Sunday, August 24, 2014

Voyage of Hurlothrumbo

I was heading out on a birding trip on this sunny Sunday morning, and as I crossed the bridge into Salem, I looked over at Waterfront Park and knew I had to investigate. 

What I discovered was the Voyage of Hurlothrombo tied up at the docks. This flotilla is basically from San Francisco, and this is their second summer to drift a section of the Willamette River, this year from Corvallis to the falls at Oregon City. The fellow in the orange striped coveralls calmly answered the hundreds of questions I peppered him with.  He himself is from Eugene but spontaneously jumped on at Corvallis to lend a hand.  

This could be considered the mother ship I think.  It is actually a trailer serving as a barge with buoyancy provided from donated plastic drums. The kitchen or galley area is in the front; on the side behind the grey tarp is the stage upon which this whimsical group performs.  

The human powered Ferris Wheel sits on a second trailer/barge behind the mother ship.  Three plastic chairs allow the participants to sit and provide power to the amusement ride by pedaling.

At the very back is a home-made tug boat to aid navigation of the two barges.

This additional living quarters is called the Pine Cone.  (I did notice a pine cone sitting on a bedside table.) I guess the green kayak allows them transportation options.

This was an interesting adaption, starting with a canoe, adding a couple of inner tubes for balance, a flat platform with mosquito netting, a bamboo pole and umbrella. Add sleeping bags and you are set.  In fact when I first arrived at 8:45 there were couples sleeping here, and in the Pine Cone, and on top of the mother ship. Seemed like a simple peaceful life. Of course I was reminded of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and found myself dreaming of drifting day after day carefree down the Willamette River. 


  1. Beautifully written, JIm. Thanks for the call - I was able to visit them this morning after you. Very interesting.

  2. fellow in orange coverallsDecember 1, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    thank you for writing and posting this!!!