Saturday, July 18, 2009

River Buddies

I typed this one up last night but didnt' have time to post it. Here it is:

We landed in Lacrosse, two nights ago, and made a few stops in town. We were only there for a short while before we set sail again. Josh was driving while Matt spotted buoys. I took a nap because it was getting too late. Josh woke me up around 4 am when we got close to an island to set up camp. We got beached on the sandbar about 100 feet from the island. We had to push off but the wind and the weeds were working against us. It took a few tries to push away from the shallows, AND avoid the weeds long enough to clear the area. The second one we tried worked out just fine. It must have been a public camp ground because there were fire pits and fire wood stacked up when we got there. It was a cold night/morning so we started up a fire. I laid down on the sand with my head on a log as we watched the sun rise and the stars fade.

After the late night travel, we got a late start. We had another tailwind and made some great time. The sun was out, the scenery of the bluffs and the slews was something I'd never seen before. Everything was going in our favor. We had to wait for a barge in lock #8, but afterward, things were flowing well again.

When we got to lock # 9 that night, the same barge was just going through, but there was another one coming up river that we had to wait for. We waited an hour and a half to find out that there was yet another barge waiting for passage up river. By then it was 10:30 pm and we just set up camp on the shore side of a lock. We tied up to a concrete loading dock but weren't sure if we were in the way. We were just killing time when we heard a nock on top of the cab. Two local fisherman Don and Brad from Prairie Du Chien, WI, were curiously standing outside the Sea Monkey. They mentioned that they always wanted to make the trip too. They even offered to pick up the raft when we were done with it. We told them that if they bring us back up north it's a deal. So we may already have a ride back! Well to southern Wisconsin anyway...

We chit chatted for a few hours. We told them about the trip so far and they told us more about the river and rough patches to look out for. They liked the Sea Monkey and the idea of the trip so much that Don offered to pick us up and take us wherever we needed to go in Prairie Du Chien as we passed through the next day (today). How could we refuse?

This morning, the lock-keeper woke us up and warned us that a barge was coming in, so we would have to run through or we would have another two hour wait. We hurried through without a second guess and were on our way to meet up with Don. On our way to Prairie Du Chien, we meat up with Brian from Pepin City. We had met him earlier on the southern tip of Lake Pepin and now again down river. It's a big river but still is a small world. Thanks for the fishing tackle Brian!

Don met us on the shoreline and directed us to a dock to tie onto. He was more than happy to help out any way he could. We met his girl friend Tara and they brought us back to their pad, fed us and showed us around. We didn't want to leave but we just didn't have much time to spare. All of the hospitality that we've been getting is something I've never seen before. Everything about the trip so far has been an amazing experience and the people along the way are the the best part of it.


  1. great stories man! judging by the pictures you guys are gonna need some high spf sunblock!