Victoria kept a daily ship’s log of her houseboat honeymoon down the Mississippi River from St. Paul to New Orleans in the fall of 1931. The log consisted of dozens of 3 x 5 index cards, one for each day of the voyage, each handwritten in her intricate, cursive script.

She hung onto it the rest of her life. The log was in a container of possessions Champ inherited when Victoria died. This log planted the seed that led to Spifflicated.

Before I started writing, I made some notes after some of the entries. They’re below the respective log entry, in italics.  


NO.: 1
DATE: Thursday, October 15, 1931
DEPARTED: Fort Snelling, 11 a.m.
ARRIVED: Pine Bend Landing, 5 p.m.
DISTANCE: 20 miles
RUNNING TIME: 4 hours
SPEED: 5 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Very good – light N.W. wind
GAS: 12 gal., $1.85 + 1 gal. ker.
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: horn & pliers 1.85
MISCEL: Film & lunch $1.04

REMARKS:
We left the McMunn dock at 11:00 a.m. and laid over at the St. Paul Boat Club for 2 hours to go shopping in the loop. We shoved off again at 2 p.m. and everyone there wished us well and a pleasant journey. We had extraordinarily beautiful scenery on the way – particularly noticeable at sunset time. Found a landing place just before dark.

P.S. Have an overabundance of files in our cabin – Ell says that they must like us!   

Surrounded by misery (the Great Depression...) but they were inordinately happy. Newlywed luster. Everything’s shiny and new. Bonita is Spanish for “pretty.” It’s Victoria’s middle name, Victoria Bonita Maday. How in the world did Tom (Stanislaus) and Agnes Maday come up with “Bonita” for the middle name of their middle child? How did it enter Vic and Ell’s imagination to name the boat Bonita? Homage to his bride?


NO.: 2
DATE: Friday, October 16, 1931
DEPARTED: Pine Bend Landing, 8:15 a.m.
ARRIVED: Diamond Bluff, Wisconsin, 4:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 24 miles
RUNNING TIME: 4 hours
SPEED 6 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Very good – medium north wind
GAS: 1 gal. (hi test for stove) @ .25 cents
OIL: 1 qt. @ .25 cents
MAINTENANCE: Our boat looked about the size of a tomato can sitting there in the locks, but it withstood the wind very well.

REMARKS:
We left dock reasonably early this morning in order to make the Hastings Docks in time, but we got there about 10:15, so we had to wait for them. It was quite a novel experience for both of us – going through the locks. They lowered the water 18 feet before letting us out. We lay over at Hastings until 2:15 to go down “town” for a few more supplies. Below Hastings, the current seems to be much stronger and we made better time. Perhaps the St, Croix Rv. Helped that along too. It came in at Prescott, Wis. The bluffs seem to be more beautiful as we go along.

They are poking along... 5 mph... 6 mph... for Ell who is used to wide-open motorcycle speeds, this may manifest itself in one of two ways: He’s pissed, irritable, restless and discontent. Or he’s enjoying the slow (we’re in no hurry) pace. They go past where the St. Croix River dumps into the Mississippi.


NO.: 3
DATE: Saturday, October 17, 1931
DEPARTED: Diamond Bluff, Wis., 9:35 a.m.
ARRIVED: Wabasha, Minn., 5:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 40 mi.
TIME: 7 hr.
SPEED: 5 5/7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Heavy fog early A.M. – from 9 A.M. perfect
GAS: 5 gal @13.7    .69 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: Fish hooks, line, battery, etc. $1.25

REMARKS:
Waited for heavy fog to lift this morning so we didn’t leave dock till quite late. From then on we had absolutely perfect weather. We docked at Red Wing for an hour to see Roxy Nelson and then headed for the lake. Neither of us had ever seen so many ducks in one bunch as we saw on the lake. Ell took a shot and killed 2 but only retrieved one. Perfect scenery along the lake and we went from shore to shore. Quite a current from on the river immediately below the lake. This is the greatest sport I know.

Victoria’s clearly having fun. "This is the greatest sport I know" – through all of her 19 years’ experience in rural Minnesota. They’re stopped on the other side of the river from where the Chippewa River spills into the Mississippi. Up the Chippewa and you’re in Eau Claire, Ell’s birthplace and where he grew up.


NO.: 4
DATE: Sunday, October 18, 1931
DEPARTED: Wabasha, Minn. 12:15 P.M.
ARRIVED: Winona, Minn. 5:30 p.m.
DISTANCE: 35 mi.
TIME: 5:15 hr
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear and strong So. wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: supper (supplies?) .55 cents
MISCEL:
REMARKS:
Our duck dinner was very, very good, if I do say so myself. We met Edgar Thomas, Skipper of Capt’n Dingle Port of Wabasha, whom we had previously met in St. Paul this spring. Had a nice visit with him. He also was on the “North Star” the Mayo’s (Mayor’s?) boat when we took our St. Teresan excursion. The wing (wind?) was quote strong today and made sailing fairly rough. We headed straight into the wind most of the time, but it was heaps of fun anyway. Called Mary Garry already.

So they met Cap’n Dingle the previous spring in St. Paul. And they took a “St. Teresan excursion” sometime prior to this trip. Since Victoria went to college at St. Teresa’s Catholic College in Winona, maybe this refers to a bunch of college girls piling on the North Star for “an excursion” on the Mississippi. If that’s the case, “our St. Teresan excursion” refers to Victoria and her chums, not Vic and Ell.

This was their first Sunday on the river.  No mention of Mass. Did they/she go in Wabasha before shoving off at noon-fifteen?


NO.: 5  
DATE: Monday, October 19, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Laid over at Winona
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Clear & quiet
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: paint, pail, etc. $1.00
                             cough medicine $1.50
MISCEL:
REMARKS:
We stayed at Winona all day – Went to the college to see the kids and brought Mary Garry back to dinner with me. Had a little celebration. Took Ell to the Candy Box in the Eve. Were awakened at about 11:30 last night by a storm making the awfullest commotion. “James W. Good.”

GUESTS: Mary Garry

On the back of each 3x5 card, Victoria typed “REMARKS:” and at the bottom, “GUESTS:” This indicates to me she typed up a boatload of these cards prior to departure so she’d have a stock on hand throughout the voyage. This implies the idea of keeping a ship’s log was clearly pre-meditated. Where did she get the idea? Did she have something to say?  

This was the first time she’d filled in the “GUESTS” section of the card, with the ship-board visit of her college chum, Mary Garry. “Had a little celebration.” Sounds to me like Victoria and Mary wined and dined on the boat, while Ell was out doing something else.

I bet she was eager to see “the kids,” her friends from her time in Winona. Her time in Winona...she left cloistered Fairmont for cloistered St. Teresa’s in Winona.

Who is James W. Good? He was a real person... was on the cover of TIME magazine two years earlier as Secretary of War. Wikipedia says he died shortly after the Wall Street crash of ’29. How would he come to be in Ell’s or Vic’s consciousness? The fact that she put the name in quotes leads me to believe Ell said the name out loud during the storm..? But why?

The purchase of cough medicine. Someone was getting sick.



NO.: 6
DATE: Tuesday, October 20, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Remained at Winona again
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Excellent
GAS: 5 gal. @ 13.7    .69 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: paint, films, groceries, etc. $2.00
MISCEL:
REMARKS:
We painted, scrubbed & cleaned up in general yesterday & all morning to-day. Took Mary Garry for a short cruise this noon & then spent the p.m. at the college again. Ell met me there and we showed him around. Mary & we had dinner at “Lucky’s” Café. Then took Mary back & came home ready for a good nite’s sleep and aching to shove off again in the morning.

We’re not getting much of a glimpse of Victoria’s feelings. So far, this is pretty much a travelogue... “we went here, we saw this...” but the fact that she was “aching” to shove off again in the morning tells me she had some real emotional ownership in this adventure.

After only four days, she’s calling the houseboat, “home.” “A good nite’s sleep...” something from Stanislaus and Agnes? “Get a good night’s sleep because you’ll work like a friggin’ dog tomorrow..”

ALSO... Vic’s not without some smarts. She writes in complete sentences and knew enough to put an acute accent over the ‘e’ in café.

IN ADDITION...when she says dinner... is she referring to the noon meal? Think of her upbringing: breakfast, dinner and supper. NOT breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


NO.:  7
DATE: Wednesday, October 21, 1931  
DEPARTED: Winona, Minn., 9:35 A.M.
ARRIVED: LaCrosse, Wisc. 1:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 29 mi.
TIME: 4 hr. 10 mi.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear and slight SE. W.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:
We were very glad to be on our way again. Ran on to a mud bar between Winona and here. Altho LaCrosse is a wide open town, neither of us care for it particularly. Ell put his first sign up at a cleaning shop here tho’ – fun and easy! Met quite a bit of river traffic to-day – a steamer, two government boats besides numerous small private owned ones. We put the name Bonita on our boat today with the gold letters and could use the rest of the page in adjectives describing how it looks. Camped beside a Richardson Cruisette “Dean of LaCro” – sweetest boat on the market, we think – and oh yes! Ell washed his feet!

Possible line here: Little by little, day by day, he was bending her to his will. It wasn’t necessarily conscious will bending... but insidious... below the surface...

There’s no way 19-year old Victoria Maday would know on her own that the Richardson Cruisette was the “sweetest boat on the market” unless Ell told her it was. So he saw the boat, whistled, said it out loud. She heard him say it, eyeballed the boat and determined it must be true. So now, “we think” it’s the sweetest boat on the market.

If she felt compelled to mention that he washed his feet – does this mean it was the first time? Self-centered behavior.    

Doesn’t look like they’re early risers. The earliest they’ve left was 8:15... and that was on their first full day... and then it was only to get to the locks by a certain time—which they missed.

How does she know it’s a southeast wind? Does Ell tell her? Does she just eyeball the trees? Do they have a wind vane on board? Maybe.


NO.:  8
DATE: Thursday, October 22, 1931  
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Remained at LaCrosse
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:  Cloudy, rainy & strong S. wind.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

This has been the most miserable day we’ve had for a long time. Dreadfully windy – even when we tied up here out of the wind somewhat, we didn’t remain quiet for even one minute of the time – swaying always – that’s us’n. However, we accomplished a little coz we got our family washing done between showers. I even tried fishin’ to-day, but I guess the fish knew it.

Can’t sail... coulda just done nothing, but she did the “family” laundry. Work ethic. She’s been married less than two weeks (get exact wedding date) and she already calls she and Ell a ‘family.’


NO.: 9  
DATE: Friday, October 23, 1931
DEPARTED: LaCrosse, Wisc., 8:25 A.M.
ARRIVED: Lansing, Ia. 1:40 P.M.
DISTANCE: 35 miles
TIME: 5 hrs, 20 min.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cloudy, rain, & South wind
GAS: 5 gal. @ 14.5, 73 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Miserable piloting to-day – continued rain or we should have pushed on to MacGregor, Ia. The river seems to be overloaded with boats of every description around here – That is all kinds except nice ones. We began a system of relief piloting to-day – Changed shifts every hour.

Judgment – “all kinds except nice ones.” Remember the times – Great Depression. No money. Most folks did not own cars. Boat travel much more common then than today. Lotta boats. Their “makeup” would, naturally, be indicative of the times.

Relief piloting – what motivated it? Ell getting tired, maybe? “Can’t pilot the damn ship all the time myself...”


NO.: 10  
DATE: Saturday, October 24, 1931
DEPARTED: Lansing, Ia., 7:00 A.M.
ARRIVED: Cassville, Wisc., 5:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 57½ Mi.
TIME: 8½ hr.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear and s. wind
GAS: 5 gal. @ 12.8 = .64, 1 gal. Hi = .16
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We tied up alongside the Cassville Ferry to-nite and if you want to meet a character you should meet that Ferryman. Ask Ell about him tho! He said he could have sat there all night talking to him – he was so quaint – dressed about like Will Rogers and his conversation! Oh! Oh! Anyway that’s he!

Waged another war on the flies this evening – killed ‘em all but one and he’s now running around with his tail between his legs – not Ell, the fly. Laid over at MacGregor, Ia. To get gas & see Mr. Bell, owner of Arbutus. Signed the visitor’s register there. Everyone wished us luck again. They seem to envy us. While at MacGregor, we ate lunch and so spent an hr. & a half there. We get to Dubuque tomorrow & shall try to get a job there.

On the index card the top graf was on the front, with the bottom graf on the back under “remarks.” Makes me wonder if she entered the “remarks” shortly after docking and the top graf later that evening after their experience with Mr. Bell..?

“They seem to envy us...” Pride. And why not? Young couple, nice boat (by comparison). Off on a honeymoon adventure. Heading down the river. No one else seems to be heading down the river like them?


NO.: 11  
DATE: Sunday, October 25, 1931
DEPARTED: Cassville, Wisc., 9:45 a.m.
ARRIVED: Dubuque, Ia., 1:30 p.m.    
DISTANCE: 28 Mi.
TIME: 3¾ hr.  
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Excellent & light n. wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Tuff breaks! Wow! Ell tried to start the motor for ages and finally succeeded after priming, flooding, and repriming with an ether concoction! And Boy! Were we ever on a mud flat? We churned mud for miles around trying to get out of there. I guess the old “Mud Hen” was going to make up for that tho’ so we made unusually good time once we did get going! We have a keen tying up place here at Dubuque, but it’s in a rotten part of town – seems to be almost the city dump! To hear the yachtsmen here talk, you’d think they’d never seen a boat nicer’n ours. They made us feel pretty good with their suffuse enthusiasm. That’s ok by us tho! We need it in this dump that’s called a city!

More judgment. Pop has told me Victoria was very judgmental and intolerant. Clearly she has these tendencies at 19. Also, if someone says “Nice boat,” she takes it personally –as though it’s a reflection of her. Pride. False pride?

The Mississippi is called the Big Muddy for a reason. Bonita = “Mud Hen..?”

No word on getting the job in Dubuque she referred to the day before. I wonder if they even looked. I wonder if they could not get past their less than desirable surroundings and decided to vacate the premises ASAP. This implies they had a ‘nest egg,’ not destitute. They had enough money that they were not forced to stay “in this dump that’s called a city” just to find work and earn money.  


NO.: 12
DATE: Monday, October 26, 1931  
DEPARTED: Dubuque, Ia., 8:15 A.M.
ARRIVED: Bellevue, Ia. 12:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 24 mi.
TIME: 3¾ hr.  
SPEED: 6+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cold, rainy, & Strong S.E. gale.
GAS: 5 gal. @ 14.5 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Turned extremely cold & windy during the night, but as we were tied up in a bayou we didn’t get any of the wind until we were underway, and then Oh! Boy! How she blew. The waves were washing over our front deck at times – they were all of 3 feet high. And then of course a heavy rain would set in – So we docked at the nearest town and called it a day! And what a day! We like Bellevue.

“And then of course a heavy rain would set in...” Is this remark a reflection of her scientific knowledge of meteorology... or resigned sarcasm? I suspect the latter.

NO.: 13  
DATE: Tuesday, October 27, 1931
DEPARTED: Bellevue, Ia., 9:05 A.M.
ARRIVED: No. 631 Elk River light, 4:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 30 mi.
TIME: 5:15 hr.
SPEED: 6 m.p.h
WEATHER: Clear, cold, fierce hurricane – all directions
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

When we left dock this A.M., it looked like a fairly good day, but the wind kept rising higher and higher until about noon it was washing the waves over our decks and I don’t mean almost! We could scarcely control the direction of our “Mud Hen” (and she was very deserving of that name to-day!) – in face, we couldn’t and we scarcely missed one buoy by a hairs breadth and the next one we came to – the wind pushed us directly between 2 end dams and there we stayed on a mud flat for at least 2½ hours. Ell got out and waded waist high in icy waters (poor kid) for about fifteen or twenty minutes all to no avail so he waded some more and set our anchor, then used our bucket for another anchor and so managed to retain our back to the wind. When he came in he was chilled thru & thru, and I had the cabin all warm and some hot coffee – so after a good rubdown and a change of clothes, he drank the coffee. About an hour later, the lightkeeper, a man named Roy, came out in a rowboat to aid us to shore and we tramped thru the woods for a while hunting, but no luck. When we came back, he gave us 4 Bullheads & 4 crappies (Gee, the Bh’s were good) and, as it was then getting late, he got his big boat ready and worked for about half an hour trying to tow us out of the mud and finally with the help of our old faithful, we got out of the mud and pulled in here for the night – hoping for better luck to-morrow.


NO.:  14
DATE: Wednesday, October 28, 1931
DEPARTED: No. 631, Elk River light, 8:30 A.M.
ARRIVED: Clinton, Ia. 10 A.M.
DISTANCE: 10 Mi.
TIME: 1½ hr.
SPEED: 6+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cloudy, cold, & Strong S.W. Wind
GAS: 10 gal. @ 13 cents, 1.30
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Since the wind didn’t abate very much, we only came as far as Clinton. We intended to go on to LeClair at noon but wind & rain kept us here. We met Raymond Champlin and his g.f., Helen Matthieson and went to a grand beer joint in the evening. Had more fun than a picnic. He’s one great guy – Ray is! We sat in his cabin all day keeping warm and talking.

So they just up and meet people? “Hi, the name’s Ell Matson, this is my bride, Victoria... damn glad to meetcha!” A grand beer joint. First reference to drinking and it’s positive – “Had more fun than a picnic.” In the pre-alcoholism early days, that’s exactly what drinking is. More fun than a goddamn picnic.  


NO.: 15
DATE: Thursday, October 29, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Laid over at Clinton
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Rain, cold, & strong S.W. Wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Spent the day as yesterday – talking to Ray all day – This evening we all went out to get some moon, came back and had a genuine party – the four of us. Was a generally miserable day, so we laid over and accepted the extended friendly cordial invitations – Ray’s mother sent us some nice hot biscuits for dinner.   

We really like Ray, apparently. What do we think of Helen? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? “Get some moon..?” Is this like “get some sun..?” Since they “came back and had a genuine party,” I wonder if, in this case, “moon” is short for “moonshine?”


NO.: 16  
DATE: Friday, October 30, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Laid over at Clinton, Iowa
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Mist & extreme cold
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

ELL: The thick weather still kept us at Clinton. Spent the A.M. uptown and the afternoon in Ray’s cabin absorbing heat. Played poker all evening. Went to bed praying for a break in the weather. Am pinch hitting for Vic; ‘cause she’s lazy and is in bed.

So they’d get out on the river during a hurricane and stay in because of a little mist? Something tells me the poker, the parties, the camaraderie, Ray’s warm cabin was a more attractive option. Ell’s comment about his bride seems telling – and offers insight into his character, seems to me. My sense is she was nothing close to ‘lazy.’


NO.: 17  
DATE: Saturday, October 31, 1931
DEPARTED: Clinton, Iowa, 8:50 AM
ARRIVED: Rock Island, Ill., 5:45 PM
DISTANCE: 36
TIME: 6 hrs.
SPEED: 6 MPH
WEATHER: West wind & extremely cold – clear.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

ELL: Sun shone at intervals today. We barged thru two different locks today – LeClair and Moline. Drops of 4’ and 12’ respectively. We were surprised when they didn’t keep us waiting in fact they let us thru right away. Rec’d our mail at Moline and we surely got a stack of it. Are tied up or rather anchored about 100 ft off shore at the Boat Club here. They furnished us with a tender to go back and forth in. Damn accommodating these river people.

Ell again. No indication why. Is Victoria sick? If she’s preggers, is she laid up? They got a stack of mail. Letters? That’s how people communicated in 1931. From whom? Victoria’s sisters? Friends? Ell’s parents? “Damn accommodating, these river people...” a general observation about river people... in comparison to whom else? From Ell’s perspective, river people are more accommodating than Spokane people?” Twin Cities people?


NO.: 18  
DATE: Sunday, November 1, 1931
DEPARTED: Rock Island, Ill., 11:50 A.M.
ARRIVED: Muscatine, Ia., 3:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 28 mi.
TIME: 3:25 hr.
SPEED: 8 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cloudy and cold – 36 degrees Fah.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

I thought we were going So. into the warm weather, but it seems that the farther we get, the colder it gets! To-day even in the p.m. we had to travel with the door and both windows closed and wear about all the clothes we own to keep warm. We had a very strong current to-day and made exceptionally good time for the distance we came. Went to see a show here this evening – pretty good “Three Who Loved” – first one we’ve seen since we left – here’s hoping it warms up soon.

She has a naïve Minnesotan’s view. Go south and it gets warmer, right? Illinois and Iowa are not exactly “south.” “Three Who Loved” is a movie about a love triangle, starring a bunch of no-name actors. Dude’s best friend steals his girl, embezzles from a bank and tries to go on the lam to Rio. Another Sunday. No mentions of Mass. Did she go and not mention it? They didn’t leave until close to noon. They found their way to a movie theatre.


NO.: 19
DATE: Monday, November 2, 1931
DEPARTED: Muscatine, Ia., 9 A.M.
ARRIVED: Burlington, Ia., 5:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 52 mi.
TIME: 7½ hr.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear, cold & Strong S. Wind
GAS: 5 gal., 72 cents, 1 gal. Hi, .14
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

After pushing along (three?) the wind for three hours this A.M., we pulled in at New Boston, Ill. To prepare a lunch – absolutely too rough to cook under way. We were 45 minutes in that process and proceeded on our way. We didn’t do so bad at that considering conditions, except for freezing at times and cooking at (others?)


NO.: 20  
DATE: Tuesday, November 3, 1931
DEPARTED: Burlington, Ia., 8:30 A.M.
ARRIVED: Keokuk, Ia., 5:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 41 mi.
TIME: 7½ hrs.
SPEED: 5½ M.P.H.
WEATHER: Clear, & Strong N.W. wind, chilly  
GAS: 5 gal. @ 14.5, 72 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We couldn’t leave Burlington, Ia. soon enuf this A.M. – Didn’t like the town. No wind when we left, but Gee! How she did come up. At noon we (1¾ hr) stopped at Fort Madison so we could cook something to eat – too windy to cook under way absolutely. There we barged on thru lake Cooper and boy was it windy!, wavy! And how we did wallow along! We are now tied in the channel to the Keokuk locks about 1 city block above the upper gates – tied on to a gov’t barge. We stayed here tonight in preference to going thru so we could get better pictures tomorrow.

So at one point there were photographs. Again – strong feelings about place. Black and white. We either love it or we hate it. Absolutes.


NO.: 21  
DATE: Wednesday, November 4, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Keokuk, Ia.
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Clear and cold.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We came through the locks at about 8:30 and tied up just below there. All day we toured the town and took in the sites. Watched a steamer go through the locks and examined the dry dock. Fun going down the 40 ft and knowing that 12,000,000 gal. of water are being emptied just to lower us! Also went thru the Miss. R. power plant – saw the immense turbines, transformers & generators, etc. We went to the P.O., lib, second hand stores, gun shops and got some more food for one shot – then final came home and called it a day!

He’s eyeballing the power plant, and if he didn’t already, he gets a sense of hydroelectric power. Later, he’d do land surveying for the Grand Coulee and Shasta Dams. Ell “gets it.” Is this why they laid over? So he could eyeball the power plant?


NO.: 22  
DATE: Thursday, November 5, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Keokuk.
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: clear and quite warm.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: gas valve $1.00
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Gave ole Bertha a general overhauling to-day – got a new gas valve and put it in – changed petcocks and cleaned the carburetor until it’s grand as a whistle again. Then we pumped and bailed & bailed all to no avail, becoz apparently our old tub has sprung a leak and comes in as fast as it goes out! Also made another collection of grease and tar on our hull here. – However looking out of our front window we have a beautiful view – the lights of the locks above, throwing a little stream of silver tinsel into the dark waters below.


NO.: 23
DATE: Friday, November 6, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Keokuk
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: Oil Heater, $1.25
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Woke up this morning to find our stray kitten of yesterday sleeping on the bed beside me. We had no intentions of laying up any longer but Louie Atkins told us of a fish fry they were having at noon and we couldn’t resist – In the morning we fished, at noon, the fish fry, and Oh! You should have heard those kids – 5 of them and all wise-cracking – the 8 of us ate 6 loaves of bread and about 30-some fish. Then around an hour later when the kids were beginning to realize that they had eaten something, the fire whistle blew and off we all went each of the kids with a couple of slices of bread in one hand and a fish or 2 in the other. It was a seed co. not far from the dock & not a big fire. Later in the p.m. we went down town and bought us a heating system. I’ll bet it warms up in a hurry now!

“The kids” were people their age..? Louie Atkins is some local hanger-on whom they befriended? Also, they’re catching on the fact that it stays cold in the “south,” Iowa and Illinois in early November and spring for an oil heater.


NO.: 24
DATE: Saturday, November 7, 1931
DEPARTED: Keokuk, Ia., 9 A.M.
ARRIVED: Quincy, Ill., 4 p.m.
DISTANCE: 37 miles
TIME: 5½ hr.
SPEED: 6+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear, warm, S.W. Wind
GAS: 5 gal., 64 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Left Keokuk finally and as usual – laying up on quiet days and traveling on windy ones. We stopped at Canton, Mo. and ate lunch there too. Pushed on to Quincy with no greater worry than our leak into the bilge. We arrived in great style and received a hearty welcome, but Oh! Oh! How our motor did act up as we were docking! Couldn’t stop the old baby – she sounded as tho it were going to blow up. Everyone here helped us work on motor & JW Casey took me for a cruise on his boat even tonight already.

Do they just make friends wherever they go? What kind of a ‘hearty welcome’ did they receive? Hail Fellow Well Met?


NO.: 25  
DATE: Sunday, November 8, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Quincy
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:
GAS: 1 gal. Kerosene, 15 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: St. Boniface’s Church – 7th & Main
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Finished working out on our motor today and greasing it and tried it out. Works Ok now – still all except the leak! Had another tour in JW Casey’s boat – broke his steering gear. We took in the town last night and this a.m. too. Made a bumper to-night after hours of figuring. Just as I said – because we got our furnace now it’s turned warm – not that I mind, of course! In fact, warm weather is great! Expect to continue on to St. Louis tomorrow – hope we do! & Keep on going!

First mention of a church. Assume she went to Mass. Curious how she entered it under “maintenance.” Murphy’s law. Get a heater and the weather turns warm. Ell: We coulda saved that buck and a quarter. It’s all still an adventure for Victoria.


NO.: 26  
DATE:  Monday, November 9, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Quincy
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: clear, warm, strong S. wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We lay over today because of the fierce wind – even laying up here in the bay as we are the waves were plenty large – that’s saying nothing about the big river. So we had another cleaning bee. I even washed all of our clothes. Ell scrubbed the decks and roof – polished lamps, etc. In the evening JW Casey & Pete came down and we made another bumper for them – Pete and I made one this p.m.

A bumper is a tube or ball shape fashioned from rope, to serve as a “bumper” between the boat and a dock. That way the boat, proper, doesn’t slam smack into the dock and cause damage to the boat.


NO.: 27
DATE: Tuesday, November 10, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Quincy
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Cold and rainy.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Lay over today because we were going to carry our JW’s suggestion of pulling the Mud Hen out in the bank to find her leak, but after working all morning and getting it halfway out, Ell decided it was too hard on the back – so we pulled it back in again! (E--?) and boy how we ache! I took our films up this morning and we got them to-nite thru pure good luck. Ell & Pete tried making a round bumper tonite. These men must have a bachelor’s bee every nite in JW’s boat!

Two things here. Must not have been a serious leak. Probably persistently annoying. “Bachelor’s bee” in their working up these bumpers and polishing off a bottle or two.


NO.: 28  
DATE: Wednesday, November 11, 1931
DEPARTED: Lay over at Quincy
ARRIVED:
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Cold and heavy rains
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Again our plans were frustrated by the heavy rains – so there you are. I guess there’s no more travel for us – At 11 a.m. we heard all kinds of whistles and also the fire sirens. So near we’re going to the fire – ran out in the rain and what not! & then only Armistice Day! What embarrassment! Saw Lew Ayres in “Iron Man” tonite at the Quincy Theatre.


NO.:  29
DATE: Thursday, November 12, 1931
DEPARTED: Quincy, Ill., 9 a.m.
ARRIVED: Louisiana, Mo., 4 p.m.
DISTANCE: 48 mi.
TIME: 5½ hrs.
SPEED: 8½ m.p.h.
WEATHER: cool, cloudy, light showers, N.W. wind
GAS: 5 gal. 71 cents, Kerosene 14 cents, 1 gal Hi 14 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

At last we left the port of Quincy! What a grand and glorious feeling it is to be on our way again. We stopped at Hannibal this noon for gas & oil and what do you suppose? While Ell was gone, I began getting lunch and soon I looked out the front window and here I was in midstream, drifting down the river! Boy! What a feeling! I had visions of (---ery deser--- tion - ILLEGIBLE) for a minute, but finally got my wits about me and began poling back to shore. It took long, but I got there!

How would Ell react this? They were in Quincy from Saturday evening through Thursday morning. That’s a long time.


NO.:  30
DATE: Friday, November 13, 1931
DEPARTED: Louisiana, Mo., 8:15 a.m.
ARRIVED: 274A Cuivre Island Daymark, 3:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 49 mi.
TIME: 6 hr.
SPEED: 8+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cool and cloudy – fog early p.m.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Up at 6 this a.m. so we could get an early start, but of course, and as per usual, ole Bertha had to act up this morning. We stopped an hr. at Hamburg, Ill. for lunch and an old gent there gave us a full sack of the loveliest apples you ever saw in your life. We docked here because it began getting dark and foggy as early as 3 p.m. We are getting now where the people have a decided southern accent. They say “Gwine” & “you all,” etc.


NO.: 31
DATE: Saturday, November 14, 1931  
DEPARTED: 274A Cuivre Island Daymark, 8:30 a.m.
ARRIVED: Alton, Ill.
DISTANCE: 31 mi.
TIME: 5 hr.
SPEED: 6+ m.p.h
WEATHER: Clear & windy
GAS: 5 gal., 76 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We stopped at Grafton for lunch and gas – about 1½ hours. Pulled out after lunch and stopped at Alton to look over the club which seemed very inviting. They have the grandest one on the river so far. Spent something like 45 grand on it. Met the Butler’s of St. Louis this p.m. They have some of the nicest and largest cruisers here too. We hope to get to St. Louis tomorrow.

“We hope to get to St. Louis tomorrow...” Six days earlier she said pretty much the same thing – and they’re still not there. Is she learning to temper her expectations? Tinges of boat envy surface again. They’re clearly impressed by big, shiny, flashy, new. Both of them.


NO.: 32
DATE: Sunday, November 15, 1931
DEPARTED: Alton, Ill., 10 a.m.
ARRIVED: St. Louis, Mo., 1 p.m.
DISTANCE: 24 mi.
TIME: 3 hr.
SPEED: 8 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear, warm strong S. wind.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Didn’t seem very windy when we left Alton this morning, but Boy, oh Boy! But before we got to St. Louis the waves were rolling sky high. We passed quite a few steamers, even for a Sunday. Pulled in at the Mound City Boat Works at St. Louis and what do you suppose? There were Mother and Dad to meet us right at the dock. Gosh! Was it ever good to see them? I’ll say!

I’m assuming this was Ell’s parents. Dr. J. Ellsworth Matson and his wife, Emma. Because Vic’s father, Stanislaus (Tom) dies in 1922. They’d been on the river for a full month when they pulled into St. Louis. It took 30 days to get from St. Paul to St. Louis. Makes me wonder how the parents knew to be at the dock at the Mound City Boat Works in St. Louis at 1:00 p.m.? Did Ell telephone or wire them from Cuivre Island... or Grafton?  


NO.: 33-39  
DATE: Monday, November 16 – Sunday, November 22, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at St. Louis all week
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We stayed at the Windsor Apt. Hotel – 4209 Lindell Av. – St. L., Mo. With Mother and Dad. Played cards every eve. Except one – celebrated Ell’s and Mother’s Birthday and Thanksgiving Dinner – Thursday evening. Went shopping, etc. Had a perfectly grand time!

Interesting, because Thanksgiving that year was Thursday, November 26. So they must have made a conscious decision to celebrate early.


NO.: 40
DATE: Monday, November 23, 1931  
DEPARTED: St. Louis, Mo., 2 p.m.
ARRIVED: St. Louis, Mo., 3 p.m.
DISTANCE: 7 miles
TIME: 1 hr.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: cloudy, cold, & south gale.
GAS: 9 gal @ 14, 1.25
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: Dockage 1.50, Battery charge .75, slt screw .05
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We left the apartment and straightened up the boat and finally got started this p.m. – experienced the largest waves yet encountered – they washed completely over the front deck and splashed over the window. I was positively frightened to tears. And then we had a frightful place to tie up. Spent a dreadful nite, water falling – rain, wind, etc., etc.

I can envision this. Ell’s going bugshit after a week cooped up inside with his parents. The weather’s crap, but who cares? Gotta get away. It’s all about Ell. I can envision a difficult conversation between the Dr. and his son. J. Ellsworth I – you disappoint me, son. J. Ellsworth II – FU, Pop.

She was “frightened to tears...” He didn’t much care. Not so much that he didn’t care... that he was incapable of getting past his own crap to even comprehend the depth of her fright. What was a dreadful night for her... was bliss for him – despite the conditions. Such as it was, Ell was back in charge.


NO.: 41  
DATE: Tuesday, November 24, 1931
DEPARTED: St. Louis, Mo., 8:30 a.m.
ARRIVED: Chester, Ill., 4:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 66 mi.
TIME: 6¾ hr.
SPEED: 10 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cloudy, cold, North wind
GAS: 1 gal. Kerosene, 13 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

“Squeaks and Groans” and “Pains and Aches” – That’s Ell and I respectively – his new names for us – Fought the wind for a while this morning, but it changed direction to N. and became quite calm and helpful. Had a good day otherwise – But Oh! So Cold!   

10 miles per hour. 66 miles. As fast and as far as they’ve gone in a day since leaving St. Paul. It’s as though Ell wanted to get as far away from his parents as fast as he could. I don’t think Victoria is oblivious to this, but she’s sure as hell not gonna put it in her index card ship’s log.  


NO.: 42  
DATE: Wednesday, November 25, 1931
DEPARTED: Chester, Ill., 9:15 a.m.
ARRIVED: Cape Girardeau, Mo., 3:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 57 mi.
TIME: 6½ hr.
 SPEED: 8.8 m.p.h.
WEATHER:  Clear, cold and quiet
GAS: 5 gal. 68 cents
OIL: 1 gal. Kerosene, 10 cents
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We slept under a R.R. trestle – rather we tried – there were only 17 trains passing over in one night so you can imagine how we slept. Immediately after lunch this noon, we saw a steamer ahead in a narrow bend of the river. There was, no doubt, a high eddy in the spot and for a few hundred feet the waves were at the very least 6 ft hi. – They not only washed over our deck, but covered our entire front window & that’s no foolin.’  

She seems to get freaked out by the occasional rough water and high waves. And tends to speak in hyperbole. I suspect the daredevil in him is actually aiming for the wake – to produce exactly this effect. Again... 57 miles at 9 MPH... he’s putting more distance between them and his parents.


NO.: 43  
DATE: Thursday, November 26, 1931
DEPARTED: Cape Girardeau, Mo., 9:00 a.m.
ARRIVED:  Cairo, Ill., 3:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 54 mi.
TIME: 6 hr.
SPEED: 9 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Rainy, cold and N.E. Wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Thanksgiving Day! Spent on the M.R. between Cape & Cairo. Mother & Dad in Colfax, Ia. We had a race with a steamer all day – left the same place at the same time & went to the same place – and we beat ‘em. Passed through another dangerous eddy we didn’t know about until later. Continued rain – wish it would abate!

Ell: Let’s race this steamer. (He’s a guy.)
Victoria: K.


NO.: 44  
DATE: Friday, November 27, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Cairo, Ill.
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Cloudy, quiet, perfect.
GAS: 10 gal., 35 cents, 1 gal. Ker., 15 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Didn’t do anything – just lay over because Ell had a “hunch” – The hunch from Chicago pulled in after dark.

Victoria: Dude, it’s one of the best days we’ve had yet, weather-wise. WTF are we doing in dock?
Ell: I gotta hunch, baby.
The Chicagoans may make a compelling story. Who are they? Fellow ne’er do wells?


NO.: 45
DATE: Saturday, November 28, 1931
DEPARTED: Cairo, Ill., 9:00 a.m.
ARRIVED: 517 – Island Bend Bar lite, 4 p.m.
DISTANCE: 59 miles
TIME: 7 hr.
SPEED: 8.4+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Rainy, clouds & fog – no wind.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We are trying to beat the Chicagoans to Memphis – Don’t know what time they left this a.m. or where they are to-night, but if they are ahead if us, they must have continued after dark because we tied up here by this sandsucker just as it was getting too dark and foggy to see – May see them tomorrow!


NO.: 46
DATE: Sunday, November 29, 1931
DEPARTED: 517 – Island Bend Bar light, 10:30 a.m.
ARRIVED: 507 – Tony Point light, 3:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 20 miles
TIME: 2¼ hrs.
SPEED: 8+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Rain, Rain, & Rain & wind.
GAS: 1 gal. Ker. @ 15 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

A Mr. Patrick (?) pulled in at our tying up place after we did last night in a canoe. He is on his way to Alexandria, La. We towed him all day to-day & he still seems to expect a tow to-morrow. We stopped at New Madrid to take on groceries and what not. You should see our filthy cabin! Boy, with the continual rain all day, we’re wetter than usual in here and mud! Say you can’t see a clean spot on the floor. Extra! Extra! The “Big Game Hunt” by Ell and a River Rat in guy’s canoe -- they caught three mice.


NO.: 47  
DATE: Monday, November 30, 1931
DEPARTED: 507 – Toney Island light, 9:05 a.m.
ARRIVED:  476A – Island 18 light, 4:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 45 mil.
TIME: 5 hrs.
SPEED: 9 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Cloudy and windy
GAS: 10 gal and 1 Ker. = 1.63
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We were still towing Mr. Kerr this a.m. Passed up “the goose” on the way to Caruthersville and stopped there for gas and supplies – all in all 2.45 hrs. Our motor died just as we were pulling in and we had one hectic time – finally Kerr towed us into shore with his canoe & then as he was poling us around with our oar on the rear deck, he slipped and fell in and Boy! It wasn’t what you’d call a warm day either. So we lit our stove and let Mr. Kerr change and dry while we went down town to do our shopping. In the meantime, “the Goose” pulled in for supplies also and they offered assistance everywhich way. They pulled out again ahead of us to look for a good place to tie up and we found them just before dark. Ell went hunting with Swede, Bob, Red & Otto while Clarence & I, the chief roustabouts stayed aboard to clean our ships and cook dinner. After dinner, Ell & Clarence built a campfire while I did a little laundry and cooked mush. We all sat around the campfire swapping yarns until all hours of the night – almost ten o’clock in fact.

Stayin’ up ‘til 10 p.m. high livin!’ Roustabout -- a deck or wharf laborer, especially on the Mississippi River.


NO.: 48  
DATE: Tuesday, December 1, 1931
DEPARTED: 476-A Island 18 light, 9:15 a.m.
ARRIVED: 445A Flower Island Bar light 3:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 48 mil
TIME: 6 hr.
SPEED: 8 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Clear – strong N. W. wind – cold.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

“Bonita” pulled out ahead of “The Goose” by about 45 minutes this morning with the agreement to meet again around 4 p.m. We had a grand place to tie back of this island on the Tenn. side. The Boys all went hunting again. Ell & Otto rowed across the island – a creek perhaps 500 feet wide & it took them 1½ hrs to row across & back. Bob, Swede and Clarence all took a shot at a duck I saw and all missed a mile – of course. Ell had our gun or I’d have got it! Made another campfire tonite – but it was fearfully cold even sitting around it so we broke up about 9:30 to slumber.

Were these guys just lousy shots, or were they all liquored up..?


NO.:  49
DATE: Wednesday, December 2, 1931
DEPARTED: 445A Flower Island Bar light. 9:05 a.m.
ARRIVED: Memphis, Tennessee, 2:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 57 mi.
TIME: 5 hrs.
SPEED: 11.4 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Perfect – cold, sunshiny
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

“The Goose” and the “Bonita” left at the same time this morning and we kept pretty well together all day. Then about 12:30 our motor stopped just as if we were out of gas – the trouble was that the shaft was slipping & refused to percolate. With the help of Red, we fixed it and (footpedan? - ILLEGIBLE) our way here. It’s heaps of fun travelling together this way. We took pictures of one another this morning – if we don’t have anything else to amuse us we could look at Otto and laugh at his antics & capers – well – tomorrow for the big job hunt.


NO.: 50-52  
DATE: Thursday, December 3 – Saturday, December 5, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Memphis
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Rain! Rain! Rain! Rain! The first day and then sunshine
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Job hunting is the bunk when they all say, “we have all the help we need for the holidays!” Bunk! And how! Ell fixed the oven while we were here & and I made my first apple pie yes to-day. Pretty good considering ---

My sense is Flower Island Bar, et al, are not bars like gimme beer and a chaser... but a sand bar... and light... is some sort of light house or nautical navigational infrastructure that allows them to tie a houseboat up to. Lights, Buoys and daymarks are all nautical navigational terms.


NO.: 53
DATE: Sunday, December 6, 1931
DEPARTED: Memphis, Tennessee, 10:05 a.m.
ARRIVED: 371 Battle Ax light, 4:05 p.m.
DISTANCE: 46 mi.
TIME: 6 hr.
SPEED: 7 2/3 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Sunshine, calm
GAS: 13 gal. @ 18 cents=$2.34, 1 Ker. 15 cents, 1 Hi 15 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Rather an uneventful day – except that we say millions of ducks but simply couldn’t get within shooting range of them. Boy! That’s aggravating what I mean! Then, too, Ole Bertha konked out on us again! Guess she wanted more coaxing – We went out hunting for a while this evening. Are going to build a campfire as soon as we’re thru eating.


NO.: 54  
DATE: Monday, December 7, 1931
DEPARTED: 371 Battle Ax Light, 8:45 a.m.
ARRIVED: 335 Island 63 Foot Light, 4:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 59 mi.
TIME: 6¾ hr.
SPEED: 8.7+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Perfect – clear and calm.
GAS: 10 gal. @ 15.5=$1.55
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Chased ducks all day. No shooting. Couldn’t get within range a’tall. We are four miles above our 50 mile average. Pulled in amongst the willows. Are practically perched upon them. Watched another steamer down river – heard a darkie singin’ on the front deck. Ell went hunting and as usual saw nothing & got nothing. Have had another campfire – looks very cloudy – not a star in sight – Hope it doesn’t rain.

Trouble in paradise..? “as usual, this goodfernuthin’ husband o’ mine’ saw nothing and got nothing...” ALSO, Pop told me Victoria was “prejudiced.” Is this something she learned growing up in Fairmount from Stanislaus & Agnes? Not sure her attitudes were out of the mainstream in 1931.


NO.: 55  
DATE: Tuesday, December 8, 1931
DEPARTED: 335 Island 63 Foot Light, 9:10 a.m.
ARRIVED: 325A Island 66 Light, 11:40 a.m.
DISTANCE: 19 mi.
TIME: 2½ hr.
SPEED: 7/6 m.p.h.
WEATHER: rain! Rain! RAIN! And N.E. Wind
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

When we awoke it was raining – in fact, had been since Midnite & continued to do so until noon when a strong N.E. wind set in and we were travelling up & down hill – mostly up – all the time. Visibility was terrible so we pulled in behind this island and ate lunch.

Accidental revolver shot thru floor & bottom of hull amidships making a hole ½ inch in diameter. Was hurriedly repaired by the crew. – Ell went hunting – saw a goat, but said the goat looked too tuff so he didn’t shoot. Weather still misty – are planning on getting a 5 a.m. start & making 85 miles.  

Vic’s growing weary of rain and crappy weather. Wonder whose idea it was to get up at oh-dark-thirty and shoot for 85 miles? I’m guessing it may well have been hers. My sense is Ell’s default position is ‘lazy.’


NO.: 56  
DATE: Wednesday, December 9, 1931
DEPARTED: 325A Island 66 Light, 5:50 a.m.
ARRIVED: 213 Lucca Light, 4:30 p.m.
DISTANCE: 77 mi.
TIME: 9¼ hr.
SPEED: 8 1/3 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Misty then sunshine & excellent.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We were going to get an early start this a.m. so we did. Up at 4 bells we were on our way at 5:50. We could have started earlier, but it was still too dark to see a thing and misting. Met a steamer going upriver – looked very nice all lit up. About noon the sun came out and we stopped at Rosedale, Miss. To get the post, but couldn’t – 1½ hrs there – then we pushed on toward Ark. City, but began regretting our stop at Rosedale becoz we felt that if we hadn’t stopped there we could have made Ark City and gotten the post.

Sounds like Vic’s getting impatient. In a hurry. I can imagine an argument between the two of them over the hour and a half lost in Rosedale (him for it, her against it) and her unwillingness or inability to friggin’ let it go already. On the other hand, they’re still newlyweds and maybe they’re both of the same exact mind... she does say, “we felt...”


NO.: 57  
DATE: Thursday, December 10, 1931
DEPARTED: 283 Lucca Light, 9:15 a.m.
ARRIVED: 274 Geo.town Bent Lite, 4:00 p.m.
DISTANCE: 16 miles
TIME: 2 hrs
SPEED: 8 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Good
GAS: 15 gal., $2.33
OIL: 1 qt., .25
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Got into Ark. City in good time, but spent most of the day there. Enjoyed every bit of it immensely but tended to lower our avg again by the layover. Quite a walk to downtown, and what a downtown, too! Saw the high water mark of ’27 – people very interesting.


NO.: 58  
DATE: Friday, December 11, 1931
DEPARTED: 274 Geo.town Bend lite, 1:30 p.m.
ARRIVED: 264A Carter Pt. lite, 4:30 p.m.
DISTANCE: 21 mi.
TIME: 3 hr.
SPEED: 7 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Heavy fog & continual rain
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

The best thing we seem to be able to do is lay over because of fog, wind or heavy rains. The fog was so heavy we couldn’t see fifty feet ahead of us, but about 1:30 it lifted so we left, but ran into it again – then had one helluva time finding a place to land – Couldn’t even see the bank when we were ‘most atop it!

19-year old Catholic girl... “one helluva time...” More data that maybe she wasn’t all that devout.  


NO.: 59
DATE: Saturday, December 12, 1931
DEPARTED: 264A Carter Pt, lite, 10:45 a.m.
ARRIVED: Greenville, Miss., 12:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 18 mi.
TIME: 2 hr.
SPEED: 9 m.p.h.
WEATHER: fog, fog! FOG! DAM.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

More fog and just as heavy! Ell began getting too restless to stay here tho’ so we decided to make a run for Greenville –so foggy all the way that all we knew was that we were on water, but wouldn’t even know which direction shore was. Got to Greenville just by fools luck! Found out that we just missed a dangerous sand bar.

The man is restless. Irritable. Discontented. I think they both are. But at this point, it seems Vic at least has some common sense. The second time since St. Louis that Ell’s taking this boat on the river when no sane boat pilot would. Risking everything.


NO.: 60
DATE: Sunday, December 13, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Greenville, Miss.
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: fog, thunder, lightning & rain.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Believe it or not! But it rained all night – thundered and lightninged terrifically – Imagine that in December. It’s driving me bugs! I can’t bear continual rain like this when it seems so out of season.

Did you ever hear of fireworks for Xmas? Boys are selling them on every street corner. Guess they celebrate Xmas here as we do 4th of July up north.

Sounds like someone else is restless, irritable and discontented. Take a breath, Victoria. Not much you can do to control the weather. Pretty good insight into her idiosyncrasies, tho. Pretty easy to see how she became an alcoholic.


NO.: 61  
DATE: Monday, December 14, 1931
DEPARTED: Greenville, Miss., 10:30 a.m.
ARRIVED: 234 Cordell light, 4:30 p.m.
DISTANCE: 48 mi.
TIME: 6 hr.
SPEED: 8 m.p.h.
WEATHER: fair
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Got a rather late start to-day because the fog didn’t lift yet and, then too, we had to take on a few supplies – But we made near our allotted distance and hope to get an early start tomorrow if it is even a little clear.


NO.: 62
DATE: Tuesday, December 15, 1931
DEPARTED: 235 La. Bend light, 6:45 a.m.
ARRIVED: Vicksburg, Miss., 3:15 p.m.
DISTANCE: 80 mi.
TIME: 8½ hrs.
SPEED: 9+ m.p.h.
WEATHER: Great – for a change.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

When we left this morning we really didn’t expect to get to Vicksburg, but everything remained in our favor – weather remained clear and our motor didn’t konk out on us! So we got to Vicksburg in due time – in fact, a little earlier than we expected. Went to P.O. and got mail – Chi. boys aren’t here yet & we beat them. Hurrah!

So somewhere along the way the competition between the Bonita and the “Chicago Boys” was moved the Vicksburg as the end game, ‘sted o’ Memphis as she noted earlier. Two complete months since departing St. Paul.


NO.: 63  
DATE: Wednesday, December 16, 1931  
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at Vicksburg
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:
GAS: 4½ gal. @ 19 = 85 cents
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Were going to visit the battle grounds, but nothing but continual downpours again! Went down town – looked up McCoy – found they’d gone toNew Orleans – Met Cap’n Ira (?) and talked to him about his fish gathering trips – also learned and saw many more fish at the Platte fisheries than I’d ever seen in all my life.


NO.: 64  
DATE: Thursday, December 17, 1931
DEPARTED: Vicksburg, Miss., 7:45 a.m.
ARRIVED: 155 St. Joe’s light, 5:45 p.m.
DISTANCE: 62 mi.
TIME: 7 hr.
SPEED: 9 m.p.h.
WEATHER: Rain and terrific storm.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: Tow, 2.50
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

We got a reasonably early start this morning considering the rain and everything and all went well until about 1 p.m. when our motor suddenly died – We had blown our intake valve. However luck was with us and the light man was just going by – picked us up and towed us home. Then Mr. Brown towed us another 12 miles until we got to St. Joe’s here and have hopes of being fixed up.


NO.: 65  
DATE: Friday, December 18, 1931
DEPARTED:  
ARRIVED: Lay over at St. Joe’s light
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER:
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE: Intake valve, $3.00
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Were waiting patiently all day for our valve to be fixed. It was about 2:00 p.m. At 2:45 the Chi boys pulled in here – seemed good to see them. Harvey and Ell worked on the motor from 4 to 6 continually and finally got it running – Hope it’s clear to-morrow and that the motor start and that we can get to New Orleans by Xmas.

First time she’s mentioned getting to New Orleans by Christmas. Wonder if that was the goal all along?


NO.: 66  
DATE: Saturday, December 19, 1931
DEPARTED:
ARRIVED: Lay over at St. Joe’s light
DISTANCE:
TIME:
SPEED:
WEATHER: Heavy fog & rain.
GAS:
OIL:
MAINTENANCE:
MISCEL:
REMARKS:

Another exceedingly aggravating day – fog so dense we can’t see any thing – Am going to make a coupla pies and that’s all for today -- -- --

Idle hands are the devil’s workshop – get busy makin’ some pies.


No. 67
12/20/31

ELL: Left on non stop to New Orleans arriving there Dec. 23 at 6 PM. Were plenty tired. Had high water all the way.

And that’s it. Nothing from Vic after the announcement of the pie making. Was there a fight that led to the “non stop” from St. Joe’s light to New Orleans? “You wanna get there by Christmas? I’ll get you there by Christmas, by God.” Was it a joint decision?