I’m not going to be building a raft to carry out my idea, but in some ways it WILL have a shantyboat flavor. The boat I’m proposing to use for the following is going to have a homemade cabin/shelter. It’s not meant to be a FOREVER craft but designed to perform a specific task which is to take a small boat from Minneapolis to Mobile via the Upper Mississippi and the Tennessee Tombigbee.
I have a Go Fund Me page, here if anyone would like to donate to the cause: https://www.gofundme.com/one-more-good-adventure
Go Fund Me Story —
ONE MORE GOOD ADVENTURE
All my life I’ve dreamed up off-the-wall adventures. Like riding coast-to-coast on a moped. Didn’t happen. Or maybe buying a used pickup truck camper insert, sticking a pair of pontoons under it and circumnavigate the eastern United States. That’s called “The Great Loop.” Didn’t happen that way, but as a yacht captain I did “The Loop” in two stages; ’74 and ’75 and was PAID to do it! I always wanted to sail across an ocean and in ’91 I did. From Antibes, France (between Cannes and Nice) to Fort Lauderdale, FL. There have been other crazy ideas, too, but your getting the idea.
I’m 74 years old. Had a heart attack ten years ago and now I carry three stents in my coronary arteries. My fingers are gnarled with arthritis. AND I have severe COPD. BUT there are still some whack-o schemes I’d like to pull off. With just a monthly Social Security deposit, I’m asking for help to accomplish this one.
Everyone who’s read Huckleberry Finn has to have dreamed of floating on The Big Muddy. I did at a college on the river’s banks about 30 miles north of Hannibal. As part of the Great Loop I did the lower part of the river from Alton, IL, to New Orleans but there’s that long stretch between Minneapolis and Alton I’d like to close.
What I’m wishing for is funding to buy a small outboard-powered boat. Perhaps an aluminum Jon boat or fiberglass runabout. We’re not talking “yacht” here, folks, we’re talking about accomplishing a goal on the cheap. I’d need some sort of shelter from the elements. I’ve thought about buying a used pickup camper cap and mounting it on the boat or building a cabin out of 1X2s and lightweight luan plywood. With fifteen years of repair and restoration work on boats under my belt I can do this. Slowly because of the COPD, but I can do it.
Having done the lower river I’d veer left at the Ohio River and take the Tennessee Tombigbee to Mobile, AL and the Gulf of Mexico. That route was only in the talking stages back in ’75. Most nights I’d anchor or beach the boat on an island, not just to keep costs down, but because I like the tranquility being “on the hook” offers.
There’s also a lot of miscellaneous gear like a camp stove and cooking utensils, foul weather togs, a hand-held VHF radio to talk to lock masters, anchors, fenders, rope, etc. that I’d need. I hope to raise $5,000 for the venture.
Part of this idea, which I’d document along the way, is to convince people with similar health problems not to confine themselves to an easy chair. If I get enough funding to do this, whatever money is left at the end of the trip will be donated to the American Lung Association. If I don’t raise enough money by winter’s end I will donate what has been raised to the same cause.