holes for the lage bolts that will attach it to the pontoons.

Alrigh, that's it. Le's go put this thing in the water. On top of the pontoons are four benches to be nailed down on the deck. On top of the van, my canoe, The Saucer.

Alright, that’s good. Let’s get the hell outta town. Four benches are strapped to the top of the as yet unassembled boat.

The Snowball on it's birthday.

The Snowball on it’s birthday. A work in progress.

The first storm.

The first storm.

The stormfront snapped a couple branches that had been supporting our roof. All six of us huddled inside while it rained, drinking wine, smoking the very last of our cigarettes. The wind howled and the opposite shoreline disappeared in the cloud, windblown waves battered the boat. Epic. At this time our fragility was made known, when the storm front hit it came from a dead calm and roared towards us thru the trees on shore, and the mirror-like water rose instantly to become endless lines of two foot waves rolling straight into our side, we held on to the breaking roof to keep it from flying away.

You can tell which way the wind was blowing by the shape of the roof in this photo. The storm front snapped a couple branches that had been supporting our roof. All six of us huddled inside while it rained, drinking wine, smoking the very last of our cigarettes. The wind howled and the opposite shoreline disappeared in the cloud, windblown waves battered the boat. Epic. At this time our fragility was made known, when the storm front hit it came from a dead calm and roared towards us thru the trees on shore, and the mirror-like water rose instantly to become endless lines of two foot waves rolling straight into our side, we held on to the breaking roof to keep it from flying away.

The new Snowball, picking up stuff while rolling downhill.

The new Snowball, picking up stuff while rolling downhill.

I have a new blog folks, with my new name: robertearlwildwood.wordpress.com

You can see photos and read about my Solar Powered Canoe!

Keep on floating!

 

Water Is Good.

This is the crest of the flood, the road below, usually illuminated by those streetlights, is sealed off by the concrete floodwalls and the metal flood doors.

At the arch in St. Louis. This is the crest of the flood, the road below, usually illuminated by those streetlights, is sealed off by the concrete floodwalls and the metal flood doors.

The steps leading up to the arch, 9/18/2008.

The steps leading up to the arch, 9/18/2008.

It’s good to do different things, keeps your mind working. I’m on a break from the river now, waiting for all the water dumped upstream from here to come down in it’s slow time. After this weekend perhaps. All the rest of the crews have gone up to Minneapolis to work and play. I’m loving being here, hanging out with people is awesome, exploring St. Louis more, sitting in Black Bear Bakery drinking coffee and writing down this story i’ve been working on all winter and spring and summer.

I fixed a garden hose today for the house next door, the Momo, i stepped on it the first night we were here and water went gushing everywhere. After two attempts, i got it working today, still a little drip coming out. Having problems with water lately.

It’s kinda sad having everyone gone. But good to, cause i’ve been on a boat with four other people and a dog for a month now, and i am a person who has learned to be happy when i am alone. Sometimes that means i dont know how to be happy around other people, so i just want to be with myself, cause it’s easier that way, i dont have to deal with anyone but myself, and i have learned how to talk to myself very well.

I am putting up some more photos of the journey so far, cause all this flood stuff is too linear.

Zoe, Ged, and The Two Headed Dog!

Zoe, Ged, and The Two Headed Dog!

Savannah, Willard, and The Two Headed Dog!

Savannah, Willard, and The Two Headed Dog!

Paradise Island, The Two Headed Dog, The Snowball, and Stag.

Paradise Island, The Two Headed Dog, The Snowball, and Stag.

Paradise Island.

Paradise Island.

The Crew of The Two Headed Dog. Going insane.

The Crew of The Two Headed Dog. Going insane.

The Kirk, The Donut, & The Two Headed Dog in KCMO.

The Kirk, The Donut, & The Two Headed Dog in KCMO.

The launch was smooth, like chunky peanut butter.

The launch in KCMO was smooth, smooth like chunky peanut butter.

Moments after launch the Two headed dog heads out, minus Willard who jumped and swam back to shore. They came back and got him. He got over that jumping off the boat thing.

Moments after launch the Two headed dog heads out, minus Willard who jumped and swam back to shore. They came back and got him. He got over that jumping off the boat thing.

There was ice cream at the top of the hill.

There was ice cream and beer at the top of this hill.