Life with the Party People of Galena

Last year, we met Bronwyn Clark Skov in Hasting, MN. She her husband Dale were our trip angels meeting us at various points downriver and bringing us smuggled Wisconsin beer and regaling us with stories. She told us that when we got to her hometown of Galena Illinois that the river rats there would treat us right. We didn’t make it last year to Galena, but here we are on this year’s fieldwork.


Fields of lotus flowers float near the Galena Boat Club through “the cut” off of Deadman’s Slough

Lotus Fields near Galena Illinois. (Scroll right >>)

We immediately met John Bookless (who we were supposed to meet last year) who was our generous host while we were in Galena. Within a day he gave us a tour of Galena, set us up with a loaner truck, and invited us on an outing on his boat The General to Sandbar Beach.

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Party on John Bookless’ The General at Sandbar Beach.

Party on John Bookless’ The General at Sandbar Beach. (Scroll right >>)

We were really trying to get into the party atmosphere but felt like amateurs with the hard-drinking Galenans.

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We took photos for the upcoming Shantyboat Swimsuit Calendar.

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The girls made new friends.

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On the return trip, The General’s prop left her dead in the water, so Mr. Johnson and the Donboat performed a heroic rescue.

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Dawn at the end of the jetty at the Galena Boat Club. (Scroll right >>)

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A catch-and-release fisherman at the end of the Boat Club for an hour or so at dawn gave me a stringer of fish to make for breakfast.

I had the opportunity to interview Me Me Samualson who has lived near the Boat Club on the river all of her life. We talked about the river, floods, and the history of Galena.


Eventually, we thought it might be time to move on downriver. We came to Galena for the day, intended to stay for maybe a night, and thanks to new friends Captain John Bookless, Me Me, Crystal, Meagan, Edgar, Steve, and George, we stayed for four nights.


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