Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ONE OF 2010 EXCITING PLANS: Can You Say Shanty Boat?

BEAUTIFUL OHIO, IN DREAMS AGAIN I SEE, SWEET DREAMS OF WHAT USED TO BE. I was reared along side the Ohio River. I cannot recall at what age I started to play in this beautiful stream. That experience has influenced my entire life.

I was in the Sea Scouts. I joined the Navy at age 17. I was always going to the "Point" in Point Pleasant, WV where the Great Kanawha enters the Ohio and saying "some day I'll go down that river". Since my retirement I have, three times.

Harland Hubbard from Kentucky made a shanty boat trip down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers when I was a youngster. His book, "Shanty Boat, a River Way of Life" has and still inspires would be shanty boaters.
Although his book was a "page turner", I am not misled by his adventure. A shanty boat is not designed for making trips, although it is possible. I mostly plan to just enjoy being on the water in relative comfort and safety, transporting the boat to and from the rivers on a boat trailer which I own.
I like canoes. I made my first wilderness canoe expedition in 1963 and have no idea how many times I have gone to the end of roads in North America, pointed the canoe north and started to paddle.

Boats, boats and more boats. At the families lakeside retreat there is a canoe, a jon boat, a paddle boat and a sail boat. I am certainly not up to sailing anymore. It is tough getting into and out of a canoe, too. The jon boat is an old Ohio River Lock boat, probably 80-90 years old. It is in bad shape and needs to be made into firewood. The family still uses the paddle boat and canoe and they are in good shape. I plan to sell the sail boat this year, keeping the trailer.

When I was a child a Shanty Boat on the river was a common sight. They provided the poorest of the poor with a place to live with an at hand food source. Yes, fish, but also the first two rows of a farmer's corn, or what have you, was considered fair game for the shanty boater. No taxes or other financial demands were made upon these folks, and not much good was expected from them. Being called a "shanty boater" was not usually a compliment.

I am planning to have a shanty boat, actually a shanty river raft, built for me this upcoming year. Why a "raft" instead of a boat? Boats are complicated to build and they leak. Rafts are quite simple and they just "float".
I would love a few weeks on the Ohio River and maybe a month or so on a southern river during the winter time. Not going anywhere much, just being in a beautiful spot on the water, maybe the mouth of Old Town Creek where the flat headed catfish are plentiful and grow huge.

In1939 Sears put out the plans for a 8x12 River Raft with a 7x7 Shanty on it. That is just a wee bit small. Not much, but a little. I'd like an 8x16 River raft with a 7x11 Shanty. I have two sources of builders who will work reasonably. I have a lot of the materials and will start to accumulate the rest this week.

I have a wood/coal burning stove. I have a few nautical kerosene lamps but need more and will enjoy getting them. I already have about everything I need to furnish a small shanty for comfortable living for one, or two, for short periods. I understand the workings of the river, too.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW THE "REAL" ATTRACTION TO BEING A SHANTY BOATER? Check out this picture and use your imagination. HA HA. Un Huh. Click on the raft plans above and note the two lovely ladies skinny dipping. Yeah!

Then, too, I'll need to start accumulating food. What shall I have on my shanty boat? Something practical, huh?

WILL THIS DREAM EVER COME TO PASS? Who knows? But ask yourself, "what NEW, DIFFERENT OR EXCITING do you have planned for 2010? Right now I can hardly walk, but that's right now. In the future I hope to hop, skip and dance again!

If it does get built I've known for years my next boat would be christened the DELANEY ROSE. Maybe just "Rosebud". The Shanty Boat ROSEBUD. Sounds great!

God Bless


richard said...

i donot understand USA citizens.Why have an unpayable house in a suburb in stead of a shantyboat??
I live in Asia now Before after divorce my lady got the house I drifted in a 21 ft sailboat.
It is easy to accept foodstamps, not easy to maintain a boat. FREEDOM

mirabelle said...

Great post, I love the pictures you included! It made me want a little boat.