Archive for May, 2008
Well, it looks like the summer is lining up to be a big one. With the Presidential election, the price of gas, record temperatures and water levels across the country, it’s gonna be a doozy. We figured it’s high time for some adventure. So we’re going to cruise down the Mississippi River on a rickety old boat.
People with no boating experience have told us this is a great idea; they’ve heard about it being done before, and they’ve read that book by Mark Twain. People with some boating experience have told us it’s a terrible idea because the water is rougher than the lakes and streams with which they have some experience. And people who have done it before, (and there are plenty) give us a vivid picture of 200 mile stretches with no towns, sections walled in by cement to prevent erosion, and 5 foot rolling swells coming off the back of commercial barges that dominate the lower sections of the river.
That said, adventurers and miscreants have been traveling the Mississippi by steam ship and commercial barge for hundreds of years. It is one of the foundational stories in American mythology. Those same experienced boaters who warn us about 5-foot swells tell stories of sleepy riverside towns, flashy riverboat casinos, and the unmatched kindness of the people they meet along the way. In a lot of ways, it has been, and will always be one of the classic American frontiers. It’s a frontier that’s locked inside our national borders, yet maintains a mystique and an allure that excites and frightens us all.
We all know the story; build a raft, float from Minnesota to Louisiana. We’ve heard it before. There are articles, books, films, and documentaries that all chronicle this story. But one thing that’s never been done is that it’s never been blogged. We are going to be those guys. We’re throwing in the elements of immediacy and interaction. All summer long, you’ll be able to check in on the latest of our adventures in text and video every weekday at www.BigRiverShow.com. We hope to share our story with you; to introduce you to the people we meet, and maybe to meet some of the people you know along the way. Bill will be in charge of doing daily videos, and Max is going to write the blog. That’s the deal. It’s a two-man operation of digital adventure, and you’re invited to follow along.
We drove to Minneapolis last week, and bought a 1971 National pontoon boat. By all accounts, it’s no more than a floating platform, and without the motor, it’d be difficult to sell on Craigslist. This week we’ve been fixing it up to accommodate us on our 80-day journey. We’ve built a 12X8 foot structure on the deck that will hopefully keep us dry, comfortable, and mosquito-free. We’re crossing our fingers.
Tune in next week to see how it all unfolds. Same river time, same river channel (that’s a pun because rivers have channels in which you’re supposed to travel. We just learned that) See you then. Lets cruise.5 comments