September 25, 2011

Big Muddy Clean Sweep Log Book, Vol. 1 - Upstream

Alton, IL  to Jefferson City
diligently recorded by Jodi Pfefferkorn
The first batch of entries in the Log, recording the trip from Alton, IL to Hermann, MO. The lead crew of the River Cleanup barge (Racin’ Dave Stevens & Jodi Pfefferkorn) works with Living Lands & Waters and Hermann Sand and Gravel to move the River Cleanup set-up upstream, picking up a sand flat from St. Charles along the way. Jeff Barrow, Anthony Pettit & Daniel Belshe join the crew in Hermann.

Thursday – Sept. 22, 2011 
Between Jeff in the River Relief van, Tammy in the Living Lands & Waters truck and Chad in a Living Lands & Waters plate boat, we were able to get all of our gear schlepped onto the barge by 2200. This included locking the plate boat up through the Alton Lock (#26) to pick up gear and back down again. Chad was pretty pumped when the lock master called him by name.

Racin’ and I hadn’t eaten all day so we scarfed down a DiGiornio pizza at 2330 while waiting for our barge pick up. (We later found out that Jeff had to suffice with fritos that wee in the van – I guess barge food isn’t so bad).

Friday – Sept. 23, 2011 
We finished hooking up with our barge ride at 0145 near Wood River, IL. A strong Missouri River current & downhill flow to the Mississippi River made progress very slow at the Confluence. 1.3 mph for the first 3 hours, but managed a 2.3 mph pace by the time we reached Pelican Island.

Racin and I took 2 hour turns in the pilot house of the “River Cleanup” tow boat. We needed to keep both engines at full throttle to help the Kathryn Ann pull us upriver. I was in the pilot house at 1100 when the Kathryn Ann’s starboard engine suddenly shut off. I looked over at the pilot house & saw one of the deck hands motioning for me to pull back on my throttles. I complied and when I looked ahead I noticed that the barges were making a B-line for the bank. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. Before too long, the Kathryn Ann was reversing full throttle and we were underway again. I later found out that the second of the Kathryn Ann’s two pilots ran the tow boat over a wing dike, lifting her rudder up through the hull. When we got to St. Charles, the second captain asked to be let off the barge. He was literally dropped off on the bank.

We got to St. Charles around 1600 & stopped to pick up a sand flat from Gateway Dredging. While we were rigging up the flat, Jeff drove the 150 out to meet us and drop off supplies. He got a tour of our set-up & met the Kathryn Ann's crew - Chris, Kenny "Junior" & Capt. Steve. We were underway again by 1700.

We significantly picked up speed again & averaged 3.8-5.0 mph for the day. We pulled over & tied off for the night (to a tree) around 2330.

Clean Sweep Barge Moves Upriver 9-24-11
Hermann Sand & Gravel Kathryn Ann pulls the River Cleanup up to Hermann. photo by Dave Marner
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
River Cleanup tow at Hermann Riverfront - photo by Steve Schnarr
Saturday – Sept. 24, 2011
We were back on the river by 07:00 & kept 4 MPH average all day. Racin’ Dave & I kept our 2 hour shifts in the pilot house of the River Cleanup towboat. As far as food goes, I’ve cooked breakfast the past few days and Racin’ has taken care of dinner (we fend for ourselves at lunch). For breakfast: tomato, onion, & cheese omelets with bacon yesterday; and fried eggs with bacon and toast today. Racin’ made pork chops with boiled for dinner yesterday J. We tied up at the Hermann Sand & Gravel Plant at 1945. We have finally arrived! Dinner at “The Barrel” bar and restaurant, with Junior, Chris, Gale, & Jeff then some much needed rest.

Sunday, September 25, 2011 
It was day of errands. Jeff, Racin’, & Gale motored upstream to the Gasconade River to check out a work barge that the Corps of Engineers had. I stayed behind to get some editing done. No editing got done though, because I brought the wrong power cord for my hard drive...

When they came back, Jeff stayed on the barge to get some work done while Racin’, Gale, & I took the van into town to get groceries and odds & ends. Gale and Jeff headed out in the late afternoon. Habibi & Anthony are coming tomorrow!

Monday, September 26, 2011
Wake up call at 0620. After breaking our fast with breakfast burritos and coffee, Racin’ & I set about making our game plan for the day. Items that we needed to address were…
1)    Get the Port-o-potties emptied and refilled.
2)    Fill the water tank in the basement
3)    Get diesel fuel for the engines and generator.
4)    Fill up tanks and get two more. Before we could do any of this, we had to ask Steve to tow our barge over the Hermann boat ramp because we were moored across the river at Hermann Sand & Gravel.
Captain Steve graciously offered to help us, so Racin’ and I set about making phone calls. When it was all said and done, we were able to get items 1 and 3 completed. We also took on two new crew members! Habibi and Boudreaux are officially on board with us.

Racin’ quickly put them to work changing the hydraulic filter. Habibi also whipped up a delicious dinner of pork steaks and mashed potatoes.  It was the best way to end a task-filled day in which only two tasks were filled.  Midnight cruise anyone???

Tuesday, September 26, 2011

Early wake-up call today: 0630. By 0700 Anthony & Racin’ had left in the 150 to go upriver to discuss borrowing a work flat from the Army Corps of Engineers boat yard at the mouth of the Gasconade River. Habibi & I set about getting some cleaning done. We completely dleaned & organized the basement, which was quite a task. By 0945 Anthony had returned (Racin’ stayed with our new tow crew from Jefferson City River Terminal.) Habibi & Anthony took the 150 to the Hermann boat ramp to make a hardware store run.

At 1045, the JCRT boat “Jamie Leigh” arrived with our work flat. By 1145 we were all hooked up & cruising upriver. We were only able to go about 3.7 mph because the work flat sits so low and kept taking on water. We did some re-rigging and were able to push on at around 5.5 mph

Racin’ Dave & I were able to take our first showers in 6 days thanks to the generosity of the amie Leigh deckhand, John. He let us use the shower on their tug & I even got to do some laundry!!

After a spaghetti lunch, compliments of Habibi, we all set out cleaning everything from the galley windows to the cobwebs around the house barge.

No rest for the weary…at around 1600 the boys had to pump out the hull of the house barge. The head had a small leak which we were aware of. But we weren’t aware that none of the other compartments had been checked for several months. It was a momentary stress for Racin’, but he was reassured after giving Geoff Manis a call at LLW and getting the scoop.

Passed the Osage River around 1945, eating a deluxe chili dinner prepared by Anthony. A perfect dish for this chilly evening.

We pulled up into Jeff City at 2230. We finished tying up and said our good-byes to Capt. Mark & John by 2300.

Jeff & Steve were here waiting for us. Welcome aboard boys!

No comments: