Monday, August 4, 2008

Great River Rumble July 31: Merrick State Park WI to Winona, MN 11 miles

It rained today, first time on this trip. We had a tutorial on lightning storms in the morning, scaring the heck out of all of us... exploding paddles indeed. There was some lightning as we neared the end of the day's ride, but it was not so close. Bill and I tried out a tandem kayak today.

It was silly hat day, and I wore a very silly hat! Bill wore his "old fart hat" that I got him when he turned 50 and I wore a muppet hat Alison got for me at Cedar Point. There were flower hats, viking hats, an elephant, a rubber ducky and many more. I'm sure we looked pretty loony to anyone watching us go down the river!

We passed through lock 5A today, saw a couple of barges coming up river--the first that we saw on this trip. We had to wait for a barge to clear the locks before we could enter. When we got the the end of today's ride, we took our boats out on the Wisconsin side of the river and took a very small bus to the Minnesota side. Imagine 140 people on one 25 passenger bus--of course it took hours!

The bus picked us up and took us to the Winona factory, where they make Current Designs kayaks. We got to walk through the factory and see fiberglas and blow-molded plastic kayaks in various stages of construction. It was very cool! The bus then took us to Levee Park in Winona where we set up camp. Fred and I walked downtown to get another disposable camera, and then Bill and I walked to the YMCA for showers. Pizza for supper, trains even closer than last night--right across the fence from the tents! But they only moved a few cars around. We did not have the constant train traffic that we'd had the other night.

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