Now that we are living in our travel trailer we are noticing our ideas about conventional housing becoming less and less strict. We seem to find a housing opportunity at ever corner. From campers to tents, beach cottages to safari tents, and tee-pees to yurts, it seems like every structure has the ability to be a habitable dwelling. That said what might be next for the Tiny r(E)volution family?
“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book–a book that was a dead language to the uneducated passenger, but which told its mind to me without reserve, delivering its most cherished secrets as clearly as if it uttered them with a voice. And it was not a book to be read once and thrown aside, for it had a new story to tell every day.
~ Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi, Ch. 9
Life on the Mississippi. Now I can’t say this is definitely what we are aiming for and I can’t even say that the womenfolk in the r(E)v fam are game. But I can say that I am lobbying hard. and why not? The Mississippi River is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States (though its drainage basin reaches into Canada), it rises in northern Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for 2,340 miles to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Throughout history it has been home to hunter-gatherers, Native Americans, mound builders, early European immigrants, and other people groups. It played a huge part in the westward expansion of America. It rich and fertile shores laid backdrop for the steamboat era. During the Civil War its capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory because of its role as a route of trade and travel. And as America grew and progressed through the 20th century it became the home of massive engineering works such as levees, dams, locks, and hydro-power facilities. Imagine the lessons to be learned and the history to be touched by our family.
After some research and some recommendations from a few folks such as Mike Boyink (whose family did this trip two years ago) I have narrowed our option down to S & S Houseboat Rentals in Lansing, Iowa. In business since 1960 they offer several different houseboats (divided into four classes) that are all clean, fully equipped, modern, and safe. I am leaning heavily at the Party Top Sharpe Houseboat which features 4 private bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, a living area with eat in dining room space, a 14′ party deck up top, and a state-of-the-art wheelhouse. At $3432.00/week it is not the least expensive adventure but it is certainly an incredible opportunity.
So why 4 bedrooms when there is only three of us? It seems only fitting to enjoy this chapter in life with both sets of our parents. Having 3 generations of a family cruising down the Mississippi sharing stories, swimming, fishing, enjoying a fire on a beachfront, and sharing meals, just seems incredibly worth the investment.
At this point the question must be asked. Do I know anything about boats? Can I drive one? Do I even know what a rudder is? The answer is a resounding no. But in 2010 I didn’t know how to build a house and we know how that worked out. A year ago I didn’t know how to empty a blank tank or a grey tank or what a stabilizer bar was. Now I am handling all like a seasoned pro. Coupled with the fact that to rent from S & S you don’t have to be an experienced boat operator. Prior to departure, we’ll receive hands-on experience operating the houseboat on a check-out cruise. Our private instructor will acquaint me/us with the operation of the boat and the navigational charts that are provided. A free introductory video is also available ahead of time upon request.
So tell us. What do you think? Are we crazy or are we heading toward an adventure of a lifetime?