Day 6, Muscatine, Ia. to near Dallas Island

Previous Day

Miles Covered:  um 455- to um 389 (66 miles)

Closest towns or landmark (chart): Muscatine, Ia. to just past Dallas Island

Original Post date: June 4


Muscatine, Io

Dockside sleep once again, this time within the Muscatine harbor.  Last night we had a “good-time” running around town – because we were in the city so short of time with so much to see we would revert to the ‘bacshortly‘ bar-hopping thing; have a beverage (maybe two) before proceeding to the next establishment, if one was most appealing, we planned to return – “bacshortly”…


while into last evening we visited our ‘French Quarter’ friends dockside in/on their boat, really a ‘vessel’ as compared to the ‘birds-nest’ we were in – but it held periods of those hearty stomach aching laughs, with tears –  for some reason I really ‘needed it.

The next day we returned to the river, and while idling towards the next lock the French Quarter eased passed us – so we pushed the little bird hard to ‘lock-through’ #17 with them


afterward we wished them well and they moved over the horizon (or around the bend), we returned to our conversation pace….. current speed.

Over the past miles we have also noticed numerous duck blinds along the Upper Miss, I can only imagine that they need to be replaced after each large flood – more simple thoughts as we returned to idle speed on the increasing current, just fast enough.

Also few pleasure craft around in the early part of the week which is nice and adds to the peace of it all. Occasionally when we are bothered by waves or the obnoxious changes of ‘civilization’ which breaks our cycle of river tranquility, we have developed a simple saying that seems to fit pretty well, especially after a couple of afternoon beverages – it goes something like (but not exactly) “doggone people!” breaks us in to a simple laugh and lightens up the place – and of course it varies as to trains, tows, and to the occasional pleasure craft that do shove us around with their wakes.


-but the day is mostly about taking in the sights and sounds of the River – simple observations, evaluations, speculations, and summary’s – old foundations of idle chat slightly illuminated, enumerated, and vividly embellished by our river-beverage.



We later stopped at the riverside town Oquawka, Il and walked to the nearby diner (which is pretty much at waters edge) – catfish sandwich here while Carl has been on a hamburger binge – it was ‘land-food’ and well worth the stop.

The little town was simple and while there noticed several folks drive to the end of mainstreet (which was waters-edge) stop and peer at our boat.  Once back at the boat we savored the conversation with several, and it was always good to hear it mentioned how they would love to make the same journey (#3 talking about “going down the river”) – each comment made our trip a little richer.

– there were lots of miles in between those moments – to walk the deck, pilot, or sit/lay on the roof…...


to relax as the Mississippi river passed beneath.


until ‘locking-through’ once again confronted us.

Lock 18 (holding the rope routine)-

As lock 18 fell behind us there were ‘stilted’ homes along the shoreline, yes, “doggone people!” once again.


These homes were built among the cottonwood trees and high atop pilings (concrete, wood, etc) as to offer some protection from the river’s ornery moods, even trailers were perched high.  I suppose to some this could be an odd sight – but it is another adaptation of experience from the rivers inevitable impulsiveness.


Burlington, Iowa – a stop at Bluff Harbor Marina for fuel – after changing the prop and putting new spark plugs in the motor, there was time for a ‘birdbath’ under their garden hose using the sun-warmed water within.  An hour passed as I put my ‘feet-up’ and listened to the dock chat of the kids.  They were along the dock laying in the sun, frolicking and playing on sea-doos – some, of our attention was in noticing that ‘they’ do actually swim in the Mississippi – this was a good sign.


The Marina owners were great and invited us to remain and dock for the night at no cost, but we moved on down river to the nearby Big Muddy Restaurant – they also had a dock so we tied up and went in.

Big Muddy Rest -

Big Muddy Rest –

The Big Muddy Restaurant and bar, riverside at Burlington is an old train depot that you would swear was brand-new.  The crowd was a little light this night but the Cajun grouper really hit the spot.  Christian was the bartender and he introduced us to Karla one of the owners who was working as hard as anyone there.  In between her tasks we talked a little of the town – and of “going down the river” – no doubt that if nothing else on this trip, we haven’t been met with an uninterested ear or friendly smile, makes it all worth it.


After the Big Muddy and instead of bunking down, we decided to continue down the river into the evening darkness once again – we did – it was worth it too, because with the sun at our back the orangeish shoreline was again as vivid in clarity as it was through the Savanna reservation a few nights earlier – something else that seems to make this all worthwhile – the natural moments of this river, the clarity.


We continued into the darkness where anchorage become a more difficult task – but finally we located a place in the mud, oh yeah – the thick dark mud that you have to ‘work’ to get off…..but that’s another story….

Once solidly anchored it was another great nights rest as our ‘weathered’ clothes ‘aired.’

Noted ‘Tows’ for the Day;

The New Dawn

The Andrew Cannava

The Bill Berry

The Cooperative Mariner

The Bruce T

The Ed Renshaw

The Sir Randy

The Queen City

The Charlie Melanchion

The Charlie G

The Prairie Dawn

The James L

Next post, Day 7 to Polly Island

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Rose Chastain
    Jul 19, 2010 @ 18:37:34

    Sure enjoyed the trip down the Mississippi with you and the “Free Bird” – what an Ad-
    venture! What an experience!

    Talking to Pat about a trip! I just re-
    tired — may I borrow your boat, maps, parrot.
    and most of all your chicken? ha!Ha!

    Thanks for the ride down the river. Hope our paths will cross soon.
    Rabun Gap Rose

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