Day 396: Saturday, October 5, 2013

Port to Port: Winona to Wabasha, Minnesota

Underway: 8:38 am      Motor Off: 5:15 pm      Miles Traveled: 35      Stayed At: Free Dock

First Things First: Congratulation Kent and Jane (and Squirt)/Carina on an amazing accomplishment – Gold Loopers. Thank you for traveling with us for so long and making our trip through Canada and the Great Lakes, great!

Mile 725 to Mile 760: After a wild and crazy night, we were still a little tired when first light appeared. We had the most amazing show of lightning last night – mostly cloud to cloud – that we have seen this entire trip. It rained buckets and got a little lumpy on the breakwall but not “I want off this boat” bad. Some places in southern Minnesota got 13 inches of rain overnight. Luckily, the red and orange splotches on radar slid a little to the south of us or we may have needed help getting up river. There were even mudslides in the area covering roads and making travel a challenge. Funny how we can travel for over a year and not have a storm like this until we almost get home.

We were going to cast off but a long single-wide tanker tow was going by so we were going to have to wait at the lock. We thought it would be a better idea to wait in town so we wandered over to the Farmers Market and bought the smallest pumpkin we could find to get into the Halloween spirit. This almost was a very expensive pumpkin time-wise. When we got back to leave, another tow –this time a 3×5 – was coming up river. Oh-oh! This means at least an 1.5 hour delay at the next lock…and the next lock…and the next lock. This was not a happy thought. After he passed we motored up to the lock to anchor and wait. Better to be in line than not. We finally go through and spent the next hour plus trying to catch and pass him but he was not slowing down and we only inched past him even at full throttle. We only passed him a couple miles from the second lock when he slowed down to park and wait for a down bound tow coming through the lock. We thought for sure we were going to have a 2+ hour wait but the lock master said he would sneak us through after the down bound got out. What luck -15 minutes vs another 4+ hours of waiting at this and the next lock. We thanked him and the tow we passed for letting us through.

The day started out humid, overcast and warmish. By late afternoon, the cold front finally started spilling in some colder air and we could tell tonight was going to be an extra blanket night. The wakeup temp is supposedly going to be 39˚ – brrrr.

We had the whole river to ourselves, except for a few inconveniently placed tows. The scenery was muted but, all in all, another good travel day. We didn’t have the rain that was expected and the winds were calm. A couple days ago the winds were forecast to be 15-30 mph – not good travel weather. We will be less than 100 miles from our starting point at the end of today. Quite amazing. It seems like a dream.

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