March 12, 2009

Adventures from the small boat's perspective

Mari-Osa Dump Clean-up Part 2

Loose Creek, MO, Osage River

March 7, 2009

by Vicki Richmond

MRR’s fleet has been growing almost as fast as our events. We’ve amassed a barn full of trash equipment, tools, supplies, vehicles and boats. And we had to start somewhere: with one small boat. The Karp, the MRR 150. She’s the smallest of our boats at just 18 feet. She’s got the smallest motor, a 50 HP Mercury. She’s dwarfed by the larger plate boats with larger motors by nearly 10 feet. And she’s still a dependable asset at each and every clean up.

The Karp has earned her stripes on each and every one of our 46 clean ups. She’s our first boat, and is now used as a people hauler and kept clean to use for press junkets at events. She’s taken on a little sideways tilt and there’s some play in the throttle. It takes the correct grimace to start her. She’s been the Kansas City training boat and has been instrumental in getting new captains their stripes.

This weekend, she made her way to the Osage River, after a layover at a marine dealer this winter getting her kinks worked out. The Osage was her first outing this spring and I was honored to be her captain.

The morning began with a trip to the Huber dump, to drop off site leaders and equipment. A quick touch of shore and, with the help of First Mate Bill, crew and supplies were unloaded. The 50 made her way back to the ramp to begin the shuttle of volunteer crews to sites.

Six trips later, we began picking up our crews and returning to the ramp. Each trip brought people and trash back to the ramp just in time for lunch. I grabbed a sandwich and some soup and headed back to the boats. As I sat for a moment relaxing in the sun, Lynne came looking for a captain. She had a team ready to haul trash and was on the hunt for a boat and a driver. We loaded quickly and headed across the river to a tire pile.

Tires were carefully loaded, bagged trash carefully balanced and we were off to the ramp. After unloading, we began this shuttle over and over again. Pull to shore and load the boat, Lynne carefully balancing loads while Ty and Nick threw bags and tires into the hull. Back to the ramp where crews unloaded the bags destined for the landfill and tires for recycling. I think we made 7 trips with trash.

She ran a little rough. She struggled upstream laden with trash. But she is a testament to the tenacity of the core of River Relief. We may be a little tilted, and certainly have our quirks, but always, always, come through!

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