August 22, 2019
Dear Friends & Family:
Not much to report, so I’ll keep this short.
On August 21, I paddled 30 miles from Wabasha to Fountain City, Wisconsin. I passed through two locks with no wait. The River was calm, which made the paddling a little easier. The River is lined with buoys to mark the deepest part of the River for the tows. The River must be at least eight feet deep for the tows to operate. The Army Corps of Engineers dredges the River to maintain this depth. The green buoy is on the right side of the River facing downstream and the red buoy is on the left. This creates a channel for the tows. I try to stay in this channel because the deepest part of the River runs the fastest. Believe it or not, with no one but me on the River I ran into a red buoy! I was getting a little bored, so I tried to see how close I could get to a buoy without hitting it. Bad idea.
On my way to Fountain City i saw a building that was marked with a large sign that said it was a liquor store. I decided to purchase a bottle of wine for the Happy Hour at my next campsite. I pulled into the docking area and walked into the store. It was a hair salon with a small closet stocked with liquor. I chose a bottle of Josh cabernet. The owner of the salon said they only accept cash or a check, which I didn’t have. No problem was her reply, I can give you my address and you can mail me a check. I told her I prefer to pay at the time of purchase and I’ll find an ATM in town. Next thing I know her Mom appeared and offered to drive me to the nearest ATM. How many times has a merchant offered you this service?
I pulled into Fountain City and found a public dock. Above the public dock was a flat, grassy area overlooking the River. That’s where I set up my campsite. I walked into town and had dinner at The Monarch, an Irish pub and restaurant. The pizza was really good. The Mississippi River is lined with train tracks. I have never seen so many trains. My campsite was located right alongside the railroad tracks. Honestly, I think a train roared up and down those tracks all night long. But, I slept really well and didn’t wake up until 7am.
I was back on the River at 8am and paddled in great conditions. I have a marine radio which I use for weather reporting. The marine radio also has an emergency function to report trouble and summon help. For the next two locks I passed through, I used the radio to speak to the lockmasters to report my arrival. That worked really great. When I arrived at the locks, the gates were opened and the signal light was flashing green, with no wait. Twenty-six miles down River I set up camp on an island across from Dakota, Minnesota. I have an nice sandy beach where I parked my canoe.
As I write this report, I’m enjoying a nice cup of Josh.
Happy Birthday Bailey. Sweet Bailey is my oldest grandchild.