Volume 2 - November 17, 2003

Oh No on the Ohio! by Sue Lockwood

As CC steered I busily set up our floating home.  You can drive the Wanderer from the cabin or the top deck.  The views from the top are glorious.  However, the Wanderer has had a tough maiden voyage! Rains, wind, and engines have been our foes.

After lots of rain, we started downstream happy to have CC’s best buddy Jimbo aboard as a deckhand for a few days. Life was great….heading home to Louisiana wetlands!  In our first few river miles, the massive McAlphine Lock and Dam appeared. This huge structure was built to help boats travel up and down a river that used to have rapids and waterfalls. Our craft dropped 34 feet in this “water elevator” as we held on to big ropes, which kept us from ramming the metal sides.

There are many locks and dams on the Ohio River and 28 of these “water elevators” on the Mississippi River. There is a pecking order going through these manmade contraptions.  Emergency vessels get to go first, and then commercial boats like tugs and barges, next passenger ships, and lastly pleasure boaters. 

The dam holds the water which allows the lock to raise boats up or down. Behind each lock and dam a big pool of water forms. Have you ever dammed up rainwater in a ditch? A big pool of water fills quickly behind your dam. The more rain that falls the deeper your pool gets, right? Well, in Brandenburg, Kentucky we saw this rise of water between 2 dams. Our Wanderer rose over 15 feet in 3 days due to heavy rains!

We stayed there for 3 days because one of the Wanderers two engines failed. This was the right place to break down because the folks here are great. Annie will tell you more about them in her report!

Our problems took days to solve because we needed a vehicle large enough to pull a 48 foot houseboat filled with stuff out of a huge river on to level ground for an engine repair. OH MY!!!!!Greg Tomkins came to the rescue with his 18-wheeler. The truck pulled the Wanderer up and out of the Ohio. Scott Davis came with a forklift to raise the Mercruiser engine, which is under our bedroom floor!

Mechanics Larry Bohn and Bart Bomar saved the day working until midnight to fix a coupler and a few other problems our Wanderer had.  Our Brandenburg adventure gave us the opportunity to share our Marshmission story with many folks that were not aware of Louisiana’s a land loss problems. Even the mayor came help and to see the Wanderer repaired.

We said good-bye to our friends in Brandenburg, Kentucky and continued down the now swollen Ohio River to the next lock. Huge trees and lots of debris created dangerous conditions for the next part of our journey. We drove very carefully for about 8 hours. Guess what happened at the end of our action packed day? The other engine broke down!
We limped into Owensboro, Kentucky where more nice people are helping us!

Have you ever experienced a run of bad luck? Yet every cloud has a silver lining! We have made lots of great friends who will now follow our mission in Louisiana and be spokesmen for our wetlands!


Homo Sapiens

People, people, people ….and water and rain are about all that I have encountered this week on my adventure! I did meet a dog named Max who has a human named Patsy. Patsy is a kind human who gave us  her car for the 3 days when we were stuck in Kentucky! I met Mark, Donna, Bucky, Ron, Larry, Bart, Greg, Scott, Tim, Morris, Troy and so many more of these warm blooded mammals that talk and laugh and hug so much. Humans are everywhere and I hope they realize how fragile our river and wetland habitats are! YOU can be a good human by taking care of the land and water around you. Take it from your marsh M.U.T.T. Annie………….Our earth is worth the effort!


- Locks and dams make rivers predictable and navigable for shipping products and moving people.
- Locks and dams affect the natural condition of a river and the habitats.
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1. Write two paragraphs about a time in your life where you had really bad luck. Don't forget to include the "silver lining"!

2.Write about a time you were helpful to a stranger in need.

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la·gniappe    (ln-yp, lnyp)
2. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit

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L.J. Alleman Middle School asks:
How fast does the water go on the Ohio River and on the Mississippi River?
CC answers: It depends on the volume of water in the river. In the spring, when the water is high, it flows six miles an hour. In the fall, when the water is low, it slows down to two miles per hour.
St. James Episcopal Day School asks:
Have you seen any animal wildlife on this trip down the Mississippi that you did not see on you first trip down river?  If so, what animals have you seen?
CC answers:  Nothing new that was not seen on the Mississippi.  So far we have seen numerous species of ducks and geese, white-tail deer, a beaver and the always present Great Blue Heron.
St. Mary's Nativity School asks:
We are curious about the Wetland Wanderer. Does it have a crew, or do you drive it and do all of the chores? How far do you travel in one day and how long will it take you to reach Louisiana?
Sue answers: Luckily this week we had CC's best buddy Jimbo as a deck hand, normally its just CC and I. We do all the chores and all the driving. We can go 100 to 130 miles per day if we are in a hurry. It was supposed to take us ten days, but due to engine problems it we will take longer than this. Stick with us we will be home soon.
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