About 45 minutes before sunset I pulled up to the dock at Hungry Point Bar & Grill at the 713.9 MM. All the actual dock space was used so I beached Therapy beside a couple pontoon boats on the sandy shoreline. The place was packed and the only thing blaring louder than the jukebox was a couple of well-oiled patrons at the bar. But, hey, it was Saturday night, what else is to be expected! Had a hamburger & fries, which was excellent. Plus the A/C was blowing cold and was a welcome relief from the afternoon heat.
With dinner complete and light fading it was time to make a decision. Sitting at the dock I was just 100 yards from Lock 6. There was no activity at the moment so lockage would be quick. Still it would take about 20 minutes and in that time it would be totally dark (no moon either) and I would be feeling my way around to find a suitable anchorage. I decided to forgo the passage and settle down on this side for the night. Too many times before I have pushed on into the dark and later regretted it. Maybe I am finally getting a little wiser.
I cross the channel and locate an out of the way spot. The water is only about 18” deep but in Therapy that’s just fine. The space is a little tight and I decide to deploy and anchor off both the bow and stern to hold her in place. Once done I realize that although there is very little wind movement there is a little and the berth hatch will better catch it if I rotate Therapy 180 degrees. The easiest way is just to get in and manually swap the ropes while I swing her around. I planned to get in the water to cool off anyway.
I strip off my shirt and sandals and I hop in to make the change. While I am shoving Therapy forward I suddenly feel a sharp pain across my right heel. Yea, I have stepped on something and sliced my foot open. How bad? That’s a good question. I finish the rotation, for a minute or two recline in the cool water reflecting on my self-inflicted injury. Why did I take off the sandals? What was I thinking? A paragraph or so above where I said maybe I was getting wiser – obviously not the case.
I climb back in the boat to inspect the damage. Not as bad as it could have been - only about an inch wide but fairly deep. I dig out my rudimentary first aide kit and applied some antiseptic that I find had an expiration date five years ago. Maybe it would be a good idea when I get home to reevaluate the contents!
All in all not a bad day as I have covered almost 200 miles and made six lockages. But there are still ten locks ahead and that is discounting the fact that I have to repeat them all on the return. Still been a enjoyable ride so far.
The next morning I awake at sunrise and see a houseboat moving downstream that has just passed through the lock. I organize things a little, then pull the anchors and proceed to idle over to the lock. My call on the radio brings a frown. A downstream commercial tow has behind the houseboat and has the lock. It will be about an hour and a half. Sure wish I knew that earlier – could have slept-in. Oh well, crack a book open and prop my feet up. Read a while and snooze a while. Sure a lot worse things I could be doing today.
From there Lock 5A is a short 14-mile run. On the way I pass by Winona, MN with its business district situated right on the river in a no wake area. There is and interesting art deco restaurant but something else really makes me smile. On the side of a Godfathers Pizza building is a large sign that states, “We monitor channel 16.” Now that is taking advantage of the river economy! Boaters can radio ahead for a pizza and stop at the nearby dock to pick it up. Winona is also is touted as being one of the worlds richest cities in 1900. It is described as having historic and elegant homes as well as other items of interest to visitors.
Lock 5 is a shorter 10-mile jog and on the way I pass the Fountain City. They too have a city courtesy dock and encourage boaters to stop in. On to Lock 4 I pass the small burg of Alma. In fact, the lock is the focal point of the downtown area. And again they offer a courtesy dock. Since I am delayed here waiting for a commercial tow I decided to get out and take a walk. I stroll the business district and end up at the visitor center of the lock and watch the tow making it’s way through. This lock like most on this river was built in the 1930’s but was updated in the mid 1990’s.
The pool behind lock is the longest on the Mississippi. At 44 miles it also contains the only natural lake on the main channel of the river – Lake Pipin. Before the river widens into the lake I pass Wasasha, MN that like Winona has a courtesy dock and appears to be a small town worth visiting.
This brings up one of the main negative aspects of the type of river traveling I seem to do. There are always so many places I would like to stop and explore but because of my limited time frame seldom seem to be able to convince myself to stop. I see a lot of river but I would like to explore many of the small towns and parks along the way. Someday…….