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Friday, April 23, 2010

Mississppi Queen

(Craig/Karin) We set the GPS, said our goodbyes to Karin's family and began the final leg of our journey towards West Virginia! We decided to go east of Minneapolis/St Paul and catch route 61. This would take us south along the Mississippi River. What a great choice!! Beautiful weather and the scenery was awesome. Dotted with small towns along the way, many of the surroundings seemed untouched by man. We made our way down to Winona, Minnesota. As we were on a small road (supposedly) getting near our next campground, the GPS said "you have reached your destination". There was nothing around us, except for water on both sides of the road. So Craig says "computer, please recompute". I guess he had a Star Trek flashback. The GPS didn't respond. This would be a very tough turnaround for our rig. So we just kept driving. About 2 miles further down the road, we found the campsite. "I knew it was down here" Craig said with a smile. Yeah, right :)
When Craig pulls into a campground, he wants to park. Period. The manager at Prairie Island Campground was very nice, and asked us if we'd like some information on Winona. We both agreed to listen. Well, he took us on a verbally guided tour which lasted about 20 minutes. It was a bit painful listening for this long after driving for hours. We both agreed that if we're ever asked if we'd like to hear some information again, we'll respond with "let us park and we'll walk back over".
We parked on the bank of the Mississippi. Nice. Peaceful. Not very many people there. We jumped on our bikes and rode into Winona. Lots of barbecuing going on. Everybody waves at you. Beavers on the riverbank. Tugboats pushing barges. We finished the day with a cookout of our own, by our rig, on the Mississippi River.
The next day, we moved on to Dubuque, Iowa. We again drove along the Mississippi, but this time on the Wisconsin side. Craig kept saying that he smelled cheese :)
Ok, Karin is the navigator, but I also have "another woman" with a lovely voice.....the GPS! Karin tends to tell the GPS how wrong she is....but the GPS never fights back. The GPS is always calm and sweet. I think that there's a bit of jealousy going on here. But it came to a head in a small town before Dubuque. The GPS told me to go straight, and Karin told me to turn. Well, I listened to the GPS. Ok, so she (the GPS) took me through a little residential street or two. I was then informed that I needed to respect my navigator (and partner) on this trip a little more than the "other woman". So, for the first time, I had to make a choice. There was no on/off button on the navigator in the passenger's I chose wisely, and proceeded to de-energize the GPS.
We arrived in Dubuque and parked at the Mystique Casino along the river. Great bike trail along the river. We had a couple approach us and ask us about our travels. We explained to them that we're heading to West Virginia to work. They said that they've been thinking about buying an RV. The wife seemed excited about our travels. The husband said that he'd prefer to just drive to one area and park for awhile. We're not sure if there is any compromise it may never happen for them. Compromise is a large part of fulltiming.
The next morning, we took a walk in the opposite direction. We found a skate park just down the road. Well, Craig just happened to bring along his skates. Forty-Seven years old and going sideways up and down half-pipes!! We got some pictures of that and will post them soon.
On to our next stop in Bettendorf, Iowa. Another casino with free parking! Another great bike path along the Mississippi! We rode into Davenport and back. We did take a wrong turn in Davenport and became a little concerned as we passed the jail and seemed to be in a "seedy" part of town. It wasn't that bad, but we just do not want to take any chances in unfamiliar territory.
Our next stop will be in Illinois, the Middle Fork River Forest Preserve.


  1. You made a good choice about turning off the GPS. If the GPS gets mad you can always get a new one, but it's hard to find a good navigator. It doesn't matter if the navigator is right or wrong, keep them happy and life is much easier.

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