August 31, 2012

McGregor UM 634 to Hawkeye Marina UM 589

NOTE: Last night while attempting to see what time it was, I dropped my phone into the Mississippi. The river must have it’s due.

We woke early this morning to an unbelievable sunrise. There’s just something about a sunrise over the water.

First thing this morning I was determined to find a wifi connection and catch up on the blog. I sauntered off with my pelican computer case in hand to the local convenient store for a cup of coffee and then to the hotel next to the marina, I figured I could catch a signal there. Outside the lobby door was a sign telling me a number to call for early-morning service. When I told my story and asked if I could use their wifi, the sleepy voice on the other end gave me the password and told me that the strongest signal was out back under the stairs next to the ice machine. OK, I thanked her and the rest is history. I wrote for an hour or so while Gator cleaned “the Belle,” restocked our ice and basically killed time until I returned.

We ate a modest breakfast at “the River View Inn,” talked about the trip so far and headed back to “the Belle” for some gas. Blake filled up our tank at the pumps, another nice soul along the river who is always ready to help. We shoved off and headed south on what would be the calmest day so far. The water is like glass and there is no wind to speak of. The day passes lazily. It being Labor Day weekend, there are boats of all sizes passing us, each leaving a calling card in the form of a rocky wake to cross. It’s all part of it, folks waving at us as they check out our “Sanford and Son” type craft. It’s great, giving them something to talk about.

After passing through lock # 10 Guttenberg comes into view, a sleepy river town that we stayed at last year. It is very hot and humid today as we walk through town looking for the watering hole and a beer. We find the “Dam,” a bar and grill catering to all those who enter. Here we enjoy a slice of pizza and a Corona while listening to the patrons at the bar tell their tales to the barkeep. It was a good stop, an opportunity to stretch our legs and take in some local color.

Guttenberg, Iowa

The “Dam” bar in Guttenberg

As we paid our tab at the bar, we meet Larry and Eydie. Larry works on the ferry that runs vehicles across the river in the next town. As we exchange our stories of the river, he tells us of a river park next to the ferry where we can shower. Well we are all over that idea as it has been several days without one, our bodies covered with remnants of bug repellent and Mississippi mud. We say our goodbyes and as we approach “the Belle” we see Larry down at the dock checking out our ride. As does most folks we talk to, Larry tells of his desire to do what we are doing. Maybe he will some day.

We head downriver and eventually find the ferry and the bath house where we pull over and take a much-needed shower. As we return to “the Belle,” all squeeky-clean, we see the ferry pulling in. Larry and Eydie come down to the dock to say hi and make sure we found the showers. We envite them aboard to sign “the Belle” and as the sweat begins to drip from our bodies, we say goodbye and point her downriver once again.

Larry and Eydie

Eventually, we pull into the “Hawkeye Marina” off of “Mud Lake” where we will settle in for the night. The restaurant is open until eleven and provides me with an excellent place to catch up on the blog, a seemingly never-ending chore which I endure for your information and entertainment. We sit there until ninish talking with the patrons, sipping our Corona’s and typing. We call it a night and walk back down the long pier to “the Belle” and our bunks. The mosquitos are out in force so we slip into our mosquito nets and chat for a while. As the noise from the restaurant and the lights fade, so do our minds and sleep comes easy.



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