La Crosse & the Missisippi

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A Long Distant View of La Crosse from GrandDad Bluff

After filling up the fresh water tank and dumping the grey and black tanks, we headed out of St Joseph RV Campground around 7:30am. Our destination was La Crosse, WI on the banks of the Mississppi River. George, our friend near Oshkosh, had recommended that we visit GranDad Bluff. We weren’t disappointed! GranDad Bluff sits high above LA Crosse and the Mississippi Delta. One can get a spectacular view. The story goes that in the 1850 to 1867 several fires burnt the town to the ground. The town then required that buildings were built with stone and brick. This was the start of GranDad buff quarry. They would simply cut the large dolomite bedrock and let it roll down the cliff where at the bottom it was processed for buildings and the tailings were used to make roads. The ride up to the bluff was worth it.

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Mississippi Delta from GrandDad Bluff

Just prior to going up to the bluff, we took a short ride over the Mississippi to Petibone Park. This is located just over the bridge to the north. Large oak trees adorned the grassy park. A view across Mississippi revealed a paddle boat that could have been used by Mark Twain on his journey up the mighty Mississippi!

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Petibone Park along the Mississippi

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I love trains! They run along side the “Big Muddy” all day

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Not a scale model, but from atop the cliff it looks that way!

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Notice how long the train is. The water above is floodwaters from the Mississippi

Down the Mighty Mississippi in 1814

Our journey could have continued due west from La Crosse, but as the song goes, “1814 took a little trip down the Mighty Mississippi,” I wanted to travel along and experience how and what it felt and looked like. This section of the river is in a Delta with very little land between the river and the Dolomite cliffs. Some places there is room for only the railroad and a two lane highway. Occasionally a narrow valley opens up and scattered houses are poised near or on the cliffs. The river itself, for the most part is very wide, maybe a mile wide. We only viewed three barges being pulled by a tugboat. I should note that in three places we saw Army Corp of Engineers dam and locks. Two coal fired power plants were spotted. Next to them a huge mountain of coal being manicured by a monster of a Cat bulldozer.

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Four Barges being push North Bound on the Mississippi

Prairie du Chien

Many of you will translate this subheading to “Prairie Dog”. This is as far south as we traveled down the Mississippi. I think about 60 to 70 miles. This is a good time to talk about the muddy river. A few days ago, Western Wisconsin and Iowa received sever weather with as much as 10 inches of rain. This has made the river rise. As a matter of fact, the first town into Iowa called Marquette had a tornado touch down and did some damage. We saw several oak trees, two to three feet at the but snapped. Some road signs with three steel H beams whaled over to the ground. Before any of you think that we were in any danger, let me say we haven’t encountered any wind or rain to speak of since we left Michigan.

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5 Star Campground when not under water

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Notice the Electrical site boxes!

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102 sites under water and still rising!

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When not underwater it really is a 5 star campground ***** Our site on the hill was safe!

Iowa Corn!

The landscape, nearly immediately changed from trees and cliffs to vast slightly rolling fields. My plan here was to witness immense yellow/brown dry fields of corn and other crops. Well, to my surprise the fields did have corn and other crops, but green as green can be. I can only describe the rows planted perfectly and sometimes rolling with the terrain. It is done with machines that are 32 feet wide, some wider, and with the precision of a surgeon. I deliberately took (IA13) into the heart of farm land. Remember that States farther away from the East Coast are all laid out North and South, East and West. These roads, for the most part as straight as an arrow.

Iowa Conservation Information Center

Time to take a break and find out what is a must see when traveling through Iowa. The lady was very helpful. Tomorrow, we will visit the “Amana Colonies” just south of Cedar Rapids. More to come on that subject. Tonight we are at a five star rated campground. Pinion Ridge Campground everything is a five star! The campground is divided into two areas, the Plains area and the Flying Squirel area. The latter is down at the bottom of the hill near the Wasipinicon River. Remember the 10” of rain? Well the river has flooded 110 campsites? We are on the top…high and dry. Always an Adventure!

That is what we saw and did!

Monday, July 24, 2017 ~~~218 miles today

PS No WiFi here tonight, I’ve got two blogs to upload!

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