October 27, 2011

Washington & St. Charles Clean Sweep Results

After a packed but incredible week of education and outreach in Washington, MO, we ramped up our energy into working a river clean-up on Saturday side-by-side the Washington River Festival put on for the last 3 years by our favorite river ambassadors, Gloria Attoun-Bauermeister and Mike Smith.  These two friends have really been working on growing a community of river lovers in Washington, an awareness for this powerful resource, as it should be, the river is the heart of this lovely little riverfront town.

Washington River Festival and Clean-up

Many of the children that had come out to the riverside education experience earier in the week came back with their families just itching to get out on the river and help us clean it up! The turnout was fantastic!  76 volunteers in addition to 8 people from Kohl's department store + 26 from the River Relief crew teamed up to clean the river!

Plus, Gloria put together an amazing River Festival, with educational booths, fun activities for families, trash to art in action and REALLY GREAT MUSIC! 

Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep

Here's the Washington tally!

110 clean-up volunteers went out on the river to clean up 9 miles with 3 River Relief boats signing up in shifts at the river festival.  133 bags of trash were collected from the river banks alongside 44 tires, 7 hunks o' styrofoam, 3 refrigerators, 1 microwave, 1 push mower, 1 black & white TV, pesticide sprayers, duck decoys, metal drums... the list goes on & on!

Check out the full set of Washington photos on our Flickr page!

A big muddy thanks to all of the super nice folks in Washington that made our stay a warm one.  There are many, but a few outstanding ones that come to mind are Cheryl Heggemann at Manwell's coffee, the Washington boat club, the police & fire departments, the schools and teachers that participated, the Labadie Chef & crew, Mayor Lucy & Gary Lucy, trash-to-art artists Joey Los & Gale, and of course all of the hard working volunteers, Gloria Bauermeister & Mike Smith!

Washington Clean-up and River Festival 6-14-08

With warmed hearts & full bellies, we rolled on down to St. Charles... and moored at the Gateway Dredging Co. in Bridgeton.  I enjoyed taking our barge dog Sombra on walks along the beautiful little riverside trail in the Riverwoods Conservation Area, where I had the pleasure of seeing some really cool old growth willow, cottonwoods, and mulberry trees!
Unfortunately, there was a beaver at work on some of those massive trees.

St. Charles Big Muddy Clean Sweep

We really got down & dirty in St. Charles, starting with a crew clean-up on Friday that netted 3 boatloads of junk to include a potato planter farm implement, a john boat and a porta potty!

St. Charles Big Muddy Clean Sweep

On Saturday, we took out 75 volunteers in two shifts and continued collecting massive piles of trash that had been washed in along the shores, also cleaning out old dump sites we found along the way.  27 employees from Boeing helped make a huge dent in our Clean Sweep efforts in St. Charles and a nice reporter from the St. Louis Today website came out to help document our work.

St. Charles Big Muddy Clean Sweep

On Sunday the River Relief barge team hauled trash from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. collecting 149 bags of trash, 87 tires, 79 hunks of metal, barrels, car parts... even a riding lawn mower!  My back still hurts!  But the trash barge is finally starting to fill up.

Check out the full set of St. Charles photos on our Flickr page!

St. Charles Big Muddy Clean Sweep

We wrapped things up in St. Charles on Tuesday and headed for the Confluence to complete our final week of the Big Muddy Clean Sweep.  The barge is moored just across from the boat ramp at Columbia Bottoms.  Join us for our final big clean-up this Saturday and help us fill the trash barge and finish this unique event as part of Missouri River Relief's 10th anniversary project.  We'll be posting final results and the full trash tally soon!  Thanks for jumping on board and being a part of this wonderful adventure!  See you on the River~

Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011 map

October 17, 2011

Big Muddy Clean Sweep Log Vol 4 - Washington Mooring

diligently recorded by Jodi Pfefferkorn

 (In which the barge decides to untie itself, the crew gets welcomed by the town mayor and school kids walk from school to the river to learn about it. We are welcomed by the kindest rivertown people and give lots of boat rides. The trashiest spot on the river is cleaned up, trash gets made into art and a masseuse comes aboard.) 

Monday, October 10, 2011
Today we moved the barge to Washington after getting the port-a-potties pumped and switching the tow boat to the head of the house barge (which then made it the stern). We were on our way by 0930.

Washington Clean Sweep 2011
We pass through the gorgeous Bernheimer Bluffs. photo by Melanie Cheney

At around 1130, a small crew consisting of Steve, Tim, Alicia, Gale & I took off in a plate boat to gather trash up river of New Haven. We turned loose of the barge while cruising through the beautiful Bernheimer bluffs, which run along several miles of the river below Hermann on river left. While the trash crew was out, Mel, Jeff, Anthony and Habibi took a plate boat on to Washington. They trailered the boat to Kansas Cityfor the start of the Missouri River 340. On the way they dropped off Habibi in Jeff City to get his car. He's heading to St. Louis to visit a friend for a couple days. Mel will leave Jeff & Anthony with the Hildy in Kansas City & she'll head back to the barge tomorrow.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011

Meanwhile, the trash crew hauled in a fridge, a deep freeze, a tractor trailer tire and a boat load of misc. trash. We also found a mother lode trash spot just across from New Haven that we hope to get back to later this week. We met back up with the barge as Capt. Mike was starting his approach into Washington.

We started mooring the barge around 1330. We found a wonderful place right on the riverfront in perfect view of the public. But we quickly realized we had created a death trap for the paddlers of the MR340 because of the way the current shoots off the boat ramp. It's a tricky ramp for paddlers in the middle of the night no matter what, but with a two-barge wide tow just downstream, they would have had very little time to cross the current and clear the head of the barge. So Capt. Mike scouted another place further downstream at the location of an old sand plant. There were concrete pilings to tie off too and a wall to place the barge against.

Barge Team moves to Washington
Our mooring spot at Washington. photo by Steve Schnarr
We were a little short-handed on deckhands since Habibi and Anthony were gone. So Steve, Tim, Gale and Alicia helped with the mooring and they did a great job. But then, as a small crowd gathered above to watch, the barge broke away from the moorings and started heading downstream. All the while, the tow was made fast to the small work flat. Oh yeah, and the radios started going out one by one. But Capt. Mike was cool under the pressure and calmly caught up to the runaway barges. He then very patiently walked us through the proper way to tie the mooring lines.

All of the impromptu crew - Steve, Tim, Gale and Alicia - were rock stars during all of this. Steve managed to man the tiller of a plate boat while creating a makeshift dock with the bow so a cable could be wrapped around a concrete pillar. All the while he was holding the only working radio and had to communicate with Capt. Mike the progress of a mooring process he'd never seen done before.

Gale was a stud on land for us. Twice she had to catch a line we'd thrown to her (they're heavy as hell) and shackle it to a chain, not to mention she had to traverse some pretty sharp, steep & rocky terrain. She was wearing a black bandana so she totally looked like a pirate muscling with that rigging.

Tim was quite the agile acrobat during the 4 hour ordeal. Hopping in plate boats to move them then hopping right back out when I told him to move the wrong boat. Sorry Tim! He also learned in a hurry how to tie a line. Thanks!

Alicia was Johnny on the Spot with drinks of water and extra radio batteries.

Between Capt. Mike keeping his cool & hand signals to the pilot house when the radios failed, we were able to successfully finish mooring the barge by 1730.

After this trial, we were treated to a fresh fish fry by Allen Rost, a local fisherman. We picked him up at the boat ramp with his fryer and he took care of everything. Fish and potato wedges right there on the work flat. Gloria, Michael and Mike Smith joined us for dinner, which we enjoyed by moonlight and lantern light out on the flat with the generator turned off. After dinner some folks went into town to watch the Cardinals game & grab a drink.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We had a bit of a lazy morning today. It was nice to kick back with cups of coffee and read or check emails at the galley table. Breakfast was a free for all and ranged from banana nut bread to grilled ham & cheese sandwiches left over from yesterday.

Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep
Our barge tucked in under the Washington riverfront. photo by Melanie Cheney.
After breakfast Gale and Alicia picked up quite a bit of trash along the bank next to the barge. It was obviously an old landfill, with rusty metal and broken glass. It really feels good to make such a dangerous place safe again.

Tim spoke with the caterer for Thursday night's dinner and got all those details ironed out. Then Gloria came aboard and ironed out even more details for week's activities with Steve.

We had to move the barges. With our current (made up on the fly) configuration, the house barge was up against a rocky & possibly re-bar laden shore. So we needed to move the barges away from shore a bit. This whole process could've been avoided if we'd listened to Capt. Mike in Hermann & reconfigured the barges before we got underway. But instead, we just moved the tow to the head of the house barge. I guess maybe we should just listen to the man who has an Unlimited Masters & years of experience. But what do I know? I just keep the log...

So Gale, Alicia & I retied the lines. (A step we'll have to repeat a few more times while we're here)

Steve worked hard on office stuff - fielding phone calls and sending emails all day. Alicia pretty much single-handedly emptied the plate boat from the trash we hauled in yesterday. Tim & I went into town to do Laundry & pick up a few things at the grocery store.

Mel came back today. Soon after we shuttled her back to the barge we had to head to Mannwell's for a welcome party. that Gloria put on. Mannwell's is a pretty cool coffee shop within walking distance of the river. On display was a sweet quilt made by artists from across the state. Each panel depicted a different river scene. I don't think I could even draw that kind of stuff and they were sewing it into fabric! Gloria and many of her friends made some really delicious appetizers & Michael baked and decorated a cake for Steve & Mel's anniversary.

After the welcome party, we had a campfire up the hill from the barge. Everyone who was musically inclined played various instruments, which included guitar, mandolin, banjo, violin & drum. Jim Karpowicz and Laura Billings joined us for a little while too. A light rain set in and we headed back to the barge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Today we held an education event for 4th -6th graders down at the Riverfront Park. Steve & Alicia had a slideshow that discussed the history of the Missouri River. Tim and I talked about the kinds of trash we find and we showed kids the barge. Mel was the photographer/videographer in the morning & in the afternoon she joined Tim and I.

During the transition from morning to afternoon the kids watched a demonstration from the World Bird Sanctuary. From the bits & pieces I caught, I saw that they had a red-tailed hawk, a barn owl and a turkey vulture with them (they had 4 other animal carriers I saw).

We got a few sprinkles but other than that the event went really well. Oops...I forgot about the Fish & Wildlife Service. Colby & Brian from USFWS had a live fish display. The kids rotated between the history slideshow, the trash/barge viewing and the live fish display.

As we were wrapping up the education event, Steve got a call from Scott Mansker about sending someone to the Weldon Springs checkpoint for a few hours until another volunteer showed up. Steve, being the kind guy he is, offered to drive down there. He was back a few hours later and admitted it had been a complete waste of time because no racers came through by the time the next volunteer showed up.

Racin' made a gang plank out of wood that Mel salvaged from the Gasconade River. Unfortunately, we're too far from shore to use it, but it works nicely between the sand flat & the house barge.

We have a fairly functional ferry system between the work flat & shore. It involves a plate boat and a bow line from the starboard side to the work flat, then another line from the port side to the shore. All a person has to do is pull the boat to them using one line and pull themselves to their destination with the other.

Colby joined us for dinner tonight, along with my mom and sister.Pep. Tim made salmon & rice with steamed broccoli and it was fantastic.

We started seeing boats from the 340 at 1745. They were pretty spread out,. We'd see one every hour & a half to 2 hours. We stayed and watched until about 2300 when my little sister, Katie, and her partner Di McHenry paddled by.

Tonight we had a good downpour for about 10 minutes, then it steadily rained off & on into the wee hours.

Thursday, October 13, 2011
Steve was up bright and early to make breakfast for everyone. Bacon, eggs, pancakes & ham.

Racin' & Mel had to eat in a hurry because Steve had gotten another phone call from Scott asking for a rescue....of a runaway safety boat! It seems one of the 340 safety boat operators didn't tie his boat up very well at Bates Island. It drifted away in the night. It was a piece of cake for Racin' & Mel to buzz up there & retrieve the boat.

Second verse same as the first as far as the education event goes. Except today we only had a morning session. After the event and a bite to eat, we set about getting ready for a fundraiser dinner that we're hosting here on the barge.

Anthony & Jeff came back today! It's good to have them back. And a few hours after they arrived, John Brady & Josh Pennington showed up in the Hildy. They had switched with Jeff & Anthony to take over as safety boat drivers in the 340. Craig made his usual stealthy appearance a little after Josh & John arrived.

1800 arrived & it was time to shuttle the guests to the barge. We had to switch out the ferry boat (Anna Deka) with the Hildy since A.D. was cleaner. Shuttling went off without a hitch and for the most part dinner did as well. Codi, the caterer, made one hell of a meal, which the MRR crew was allowed to partake in, albeit in the galley. The guests were seated at a long, linen-dressed table on the work flat.

Codi is more than a caterer. She, and a bunch of volunteers (including her boyfriend) put on Labadie Supper Club once a month at a variety of surprising locations, like old barns, blufftops or sandbars. It was kind of amazing to hear a caterer say "It's not like it's my first time serving dinner on the river."

She served up salads with candied pears on top, thick french-cut pork chops, squash stuffing, apple & onion hash and a puff pastry with pumpkin pie filling for dessert. Not to mention some rockin' hors d'oerves, wine & microbrew beer.

Yep, it was a fine evening. And the best part is that Codi & her volunteer staff took care of cleanup. A little moonlight boat ride after the last shuttle run and then some chillaxin' on the barge.

Friday, October 14, 2011
After a pretty relaxed breakfast of everything-in-a-cast-iron-pan casserole, we rallied a crew together to pick up trash at New Haven. Mel, John Brady, Racin' and Alicia stayed behind to take care of filling gas tanks & getting the water heater working. Steve, Craig, Tony, Anthony, Tim, Josh and I made up the New Haven crew.

On our way there, we ran into Scott Mansker, the race director for the Missouri River 340. He was pulling sweep boat on the race, staying with the last paddlers. He came with us to the clean-up spot and helped us for about an hour. We arrived a little after 1000. Within half an hour, we had 3 refrigerators! In 4 hours of cleaning we picked up 2 boatloads of trash (including one message in a bottle). The site we were at had places where we could literally pick up arms full of plastic bottles. When we left at 1415, we had completely cleaned more than half the site.

As we were pulling back into the barge, the scout boats were pulling out. Mel & Alicia were heading upstream in the Saskia. Habibi and Brian Waldrop (yay Habibi's back!) were in the 150 heading down. Rod & Nanci came aboard today and they brought their friend Jen from New Mexico. Jen jumped right in and helped Tim with dinner. Mike Smith showed up for dinner - which was chili & cornbread. Gale popped in before dinner to lend her trash-pickin' talents for the weekend.

After dinner, we had a pow-wow to discuss the events of tomorrow. While Steve was conducting the meeting, Jeeannie & Jonesey showed up. And a little later Dave and Patty came. That completes the overnight crew for Friday in Washington.

Quote of the Day (from Santa Fe Jen):

Washington Big Muddy Clean SweepSaturday, October 15, 2011
Today was festival day. We set up a booth at Gloria's Washington River Festival (the third!) on the Washington riverfront. From our booth we encouraged people to go out on the river & participate in mini-clean-ups. We had all three plate boats. going out and tried to have one leaving every 30-45 minutes. This is the third time we've tried this & the first time it worked well. We had around 100 volunteers!

And with the way the shifts were working out, many of the MRR crew were able to enjoy the festival at one time or another.

Tim Nigh was the auctioneer for the sculptures made at Joey Los' "Trash to Art" booth. Many of the items they used came from the mini-cleanups.

Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep
A boat ride on the river! photo by Alicia Pigg.

Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep
It's pretty muddy out there... photo by Alicia Pigg
Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep
All by herself. Photo by Sarah Pennington.

The volunteers seemed to really have a good time. We recognized a few kids from the education events on Wed. and Thurs. They came for the cleanup and brought their families. Many of the boat drivers gave their boatload of volunteers a tour of the barge.

River Festival organizer Gloria Bauermeister
Gloria Attoun Bauermeister - the festival host AND the music! photo by Tim Nigh
After the clean-up and festival, a crew went out to get one boat load for the trash haul. Once the trash was unloaded & found its proper place on the sand flat, the good times were ready to roll. Tim grilled up an amazing pork loin and put together enough sides to feed the ever-growing crowd. Our Washington angels Mike Smith & Gloria came. Mike brought his wife Maria and daughter Grace. Scott Mansker & my little sister Katie stayed for dinner. They had stopped by on their way home from the 340. Jodi Stephens timed her arrival right at dinner time. Josh & Sarah Pennington had eaten dinner in town with Josh's parents & then joined us for the evening socializing.

For dessert we had a choice of cherry crumble pie, peach pie and the mother-of all: a chocolate cream pie with a 10 inch mountain of whipped cream on top!

Washington Big Muddy Clean Sweep
Jonesy shows off the mile-high chocolate pie. photo by Melanie Cheney.
 At the star circle, Craig (river name "Iffy") produced the day's second message in a bottle. Rod had found one as well but he opened it earlier. It's been a long day, but we're sleeping in tomorrow!

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sleep in day! Irish coffee at breakfast day! Laundry day! Showers for some people day! Chillax after trash haul day! Watch the Mary Lynn towboat (with a bunch of barges) come up river for half an hour day! Watch Steve defy laws of safety and walk on a floating drift pile to get a refrigerator & barrel day! Eat at Marquart's Landing day! Massage Day! (Thanks Jodi!)

Monday, October 17, 2011
We had an impromptu day off. Normally, we would move the barge on Monday, but Capt. Mike won't be available until tomorrow. So today was an errand day, a get caught up on office work day, a chillax & play guitar day and a sit and listen to the rain day.

Mel, Anthony and I went to town to find a thrift store & stock up on cold weather gear. Mel found the most hilarious bumble bee costume for Sombra at the Goodwill. Jeff & Racin' went on a vice run (smokes) and did a load of laundry. Habibi played every song he knew on guitar and then some. We even busted out some awesome, off-key duets.

In the midst of the singing (& later percussion playing) Nancy McKenna found her way on board. She made it in time for dinner which was an everything-in-the-pot stew. After dinner, Mel, Jeff & I shuttled the vehicles and trailers to St. Charles. In the future we won't be taking the trailers on the windy-ass & narrow Hwy 94!

We met Jenn Branstetter, from Living Lands & Waters, at the boat ramp. She'll be coming aboard to be the cook while Tim's gone. Jenn did her first clean-up at the Confluence with Missouri River Relief and later joined the Living Lands and Waters crew, then married Chad's brother! I can already tell she's going to be a blast.

October 13, 2011

Downstream to Washington!

Big Muddy Clean Sweep
Rennick Riverfront Park, Washington, MO
Rivermile 68
October 10-12, 2011
Washington sunrise. photo by Melanie Cheney

One of our favorite river towns is also a place that uses the river the most. The busy Washington boat ramp has a brutal current, and is difficult for motorboaters and paddlers alike to launch and land. Yet it sees more traffic than any other Missouri River access in the state.

But the reason we love it here is the people. We have been so lucky to become friends of wonderful batch of folks here that have made it part of their mission in life to welcome River Relief to town, and to pave the way for our easy travel there.

Gloria Bauermeister decided to become our Washington ambassador for the Clean Sweep. She worked up a diverse series of events in town, bringing a huge slice of Washington down to the river to become part of this journey. It all started off with a wonderful welcoming party at MannWell’s coffeehouse…always my first stop when I come by Washington by boat. Cheryl, the owner, baked up a blackberry cobbler with berries she saved in the freezer from the summer, and a whole bunch of people filled a table with wonderful appetizers.

The Washington mayor, Sandy Lucy, read off a proclamation declaring this to be “Missouri River Week” in the town and welcomed our trash barge crew. It was a humbling experience for sure. On display at MannWell’s is an intricate quilt, formed of squares patched together by a long list of fiber artists from across the state called the Rambling River Quilters. Each created a window into a vibrant river world, all designed to stitch together perfectly into a wild flowing river that spilled across the coffeehouse wall.
Then we headed back to the barge mooring, and lit up a sweet little campfire in the sandpiles of an old sand plant. Mike Smith brought a truckload of firewood and Gloria and her husband Michael whipped out some sweet tunes on guitar, mandolin and banjo. So perfect as the full moon popped in and out of the gathering clouds.

Wednesday started our series of education events with local students. Most were able to walk down from Immanuel Lutheran and Fifth St. Elementary. We had one booth about the changes of the river in the past couple hundred years and one about our work as river trash cleaners. Colby Wrasse and Brian from the Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office set up shop in the parking lot with a tank of live wild fish caught the day before describing the conservation challenges that faced each species.
Tim Nigh and Jodi Pfefferkorn explain the ins & outs of trash getting. photo by Melanie Cheney
Colby Wrasse (USFWS) shows students a shovelnose sturgeon. photo by Melanie Cheney
Lunch was followed by a presentation by the World Bird Sanctuary, featuring a smattering of native birds of prey…kestrel, red-tailed hawk, barn own and turkey vulture. The kids sat on straw bales as the trained birds flew above their heads, tapping their shoulders as they zoomed by. They loved it.

As our afternoon shift of presentations ended, our attention shifted to the Missouri River 340. Several of our crew were out there, with near sleepless nights camping on the banks and tending to the courageous racers. (To follow the race, check out the race forum: http://rivermiles.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1318251963/all-0 )

We filled a couple checkpoint holes (and witnessed a gorgeous golden rainbow sunset) before getting back to the barge. Jodi’s mom and sis, and Colby Wrasse stopped by for dinner on the barge (whoa! Baked salmon with herbed white sauce…thanks Tim Nigh!)

Rain started to fall as we headed indoors, warm and dry, thinking of our buddies and all the paddlers out there on the river and hoping they are all keeping safe and loving their river time.

October 11, 2011

Food Angels and tasty donations

Here at River Relief, we know that the key to happy, healthy volunteers is good food. At most of our cleanups we designate a "Food Angel" to make sure there are good, fresh-cooked meals for our crew volunteers.

On the Big Muddy Clean Sweep, Tim Nigh is our head Food Angel, shopping, planning meals and cooking 'em up for us. There's nothing like coming back from a trash wrangle at 6 p.m. and knowing you're about to eat great food. Thank you so much Tim!! Liz Doubet was our Co-Food Angel for many events, adding her touch of love to our meals - and the best carrot-orange-ginger birthday cake ever!

But, along with donations from a bunch of businesses and organizations as well as food gifted by friends, we have a lot of Food Angels to thank. Here's a running list (we'll update as we get a chance)

Food Vendor Donations
Clovers Natural Foods
Patchwork Family Farms - we've been eating the best ham and bacon in the state! Thanks guys!

Kansas City
Michael Richmond - one of our longtime food angels.
North Central Neighbors - cooked lunch for our volunteers!

Dee Kinnard - really helped out with our Banquet - Thanks Dee!
Jay Winkler (the Smokin' Hermit) - smoked our Banquet hog and donated a bunch of really great homemade BBQ sauce
Jack's Gourmet - yummies for our banquet
Broadway Brewery - a full keg of their tasty microbrew - it was Summer Ale and was fantastic!
Melanie Cheney, Liz Doubet, Gale Lauber Johnson, Racin' Dave and the rest of our great Banquet committee - thanks ladies (and dude)!

Jefferson City 
Soda Popp - fried up some of his tasty fresh catfish and potatoes.
Wears Creek "Creek Squad" - they took care of our great volunteer lunches.

Theresa Black and Debbie Bruno from Hermann Catering - she and her crew donated a complete dinner for the barge crew after the cleanup. So sweet!

Alan Rost - Catfisherman came to the barge with his frier and a bunch of fresh fish. Great way to start off our stay in lovely Washington! He also left us with a huge bag of great sausages we are still eating.
Cody, the Labadie Chef - she's catering our Fundraiser Barge Dinner. What a creative and skillful event planner!
MannWell's Coffee Alley - Cheryl and the crew hosted our Welcome Party, and she even baked a pan of blackberry cobbler for us to take to the barge.
Augusta Brewing Company and John G's Bier Deck - Donated beer to our Fundraising Barge Dinner and brought a beer booth to the River Festival.
Blumenhof Winery - donated wine for our Fundraising Dinner.

St. Charles
Jen Branstedder - A River Cleanup barge veteran, she graced us for several days with gourmet Mac & Cheeze and lasagna.

Case Baum - tasty baked treats
Andy Bugh - came on board for a week during his paddle from Montana to the Gulf and served as co-food angel! Thanks Andy!
Alicia Pigg - ask for her recipe of chocolate pudding cakey tastiness.
Missouri American Water - brought a great lunch to the barge and invited mayors and water leaders from the metro area.
Big Muddy Adventures - Mike Clark and Betsy Tribble whipped up a cajun pasta delight
The River Gods - gave us a loose jug line with two blue cats on it. Tim Nigh cooked them up for breakfast!

October 9, 2011

Big Muddy Clean Sweep Log Book Vol. 3 - Hermann Mooring

diligently recorded by Jodi Pfefferkorn
The third batch of log book entries, in which we tie up right by the Hermann boat ramp, frighten and calm school administrators, avoid Octoberfest crowds and in which Mel has an island named for her. Making a new town our home for the week, we meet everyone we can and answer a lot of questions about the barge. The trash begins to pile up. 

Tuesday, October 4 2011
Today was day one of the Hermann/Owensville education & cleanup event. We had an early wake up call at 0630. Tim made eggs, vegetables & toast. He said we should eat vegetables for breakfast because they’re complex carbs and they’ll burn slowly giving us energy for longer. Good thing, too, because we had a long day ahead. We took 60+ high schoolers out in the morning and 60+ middle schoolers in the afternoon. Except for a couple cuts from broken glass, things went off without a hitch. Well…it took Steve 45 minutes to convince the Hermann High School principal that the way we do river cleanup is safe and the students could proceed to go on the river. 
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Hermann students gather at the boat ramp - photo by Racin' Dave Stevens

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Jodi pilots a boat of Owensville students out to their trash site. photo by Steve Schnarr
Some of the students were doing a multi-media project on their cleanup, taking photos, posting to twitter and doing a Skype-feed with other students unable to join. 

As we were cleaning up from the event, a couple paddled up to the barge in a canoe saying “I owe someone on this boat 20 bucks!” and waving a 20. Turns out Patrick met the Living Lands & Waters crew on the Mississippi several years ago when he paddled the entire Mississippi. Someone lent him 20 bucks and he never got the chance to pay them back. And here he sees that same towboat on the Missouri! So he wrote down the story and taped it, with the $20, to the refrigerator in the galley.

Now Patrick and Misty were paddling a simple aluminum canoe down the Missouri, all they way from Three Forks, MT. First we saw Dirk, the Australian, in Jeff City and now Patrick & Misty in Hermann. I wonder who we’ll see in Washington? Patrick & Misty couldn’t stay for dinner because they needed to log some more miles before the end of the day. So after a quick tour and brief chat (& a couple sodas) they were on their way.
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Patrick and Misty Rose leave the barge on their last leg of their huge journey. photo by Steve Schnarr

Our friends Roger & Barbara Giles are piloting their newly purchased sternwheeler down the Ohio, up the Mississippi and now up the Missouri. Anthony’s been following their progress on Facebook and he saw that they were around New Haven heading upstream in our direction. So we all hopped in a plateboat to intercept them. A few miles downriver (on the infamous Berger Bend) and there she was, moving ever so slowly upriver. (We sure know how that feels.)
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
We find the Nancy Ann on Berger Bend and escort them upstream at sunset. photo by Racin' Dave Stevens.

We came alongside the Nancy Ann and hopped aboard. Roger was maneuvering the sandbars on Bates Island Bend and didn’t want to pull our boat. So Anthony, Habibi and Jeff took turns at the tiller, keeping our boat alongside the Nancy Ann while the rest of us toured the boat. It was quite a site – with an upper & lower level. The gangplank was at her bow, and raised and lowered via an electronically operated pulley. The pilot house was part of the upper level & to the aft was the texas deck. The lower level had the master bedroom, kitchen, bathroom & living room. Roger, Barbara and their engineer Lee were riding in luxury.

When we got back to the barge, Anthony, Habibi & I took most of the crew’s laundry into town then headed to Sharp’s Corner Tavern for beers & dinner. Tim was already there watching the Cardinal’s game (they lost by one). Jeff, Steve & Racin’ stayed behind to help tie up the Nancy Ann. They joined us later & brought Lee. Donna popped in, seemingly out of nowhere but apparently Tim had kept her informed of our whereabouts.

Those who had brains in their heads and exercised good judgment went back to the barge after dinner. Those who didn’t (Steve, Anthony, Habibi & me) stayed at the bar and played cards with some locals, making it back by midnight (or so).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Sunrise on the barge deck in Hermann. photo by Steve Schnarr
Today was day two of the education and cleanup events with high schoolers & middle schoolers. Scott Voney from MDC brought the “Disney Boat”. Apparently this is the first time it’s been out this year. There were no injuries today & Steve didn’t have to persuade any principals. The middle school principal was very protective of her students, but by the end of the day, she and her students were climbing on rack piles and digging out all they trash they could find. Those kids were really into it today. Students in both groups that I took out commented that the trash in the river made them mad.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
This guy came back with trash fish (silver carp). photo by Steve Schnarr
Habibi’s first group was a little less energetic. His students weren’t really into the cleanup idea and one of the adults on board didn’t like mud or spiders. Good thing Habibi had a better group in the afternoon because he had boat problems. Finding no tools or spare parts in the boat box, he got creative & removed the (beware: girl term ahead) thingy from gas line & manually pumped gas into the line by sticking the hose end directly into the tank.

Racin’ & Anthony stayed on the barge today, installing the trash fence onto the trash barge. Basically, they welded small metal tubes perpendicular to the face of the sand flat coaming, then slid t-posts into the tubes and attached the fence to that. They were able to finish the whole thing in one day – it looks awesome! We were able to put it to good use because we cleared the work flat of trash that had been collected over the past two days. 

The river has dropped a few feet since we arrived on Monday, and Racin’ thought it would be in our best interest to move the barge out a little. Habibi put a little slack in the stern line that was attached to the winch. I put slack on the head line. All the while Racin’ was in the pilot house maneuvering the barge. We all used radios and everything went off without a hitch. We sure act like we know what we’re doing!

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Racin' moves the barge off the bank. photo by Steve Schnarr
Tonight we had a couple extra crew members and a few guests for dinner. We weren’t going to fit around the dining table in the galley, so Tim served dinner on the work flat. Tables & chairs were set up and we enjoyed a delicious BBQ chicken and roasted potatoes under the soft glow of the lights in the riverfront park (we turned off the generator to cut down on the noise). Our guests included Gary & Marcia Leabman, Dave the River Slave, Donna & Nancy McKenna. For dessert, Tim served up warm strawberry rhubarb pie with frozen custard.

Quote of the Day – (Steve found a message in a bottle)…it reads:
“Hi – My name is M… M…… I am a gay white male looking for someone to spend time & romantic time with. I am looking a male 20-30 years old in good physical condition. For the right man a possibly move into my apartment. (grammatical errors are from the original) Please call, Sincerely, M… M……. (two phone numbers included)”

Thursday, October 6, 2011
Today was a much needed and deserved off day! The crew was allowed to sleep in – some a little longer than others. We all had our own off-day agendas. For some of us this meant going for a bike ride or a walk, eating lunch in town, checking out the shops in Hermann, getting laundry done, working on the computer or attending the train wreck known as the community theater.

Mel arrived today with Gale – Ruthie showed up in time for the community theater outing. Craig made his appearance as well.

Burgers and sweet potato fries for dinner then a chilaxin’ evening.

Friday, October 7, 2011
Today was the scout for Saturday’s clean-ups. We divided and conquered. 4 went down stream and 5 went up. Habibi was the only crew member who didn’t go on the scout because he had to print off maps for us at the Hermann library. He asked the librarian if he could print some river charts from his USB drive on the library computer. The librarian said to him, “Well, I understand ‘computer’.” Abibi drew from all his world travels & lost-in-translation experience to communicate his needs to the librarian. Unfortunately, he needed color maps but could only get black & white.

Steve, Anthony, Ruthie, Racin & Gale (& Gale’s dog, Mr. Foxy) went downstream for the scout. They scored some good sites on Bate’s Island Bend. The water has dropped a few feet since we got here on Monday, so getting to shore to check out these sites was harder than before. Several wing dikes and trail dikeswere either showing or just below the surface…lurking in the muddy waters, waiting to prey on the lower units of the boat motors.

Tim & Mel did the driving for our scout team, which included Craig & myself. We scouted several sites on the Missouri & Gasconade. Many of our sites didn’t have enough trash to send a group to, so we just cleaned them ourselves. We also scored a perfectly good picnic table stuck in a driftwood pile. When we came back from the scout our boat looked more like a trash haul than a scout.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Our trash scout turned into a trash & treasure haul. photo by Melanie Cheney
By early afternoon, the weekend crew was starting to arrive. Liz was waiting for us when we returned from the scout. Rod & Nanci had arrived while we were scouting, so they hit the town while waiting. John Brady, Bernie & Brian all arrived in the early afternoon & Mel’s mom Lucie came.

Everyone did their own thing in the afternoon Som e folks ran errands, others visited a winery & one group went thrift shore shopping. Steve set up a little office under the pavilion in the park so he could get internet reception.

For dinner, Tim & Liz cooked up schnitzel and German-style potato salad. Tim had never made schnitzel, and decided to stick the pork loins in a ziplock bag, lay it on the barge deck and pound it with a 2 pound mallet. Half he grilled and half he fried. They were all great.

Barge from Above in Hermann
Racin' Dave took this one from the dome of the Gasconade County Courthouse. photo by Racin' Dave Stevens. 
Saturday, October 8, 2011
We had an early start because of the cleanups today. So Tim & Liz made breakfast sandwiches. That way we could eat quickly & cleaning up was simple.

Instead of having one big  cleanup, we had the boats ready to go for any groups hanging out at Oktoberfest. Ruthie made a sign inviting people to clean-up the river. We had a few folks come. Some just wanted a boat ride, but others actually came to clean up. A few people that came were folks that had stopped by throughout the week to see what was up with the barge. We’d tell them about the clean-up today & they actually came!

Others were families whose kids had gone to the clean-up with their school earlier that week. The assistant superintendant of one of the Hermann schools brought his family. A bunch of folks from Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources & Science (MANNRS) from Lincoln University came for the morning. They went with Racin’ Dave and Gale and took on the huge Bate’s Island Bend site. They completely filled the boat with trash and loved it.

There were a couple of boatloads of just MRR crew members who went out to clean up. All in all, I think we pulled three refrigerators from the banks. And if you ever want to spend 45 minutes pulling a refrigerator through the river, then find yourself waist deep in the river, heaving the refrigerator into the boat…then go on a trash haul with Jim Karpowicz, Jeff Barrow & Rod Power. Those boys were coming up with ideas that included ropes over trees, carabineers, usning the bow of the boat to “stand” the frig up. After we all stood on the log rack and heaved the frig into the river (we missed the boat), the guys looked at each other and exchanged compliments that said “yeah, we meant to do that”. Well, 45 minutes later, the frig was in the boat and Karp & I were soaking wet.

We did most of the trash haul today. We had planned on doing it tomorrow, but we figured whatever we could haul today would be helpful.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Karp & Liz load a truck tire. photo by Melanie Cheney
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Moving the trash from the work flat up into the trash barge. photo by Alicia Pigg.
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Dragging to the pile. photo by Alicia Pigg.
Dinner was catered by Hermann Catering as a donation to the crew. Theresa Black, the caterer, told Jeff that her son worked on the river but had died in a work-related accident. She wanted to serve us because she felt like she was giving something back.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
The ladies from Hermann Catering donated dinner to us...after they had already catered a 150 person barge tour on the Hermann Sand barge
We had taken the chain at the head of the barge down to help Theresa get the food onto the barge. Well, we forgot to put the chain back up and while we were eating, two different people wandered onto the barge (from Octoberfest) and wanted to “party” with us. Steve was the diplomat that handled both of these situations. One of our surprise visitors was a biologist that had been a boat operator at our cleanups before and was hanging out with friends at Octoberfest.

Dinner was chicken alfredo and apple crisp. Half the crew went for an after dinner moonlight cruise. They called the rest of us and said they landed on an island (“Mel’s Island”, because she took a nap there earlier in the week) and had a campfire lit so we joined them. That’s where we had our pass-the-feather circle. Not a bad ending to a busy but fun-filled week.

Oh yeah…a bunch of us got to take showers today!

Sunday, October 9, 2011
We had a late pancake breakfast today. After a brief meeting about the 340 (which would be starting on Tuesday in Kansas City) we divided & conquered on the rest of the trash haul. It turned out that we had girls against boys. Steve, Habibi, Tim, Jeff & Bernie were in one boat with Mel, her mom Lucie, Gale, Donna & I were in the other group. I’m not sure how much trash was actually hauled by each group, but the girls brought in the biggest piece of trash. It was a huge barrel that was completely smashed in on one side. Let’s just say…it took 7 guys to unload it…but only 4 women to load it!

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
The all girl trash haul with the big crushed tank. Donna, Gale, Jodi & Lucie. photo by Melanie Cheney
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
photo by Alicia Pigg.
After the trash haul, Anthony & Racin’ washed off all the decks. Mel, Steve & John Brady shuttled all the vehicles to Washington. When they came back, they had Captain Mike with them!

Tim made burritos for dinner. We ate on the work deck one last time before the cold sets in. Movin’ out tomorrow!
So long Hermann, it was awesome!
The River Cleanup leaves Hermann. Photo by Alicia Pigg. 

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011

October 5, 2011

Hermann Clean Sweep Oct. 4th-10th

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Missouri River Relief kicked off the Hermann Clean Sweep with 2 days of awesome education events with the Hermann area schools.  Being able to take kids out on the river to actually clean up trash is where it's at!  133 students from St. George Catholic, Hermann Middle School, Owensville Dutchman High School, and Owensville Middle School came out over 2 days to help us clean up the Big Muddy!

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
One of them even caught an Asian Carp! 
Hermann Clean Sweep in the news: 
On Friday, as is typical before a big clean-up on the river, our barge team went out and scouted the river for trashy areas, marking sites with our big blue Stream Team bags, and then set up a booth at the boat ramp on Saturday morning to take people out on the river despite Octoberfest activities going on in down town Hermann.
Lucky for us, a few locals & families showed up at 9 a.m. as well as the Arnold boys (aka the Mighty Stream Team 211 from St. Louis) to help the River Relief crew clean-up.  By 10 a.m., seven Lincoln University students in the MANNRS organization (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences) came out to clean up as well!
In all, 26 people signed up in addition to 20 of Missouri River Relief's "hard core crew" to clean up 14 miles of river!  

Here is the trash tally from the Hermann Clean Sweep:
166 bags of trash
80 yards of orange pvc water pipe
18.5 tires
12 - 55 gallon plastic barrels

3 tire inner tubes Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011

3 propane tanks
2 refrigerators
2 freezers
2 ginormous tanks = to 300 gallons
1 picnic table
1 cable buoy
1 trash can
2 - 10 gallon tubs
1 - 10 lb propane tank
6 chairs
3 fence polesRiver Clean-up Barge
4 heavy chunks of metal
1 panel of corrugated metal
2 - 30 gallon garbage cans
2 rail road spikes
51 metal posts
9 pieces of rebar
26 feet of iron pipe
7 pieces of cable wire
1 disc brake
1 metal gas can
1 wire grate
1 motorcycle helmet
7 - 5 gallon plastic buckets
4 propane tanks
2 coolers
1 hot water heaterHermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
1 tv vacuum tube
1 baseball hat
1 dishwasher shelf
1 plastic swimming pool
1 refrigerator door
1 radiator
1 "do not dig" sign
4-wheeler fender

8 good planks of lumber
2 buoys
1 cow skull
1 huge undergound gas tank (girl team score)
2 hunks o' styrofoam
10 pieces of braided cable
2x5 foot piece of corrugated plastic truck liner
25 feet of erosion control honey comb plastic
1 mop bucket
3 foot round plastic oil tubHermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
1 pesticide sprayer
1 3-gallon paint can
1 message in a blottle
1 plastic scooby ketchup bottle
1 palm tree mylar balloon
1 metal can of car wax

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011