THE OLD MAN AND THE RIVER II

5/29/2022  

William Turst walked around his newly purchased ski boat with the explicit thought of driving that fiberglass floater, not to New Orleans, which is nothing more than a catch basin for the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, but rather to Vicksburg, Mississippi. He then planned on selling it cheap like the old pioneers of Kentucky and would make his way home on the Natchez Trace in a rental car. Further research revealed that the Feds did not want recreational traffic on the Mississippi River after Memphis. All the existing marinas south of that city had been taken out, forcing boaters to traverse the Tennessee/Tombigbee River system to reach the Gulf of Mexico. This alternative did not appeal to Bill, nor did living on a 20′ ski boat for 10 plus days, so Mr. Turst had a brilliant idea of launching at Dubuque, Iowa and going upstream to Red Wing, Minnesota. Why Bill never won a commonsense contest was a mystery, but his decision put him in an extremely scenic bluff infested section of the Mississippi; but uphill? Bill always did it his way: hard. And so, it was decided. Navigational pamphlets were read, and maps studied as he planned his mid-June departure. The only thing missing was a river ready, floating, human hauler with ample fuel capacity. Thus, a boat remodeler was born. First to go was the bling, as all the bucket and bench seats hit the dumpster. The captain’s chair was replaced with a Peterbilt air-ride seat to smooth out all the bumps on the wave infested river. Next, a bed/storage compartment was built with any cubby hole space used for mandatory equipment such as safety supplies, extra gas containers, and a cooler. An electric trolling motor and dual marine batteries were purchased to get a stranded boat out of the path of an immovable barge that plied those waters. Finally, a Bimini top was constructed to keep any passengers out of the weather. The craft was christened the GIMPY GUPPY and she was tested for her maiden voyage. 

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