Embrace America's Rivers

Upper Mississippi River Trip

The Journey of the Kravin 

This blog is to share and record our journey from Crystal City, Missouri to St. Paul, Minnesota via the mighty Mississippi River......the trip of a lifetime. Point of departure, Plattin Rock Boat Club, Mile Marker 149. The crew will begin with Cap'n and first mate Canman, I am going to give them a head start and meet up in Iowa where I will resume my duties as first mate and Canman will head back home.We have a lot of miles to travel (1400 miles, approximately) in two weeks so I thought a three day head start would keep me from freaking out and worrying about getting back home on time....no stress. Canman will be given strict instructions on his duties of picture taking and log book keeping in my absence. I will be pretty anxious to trade places with the Canman and cruise off into the sunset with my skipper. Crew on boat in photo.

Thursday, July 23, 2009..Day 1
Boat is stocked up, gassed up, clean. Captain and Canman get the boat to the ramp at 8 am.8:24 am..... off they go! :-( Poor me. I have to go to work now. They waited about four hours to get through two locks today. (#27 Chain of Rocks and #26 Melvin Price.)3:30 pm, they were approaching the Winfield Locks. Super first mate, sending pics. Good job.Two hours to get through Winfield. Six hours sitting to get through locks today....and think, we have 24 more to get through.Heading for the Clarksville Dam, 7:30 pm.Luckily, they got right into the Clarksville locks. Arrived Two Rivers Marina in Louisiana, MO. Marina is closed, but they are tying up for the night and going to bed. 

Friday, July 24, 2009..Day 2
Starting point, MM 283.3, Two Rivers Marina, Louisiana, MO 6 am weather: 60 degrees and fair. Looks like they will have a beautiful sunny day today. 5 am: I'm wide awake. Last day of work, lots to do. Not packed yet. Still trying to get the grocery shopping done....I guess a list would help but that's way too easy. Trying to get the house ready for the onslaught of visitors that will be here in my absence. Hope Jess tells whoever sleeps in my bed that they have to share the bed with my 60 pound dog.....and the cat. Kudos to the first mate for his fabulous reporting skills and sending pictures on a regular basis.I will have big shoes to fill. :-)el capitan. Leaving Louisiana, Mo. Wind whipping through the Canman's hair. Lock & Dam #22, Hannibal, MO Lock & Dam #21, Quincy, IL. Crew stopped for lunch at The Pier, Quincy Il. Please note fancy tablecloths, then note the nice t-shirt Canman sported for trip into The Pier...you can take the boy out of Festus, but........... *wink*See beautiful boat in background, never to be very far from the captain's watchful eye. Next stop, Lock & Dam #19, Keokuk, Iowa. Luck is with the sailors today, no long waits at any of the locks.The Kravin has landed. I miss my handsome captain. Looking forward to meeting up with the boys tomorrow. Lock & Dam 21 in photo.

Saturday, July 25, 2009..Day 3
My Adventure Begins! 5 am, wide awake again. Today I will drive to Muscatine, Iowa, the former Button Capital of the World, and switch places with the Canman. 6 am, scrambling around. According to the Garmin, if I leave right now I can be in Muscatine by 10:47, but of course, that won't happen. lol. Hit the road at 9:30 am in the (henceforth known as) Techno-nugget (canman's truck). That thing has gadgets and doo-dads, radar detectors, satellite radio, gps....but without my glasses on, I couldn't manage any of them so I had to just wing it. Things were bleepin and beepin but somewhere around Hannibal I figured everything out. Met the boys for the changing of the crew at 2:36 pm, at Muscatine Harbor. They had eaten breakfast at a place called Mary's, then they hit the Button Museum and a biker bar. Gas at the Lindsay Park Marina.

Sunday, July 26, 2009..Day 4
Pulled out of Davenport, Iowa at 8:34 am after we took showers, he washed the boat out, I reorganized the stuff I had scattered everywhere. Had sausage balls for breakfast, Lock 14, Leclaire, Iowa. Uneventful, went right on it. Started at 9:01, out at 9:28, but had to go through a very long, beautiful canal to get back to the main channel, and that took us about 20 minutes. Let me say this about Iowa....there is either a lot of "old money" up here or the recession hasn't hit here..........every marina we pull into is busy, people everywhere, and our boat is the smallest one in the marina. It's fairly amazing. Clinton Lock & Dam #13. A little more challenging. There was a big tug coming through headed southbound. We dropped anchor and he waxed the boat. We got here at 11:00, and there were other northbound pleasure craft waiting but we had to wait for this big ol' paddleboat named Twilight (shown in photo) to get into the lock before us. Once they were in, we could go in. These locks up here have pelicans flying around, and they're BIG. We are trying to get through Lock & Dam 12 before calling it a day. We got all the way through Lock 11 and stopped for the night in Guttenburg, Iowa, mile marker 615. We are about 1/4 mile from Lock #10, and will tackle that one in the morning. We stayed in the Guttenburg public docks, a freebie. We grilled filet mignons, mushrooms,and taters and ate them on paper plates while sitting in our free slip. We had quite a few cocktails, sat under a blanket and stared at the millions of stars.This is awesome........Cap'n called it "Boat-topia". Weather has been beautiful. We will see what tomorrow brings.  He fired up the generator this morning long enough to make coffee and charge the laptop batteries. 

Monday, July 27, 2009..Day 5
Up at 7:00, cleaned up the boat, at breakfast (sausage biscuits) took our respective medicines (oh it so sucks to get old)....waited for the generator to cool down, I cleaned up the cabin, he straightened up the outside, and we're off at 8:20. Lock 10 is right in front of us (shown in photo). Called the lockmaster and he said he would open to northbound traffic in 10 minutes so we fired up the Kravin, untied, and we're off!! We are going to try to go 100 miles today which will put us in LaCrosse, Wisconsin I think. Vacation is a wonderful thing. The 9:48 pm update: We went through seven locks today. I am now an expert at holding the ropes. We traveled 145 miles and are now in Wabasha, MN. It is SO beautiful up here, the river is clean, wide, beautiful. We are at a marina that has showers and laundromat, so we took long hot showers and washed all of the towels we use around the boat.The weather is getting ugly, there is lightning and storms predicted, so poor Captain is out there figuring out the plastic enclosure.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009..Day 6
Our destination is in sight Good morning from Wabasha, Minnesota. The sun is shining, its about 60 degrees....another beautiful day. A storm rolled through here last night so we put up the plastic around the cabin, and we can't take it down until it is completely dry. We should roll in to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area today. After tackling 8 locks yesterday, the next three should be a piece of cake, but you never know. Wow, I have a bad case of sea knees. When I get on dry land, everything feels like its moving which really is not a fun feeling. I may need Dramamine, not for the boat but for land. Very strange feeling. Time for chores......straighten the cabin and make breakfast while el capitan gives the Kravin the once over and sprays off the deck. Then we are on a mission to find a loaf of bread which may not be as easy as it sounds. Ok, off to take more pictures. I have taken about 400 pictures in four days. Feel pity upon my friends that have to sit through numerous pictures of locks. Today I want to snap a picture of an eagle if I can, they are flying around up here and they are indeed a beautiful sight to behold. Gimball bearing is greased. 10:30 am, we are off! We crossed Lake Pepin today. Apparently Laura Ingalls Wilder crossed it too. I have a video of sitting in the middle of the lake, the wind was outrageous. Last year a bridge that crosses the Mississippi River collapsed with traffic on it. We went under that bridge yesterday. we are now in St. Paul Minnesota. Tomorrow morning we will go through Lock #1, too tired tonight. The 22 mile crossing of Lake Pepin was like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat, it was rough and bouncy and wore us out. Now its time for a cocktail and a little relaxing with the Cap'n

Wednesday, July 29, 2009..Day 7
The Kravin has landed-UPDATE Good morning from Watergate Marina, St. Paul Minnesota. We are about 2.6 miles from our destination, Lock & Dam 1 - the furthest point in the Corps of Engineers Nine-Foot Channel Project. Did some calculations this morning. Distance traveled so far: 691.5 miles. Engine hours: 49.8. We have a small ding in one of the propellers. Cap said not to fret over it but will need a new prop after we get home. :-( Considering the miles we have traveled, that isn't too bad. 9:36 am, we are pulling the shore power and getting ready to head out for Lock & Dam #1!! WE DID IT!  We went through Lock & Dam #1, then through Lower St. Anthony's Falls Lock and Upper St Anthony's Falls Lock, then 3.6 miles north is the end of navigation channel. Kind of an uneventful sign stuck on a bridge marked the end of the 9-Foot Channel Project (shown in photo). We hit our intended destination today at 12:05 pm. But.....WE DID IT!! yahoooo!   We are headed towards Lock & Dam #2, but the thought of crossing Lake Pepin again is not pleasant. It is so windy there are whitecaps! 4:15 we are stuck at Lock & Dam #2 waiting for them to finish lock maintenance. We are tied up to their outer wall and there is a tree across from us with three HUGE eagles sitting in it. 

Thursday, July 30, 2009..Day 8
Headed South Good morning from wet and chilly Red Wing, Minnesota. We are pulling out of Ol' Miss Marina with the generator running so I can charge up the laptop, cell phone, and heat up some water in the microwave for coffee. There are mayflies ALL OVER the place, stuck all over the boats, the docks, everywhere. A quote from a local was "yep, three hatchings this year!!" I take it that three hatchings of mayflies is uncommon? They're tough little boogers, we are doing 25 mph across the lake and they are still clinging on to the boat. If you grab them and toss them into the wind, they fly away. :hmm: Who knew. We pulled into the marina last night and it was closed, but we found the transient slips and met a nice guy named Rick Koleman and his boat Thirty-Eight Special was parked right across from us. They had a light up palm tree. Fired up the grill and made tilapia with lemon pepper and some green beans, gotta have something green so we don't get scurvy. :eek: Dinner was delish. After dinner we took a wander around the park and some pictures of the gigantic tee-pee poles. Crossing Lake Pepin today for another fun, bouncy ride. Hopefully since we left early and it isnt too windy yet plus we are going downstream, that it won't be too terribly rough today. We pulled into Parkside Marina in Wabasha, MN. Filled up with gas, checked water, pulled into a slip. Took the long walk to town for some groceries, then over to Slippery's (photo) for lunch and beer to go. Departed Parkside Marina at 12:05. While taking a little rest on a park bench, I realized that when I sit down on land, I feel quite nausious. The whole world moves and sloshes around, I dont feel it on the boat, but I sure do feel it on dry land. I just put on a sea-sick sticker, hope that makes the Sea-Knees go away. 1:06 pm, we are sitting at the Alma, MN Lock & Dam #4 waiting for a barge to come out. Oh gotta run, pulling into the lock. Gotta do my first mate duties and hold the stick to keep back end of boat from smashing into the lock wall. Got through five locks today, we are in La Crosse, Wisconsin. We had cheese curds for dinner, they were delightful. We also met Andy the bartender. Nighty night, signing off from La Crosse.....

Friday, July 31, 2009..Day 9
Good morning from sunny La Crosse, Wisconsin. We are at Pettibone Boat Club, unplugging shore power, straightening up the Kravin. Had a fun night at the bar here at the boat club, and had some yummy cheese curds and fried mushrooms. Had a great bartender named Andy. Oh my God do I have a terrible case of what the wise captain calls "Sea-Knees". Dramamine does not help. Guess I just better take up residence on the Kravin.Our goal for the day, Dubuque, Iowa, if we can get through locks 8, 9, 10, and 11 today with no drama. Ok, the Kravin is fired up and we are off. It's a beautiful sunny day here on the river. Boats everywhere. We stopped in McGregor, Iowa today....for my local friends, it is a lot like Kimmswick. That was fun, we went into Pocket City Tavern and had cocktails with some locals that were.......let's say, colorful.Then we went to a restaurant right by the marina and they were the crankiest people we've encountered the whole trip.....bunch of crabs........BUT we did find a gigantic propeller, always entertaining to our captain. 6:50 pm, pulling into Lock #11 now. He's pulling in pretty fast and I'm getting all sloshed around down here........oh good, we don't need to tie up, we are alone in the lock and just floating around. After we clear this lock we will find a marina for the night and maybe I'll have time to post some pictures. 7:17 pm, we are thru the lock and sitting at the gas dock at Dubuque Marina. Staying here for the night, there is a laundromat  AND a bar. We can multitask. YAHOOOO!

Saturday, August 1, 2009..Day 10
Dubuque, Iowa 9:04 am: Sleeping in here in Dubuque, Iowa. Hung out at the marina bar last night, The Yardarm. Bartender pal Pete was feeding us shots of unknown ingredients but we weren't arguing, just gulping them down. There was a band that seemed to have a lot of groupies called IX Lives. Showers and laundry are the tasks of the morning. The sun is shining and it is absolutely beautiful but the wind is quite brisk.  

Sunday, August 2, 2009..Day 11
Davenport, Iowa 'Tis a beautiful day here in sunny Davenport Iowa, in a nice covered slip at the Lindsay Park Marina. Finally, after 15 years, I got to meet DaStrul. We had a big ol' time last night. This airplane flew right over us and landed in the water (shown in photo) We just had a two hour wait at lock 18. We dropped anchor, made cocktails, turned on the radio, and caught some rays for the whole time. It was great....but I have a feeling I will be quite lobster-like this evening. Going to Big Muddy's for dinner at mm 404. Big Muddy's, mmmm....rib and fried chicken buffet. Delish.Decided not to go any further south, staying at Bluff Harbor.

Monday, August 3, 2009..Day 12
Burlington, Iowa It's raining. :-( We are tied up to the marina's gas dock so I guess I had better wake the captain before there are gas customers waiting for us to get out of the way. Gonna go poke my head outside and see whats happenin.....I love you too, baby. :-)Rain, wind.....wind in the locks......more rain.....wind....choppy water......I had to lay down, I thought I was going to be sick....then the sun came out, the winds died down, and now we are moving pretty fast between the locks but our average wait time today seems to be about two hours. The sun has come out, the winds did die down, we are cruising at about 30 mph, so we fly across the pools and then sit and wait at the locks. Only two more to go today, then only three tomorrow and we will be back home, unless we decide to hang out at Grafton Harbor for a night. 5:26 pm, we are approaching Hannibal. Sunset on the river.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009..Day 13
Four locks from home.... Good morning from Two Rivers Marina, Rockport, Illinois....mile marker 282. We aren't too far from home but the weather is ugly between here and St. Louis, apparently some nasty storms rolling in. We are in a dandy covered slip and may just stay put for a while till we see what the weather is going to do. Sticking out of the slip just a little. Kind of a tight fit, eh? Under cover. Nice. We are trying to decide....should we stay or should we go, there are ugly weather forecasts all around us. We are getting quite speedy at putting up the plastic.12:22 pm, we decided to go, so we're off. 2:09 pm, we are waiting for a big tug to get through the Clarksville lock. Luckily we have sunshine and blue skies.Been floating around for about an hour, but I can see the old Clarksville Skylift, boy does that bring back childhood memories....the skylift, the piano-playing chicken, the tilted house. While at Two Rivers, we were told that a guy is in the process of restoring the skylift and the town at the top to its original condition. Sweet. 5:30 pm, headed for Grafton Harbor, Grafton, IL. Two locks from home. We will have a few cocktails and celebrate our journey so far.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Day 14
Coming out of #27, the LAST lock!!  Woohoo! Downtown St. Louis..............getting closer.........Plattin Rock Boat Club! 1:52 pm.....the Kravin has landed at Mile Marker 149.8. Homeward Bound....very close...... Good morning from Grafton Harbor, two locks and approximately 65 miles from home, Grafton, Illinois.We pulled in here last night around 5:30, gave Kravin some gas, got a slip, and sat out on the deck and had a few cocktails. Met a lot of nice people, ate some good food, drank a little too much. We zipped right through Mel Price (Lock #26). Quite uneventful, which is a wonderful thing.12:27 pm, day 14.....we just cleared Lock #27, Chain of Rocks. This is the final lock of the trip, and is the 54th lock the Cap'n and Kravin have been through since the beginning of the journey. We are about 1-1/2 hours from home. We are passing Hoppie's Marina in Kimmswick. Getting closer!! Yay!!