La Benite Riverfront Park – Sugar Creek, Missouri – June 1981
Cleg, Eva, Christa, Rick and Tom
Cutouts in the main deck, with media interest
The raft floated on twenty-four 55-gallon sealed oil drums, banded under the frame of the main deck
Mississippi River Raft
Christa priming plywood for the deck
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Christa and Cleg “waterproofing” the cabin
Mississippi River Raft
Tom and Cleg unload plywood for the main deck
Delbert Fischer supplied all the wood to build the raft – for free
Mississippi River Raft
Rick is on the TV
Christa preps the mosquito netting
Telephone poles were used as port and starboard framing under the main deck
Ed and Scott on the drill
PM Magazine
There was no electrical service at the park – volunteers repairing our borrowed generator – we had a lot of help
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Christa is on the TV
Cleg
Raft dimensions: 16ft. x 24ft. main deck
Mississippi River Raft
Ed on the drill
Cleg on the drill
Tom working on cabin framing
Christa and Rick working on the main deck
Since we didn’t have a crane…
Lights, Camera….
Launch – Missouri River
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
The raft was maneuvered by four 10-foot long oars (two 2×4’s nailed together) pivoting from oarlocks attached to the main deck
Mississippi River Raft
Buoys marked the river “channel” where the current is swiftest
Dinner on the river with Ed and Eva
First morning on the river – The Misty Missouri
Mississippi River Raft
We had several visitors on the Fourth of July
Ed’s Constitutional
Christa on a blessedly cool morning
Eva on watch
Chevrolet
Tires, Batteries and Accessories
Fishers seemed drawn to the raft
Tom and Rick on the Fourth of July
Tom Rows
Bill and Eva aboard “Eulenspiegel” at Ste. Genevieve
Catfish for dinner, from a sympathetic fisherman. Our own fish-catching skills left much to be desired.
Fried Catfish
Zen and the Art…
Mississippi River Raft
Getting ready for the tractor pull, Mermann, Missouri
Father and sons at the tractor pull, Hermann, Missouri
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
A few miles north of St. Louis, where the Missouri empties into the Mississippi River, we encountered the Chain of Rocks Canal, in which there is no current. That’s a real problem for a raft with no motor.
So, we needed a tow.
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
You guys are in the papers?
Everything was fine until we popped a cleat.
We had to stop for repair and re-rigging.
We placed ballast at the back of the raft to keep it from nosing down into the water under tow.
Mississippi River Raft
Tom and Bill on a water run
For a crew living on the water, we spent a lot of time and expended a lot of effort looking for water
Eva
Inside the cabin
Sometimes it rained, and most of us, like Jeff and Linda, brought rain gear.
Mississippi River Raft
Lever and wedge
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Ed and Tom going for water
Mississippi River Raft
A ride back to “Eulenspiegel”
That time we got sucked into a chute

Mississippi River Raft
This gentleman nearly sank his boat pulling us out
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
The Mississippi
By the early 1980’s, the interstate highway system had been diverting shipping traffic away from river towns for a couple of decades, and the economic impact was manifest in ghostly downtowns scattered up and down the river.
Mississippi River Raft
Fisher near sunset
Jeff in rain gear
Cairo, Illinois
We met a family in Louisiana
They towed us up to their property
Mississippi River Raft
Jeff and Ed, up top
Before drones
Christa’s transistor radio was our link to the world. The Royal Wedding, the Air Traffic Controller’s strike, the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor, and “Jessie’s Girl.”
Orris Theater, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
We got to meet a lot of nice folks
Mississippi River Raft
Bridge View
Mississippi Delta Sunday Morning
Into the Delta
Mississippi River Raft
Deshotel’s Service Station
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
The tugs knew to watch for us
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Destination New Orleans
Mississippi River Raft
This is L’Étoile du Nord, and her crew, Lance and Mitch, who put in at the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota.
Lance had given up his law practice to build a raft and take up life on the river.
Mitch
L’Étoile du Nord and Eulenspiegel traveled together between the states of Louisiana and Mississippi, until we reached the confluence with the Red River. Lance and Mitch headed up the Red River, and we continued on toward New Orleans.
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Blue Marquee
Emptying Out
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Jeff’s morning drink
As we approached New Orleans, we ran into more tugs and had the chance to meet their crew.
Mississippi River Raft
I hope the City of Baytown had a successful Cable Satellite Day
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Mississippi River Raft
Jeff tying up

Tom at the launch cite in LaBenite Park, Sugar Creek, Missouri – July, 2021

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