October 3, 2011

Big Muddy Clean Sweep Log Book Vol. 2 - Jefferson City Mooring

diligently recorded by Jodi Pfefferkorn

The second batch entries in the Log, recording our adventures moored in Jefferson City. The barge team continues getting the barges ready for living and working while more crew gathers to get ready for the Jefferson City Clean-up and Race to the Dome on Saturday & Sunday. The Clean Sweep and the barge have finally met up!

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 
River Cleanup Barge - Jefferson City mooring
photo from the bridge by Bernie Arnold
Early morning wake up for everyone except for Jeff. He was out like a light until 0900 when Habibi finally woke him.
Steve ate breakfast with his computer in front of him. Things are just that busy. We certainly wouldn’t be here without the tireless efforts of Steve, Mel & Jeff.

While I took a can of WD-40 & a bag of rags into the engine room to try to cut down some of the diesel soot, the guys set about moving our small work flat to the back of the house barge. Then they loaded up the propane tanks & headed into Jeff City to fill them.

Habibi stayed behind to get started on the “Great Sand Removal of 2011” After I emerged from the engine room looking like a chimney sweep, I joined Habibi. We monkeyed around with a water pump for a while before finally settling on a system which resembled shelving coal into a furnace. We worked ourselves silly then took a watermelon break.

Jeff, Anthony & Racin’ got back from their propane run (which was a fiasco in & of itself) at 1600. By this time Habibi & I were very exhausted, dehydrated & sun-stupid from shoveling sand all day. But we all rallied to unload the propane tanks, scarfed down some sub sandwiches which Lee Diekroeger brought for us, then packed into the “Jimmy” to head back to Columbia to load the box truck for Saturday’s cleanup (Anthony stayed behind to take care of things on the barge).

We dropped Racin’ off at his van because he’s off the barge for a few days to take care of some things. Then we were mad schlepping fools.

Back on board the barge by 2045. Anthony grilled brats and rocked a mad kitchen overhaul & reorganization. We came back and helped Jeff with the schedule of events for the next 30 days. Better get some rest now, because there doesn’t seem to be and sleep in the schedule…

Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 
Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
photo by Bernie Arnold
Took DNR employees out for a morning on the river. They were mostly clerical workers & this was a chance for them to get out of the office and get on the river that flows beneath their building.
We took all three plate boats. Steve, Anthony and Habibi all drove boats. I was Habibi’s first mate. The whole outing was organized by Joe Engeln. We drove the boats about 5 miles upstream & tied them together then Joe stood on the bow of his boat and educated his fellow DNR workers about the Missouri River. They seemed to really enjoy it.

Steve & Jeff took management level employees out in the afternoon. This was more of a floating meeting for them, covering topics they might have discussed around a conference table but this time in boats.

Josh Pennington stopped by after lunch. He, Anthony & I motored upriver past Claysville Island to take a tour of the sand dredge moored up there. The dredge wasn’t in operation, so we explored Claysville island where we found a cool zippo lighter and a maglight. Both of them worked! We also accidentally discovered a great trash site for Saturday’s clean-up.

Friday, September 30, 2011 
Today was the big “Jeff City Cleanup Prep Day” Jeff got the morning kicked off right with scrambled eggs, bacon & fried potatoes for breakfast. That was the kind of energy we needed to put up the Flying Nun kitchen tent for the crew camp. How many river rats does it take to figure out an angle? I think it’s safe to say none of us retained anything we learned in high school geometry but we got ‘er up and she’s flying proudly. The Flying Nun is made from a semi-trailer tarp stretched over a frame made from scrap metal tubing (a Racin’ Dave design from 2004).
Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
The Flying Nun - photo by Brian Waldrop

Habibi had the great idea to tie a banner with the MRR logo to it. Now people don’t have to ask “Who are you guys?” Instead, they ask “What does Missouri River Relief do?”

Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
Upstream scout - photo by Bernie Arnold
A quick lunch of sandwiches at the boat ramp, then the scout began. Racin’, John Brady and Gale peeled off to set up the propane system for the fridge. Mel, Anthony & Craig scouted downstream & Habibi, Bernie & I went up. An abandoned homeless camp, a few log jams filled with bottles and the occasional tire were what we found. Plenty to keep a bunch of volunteers busy Saturday morning.

By the time we got back, our crew was starting to arrive. Soda Popp fried catfish – the best darn fried fish any of us have had – and so began the evening. A Lengthy pow-wow around the fire for the clean-up and Race to the Dome. Then it was foshee flying time. It turned into an early evening because of the early wake up call for the clean-up.

Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
Before the meeting - photo by Bernie Arnold

Saturday, October 1, 2011 – 
Today was the Jeff City Clean-up. We sent out over 140 volunteers and had about 30 crew members on hand.

Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
Veteran river cleaners - photo by Steve Schnarr
We rocked and got a good system for loading trash onto the barge.

Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up 10-01-11
Hauling one big honking tire onto the work flat - photo by Melanie Cheney
Austrailian through paddler
Back to the river - photo by Brian Waldrop
After the clean-up we were standing on the ramp drinking beers when a kayaker coming off the river asked us if we knew Steve. It turns out he was an Australian who had kayaked from Montana. He stayed for dinner but headed out after that. We asked him to stay the night but he needed to put on a few more miles for the day – he had to catch a flight home in St. Louis in just a few days.

New crew members that we had today were Jason (who operated a boat for MDC- Chillicothe shop), Kris and their awesome little boys, Isaac, Ethan & Avery. Jason works for MDC & was one of their boat drivers. He decided to bring his family along & they had a blast. We hope they come back for more!

Sunday - October 2, 2011 
Today was Race to the Dome. Mel trailered one plate boat to the Providence Access and Steve & Joe Englen were the sweep boat for the 26 mile race. Bernie trailered another plate boat to Hartsburg and Habibi & Jeanne were the sweep boat for the 15-mile race. John Brady & I waited for the fog to burn off. Then we took the 150 upriver and met the racers as they were coming down.

2nd Annual Race to the Dome 10-02-11
Hartsburg start to Race to the Dome - photo by Bernie Arnold
Racin’ & Gale & Anthony stayed on the barge and busted ass with cleaning and organizing. When we returned from safety boating we were blown away by the difference. Then everyone rallied to break down camp and schlep stuff to the barge. Tim Nigh moved in to be our cook and he set to work getting the galley in order.

Barge Transit from Jeff City to Hermann
Fixing the rigging -photo by Steve Schnarr
Habibi arrived in Hermann to pick up Capt. Mike Hanlin. Captain Mike has been the pilot for Living Lands & Waters since they got their first barge (and their tow boat was a Vietnam era push boat with a John Deere tractor cab stuck up on stilts for a wheelhouse. He happily offered to push us downstream for the Big Muddy Clean Sweep. Once a week he would come and move us on downstream to our next location then head home to East Moline, IL.

As soon as he stepped aboard he put us to work moving rigging around so we could move the towboat. It didn’t last long because as soon as Capt. Mike fired up the engines, we discovered that something was jamming up the starboard engine. Capt. Mike mumbled some curse at the Missouri River.

After a bit of standing around, poking around, and a dip in the water by Racin’, we deduced that we needed different tools, but it was too late to go the JCRT yard, so we chowed down on ham and bacon soup that Tim whipped up. It was good eatin’!

After dinner, Habibi, Jeff, Tim and I went to Lee’s to take showers. Did ya’ hear that?...Showers!!! Quote of the day! Jeannie Kuntz referred to the Capital dome as “the ‘space nipple’ where aliens come down and…”

Monday, October 3, 2011 
Racin’ made an early morning run to the Jeff City River Terminal to get a pipe wrench & some extension pipes. He used the wrench to try to loosen the shaft of the starboard engine. Whatever was jammed between the prop & hull was jammed pretty good.

At different points in the morning, Habibi, Tim & I found ourselves standing on the pipe wrench extensions. The wrench itself was attached to the shaft of a 600 HP diesel engine. Racin’ was manually revving the engine. This caused whoever was standing on the pipe wrench to bounce up & down while holding onto anything in the engine room to keep from getting bucked off. But hey…it worked! The log popped out & the shaft spun freely.

As the culprit drifted downriver, we all flipped it the bird and bid it fare-fxxxxxg well.

Once the log was free we were able to pull up to the boat ramp and take on water. The Jeff City Fire Dept. brought a truck and crew down and filled our tanks for us! We were under way by 1215 & heading in the right direction (downstream) for the first time this trip.
Leaving Jefferson City
We pull away from the ramp and head downstream - photo by Joe Wilson
Steve & Habibi trailered a plate boat and peeled away to pick up the trash from the Mokane Clean-up on Saturday. Going downstream is much quicker than going up, and we were able to average 9-10 mph. This meant that any time a plate boat departed or returned the barge had to slow down. Capt. Mike was happy to comply.

Did I mention how cool Captain Mike is? A world class gentleman for sure. He’s a patient rigging instructor & a fun guy to joke around with on the radio.

Leaving the Missouri River
We were lucky to have the most experienced river cleanup towboat pilot ever - Mike Hanlin
We arrived in Hermann at 1700. Steve & Jeff met us in a plate boat with a reporter and camerawoman from the Washington newspaper. We finished tying off by 1800 & Capt. Mike immediately left. He was itching to start his 4 & a half hour ride home to Illinois.

Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
We pull into a perfect little spot at the Hermann ramp - photo by Steve Schnarr
Tim grilled up some rockin brats he’d bought at a shop in Hermann. Perfect!

 Quick Links
Hermann Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2011
Sunrise over Hermann - photo by Bernie Arnold

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