Slowly but surely we’re making our way to Keokuk/Hamilton where we will stay with friends we met in ’99 after doing the Missouri River. We have been dawdling along, as we don’t want to overstay our welcome – you know that friends, fish & relatives all start stinking after 3 days!
On Oct 4th we left the Lindsay Park Yacht Club and the new friends we’d met. We locked through 15, leaving the Quad Cities behind. The weather had changed dramatically, and it was rainy, cold & windy as we made our way along. The jeans were back on again. We cruised through Lock 16 and decided to park in the Muscatine Harbor, where we would be able to have shore power to run our little heater.
The harbor was very shallow, with some of the docks on dry land. In the picture below all the grassy area is normally under water. We got tied up and settled, then walked through Muscatine. We found a quaint little Italian place in the basement of the old Pearl Button factory, where we enjoyed all-you-can-eat spaghetti. It was wonderful comfort food, warming and cheering us up. That night when the Muscatine Bridge lit up, it’s colors changed from green to blue to red – a very pretty sight.
In the morning we gassed up at the City gas dock (the last day they were open for the season). Another cold and blustery day. We decided to head for a campsite on a beach opposite where the Iowa River dumps into the Mississippi. We stayed there with the kids in ’94 and played Marco Polo on the beach. But somehow, even using our navigation map, we went past it. We ended up on another nice sand bar though, where we grilled and imbibed, played backgammon and stayed cozy and warm in our little space capsule.
On Oct 6th we left our campsite and headed to Burlington. We were unable to get the boat to the gas dock, and nobody was around. So we headed downstream, meeting several barges along the way. The channel is much narrower than usual with the low water. We made our way to Fort Madison, IA into the marina (it used to be called Captain Kirk’s). It is right below the double highway/railroad swing bridge, which we had to have opened up, as we did not have enough clearance.
The shower was memorable there – one big valve with no way to control the temperature. It was in a cement block building in the utility closet. But it was better than no shower at all, and the water was hot!! In the morning this old guy named Johnnie McCullum who used to write songs for the big country stars in Nashville came into the bar & grill at the marina, and played a few songs for us on one of his 10 guitars. He was another interesting fellow.
We left the marina Sunday morning after Jim gassed up the boat again and pumped out (self service). It was cool again, but the sun was back out which makes all the difference in the world. And our next stop is Keokuk!
We are looking forward to re-uniting with old friends & some family there, relaxing, and reminiscing. Fall is so beautiful on their property with all the autumn colors and the smell of woodsmoke in the air. My next blog will be about our week-long stay there, and the annual hay-rack ride party. We always have such a great time there!
Until then – miss you all!