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Big Muddy is Blue!

The sun is out and the river is smiling

sunny 22 °C

Thursday 22nd May: Room 617, Radisson Hotel, La Crosse, Wisconsin

The Upper Mississippi River Basin continues to amaze us. As does this weather! Each stretch of this remarkable road, or, rather, collection of roads, The Great River Road(s), has been different. To be honest, we never expected this part of the trip to be so enjoyable. Indeed we quite expected it to be raining the whole way. This morning we were racing a band of thin, high cloud but managed to keep ahead of it most of the time. This afternoon, we looked up and it had cleared. It was a delight to see this huge waterway looking blue and at its best.

The river is high due to storms a few days ago and there is minor flooding at the edges but this helps to make it look so good.

This morning, after watching the amazing procedure of getting a tug and its barges through the locks at Dubuque (they have just a foot each side of leeway). We were surprised to learn than river transportation is more significant than ever. In the 1930s about 1m tons of cargoe were carried on the Mississippi and it's now 34m. So there are quite frequent sightings of tugs and their barges ....


....we stayed on the Iowa side and were up and down through really green, rolling countryside with small farms, smart farmhouses, with occasional, exciting glimpses of the river, as well as a very big John Deere factory. Which may have explained the wealth hereabouts. John Deere is the default brand for all machines agricultural as well as mowers etc etc.


This might also explain the local obsession with mowing. We have never seen so many people on or pushing mowers. All surfaces have either to be painted (if hard and upright) or mowed, if flat and green. In most of the US people use their gardens as they call them: "yards". Here they are grass to be mowed. Lawns are mowed. Ditches are mowed. Verges are mowed. Banks are mowed. Hills are mowed. Tracks are mowed. Paths are mowed..... I expect they get a discount on those John Deere mowers.

We then crossed into Wisconsin, crossing back once to visit another town, then continued right at the railroad/water's edge into our port of call for the night, La Crosse which, as IanT pointed out, is the home of that most violent of games, Lacrosse.


We visited several small towns and tonight we are back in another big one with ugly outskirts but a really good looking downtown and restored waterfront. Our hotel is at the edge of Downtown on the waterfront and we have a splendid view of the Mississippi from our room. We plan to explore soon.


Tomorrow, continuing up the Mississippi to St Paul/Minneapolis.

We have to mention that we passed the site of Bad Axe scene of yet more atrocities committed against the native Americans. More here if it's of interest. We have been horrified to read many tales showing how badly the "red indians" were treated in their native lands.


Back to last night, we had a splendid walk along the levee at the splendid restored waterfront in Dubuque, set off by a dramatic heavy industrial backdrop


and ate very well AND healthily at Houlihan's next to the hotel. We avoided entering the casino. No more gambling!

Bob's "BUFFALO BLEU SALAD, hand-breaded chicken tenderloins in Buffalo wing sauce, bacon, sharp cheddar, croutons, spicy pecans, red onions, creamy gorgonzola, garlic ranch $11.95"


John's "SO. CAL FISH TACOS chipotle mayo, panko-breaded tilapia, Napa cabbage, pico, honey-cumin dressing, chips and salsa $8.95" served with Honey & Peanut Slaw


Amazing value with lots of fresh veg and salad stuff.

Yes, our little Chevy SUV is great, Brien. Bob enjoys driving it compared to the tank of a "Yukie". And it drinks a lot less gas than the V8 monster in the Yukon. And, yes of course, original Paul Temples with Peter Coke and Marjorie Westbury.

Another success story has been the re-establishment of the bald eagle, which went from 0 to 62 breeding pairs, so how about this picture?


They tend to migrate down to nest and breed from upper Minnesota in the winter. Oh and "bald" come from indian word "baldi", meaning white headed. So you can stop calling John "Baldy", thanks very much!!


Posted by Johnash 16:28 Archived in USA Tagged usa roadtrip mississippi 2014 great_river_road

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What a surprisingly clean, green and pleasing area of the US. We are enjoying it with you - though will pass on the fish tacos!

by Lin & Norma

More fab pics'n'description, much enjoyed, of a beautiful, interesting region. Do you suppose the John Deere company song is 'One man went to mow ...'? Noticed details on the tug you saw in the lock (named after a JD relative?) - see: http://shipbuildinghistory.com/history/shipyards/5small/active/bludworth.htm & scroll to Hull No. 123. Enjoy your last river leg today & time in Minneapolis-St Paul!

by IanT

A completely different side to the USA looks really interesting. Keep on rolling along!!!!!Bx

by bren

So much green I look out of our window and it is brown.Great photos again hope you are both resting as well or you will need another holiday Lucky you xxx

by vivienne

As bird watchers...we thought the bald eagle shot was absolutely fab!

by Cherry and Chris

Very pretty scenery. The food read yummy, it looked nice so I hope it tasted good.
Was Mr Arthur tempted to jump ship and play with the big boys on the water. They sure were some big beasts.
Keep rolling them pics in.

by Antonia

Really lovely scenery it's so nice to see such greenery and the pic of the bald eagles is fantastic. You'll have to look out for some photo competitions, you have a winner there.

by Sue and Gordy

Started to get disappointed, no food but there it was scrummy. Surprised to see swans with big beaks.

by Brien

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