Back in the Washing Machine

Dubuque, Iowa
August 28, 2019

Dear Family & Friends:

I feel like I went from the best paddling day of the trip to the worst paddling day of the trip.

The journey from Sandy Bottoms-Up Campground to Dubuque was a nightmare. Even with the wind at my back, the waves were relentless and, at times, scary. I was on a lake created by Lock & Dam No. 11. This thought depresses me: there are 29 Locks & Dams and each one creates a lake with wind, waves and not much current. I have finished only 11 Locks & Dams.

After seven hours of tough paddling, I arrived at Lock No. 11. Sure enough, a tow pushing 14 barges was locking upstream. My wait: 1-1/2 hours. Fortunately, Donnie allowed me to wait on his tow which is parked at Lock 11. Donnie uses his tow to help the downstream tows steer their barges into the Lock.

Just a mile down from Lock 11, I arrived in Dubuque. I had a nice dinner at a riverside restaurant and stealth camped on a grassy bluff overlooking a bar and casino.


The Lisa Nicole- Donnie’s tow

Yardarm Restaurant

Stealth campsite overlooking a marina and casino



4 thoughts on “Back in the Washing Machine

  1. It was a pleasure to meet you. For your followers to learn, you waited on a pushboat. Technically the M/V Lisa Nicole is a towboat. The larger boats pushing the towns are real towboats!! The barges make up the tow the towboat is pushing.

  2. Your trip inspired us to go with our children, their spouses and five (not in college) grandchildren to canoe and inner tube the Black River on Tuesday. In contrast to the Muddy Mississippi, you could see the rocks at the bottom of the river even where it was 10 feet deep. We are out of town September 11-14 and 18-21 the October 1-19. If in town, we offer a warm bed, warm meal and a bit of relaxation in St. Louis.

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