The Missouri River has a bad reputation. It is dangerous and polluted. There are barges and snags and flying carp. It is full of unknowns and very few people. It is also full of wonder and beauty. It is full of potential for adventure. For one week in August 2016, I floated the Missouri between Nebraska City and Kansas City in search of inspiration, meaning, and adventure. Like artist-explorers from the past, I recorded this experience and landscape along the way, with the intention of rediscovering this often overlooked stretch of river and bringing awareness to its important place in our region and history. Snacks on the River is a series of works on paper that grew out of this experience. While serving as a record of the journey, they exemplify my own struggle between the comfortable consumption of entertainment and a longing for actual experience and meaning. Snacks on the River reflects both.
*While this show references and relates to the experience of Lewis and Clark, it is by no means a historically accurate re-enactment of their journey or in any way a history lesson. Rather, this is an adventure for the present that uses a reference to the past as a catalyst for engagement. The intention is show people how to have a true adventure in their local environment and what that can look like.
*** NEWS / PHOTOS / PROCESS / UPDATES ***
River Adventure 2016: Nebraska City to Kansas City (~200 miles)
Day 1: Nebraska City boat ramp. Thanks Pat and Doug for the car assistance and send off!
Nebraska City bridge. I'm off into the unknown...
Found a great sand bar on the Iowa or Missouri side. I'm not sure quite where I am.
The coyotes woke me up in the middle of the night.
Day 2: This is right before the wind really picked up. It's amazing how fast things can change on the water.
I have no photos of the really scary times for good reason.
Old Army Corps Dredger at Brownville, NE
Nuclear power plant ahead!
Brownville Nuclear Station. One of six power plants I would pass.
Barge of rocks for the Army Corps of Engineers
Day 3: Campsite near Amazonia, MO
Day 4: A little morning landscape painting before hitting the river
Old pivot bridge at St. Joseph, MO
Charging and drying near Weston, MO. Fort Leavenworth is on the other side of the river.
While painting, someone started target practice very close behind me. It was over 100 degrees that day.
I didn't want to meet that person so I got the heck out soon after.
Day 6: Best campsite of the trip. My own private sand bar island right on a bend in the river.
Approaching Kansas City
Final destination: Kaw Point. Confluence of the Kansas and Missouri rivers.
2015 Apple Jack Parade in Nebraska City
It may not be river-ready, but it was 'parade-ready' for sure.
Some people thought I was a pirate. Others thought I was Noah...
Thank you Elizabeth, Mark, and Jordan for all the help!
Boat won "most creative" prize!
In the summer of 1804, the famous Corps of Discovery, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark, made their way up the Missouri River on a large, wooden keelboat. They were on a mission to explore the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase, find a route across the continent, and establish an American presence in the area. They were on an adventure that would last nearly 3 years.
In the summer of 2016, another boat will make a presence on the Missouri River. It will be modeled on the keelboat used by the Corps of Discovery in 1804. However, this keelboat will be made from cardboard. It will float by Kansas City in either late summer or early fall or maybe even the following spring (depending on boat building progress).
While this adventure references and relates to the experience of Lewis and Clark, it is by no means a historically accurate re-enactment of their journey or in any way a history lesson. It's purpose is to have a true adventure and to build a great cardboard boat while rediscovering the now often overlooked and underappreciated Missouri River.
*Note: Although I ran out of time to actually float the cardboard boat this summer, I am going to do it...It is going to happen some day!