Camping in a place I wasn’t supposed to be, I got up early. I want to make some good miles anyway because I was offered a place to stay for the night. I mostly only saw a few fishing boats and barges that early in the morning. It allowed me to get some decent miles in without too much interference.
As the morning drew to an end, the wind began to pick up. The river was pretty wide and lake-like where I was, so I found a decent spot on an island to hang out for a short while. I topped off the charge on my speaker so it would last all day and did my phone for good measure too.
The waves finally died down and it was clear enough to make it to the next lock. It was a pretty big open stretch, so I just hugged the shore in case the waves got out of hand. I got close to the lock and was about to call on my radio, but another boat called. He was given a wait time and I could make it by then, so I skipped the call and got to paddling. I still wasn’t comfortable on the radio.
A third boat had pulled up by the time the gates opened. We got the green light and made our way in. The drop was much lower than the first lock. I was surprised we were done so fast.
I heard the horn and started paddling out. There was a pontoon boat going pretty fast towards the lock. I started trying to get his attention to slow down. One of the passengers started yelling something about being around big boats now. I flipped him off. We were in a No Wake Zone and the problem was the giant flat wall as you exit the lock. It reflects waves back as easily as a mirror reflects light. Then you get a wake coming from both sides making it really tough to paddle. Fuck them. The whole boat.
There was lots more traffic as I passed through Hastings. The river wasn’t terribly wide here and not a single boat slowed down. This is why I’ve come to hate Saturdays. There are all kinds of people that come out and they just don’t care about other people.
The next bend in the river offered views of Wisconsin. I had finally gotten to another state! I didn’t expect it would take so long, but it was sure nice to see it.
The boat traffic didn’t improve at all for the next many miles. They’d come ripping by, often in groups, leaving me to deal with their wake. The cabin cruisers were definitely the worst. They’re big boats with an equally big draft. If you don’t turn your boat to face their wake it would very likely capsize you.
At one point there was a cabin cruiser coming up river and another one over taking him a few miles an hour faster. Neither slowed down at all for me, so I found it hugely ironic when the faster boat finally passed and the guy in the slower boat started yelling a fit as he got thrown around. Both sucked.
I was very glad to get to Diamond Bluff. A guy guy from Facebook offered up his project house that is right along the river. I had a place to stay out of the bugs and with air conditioning!
I pulled out and gave the place a look over. He lived in another city a little ways down river, so he told me how to let myself in. After settling, I made my way to the Nauti Hawg bar for dinner. It was shockingly cheap and I had to buy some cans of pop to get my tab above their credit card minimum.
When I got back to the house I caught the Coast Guards buoy tender go by. They make sure the channel is properly marked. No one wants a barge to run aground and block the river.
Total Mileage: 541.1