Packed and on the river by 7:30 before anyone on the pleasure boats are stirring we make our way down a back channel. Its calm and quiet. Flocks of White Pelicans fly low over head. We see a couple of Bald Eagles.
Back on the main channel the wind begins to stir and slows progress a little and the pleasure boats begin to stir. By noon the main channel is busy with boats roaring up and down river. It causes some anxiety to both Lijun and I. We have to break rhythm and turn into the boat wake every couple of minutes. I soon begin to tire. We cross a windy lake outside the channel and hit a sand bar. Didn’t see that coming. Once off we make our way to Lock and dam no 2. Our first lock. I call the lock master on the marine radio, “Lock and dam number two. This is southbound rowboat. We would like to lock through.” I look at Lijun and shrug my shoulders. ” Okay southbound it’ll be twenty minutes. I don’t know what I’m doing but we wait and finally the gates open and a huge pleasure boat comes out and a traffic light turns green. We go into the huge cement chamber and a dude lowers a rope and says nothing. I look up “We never did this before.” “Oh hang onto the rope until you get down.” We are the only ones in the lock as the water begins to lower. A different guy is looking down on us and smiles. I ask what the drop is and he tells us 11 feet. A horn blares loud. The guy up top says we can go now. Oh thanks. The doors open on the far end and we go out passing a northbound pleasure boat. Oh yeah the whole time before the lock a barge has been chugging behind us and we raced to get there first.
We break at Hastings Mn in a park overlooking the river. A barge coming northbound has to wait for the southbound barge to go through. It took about an hour and a half. Glad we beat it.
It’s been half raining all day with thunderstorms forecast for the night. I’m exhausted but push on to to the town of Prescott. The marina guy lets up keep the boat on the beach for free. thanks. We catch a cab to the only motel in town about a mile away. I’m beat and not feeling great but there is a sports bar right next to motel. We go in and it’s decorated in Green Bay Packer stuff with an entire deer mounted behind the bar.
We were in Wisconsin.