VOLTRON UNITE!!!

The boats are all tied together and we call it Voltron. (yeah after the cartoon with robot tigers that fuse together to become a big honkin robo-dude) Voltron is awesome, we look like a floating junk city, plus we save gas.

Anyway, we spent a few days outside of Louisiana, MO practicing our new show.

Pulled into town and docked just after the designated waterfront area in a scrappy stand of trees. Built an exceedingly wobbly bridge out of completely uneven driftwood to get on the boats. Somebody saw our shotty work, lent us his aluminum construction scaffold, and then went home and built us our own super-swank-mega functional plank! It folds in half! Thank you!! Guys from Thomas motors, you rock, brought us water and helped us cart it over our original super-crappy walkway. And that old man with the cake, i love ya. He even brought us cookies later and i wanted to marry him.

We rocked out hard at La Salles to their antique radio jukebox.

When John did Axl Rose and the disco ball started spinning, it was like prom all over again.

Louisiana was sweet to us, and daybreak donuts kept us stuffed with sugar. We were going to do a show next to the shop in an empty lot. Instead, the forecast foreboded rain, so we cleared it with the blue heron cafe and did the show there. Big turnout, and a fun time. We did a shadow puppet show and a bunch of our crew played songs. A classic rockaway performance.

Next day the river was fast and full of wood due to some big storms upstream. An embarrassing ‘exit’ as the town waved goodbye to us from shore, we couldn’t drop the motors cause of all the debris, and the speedy current swooshed back to land. We went about

500 ft. that day.

No wonder its taking so long to get to New Orleans.

An angel bailed us out the next morning, or rather towed us out with his boat.

Pulled out our floating city of Voltron, and we were let go into a gushing river of lumber.

When the Mississippi is angry it lets you know, and we spent the day fending off the huge logs from crashing into us. (we call this procedure “log show”:)

A log jammed our rudders and broke the steering cables just as we entered the lock. Spinning around in the lock we were a dysfunctional circus, and received a (at least half sarcastic) round of applause when we finally got our boat cinched to the wall. Clarksville was immediately after the lock, and with our rudders still craptastic we performed a hasty crash landing.

Clarksville!!!

Peoples hospitality is amazing and we were welcomed with a BBQ (thanks Ray!), showers and access to a pool! Some crew who had been ahead to visit St.Louis came back with exciting stories and a crazy adorable kitten! Raft Cat!! With nothing but word of mouth advertising we again drew a big turnout. Things went fairly hitchless (thanks for the mike) until just as we were wrapping up the show with a slow heartfelt tune- yelling, anger and drama, a fight breaks out in the back of the crowd! Nothing to do with us, so i wont dwell on its terribleness any longer, but it was quite a finale.

We spent another day in Clarksville and someone brought us these giant cookies.

Whoever you are, i love you.

The current still racing got us quite a ways fast, and also slammed us into another bunch of trees. No land to walk on, the flood was a t least 10 ft. above usual. we all agreed we couldn’t keep traveling with the river like this,so we waited a day. And a day. And a day. And a day. On the fourth day of just being on the rafts, no land, the stir craziness was getting thick and we were definitely out of whiskey. Playing scrabble was just getting annoying.

So, we pushed off and luckily found the river much calmer. Even went through the next lock with not too much trouble. We docked in a gorgeous spot with bluffs, trees, and- land!

A few of us did jigs.

Another day of travel, this time with a visit from the coast guard. I think we had to convince them that we are trying hard to not end up a bloody schmear they have to clean up from the bottom of a barge. They were nice, had good advice and warned us intensely about the “chain of rocks canal”. This is the very ominous sounding and deadly dangerous stretch of river above St.Louis. It is level ten of a video game where you have to fight the big boss who has thirty arms and shoots fireballs from his eyes. Except (duh.)) in this video game you can die. Its not a big deal for regular boaters, but we are huge and not always reliably maneuverable. Another junk rafter lost his boat and nearly his life last year in this canal.

So we gotta dial in our systems and have a super tight plan.

Maybe we can have someone tow us through?

We will see.

We docked just outside Alton, pretty much on the side of the road.

Cars were pulling over all the time to check us out, and i thought we might cause a wreck.

On a skiff run to scope other docking spot, an Asian carp jumped into the boat!

Wendel clubbed it, and Gabe made it into great soup for lunch. This brings us to the present,

we moved the boat to a muddy rocky wall on the other side of the Alton Marina, kinda sucks, there’s absolutely no road access. We will probably try and move to a better spot soon. Got another visit from the Coast Guard today, and to make sure we aren’t headed for being that bloody schmear, they are asking us to do some maneuverability test before the next lock. Alexis and Tracy who have been driving recently are excited to show off their skills.

We are going to do a show here in Alton, but we’ve gotta figure out where we will do it, and where to park our boats. Thanks to all the wonderful people we’ve met here so far, your kindness and stories are really appreciated.

Kisses.