Thursday, November 5, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
We arrived there about 10ish. We got off the boat with 3 gas cans and headed into town. Karla and I have little faith in Wade's Garmin (GSP) for it has failed us many times. lol I thought his Garmin was crazy when it told us that a gas station was just 0.4 miles away from where we had anchored. We got off the boat and were walking through some trees and saw cow hoof prints. We were in a pasture? It looked like we were in the middle of no where! But Wade was like, "Garmin says it's just over this way, on the other side of that hill." And sure enough, after climbing a steep, nasty hill - we could see the town. It was much hotter now than during the evening (as you can imagine) ... so humid! It got up to 85 degrees! But in town we were able to grab a bite to eat, get some snacks, and fill up the gas cans. It was Wade's turn to buy this time! The walk back to the boat was miserable. We each took a gas can and lugged it along... it was SO hot! We had to take about 30 breaks... lol well at least Karla and I did! Anyways, it took forever to get back! At one point Wade was carrying all 3 gas cans. lol But for a very short time, but he did take like 2 half the way - Karla and I switched off carrying the grocery bags and the gas can.
Finally we got back to the boat all gross and sweaty! Right away Karla and I changed into shorts and a t-shirt while Wade got us started and on our way again! It's quite a challenge to get changed on such a small area - especially having to share that small area with another person while struggling to get changed! lol In the course of changing Wade managed to hit some waves which made things twice as diffecult! Trying to keep my balance, on the wet slippery floor, (still in the midst of changing) I was having a hard time staying on my 2 feet. But then Wade hit an exceptionally big wave that resulted in me toppling over and falling, as Karla laughed on.
After we were changed into cooler clothes Karla and I sat out in the cock-pit and drove for a couple hours. The wind had really picked up, making the water really choppy and sending occasional sprays of icy water on us. However, it was really nice laying in the hot sun - soaking it up on our last few days of our trip! We've had so much rain and cold weather, hot sun wasn't so bad! Karla drove for about an hour and then I took over for her. Wade was inside blogging and applying for jobs. Karla sat out with me reading for a long time, but got sick of the more frequent splashes of water and went in the cabin. As I kept driving the waves just got worse and worse! It was harder to stir because the water was like swirly and wanted to spin you! It was weird. Then I arrived to another "barge city" - making the waves so massive! Like the biggest I've seen on the whole trip so far! They weren't like nice waves you just ride over the top and enjoy it, they came in every which way and the front of the boat would go over them and make some air and slam back down to the water - it was like Very wet and unpleasent for the riders. So along with having trouble stirring, and huge waves, I had to try and avoid all the traffic. There was a ship anchored from shore, just sitting like a 1/4 of the way into the river, there was a barge coming at me, and barge gaining up behind me, plus a tug boat to the left of the ship and another tug boat to the right! I didn't feel comfortable trying to out run the barge coming from behind me... but there were no bouys so I didn't know how far over I could go on the other side of the ship. So I called the problem solver of all time and captain (Wade) to get his advice on what should do. He didn't really quite know what to do with the situation himslef - just then the tiller came off! I kept a grip on it and was trying to pull it into to boat! But with the current and the position I was in, I couldn't. (It could hve been I was just too weak also! lol) Wade took hold of the handle and struggled to get it in and he hollered at me to stir the boat with the motor because we were going out of control and heading towards the side of a barge! Now, driving the boat with just the motor and not the tiller is SO hard - for me anyways! I did my best - I tried stirring us towards shore to get ou of the way but I was just making us go back and forth, I couldn't make us just go straight! I dealt with it for a few minutes and lost my patience and snapped at Wade to take over. (The things he puts up with!) We got out of the way, put the tiller back on, which wasn't easy with the waves and current, and waited for some barges to pass by so we could continue on our way. It was almost Wades turn to take over anyways so he just stayed outside and endured the waves.
I got inside and Karla was sitting at the computer with a goofy frown. I laughed at her expression and asked her what was wrong, she went off on this rampage, "I'm sick of this. I want to go home. I'm sick of the waves, the wind, being dirty, being smelly, and sick of being on this dang boat!" Then I tried cheering her up and said, "Why don't you play Jewel Quest?" (That's the game that she's been obsessed about and loves!) And she replied, "I tried. But that's when the tiller fell off and I lost 2 lives." lol So I the real problem was that she was losing at the game she was conquering. haha! But it was so funny coming in and finding her pouting over this game! Just like a kid!
As long as I am on the subject of Karla I will tell you another story much funnier! The waves didn't seem to settle down and Karla was standing right outside of the cabin because she was getting something then Wade warned, "Watch out! Big waves!" Karla didn't want to get wet, she was sick of getting wet. So she hurried back into the cabin! She beat the splash, but lost her balance trying to get inside and ended up doing a belly flop onto the berth (like a bench in the cabin) So it was soft landing... sort of... lol and hilarious to watch! ;)
I don't want to get carried away with stories about Karla but.... I was driving the other day and Karla and Wade were inside the cabin. I got a little bored driving and I noticed Karla was standing in the cabin, so I turned the tiller and when I turned it, it got Karla off balance! I'd stop for a while then turn it again and watch her catch her balance again! It finally got too funny and I started laughing when I did it - Karla finally caught on that I was swerving intentionally! he didnt find it as funny as I did. =D
There wasn't really and ideal spot we could stop for the night - no little streams or islands we could get away from the barge traffic and heavy current, so we ended up just tying to a tree by shore and anchoring off the back. Where we stopped the birds were simply swarming the sky! It was crazy! We don't know or sure why there were so many and flying around in such disarray, but Wade mentioned that it could be because a storm is coming? We have been told that we are supposed to get loads of rain, about 8in worth actually. Hopefully that's not the case and we won't have a stormy night. But just in case there were strom winds and such with the storm, we anchored really good and made sure to tie up extra well!
We were getting settled in the cabin and there were a lot of mosquitos flying in the cabin so we closed the hatch and the doors so we wouldn't get eatten all night. It was Karla's night to cook so she went out to get food for cooking - she came back inside slamming the doors behind her, "The bugs are horrible out there! Look!" - and she put the head lamp to the window and you could see the swarm of mosquitos! No one wanted to go out in that...or let all those bugs in... and we didn't want to use the oven if we couldn't even open the doors! Normally when we cook we leave the doors open not only because it makes the entire cabin an oven, but it's not an alcohol stove, it uses wet gas so it produces fumes, which without ventilation could sufficate us. We didn't have much of a choice, so we didn't cook a supper. :( Karla let me finish her cearal, Wade had the last MRE, and Karla finished her subway she bought earlier.
The mosquitos continued to sneak into the cabin and they were driving us mad! So we went to drastic measures and duct taped any cracks up! Wade also had brought a screen so he tacked up the screen to the entry way, so we could have the doors open for the night and not get eatten alive and die of heat! Wade also brought a little fan which he jigged up to the ceiling to help keep us cool! Wade put a lot of work into trying to make our night a comfortable one! The screen kept the mosquitos out and helped the cabin not get so muggy!
We did however have a colony of mosquitos locked insie the cabinwith us though. We squished as many as we could so they wouldn't snack off us all night! There were dead mosquito corpses all over the ceiling of the boat! Poor COTS....
We are going to be in New Orleans tomorrow -we are all determined! lol We want showers again badly! Bathroom facilities are convienant as well - we are sick of having to prepare the porta potty everytime we have to go! It's such an ordeal to get it set up; it's under our bed so you have to more the pillows, move the cushin, move the board, nove the bag of winter clothes, move the heater, move the lantern, and finally get to the porta potty so you can get that set up! We are incredibly sick of it! So marina will be wonderful! I can't wait!
Baton Rouge is at the head of the deep water channel that leads to the Gulf of Mexico. This stretch of the river is highly industrialized, with large chemical plants, grain elevators, and petroleum refineries (all of which smell disgusting). Baton Rouge is the nations seventh largest port, and the river between this point and the Gulf we were told is crowded with ocean going vessels and towboats on top of the barges. Our sources turned out true as we came upon our first ocean liner on our Mississippi journey. MUCH bigger than the barges that daunted us once upon a time.
The river certainly was crowded, though. We arrived near town a few hours before dark and the thought crossed our minds to camp before Baton Rouge so we wouldn't have to rush through the city, but the ever constant hope that we can find a dock in these big cities compelled us to attempt it. Alas, it was not to be - big cities dominate the river with their industry and there was not one dock to tie up to and every bit of the shore was parked with barges waiting to be moved. Wade called the city of commerce to see if they could lead us in the right direction and we were told of a dock through a lock that we could stay at.
We made it to the lock just as the sun was setting and a quick radio call told us that if we wanted to get through it there would be a three hour wait as two barges were in line ahead of us. As we were debating what to do and trying to stay out of 4 different barges's way, another barge called us on the radio and told us to get out of his road. Immediately, we moved on and our chances at stopping at Baton Rouge disappeared with us down the river.
We went another 20 mintues and by this time the sun was almost down. We DID NOT want another spotlight excursion in the dark. With all the barges surging around us and as the buoys are so much farther apart now it would have been extremely difficult. The GPS didn't have any signs of niches or streams that we could get off the river, so we hung close to the shore and thankfully got lucky. The flooding created little islands that were not normally present and we were able to tuck behind one of these with just enough light left to tie off to a tree and toss anchor for the night. We could see the city from a distance but couldn't get to it and had to settle for chicken and rice yet again.
Slightly disheartened that we were stuck on the boat yet again we watched a movie and went to sleep with hopes for a chance to stretch our legs on the morrow.
October 27th - Day 25 - Natchez to a loop of river off of the Mississippi an hour north of New Roads.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Wade set up the shower at about 1pm and came to find out that the shower wouln't work while we were moving so fast. So in order for it to work we'd have to stop the boat. We didn't want to stop at 1pm and shower and take the chances of not getting to town until after dark, so we just kept the shower set up until we were closer to town. We must have looked so funny to all the barges! Our shower consisted of Wades dad's camo hunting tent, you know those ones that fold up? So it sat all set up on the front of the boat the whole day! lol Odd sight I'm sure. haha!
We got to Natchez, Mississippi at about 4:30 or 5 and went to the side of the river and turned the motor off and just floated a bit while we could shower. The portable shower was pretty neat, it takes the water from the river and filterizes it and heats it with porpane tanks, so we had warm, sorta clean water! lol I'm not too sure how I got voted to be the first to try out the shower, (maybe I needed it the most? haha! jk) but I changed into my swim suit and was set. (no way was I gonna take a shower without my swim suit on, in that tent, in the front of the boat.. lol) I don't really know why none of my shower experiences can't go smoothly, but this time can also be added my not so wonderful experienes. I had just washed my hair, got it all rinsed - I had just gotten all soapy when the water stopped working. "Wade!" (he always has to fix all the problems. poor guy.) He had to climb over and try and fix it - they were also having problems with the current running us into the trees, so I was sitting in the shower freezing - the soap was drying to my body, while they got us all situated. Wade tied us to a little tree so we didn't have the current problem - now the shower issue.... Karla and Wade found it "so" funny that I was stuck with half a shower, freezing, and were telling me I'd have to rinse of in the river - ew! But about 15min later Wade had figured it out and got it working again! Thank goodness!
This was kind of fun - I see barges as semi's but on the river! They are a pain to pass and they intimnidate me. lol But on road trips semi's are always fun when they honk for you, so Karla and I tried it on a barge... TOOT!!! lol It was pretty fun!
We went our longest yet today - drove 114miles!
We drove up to the town and parked the boat by the boat landing - it wasn't the most inviting place for a boat to achore, but we had to make do with what we had. No docks. :( We got COTS all tied to shore and headed into town to grab a bite to eat! There we're a lot of options... everything was closed! And it wasn't even that late, it was like 7pm. We kept walking and came across a Thialand restaurant that looked really exotic, why not try something new? We ate at that restaurant and it was decorated so cool! Felt like we weren't in Mississippi anymore! lol I ordered a desert called "Heart on Fire" It was a bowl of ice cream surrounded by flames and came with 2 fried banana's! lol By the time we got our cameras out the flame was basically gone, but it was still cool! Kind of piontless having fire surrounding ice cream... lol but the effect was still fun! Plus, fried banana's were super yummy!
Once we got back to the boat, Wade blogged and I made a couple phone calls while I was still with reception! lol It started raining that night, thank goodness it's not my shift in the morning! lol Karla fell asleep while Wade blogged and I sat outside talking. It got too late for a movie, so we just got ready for bed when Wade was done. We were all situated in our beds when a barge drove by and the boat started grinding against the rocks on the shore with the waves.... so Wade had to get out of bed and rethrow the anchores... it's annoying when you were just about to fall alseep to have to get up and redo what you hastled with earlier. Poor wadeaboo... Karla got out and helped him reposition - it didn't take long and we were settled for bed again! =D
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
October 24 - Day 22 - A little stream in Mississippi to another river that looks a lot like bayou and hour north of Greenville Mississippi
The river we'd pulled into last minute the night before turned out to be the nicest anchoring spot so far. We've been steadily improving out anchoring skills since we started and we're getting good! Likewise, the lack of Marinas hasn't hampered our gas getting abilitys one bit. It seems like there's almost always someone wanting to help out when they see river rats with gas cans. Anyway, everything so far is way better than all the nay sayer, which is virtually everyone, predicted. I guess my point is, don't listen to anyone! Or if you do, give the positive people first dibs on your decision and maybe add the nay sayers in later if there's time. I hope you learned something here today. Now, onward!
The girls stayed in bed, and I started us south. It was a pretty morning, and I actually had my camera this time. I put in my two and a half hour shift before Karla took over. It was a mostly uneventful day besides a state change over to Mississippi, and knowing that we where in gator territory. I attempted to make french toast, and now believe that breakfast is about chemistry. Eggs, scrambled or fried, along with pancakes, undergo amazing chemical transformations from mush to delicious. French toast doesn't do anything magical. It begins as bread, and ends as bread, and that's why it's only ok in my book... that and I can't seem to make it very well for some reason. How dare it?! Breakfast takes about 3 hours from start to finish, so that took a good chunk out of the day. Jenny suprises me in that she probobly drives more than any of us. It's not at all unusual for her to put in a four or even and ocational five hour shift. She's hardcore! I'm usually ready to be done after 2 and a half. She seems to enjoy it though. She's usually out there singing and texting while steering with a foot. She did a shift like that today.
We traded off untill evening, and Karla took us up another river that she'd found on the gps. This one was actually pretty wide, and there where trees jutting up out of the water on either side. As we motored in I heard sticks cracking just out of sight in the trees, and some king of strange shrill buzzing that almost sounded like an alarm. It was a creepy and extremely cool place to camp. We motored in, and attempted to tie up to a tree, but the current was pretty strong so I switched spots with Karla and attempted to get us close to a tree while Jenny ran the cam corder. The current was just too much for me, so I pulled the plug, and motored up river further looking for an easier spot. We found a downed tree right off lang and it was perfect. We did the anchoring thing, and I installed the new spark plugs that I'd picked up a few citys ago. The old plugs had nearly 2000 miles on them, and I'm pretty certain not too many 8 horse johnsons get this kind of work out. Then it was back to the kitchen. It was my night to cook while Karla bloged. I made better cheddar bratworsts, and rice a roni. The brats are fool proof, but the the rice a roni requires a lid, and we just arn't that prepared, so it came out crunchy. I'm not much of a cook without a George Foreman Grill and a microwave I'm afraid... Or at all. I cleaned up and tryed to blog myself, but the signal was too weak to save my work so I lost it all. Maybe I was wrong. It's not the docks that are the biggest change from upper to lower Mississippi river, it's the lack of cell towers. People must not keep in touch down here, or get flat tires, etc. As I was cleaning up after dinner we heard a splash. I'd fixed the spot light a few days earlier, so Karla took it out and shined it around. We saw green eyes submerged 100 feet down river! Our first gator. That's what we thought anyway, untill we went back out to brush out teeth, and caught the source of the splashes in the bean of the spotlight. They where caused by these little muskrat looking rotents called neutrenos doing jumps and flips. If the rodents are playing there probobly arn't many gators around. We went to bed dissapointed, and watched A movie who's name escapes me because it took me so long to get done with this blog. It was a sunny days with a state change and over 100 miles of progress. Not too bad.