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

No comments: