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    Day 2...2010 river journal
from Beartrap  
7/20/2012 12:30:30 PM



wherever there's a bunch of sailboat...there's a bunch of wind......Lake Pepin on upper Miss. river


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   ths picture doesn't show from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:32:18 PM

how rough the water really was....notice angle of the bow....


   happiness from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:36:00 PM

was seeing Lake Pepin in the rear view mirror....about halfway down that lake,I had some real second thoughts about the wisdom of trying to travel from Minneapolis to Albany,Ga. by water....


   then the pretty part started from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:37:33 PM

lock and dam at Alma,Wisconsin


   just another from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:39:52 PM

neat little town on side of the river....and another train...


Edited 7/20/2012 12:40:36 PM

   sometimes from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:42:32 PM

you get to see the trains close up...


   had to share the river from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:44:57 PM

with towboats in this case,pass him on the insdie of the bend..


   plenty of room from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:47:18 PM

to pass on this stretch of river..


   lot of these from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:48:56 PM

rental houseboats on upper river...


   wind was blowing into this lock from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:52:47 PM

usually when you entered a lock,they would throw a rope down for you to hold this case,lockmaster told me to just stay in middle of lock and use my engine to keep from being banged against the lockwalls...


   Day 2.....journal from Beartrap   7/20/2012 12:56:09 PM
Day 2
Alarm is set for 6:00 a.m., but I wake up at 5:30 and the sun is shining already...Remember that
I'm in the northernmost part of of the USA and the days are longer, so it's possible to get earlier
starts....I hurriedly check the weather and forecast is for 10-15 mph north-northwest winds by
noon and building to 20 mph in afternoon....When planning the trip, I had five areas of concern:
Picking up my son in the busy river with all the towboat traffic in St Louis, Kentucky Lake,
Mobile, Pensacola, Ft Walton, Pensacola Bays and Lake Pepin because of the wide open water
and wind....I know that I'm going to have to travel the entire length of Pepin this Morning. The
Indians called this "Lake of Tears" because so many of them sunk their canoes and I assume
lost their lives trying to cross it....I've looked at the lake several times on Google Earth and I
think I've got enough depth near the bank to hug the western shore and be sheltered from the full
force of 20-25 mph winds and the waves they can generate...Worst case scenario, I'll put it on the
bank rocks or no rocks.... I check out of motel and grab couple muffins and orange juice while
waiting on taxi to arrive.
Arrive at the marina and there's still no one around.. breathe little sigh of relief when I see
Dumarse looks same as I left her the night before. I had pulled kill switch - did this every night -
and stuck it in my pocket to keep someone from just jumping in boat and driving it off... Had
wanted to buy some gas to repay marina for letting me dock overnite free but I've still got 11
gallons of gas left (good for approx 110 miles) and I'm anxious to get through Pepin before the
wind gets really high...
Idle out at 7:15 and head south....few miles downriver, the pool widens and I enter the upper end
of Lake Pepin...The huge expanse of open water stretching south is a little
intimidating...Beautiful clear water and I pass several boats fishing for probaly walleyes..They
all are semi Vee boats with pointed bows and high sides, the kind of boat you use and need in
rough water...I can feel the wind building and as the lake starts bending westward, I spot the
masts of tall sailboats tucked back into a harbor 2-3 miles down lake. My river guide indicates
Lake City marina is located about where the mast are, so I veer toward it. Enter what appears to
be the harbor and idle up and down three long rows of boats moored but can't find the gas
dock...I'm getting impatient because every minute I'm wasting, the wind is building. I finally give
up and idle back out, then spot small cut through the rip rap north of the sailboat moorings. Idle
through and to my left is a gas dock. As soon as I tie off, a pretty young girl comes down the
steps and and hands me the gas hose. The front tank takes seven gallons and I put another two
gallons in rear tank as a reserve because I'm beginning to suspect that I can't depend on these
marinas up here to be open...Hand her my credit card, she brings a bag of ice which I quickly
drop in the cooler and I'm out and running ...
As soon as I exit the harbour, I see whitecaps on main lake - whitecaps start when wind reaches
12 mph - and about a mile downlake, the waves have started to build and soon I'm having to surf
the waves and be very careful not to come over a wave, drop into the trough too fast and stick the
nose into the next wave...Had I been going against the wind, I would have had to put the boat on
the bank...I'm gaining more confidence in Dumarses and my ability to handle large waves but
these waves are getting bigger than I feel comfortable in..I see a small cove and duck into it....I
sit there maybe 10 minutes watching the waves roll by and I think,I can ride those waves better if
I will just quarter out slightly, even if I end up a little further out in the lake for a while, then I
can quarter back toward the bank... GPS is telling me I've only got another 5-6 miles til I reach
calmer water...worst case scenario would be to swamp the boat and have to let the wind and
waves push me to shore...Might end the trip, but I wouldn't drown...I move my overnight bag and
fuel tank back to give me more bow lift and headed back out again...and it worked.....Where I
thought the waves would be the worst at end of the lake, the wind actually started to lose a little
momentum and the waves were smaller the last 2-3 miles..when I entered calm water, I moved
things back where they belonged and gave the man upstairs a little silent thanks for helping me
get through those waves.
Pools three through nine were an absolutely beautiful stretch of river...High bluffs and small
mountains with small towns nestled alongside the river seemingly at every bend of the
river...Railroad tracks run on each side side of the river and I meet numerous trains riding along
just above the edge of the river. I got a little too obsessed with making time down the river, but
the photo gallery is going to do a much better job than I ever could in showing the how pretty
this stretch of the river was...
After Lake Pepin, the wind continued to blow hard but fortunately the pools in this stretch of the
river were comparatively small, 10-20 mile, mostly riverine stretches with no big open expanses
of water except near the dams...Lock 6 did cause me a little concern, the wind was blowing hard
quartering across the face of the lock and there were a lot waves building up at mouth of lock
and hitting the seawall...This caused a "washing machine" stretch of water right above the lock
and inside the lock...The lockmaster instructed me to go as far into the locks as I could because
there was a southbound houseboat coming downriver to lock through with me...I went to the far
end and had to turn the boat back upstream. I stayed in middle of the lock and used the motor to
keep from being banged against the lock walls... Looked upstream and see a large houseboat
about 200 yards above the lock and struggling to keep his bow pointed toward the lock gate but
the wind is shoving him toward the rocks above the seawall....There's a lot of houseboat rental
places along the river and it's obvious this operator is struggling to control the boat and I'm
getting real nervous about that boat coming inside the lock with me.....That thing could crush
Dumarse if this guy makes a wrong move...I don't hear anything on the radio but the gate starts
to close with the houseboat still 200 yards upstream. Apparently the lockmaster saw a dangerous
situation developing and decided to just put the houseboat in the lock by himself Obviously I'm
glad he did...
This was a day when I seemed to hit every lock empty and with the gate open waiting for me.
Typically, I would text family and friends each time i went through a lock but today I just did it
every other lock....Mid-afternoon I looked at my river guide and realize I would probably be able
to reach Winniesheik marine in Prairie du Chien,Wisconsin. My river guide indicates the marina
is located at mile marker 636 and has gas,motel and taxi availability. The river splits at mile
marker 636 and there's no marina in sight when i arrive a little after 6:00...I take the right split
run down a short way and can see what appears to be a marina downriver...Halfway there, I pull
over near a fisherman and ask where Winnieseik marine is and he directs me back to the river
and tells me to take first large slough northward on the left...I turn into slough,run maybe 1/2
mile back and I'm still not seeing anything that resembles a marina....Spot another fisherman and
he tells me to run toward an island, that I can barely see in the distance, then turn between PVC
pipes sticking up in the mud...there's a little channel that I have to stay in..... I'm a little bit
apprehensive about where I'm running because it's only 4-6 ft deep but it's too far to idle so I put
it up on plane...Don't see any rocks anywhere so if I hit something, it's probably gonna be
mud...Sure enough, when I near the island,I see a trail of white pvc pipes leading across a mud
flat and a marina up against the bank.... Typical of marinas on the upper river,this is really a bar
with a marina attached to it....Tie Dumarse off,walk up gangplank and give the barmaid $10.00
for tieing off overnight...I ask about motels with restaurants nearby and she recommends the
Brisboie Motel in Prairie du Chien and calls a cab for me....she adds "tell them Melissa sent
you"....I scramble around get my stuff out of boat and things locked up and get back up the
gangplank about the time the cab arrived...Thanks to Melissa, the motel was fine,the internet
worked, and the hamburger steak next door was good.On way to motel,I text family and friends
that I'm off the water.....
I didn't describe how rough the water was on lake Pepin in my e-mail to that night to
family/friends nor in my post on Bass Fishing Home Page...My wife was convinced I wasn't
gonna make it past the city limits of Minneapolis without drowning so I downplayed it a little but
did mention that I needed one of those "pointy nosed boats" a time or two today...
As I mentioned earlier, I realized that it's "the ride, not the destination" that's important on this
trip and I lost sight of that today...I know I've got to pick Mike up in St Louis next Wednesday
and I don't want him to have to wait on me. Things were just going so good, I got carried away
with making time.I resolved to do better the rest of the trip and I did with varying success...
Today was 11.2 hours in the boat, passed through 7 locks and covered
165 miles...

   BT, you are one heck of a boater and teller of boating tales. from PPEN  7/20/2012 1:29:40 PM
Your description of the events of the day make me feel as it I were right there watching all those neats things happen. I am sure glad you got to make this trip and have the ability to describe it so well.

Again I thank you.


   Second what Paul said. from hvacstar  7/20/2012 6:25:02 PM
It's an excellent adventure related in a style that is entertaining and informative. It is what I refer to as being a "page turner" even though you don't turn pages here on the BFHP.

Beartrap pocesses an upfront and totally honest writing style that matches his desire to experience life and live it to the fullest. It is our good fortune to have him share this with us.

I read this journal last time and I STILL can't wait for the next installment
That my friends, is some damn good writing. Thanks Dave.

I also think it's pretty cool that both BT and GK are available here. Two brothers, but also two different personalities. And both of them are top-notch guys.

   thanks for comments from Beartrap   7/20/2012 6:57:47 PM
telling a story is lot easier if you got lots of it sure brought back a lot of memories...




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