The Great Pains & Accuracy Tour

Repeating History
Discovery Expedition of St. Charles interview

Discovery Expedition men and boatSome men are camped around a fire, in 1800s army-issue white canvas tents, near Manitou Creek. A Lewis and Clark replica red pirogue is anchored there. They're the Discovery Expedition of Saint Charles. They've come to Rocheport, Missouri for the Lewis & Clark Rendevous.

The men of the Lewis & Clark expedition were mostly in their twenties, These guys average about 50. Lewis & Clark's men mostly rowed or pulled the boats upriver. These guys use a motor -- the Coast Guard requires they have one. But for festivals like this around the country, the men put on period clothes and guns, they get out the oars, and they row into another river town. On a night in June, 2001, we conversed with several men of the Expedition.

How do you use your replica boats?

MAN 1: In 1803, Lewis came down the Ohio River with keelboat and red pirogue. So in 2003 we're going to reinact that part of the trip and in 2004 we'll go up the Missouri River to the Great Falls which is what Lewis and Clark did.

What do you mean you'll go up the river?

Boat photo by Steve EverlyMAN 1: Exactly that, we will go up the Missouri River in the boats, camp along the way, stop at the campsites and the places that Lewis & Clark actually stopped, you know, approximately. So, we'll follow the journals in those bicentennial years.

MAN 2: It's great, being out on the river all the time.

MAN 1: There's a couple of misquitos I didn't like.

MAN 3: They had stresses at that time that we don't have to deal with. We don't have to worry about the grizzly bears.

MAN 2: We may, we're going to be in some country later on that will have the grizzlies, but we're not going to go looking for them, I guarantee that.

MAN 4: You should see the way people look at you when you build a firepit like this in the middle Point Park in downtown Pittsburg.

MAN 5: Actually the main thing in Pittsburg is we got run out of town by the secret Service because right next to our campsite, Gore was going to make a speech, and we were armed.

MAN 2: They don't mind the flintlocks too much, but they sure didn't like those cannons.

Does the river get nasty every once in a while?

Boat photo by Steve EverlyMAN 1: Like all this week.

MAN 2: We came down the Ohio and it was a nice narrow channel. The river was just placid, it looked like a sheet of ice. Calm. We went around the bend and that thing opened up and we ran into two and a half, three foot swells.

MAN 5: We were digging the bow, just digging it.

MAN 2: The river was coming over the top, it was just incredible and BANG it happened like that, just like that. So you have to be real careful cause the river is a living thing and it has a mind of it's own.

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©2001 Barrett Golding / Josef Verbanac
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