Monday, August 4, 2008

Great River Rumble August 1: Winona, MN to Trempealeau, WI 11 miles

We had a very good catered breakfast this morning--including lots of fresh fruit! They picked us up from the park in a school bus this time, much more appropriate for the number of people that needed to be moved. We spoke to a couple yesterday after trying out the tandem kayak, and they were going to let us try theirs today... but they changed their mind! They purchased a demo model that was brought to the tour as a rental and now that it was theirs they did not want anyone else taking it out for the whole day. They did, however, let us take a trial run in it in the morning before the ride. We found it very sleek and fast compared to our boats and the tandem we tried the day before. Winona canoe offered us a price for a new one like it, since they did not have another demo to offer.

We paddled 4 miles downriver to the home of the owners of Winona canoe. What a cool place! Sandy beach and a garage full of different models of kayaks and canoes, including large ones with outriggers... 24 boats in all, and they gave us beer, pop and donuts and let people try out some of their boats. We stayed there a long time...

We passed through more locks today, with a warm welcome from the Trempealeau chamber of commerce at the last lock and again at the landing. We walked to a small campground and set up, then walked back to the bar for lunch. Dinner was at the old Trempealeau hotel, with a fish boil outside and regular menu indoors. We were so hot that we ate indoors. The specialty here is walnut burgers (no kidding). I had walnut spinach lasagne, which was excellent.

Later in the evening we took delivery of our new tandem kayak! It is smoke (really looks like white) with mango trim. Pretty slick! Lots of trains again tonight. The tracks run right along the river, and of course we are traveling on the river so there's no getting away from them.

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