When my family goes floating, it seems like we're packing lots of supplies. Between the sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and plenty of snacks to keep the kids happy, I sometimes feel like we're our own little barge as we paddle down the river.
But to look at the quantities of what is moved during the Missouri River's shipping season shows how they certainly have my family beat.
This week, Jefferson City's River Terminal expects to receive 6,000 tons of cement. AGRIServices of Brunswick will start pushing more than 9,000 tons of fertilizer up the Missouri River, and Hermann Sand and Gravel plans to start moving freight late this week.
So begins the unofficial start of the 2011 shipping season!
While the official start is April 1, Kevin Holcer of AgriServices is confident about starting early.
"The water levels are good enough to get our shipping season started early, and we expect to be busy though mid-December," Holcer said. "Last year's success brought us good momentum, and we don't want to slow down."
Last year, about 334,000 tons of goods were shipped on the Missouri River, a 24 percent increase from the year before. Shipping this way can save money, is more friendly to the environment and relieves stress on highways. One barge equals the same amount of cargo that fits into 70 semi-trucks or 16 rail cars.
I wonder how many canoe's worth of goldfish crackers and juice boxes it holds.