When we left Silkie’s Crows Nest marina, the guy who let us use the ramp said “You been here a week and you ain’t left Sharpsburgh yet. This three or four month trip of yours is gonna take you three or four years!” Well, now we are in Portsmouth, Ohio, 362 miles south of Sharpsburgh. That means we’re traveling an average of 10.34 miles a day. At that rate we will make it to New Orleans 158 days from now, around March 11th.
Sam and I would be quite broke and in need of chiropractic care well before that point. Probably some psychiatric care as well.
The problem isn’t that our boat is unsafe or that we didn’t plan well ahead of time for the expedition. I’ve been planning the trip for almost a year, building the boat for eight months and fundraising since May. But we barely finished putting the boat together when we got hit by the hurricane flooding in Sharpsburgh, our primary motor died after a week, and as a result we keep having to spend two days to a week on shore as we get motors fixed or make changes to the boat to make it lighter and more maneuverable.
Out of 35 days, we’ve been stuck on shore due to weather or motor problems 21 of those days. Our average when we’re actually moving is 25.85 miles per day, and we’ve had a few days in which we have travelled more than 40. This includes the time we’ve spent locking through more than half the locks on the Ohio, which can take some time out of our day and necessitate stopping as well as slowing down the river’s current.
At that rate we will make it to New Orleans in 55 days, or around December 5th, which is actually about five days before I had originally planned to arrive.
So, everything hinges on getting the motor fixed or getting a new motor that runs.
Even if the motor only works until we get to the Mississippi, I’d be happy to stay close to shore, row for steering, and float with the current for propulsion. But we cannot go through the remaining 9 locks on the Ohio without a motor, at least not with the boat in its current length.
If we cannot get our current motor working, or find a replacement, within a few days, we are going to basically cut the boat down to half it’s size, get rid of all equipment and tools except bare essentials, use the trolling motor for emergency power, and propel the boat, basically, by oar.
The upside to that plan is that we will save on gas and we will look like Arnold Schwarzenegger by the time we get to Louisiana.
This trip is turning into a rehash of my adventures on the Hudson, except the seven boats and five years from those expeditions are all crammed into one, this time.
By the way, this was supposed to be a book tour, so I’ll put a plug in here. My books are called “Coming of Age on the Hudson” and there are two volumes, but they are quick reads. There are pictures. Just make sure you buy the blue copy on Amazon, not the yellow one.