Notes from the road — the P(x) digital diaries
Day 9: Sunday, August 22st
We woke up in Hannibal, Missouri. Home town of Mark Twain. Had breakfast at the Mark Twain Dinette. Everything is named after Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn — Either Mr. Clemens didn't have all that great of an imagination or the town has changed since he was a boy. We tootled around downtown Hannibal. Lots of empty old brick buildings. Tourism may be the largest part of this economy, but that still ain't that much. This town looks like it may have somewhat thrived at some time, but that time is long gone. The nice thing about it is that it's not filled with gaudy "Paint the fence Tom Sawyer painted right here!" signs. The old brick buildings stand empty, a remnant of another time. The foundation to Huck Finn's house is encircled by a dinky little fence and you don't have to pay to see it. That was charming.
Chris here ... We went down to the docks where the steamboat took folks on tours and the locals launched their boats. We were hunting locals. We found quite a few and had some great interviews. The riverboat blasted out a few old-fashion steam engine hynms that we caught on tape and will be great to insert in the film. Then we were off, over the Mississippi for a well deserved break. Across from Hannibal we found a lovely beach along the river. Can't describe how wonderful it was to dip my feet in the mighty Mississippi; this had been one of my personal goals of the trip. We took several pictures of ourselves knee-deep in the water. The girls returned to the beach and I stood in the water. The sun was harsh and the sky hazy. I covered my eyes and gazed downriver where the shores where still undeveloped. I closed my eyes. A strong breeze blew over the water and drowned out the noises coming from the hwy and shore line. I am at a loss to describe the feeling. With feet wedged in the fine Mississippi mud, legs wet from her waters, sun beating down, wind in my face. I felt a sense of both deep sorrow and profound joy, I seemed to be experiencing the past, the present and the future all at once, as if the river was speaking to me. It was one of those moments when you begin to cry but want to laugh, instead of going with one or the other I let myself drop into the water. Had I been alone (no freeway, tourist and others) I would have stripped down and wallowed for hours. The clothed dunks that I took left me revitalized and seemed to cleanse my mind of the ongoing worries and self imposed stresses of this trip. Thank you God, thank you life. ... This is a truly marvelous and wondrous world. I only hope our future generations will be able to have and experience the world as we can today.
Off to Hamburg Iowa. We arrived at sunset and took the cameras for a walk downtown. We came across the local teenage hangout and coaxed them out of a couple interviews. With no one else around we went to eat, back to the motel, logged footage, and finally to sleep.