Lake Pipin is 22 miles long and about 2.5 miles across at it’s widest point. The wind was light so the water was fairly flat making a very pleasant ride in Therapy (Photos taken on the return trip when a little choppy). There are several sailboats on the water but most seem to be floundering in the light airs. Midway down the lake is the town of Lake City and I decide to idle into the marina and see if I can find some lunch ashore. I am informed there are NO courtesy docks here and the rate of $5.00 per hour is charged for transients. That figures - the only city in miles that doesn’t have a free dock and that’s where I decide to stop.
I wonder around the downtown area and finally decide on a restaurant. Even though is the busiest in the area it proves to be a poor choice. This adds to the conclusion that this will be the worst trip for finding what I feel is decent food. But then again, maybe I just hit the wrong places. Going ashore wasn’t all bad as I did find a drug store and bought a “fresh” bottle of antiseptic for my cut foot.
Back on the water I was approaching the end of the lake when the 20 feet of water I was running in suddenly went to 2 feet. I need to mention that my Mississippi River chart was an outdated 1989 version. I should have purchased the newer $40 chart but put it off until it was too late to get it for this trip. Crossing Lake Pipin the old chart shows only a sailing line and when you are in the middle of a two and a half mile wide lake this can be a little ambiguous. I sat floating and listening the depth sounder beeping its warning (I usually set the bottom alarm for 7’) I scanned the lake for any visual clues. It was only then I noticed a line of channel markers about a quarter mile closer to the shore than my path. I cautiously idled through the skinny water, sometimes only a foot and a half deep to finally make the official channel.
It was on the return trip that I mentioned in the opening of this story that I found myself too close to the shore and discovered an almost submerged island. Again, sitting and scanning the water I located another line of buoys that were not on my chart. Once home I checked the new chart (it is on the web) and as I suspected the channel markers are illustrated on it. Had I been using the current chart I would have been looking for the markers and most likely never gotten too far off course. Yea, I know – plan ahead and spend the $$ for current charts.
As I also had mentioned in the opening Lake Pipin is very scenic with tall bluffs and tree lined shores. Like the rest of the river it offers numerous places to beach and enjoy the shoreline. It narrows back to a river at about the 786 MM and within about five miles I approach Red Wing, MN.
Although probably most famous for it’s shoes, Red Wing is definitely a boating town. Its population is 16000 and it sports six marinas along the two miles of riverfront. It again offers a courtesy dock although I must say it is designed for much larger boats than Therapy. On the return trip I stopped in for something to eat and walked around the business district. It was late and most everything was closed but again it was a town where I wished I had more time to explore.
Lock 3 is about six miles upstream from Red Wing at the 796.9 MM. As I made the run to the lock pleasure boat traffic was heavy and calls to the lock for passage were frequent. One of the boats traveling the opposite direction caught my eye as it was unusual but I was busy watching the other traffic and didn’t take time to look closely. It wasn’t until I was in the lock that it dawned on me that it was most likely a Glen-L Gypsy (or Quest). Now I was disappointed that I wasn’t more attentive. Would have been nice to talker to another Glen-L builder and take a look that the boat.