This River Life Drawing to a Close

For weeks and miles people have been asking us, “How far you going?” and really we had no way to answer that question. We had no idea how far we’d get. We knew, however, that we had limited time.

In less than a week we will be out in the desert far away from the river.


We hoped to get as far as the Quad Cities where there were people I’d met online that I was excited to get to know in person. We hoped to get as far as Galena where Bronwyn’s people were anticipating welcoming us heartily.

We hoped to get as far as Dubuque and the National Mississippi River Museum and our contacts there. We hoped to get as far as McGregor, IA to meet fellow shantyboater Tim Mason.

We hoped to get as far as Lansing to meet the contacts that Ken and Sara passed on to us.


Top of the Rock, a decent bar high on a bluff above the Mississippi River in Brownsville

But maybe it seems fitting that we stop here in the little Minnesota town of Brownsville where boathouses line the banks north and south of town.


A froggy friend on a Brownsville walk

This morning, Kai caught a ride with Ken into La Crosse. There she catches a bus up to Minneapolis where our truck lies waiting. I moved the shantyboat to the Wildcat boat launch so we can take Dottie out of the river.

Will our ailing Public Works truck be ready when we return with the rental to Salt Lake City? When I called Transmission Man, it seemed like there was some confusion. Apparently there is a new Transmission Man because the shop had changed hands and they hadn’t touched our truck yet.

Queen Anne’s lace beautiful and alien along the tracks

I think the thing that we wish we had more of was time. Not a month, or even two, but a whole season, to drift and meet people and talk and learn. for as long as we needed.

One thing is clear about our journey: One trip is not enough. There is so much to do, so many people to meet, and so many stories to hear.

So this river life is drawing to a close… for now.



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