Ride em Cowboy
Fort Madison, Iowa
September 6, 2019
Dear Family & Friends:
I’m not referring to my canoe.
The 23-mile paddle from Keithsburg, Illinois to Burlington, Iowa on September 5 was tough because of the stiff headwinds. But, I scored a real break at Lock No. 18. There were 5 push boats ahead of me-two waiting to lock downstream and three waiting to lock upstream. Because of the priority given to commercial river traffic, this would have meant a minimum 6-hour wait, putting me on the River in the dark. The lockmaster took pity on me and had one of his employees portage my canoe downstream on a motorized cart.
I parked my canoe at a Harbor Bluff Marina and made a reservation at Evan’s Holly Grove Inn, a bed and breakfast in the Historic District in Burlington. This large Victorian home was built in 1860 and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. From the second floor landing, you can see three winding staircases leading to different parts of the home. The home was built by John Schramm, who opened the first dry goods store in Iowa. I stayed in the “Rose Room.” I enjoyed a great salmon dinner at Martini’s Grille.
Burlington was the first territorial capital of Iowa and is the home of Snake Alley, once labeled the crookedest alley in the world. The quiche, potato and sausage breakfast at Evan’s Holly Inn was good and got my day off to a great start.
September 6 was a long, very hard day as I paddled 23 miles to Fort Madison, Iowa. Much of the time, I was paddling in white cap waves and into head winds. Worse yet, the lake (officially referred to as a “pool”) created by Lock 19 is gigantic. I arrived in Fort Madison at 3pm, and I still haven’t crossed the pool. Marmot shipped my new tent poles to the FedEx store where I picked them up at 4 pm.
To my great delight, the Tri-State Rodeo has begun in Fort Madison. After checking in the Kingsley Inn bed and breakfast, I attended the Rodeo at 7:30pm. It was the perfect end to a tough day on the River.