Get the Heck out of Winnesheik!!!

We left Lansing around 8:30 in the morning on Wednesday and arrived at the Prairie Du Chien around 1:30 in the afternoon to the Winnesheik Marina.  The first thing we did was pull up to the gas dock for a pump out!  The gas dock was not impressive, nor was there an attendant.  We had to call the number posted to get someone to come and help us.

After about 20 minutes a young guy showed up and Skip said that we did not need gas, we needed a pump out.   The guy said “A what?”.  He let us know that he had been working there a year and he did not know how to do that so Skip had to show him having never actually done it himself.   LOL, now Skip has literally given out shit a time or two and he got to physically get his shit back!!!!   Also, the water on the dock  did not work, so we had to use the water off the boat to rinse the tank!  All in all he did a great job!!!

More bad marina stuff: The showers, one shower for girls, one for guys plus they were not in nice shape with a sign saying that it would take 5 minutes for the water to warm, the fingers on the docks were wobbly and shabby, poor lighting, and no cell or WiFi!!!

They did have a nice little 9 hole golf course.  Skip went to the golf course, rented clubs and a cart.  He then hijacked the cart from the course, came and picked me up at the boat and we went on a tour of the facilities, park models, swimming pool, and camp grounds.  We then played 9 holes…

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Score

I really did not play!!!  I just made up my score to look like Tiger’s sister, Cougar Woods!

We then had a nice dinner at The Barn restaurant then headed back to the boat where we had our showers on the back of the boat and made a firm decision to leave this joint at first light Thursday morning and THAT WE DID!!!  At 6:15 this morning I was still sleeping and I was awoken by the engine starting up!  We were kicking off before my first sip of coffee and still in my pajamas .

We arrived at the Guttenberg Marina by 10 this morning.  This is a very nice Marina and very cute little town, we are going to stay here till Saturday morning.  Will fill you in on Guttenberg, Iowa tomorrow!

Trudi

 

 

We made it to Iowa!

We traveled a total of 33 miles, passed 1 huge Northbound barge and floated through Lock 8.

In route I was wondering how you would know when you were leaving one state and entering another, well now I know!

MarkerWe are staying at Lansing Marina.  A pretty nice marina but with no WiFi.  Skip walked into town to the IGA grocery and bought groceries and I stayed on the boat and mopped the floors.  Slip prices are reasonable but you need to pay a dollar for a shower.

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In Lansing there is a variety store named Horsfall Lansing Variety run by the owner  Paul, a wonderful proprietor.  It is a must see they are jam packed with everything you would ever need and items you may never need but it is an adventure to explore!

Skip also had a chance to fish, here is a fine example of the bait being longer than the fish:

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One of Lansing’s history is that there was a button factory here.  They made pearl buttons from clam shells.  It was started by a retired steamboat captain Capt. Jeremiah Turner in 1897, The Turner Button Company.  In 1907 the grandson became a partner and by 1938 they stopped making the buttons and developed a machine to attach buttons to cards.  In 1943 they hired a programmer to keep track of all the plastic button varieties and they became the second largest wholesaler in the country.  They were bought in 1986 by B. Blumenthal Co. of Carlsbad, NJ.

We have been on the river 1 week now:  152 miles, 24.5 hours of river travel at an average speed of 6.2 miles per hour and loving every minute of it.

A boater going through one of the the locks was going to Prairie Du Chien, we asked him what marina and he said to go to in Winneshiek Marina so that is where we are going tomorrow.

 

Welcome to LaCrosse!

Welcome to Lacrosse, WI, it was named after the American Indian game of La Crosse!  I have had to bring my laptop to the Tiki Bar because the WiFi will not reach the boat.

We are currently docked at Pettibone Boat Club.  This marina has laundry, a restaurant, and tiki bar, so I am taking advantage of food and beverage while I do laundry, and make my few updates for the day.

Few updates it will be, because we went a whopping 17.4 miles for the day!   We did go through two locks: Lock 7 and Lock 8.  Lock 7 was immediately after we left and we were the only boat in the lock so we just floated in the middle.  Although floating in the middle is easier it is not as much fun because you do not get to visit with the staff working the lock!  As we approached Lock 8 you could see a barge in the lock and it had two lock loads of barges, so the tug had to drop back down, get the other barges, come back up and then hook everything together again.  It was a good hour wait, so I again made ham sandwiches for lunch….this is becoming a trend.  We only passed two Northbound barges and of course rental house boats.

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I’m telling ya, life is tough!!  Reporting live from the Tiki Bar in La Crosse, Wisconsin!!!  Ciao!!!!

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Another Day on the Mississippi

A change of destinations we had! I originally planned to travel to Winona, MN but as I got out of bed, Skip had other plans.   There was a Catfish Festival in Trempealeau, WI, complete with band and fireworks.  We took off this morning at 8:30, it was a little foggy but we were anxious to get underway,  so anxious that we forgot to pay the marina…Not being the type to dock and dash, we called Parkside Marina when they opened and settled our bill for two nights!

Off we went into another day of boating, we passed quaint river towns and beautiful cliffs.  We also passed 4 Northbound barges, which is sometimes a little unnerving because they are so VERY big with the tug guiding them, but Skipper Skip is an excellent boater and knows exactly what to do!  There is also a lot of railway traffic, both on the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides,  the tracks seem to follow the river!

town

We also went through 3 locks: Lock 4, Lock 5, and Lock 5A.  We actually started to look like we know what we are doing!   The guys at the lock are always so helpful and nice!  At Lock 5A, we had to wait a little over an hour for the Northbound barge in the lock to get underway.  It was the perfect opportunity to make lunch, ham sandwiches!

This area is known for timber, farming, dairy and chicken farming, and there is also an Ashley furniture plant here!  This is the first time we have ever stayed in another state other than Minnesota our boat!

We are currently docked at the Trempealeau Marina.  We walked to the Catfish Festival and listened to the bands, while munching on catfish bites and fried cheese curds!   The fireworks actually started off little but ended up very big!!!   I kept telling Skip, “So thats, the grand finale!!”, then there was another one then another!  It has been a perfect ending to a perfect day!!!

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Although to top off perfect, I have to give a shout out to my brilliant, beautiful, and talented granddaughter Alana!   I am so very blessed that you came into our family!  Find it hard to believe that you are 14 years old and, LOL, SO MUCH TALLER THAN ME!

alana

Trudi

A Fun Day for Us!

Skip goes to bed early,  and I stay up later because I  fear I will miss something…He woke up very early in the new harbor, in the fog, to see 50 plus boats  leaving from the marina and lots of people going fishing!  He told me that at lease half of the boats had a dog on board!

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It is so much fun traveling down the river and the best part is to meet new people along the way, like our first new next slip neighbor’s like Bart & Laurie, they have been so nice to us and we greatly appreciate them & of course Alice their puppy!

I am so happy to be going back home but so sad to be leaving the wonderful people whom we have grown to love for over 20 plus years!  Art and Heidi came to visit us today and I just love them both, so very much!  I hope they live together forever,  just like in a fairy tale and I have offered my services to be their flower girl!!!

Art

Tomorrow, it will be off to Winona and three locks!  Just another day on the river, this is fun!!!!

Trudi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Wabasha!

We left Lake City early this morning around 8:30 in order to miss the afternoon storms.  We left the poopy ducks and headed to Wabasha which is about a two hour trip for us.

Ducks

Wabasha is located on the Mississippi River near it’s confluence with the Chippewa River.  It welcomes you to the home of Grumpy old Men!   Slippery’s and the VFW are mentioned in the movie as their home and stomping grounds but most of the scenes in the movie were filmed around Minnesota, like Red Wing and Stillwater.

To honor John and Max, Skip and I took a walk to Slippery’s for lunch!   They have really good food, I had the walleye sandwich and Skip had the jambalaya!  We were starving because we did not cook or have breakfast before we left because we were in a hurry to beat the storms.   I am going to have to put breakfast bars and fruit on my grocery list for mornings on the run!

We are docked at Mississippi Parkside Marina.  A very nice marina with diesel and laundry, two things we need.   I have researched marina’s along the way which have the necessities we need.  After lunch we came back to the boat, Skip started waxing and polishing the boat and I did laundry.  The coin laundry was SO reasonable, $1.25 to wash and $.75 to dry, what a deal!  This was my first laundry experience on our trip, there will be many, many more because we have a long way to go and I do not want to become a stinky boat person :  )!

Our dinner plans for the porterhouse changed last night because of the storms but most importantly Lake City Marina does not allow grilling on the boats, so we are cooking it tonight.

The most important thing about Friday, July 13th is that it is my niece Melissa’s Birthday!   She has grown up to be a wonderful wife, mother, nurse and has always been such a special part of my life!   I love her very much!  Happy Birthday Melissa!!!!

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It’s Stinking Hot Today!

It’s fun waking up in the morning someplace different!   That is the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning.  There is going to be a lot of that on this trip.

Skip got up earlier than me and got the water hose and sprayed the duck poop off the dinghy!  We left the dinghy down in the water last night and the ducks used it as their party patio and restroom facilities.  I cleaned the outside windows this morning,  the galley, and the head/bathroom.  You know what they say in the Navy,  “A clean ship is a happy ship”.

Then it was off for our first wagon shopping trip to the Fiesta Foods grocery store this morning!

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Lake City is such a great town.  Everything you need is within walking distance and some of what you don’t need like an ice cream parlor.

The temperature today was 95 degrees with a heat index of 105.  We had the air conditioner on full blast and the mister that Bryan Thomas gave us hooked up on the back (Thank you Bryan, you are the best!) .  It was too hot in the afternoon to hit the ice cream parlor but we did venture out on a hike in the afternoon to go to the farmers market.   I bought strawberry preserves and Skip got tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions for a salad to go along with our steak for tonight’s dinner.

There is a storm coming and we desperately need it to cool things off!  I hear the thunder….As Captain, Skip always checks his radar:

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Come on rain, it’s even too hot for this Florida Girl and clear up before we leave in the morning so I can run and get ice cream before we go (The Breakfast of Champions, I’ll make sure it has fruit in it!).

Until tomorrow!!!

Trudi

 

 

 

 

It’s Only Day Two?

Around 10 AM this morning Skip was plugging a charger into the DC outlet and WE BLEW A FUSE!!!   That incident caused our propane alarm to fry, which caused the alarm to go off!!!  What a way to start our second day!!!!

Luckily Cindy came to the rescue and had a whole box of CO2 detectors so we bought one, and luckily Skip is very handy and is learning EVER inch of the boat and all the systems!   He fixed the issue and now we can cook again with no annoying alarms going off.

We have time on our hands today so we are cooking a late brunch, then leaving this lovely marina and heading to the Lake City Marina…a short hop from here!  No locks and we will see (sea) if we run into any barges.   Will post more this evening when we get to where we are going.

Here is the later

We left the marina at 1 PM to head to Lake City and as soon as we started on the river we passed our one and only barge for the day on the starboard side.  Then from there on to Lake City it was pretty uneventful which is a good thing!!!  Not much boat traffic because most people are working!!!

Entering into Lake Pepin, the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River is such a fun time because the river just opens up and there are beautiful bluffs.  We hardly saw any boats until we got closer to Lake City where we had to play chess with two Blow Boats (Sail Boats).  They have the right of way and you never know which way they are going to move!!!!

Here is just one of the great bluffs:

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By 3:30 We were docking at the Lake City Marina, a very short boating day!  We have stayed here many times and like the Marina and the city.

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Lake City, MN is the birth of water skiing, even though Floridian’s think they invented the sport!!!  This city is so convenient for walking for everything…restaurants, groceries, hardware, and most importantly The Dollar Store.

We are going to stay here two nights.  There is a farmers market tomorrow afternoon on the beach and a band will be playing!  On Friday, we head to unfamiliar waters to Wabasha, MN!  We have never been to Wabasha so that will be an adventure to a new town and our wonderful friends Art and Heidi are coming to visit us on Saturday which is always a treat!

This is so much fun and we are having a great time!  Especially Skip…he just caught this fish while I was finishing up the post for the day, I had to include it!

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Take care everyone!

Trudi

 

 

 

 

Bitter Sweet!

Well it is the anticipated time to leave and I am excited about leaving but so very sad to leave such very good friends!

Skip woke up at 6 AM and I kicked out of the V Berth around 6:10 AM because we have a busy day!  First COFFEE, then showers and by 8 AM, we have to be at the Ship’s store at Sunnyside.  Skip treated the crew to doughnuts which Melinda at the shop picked up for him (Thank you Melinda)!

If you happen to be in the area and need a place to slip, this is a great place to stay!  Bath House is great including shampoo and bath gel, and laundry facilities on site!  Plus you can visit Pier Two for entertainment!!!

The mechanics and Rick the General Manager and all the folks that work there are first class, here they are:

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Melinda is in turquoise, Rick is front row to the right!  Thank you all for being such wonderful hosts for the time we were there!

Before the goodbye at the shop we had a chance to say goodbye to my other favorite Skip, Keith, Dave, and Craig.  Merry, Skip’s wife, was up early doing laundry and Gail, Keith’s wife was just UP doing all the great things she does, like taking the picture above!!!!

So we had told everyone that we would probably leave around 10 AM but we are over achievers and we left the marina at 9:03 AM!  We walked down to wake Steve and Deb up but it was so quiet and early we thought we would let them sleep.

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Thanks Merry for the picture!

And for this one, Under the Bridge we go, we are on our way home THE LONG WAY!!!!

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Before we get to Florida, we will have many barges to maneuver, here was our first going North bound and one traveling south bound we followed and it went into the lock right before us:

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The LOCK # 3!  We have been through it many times and you have to get your life vest on, get your boat pole ready to grab the ropes!  Here I am all ready to enter the lock and the lock lets us know that we will be the only boat in the lock and we can just float in the middle…well that is probably the first and last time that will ever happen!!!

Here is me ALL ready with absolutely nothing to do:

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Past the lock is Red Wing, Minnesota, they are famous for their pottery and shoes!  Here is Cindy’s Marina where we are staying!  Best place in Red Wing:

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Above is our boat placed next to the office, with concessions & clothes!, PLUS a perfect patio area and excellent staff!   It is almost like a B&B on the water!!!  If you are looking for Cindy’s you will find it called Red Wing Marina!  For most people who have been here before we like to keep it a secret and call it Cindy’s!!!!

Tomorrow we depart to Lake City!  Good Night All!  In closing, here is the favorite part of my day, we are just happy!!!:

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It’s Destiny!!!!

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It was sometime around 2003 that Skip and I came back to Minneapolis to work and we were looking to buy a boat…We looked at many and just happened to find a 38′ Chris Craft Corinthian, no air conditioner, an older boat, and a gas hog.  Her name was “La Vida Loca”.   We made a deal, with the owners and agreed to rent a slip at Sunnyside Marina in Stillwater, Minnesota.  It just happened to be located on Pier Two, what a blessing that has been and a wonderful lifetime of friends and beautiful memories we have found there on THAT pier!!!

Saturday  night they gave us a farewell party that was fabulous!  The food was great, the weather beautiful , but there was nothing as wonderful as their company!

The best thing about Pier 2 people is that they are all of great character, great cooks, smart, and funny!  If I get bored on our trip I am going to fly in Barbie (She is the girl front/middle who took the great selfie).

It was so great to be back up here for the past two boating seasons.  It is kind of sad/funny watching things change….Some of the long time boaters are moving on, selling their boats and there is a new crew coming in, just as vibrant as we were back in the day!!!

I remember it just like yesterday getting off the sea trial on La Vida Loca and Deb Springer and Steve Rockow were on the dock when we were passing by and Deb said to me…”cute shoes”, I just love her even though she now has cuter shoes with flamingo’s on them!!!  She is now Deb Rockow!    Gail deserves a special mention because she does so much for everybody, she is just an angel, so is her husband Keith!   Oh goodness…then there is Bryan (I just love him, he keeps Skip occupied!), Mike & Kelly, Bob and Connie (no longer here at the marina), Bob & Netti,  Skip and Merry..Each and everyone needs mention but it would take a novel mention to all the fun and memories, it would be more pages than  War and Peace!

It was definitely destiny finding such a wonderful group of friends!  We would have the best pot luck dinners and sail away trips!!!  We are definitely so lucky to have just stepped into a place in time where we would meet an love such wonderful people!  We are definitely blessed! It was truly DESTINY!!!!

God bless you all Pier Two!!!!  We will miss you, come see us in Florida!!!!

Trudi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God bless you all Pier Two buddies, come see us in Florida!!!!

Thank you so much!!!!!!!

Trudi