Day 41: Adding rivers
Prairie Du Chien to just above Lock #10
I left Prairie Du Chien this morning feeling a little tired. It was overcast with some weather coming my way this afternoon. I took off under a few bridges and some train tracks before heading towards the main channel. There was not too much boat traffic due to the flooded river and the approaching storms from across the state. I received a few heads up from others down the river about the weather and from friends watching out for me. It was about 5 miles before the Wisconsin River joined in with the Mississippi River. The water was choppy and turbulent when those two rivers met. It was choppy for most of this day. I paddled down the main channel most of the way today. My goal was Guttenberg, IA. I approached the north end of Guttenberg. I pulled near the shoreline to see some of the houses along the river. Each community has tended to have unique builds to fit their location along the water. I coasted along them and said hi to the people out on their yards and decks. I was within a mile or two of the lock when a family camping on an island said hi to me. I pulled up to their beach to talk with them.
The Knott family was having a weekend get together. They told me that they were not a normal family. Their house boat was titled Knott Normal. I told them that was ok. The previous families up the river have told me the same thing. It was getting later in the day and I asked if I could come up to their spot and camp with them. They agreed and helped pull my boat on the beach. The parents had their 3 kids with them. They were al in their 20’s and with their grandson. I listened and talked with them about their lives. I built up their fire for the evening as I have not had the opportunity to do that too much on this trip. I usually get in, set up camp, eat, and then off to bed. I had that thing roaring in no time.
They were making brats for dinner. Not the Johnsonville type of brats, but from the local butcher, big Iowa, type of brats. They offered me one and they were GOOD. They also had a jalapeno corn salsa and pent butter cup oatmeal cookies. Being on the river, having good spicy items and sweets were a nice treat. After dinner, the sun had set and they celebrated their sons 25th birthday while I set up camp. They invited me to join in, so I did. It was cool to see the whole family bonding, and giving each other crap, together. I smiled and thought of my own family gatherings. It is the little thing you miss on adventures like this one.
It was getting late and I needed to turn in. I went in my tent and was blowing up my sleeping pad. They started busting my chops. They asked in my blow up doll had a name. I told them that Betty was sensitive and good company. I simply laughed at the harassment they were dishing out. I slept with my rain fly partially covering my tent. That way I could enjoy the stars, but cover my tent if a random shower happened. This night, much like many previous nights, was filled with stars. I would sleep well.