Category Archives: On the Mississippi

Status Update: Beaver Island

BEAVER ISLAND

Spent a scenic night on Beaver Island.  My tent was positioned on a sand dune overlooking the river as well as the ascent of the moon.  Was sure it was a full moon, but alas, no.   Shot this video just before taking off the following morning.

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st louis safari

ST LOUIS, MO

It’s the middle of the night and I’m writing to you from the deck of the sailboat “Adventure”.  The wind has been gusting as of late – which is why I’m not further down river.  Launched out Friday at approximately 4pm but was forced back to Hoppie’s Marina due to high waves – coming the wrong way.  Almost swamped the canoe in the process.  A fellow traveler and owner of said “Adventure”, Tug Buce, who was heading into town for the night with friends, was kind enough to offer me use of his deck for the night.  First night out under the stars on this entire trip. Stars so clear.  Moon appearing full.  Lull of the water, for once sleeping directly over the water, a dream.  

Many thanks to Darla and Lloyd, of St Louis, for joining in on the spirit of “safari” – complete with pith helmet and raccoon hat – launching me out in fine fashion via a moving serenade of “Old Man River”.  I sincerely appreciate your assistance and well wishes…  Am safe and sound and come the morn, will be ready to set out yet again.

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found: one red kayak

FORT MADISON, IOWA – NAUVOO, IL AREA —

UPDATE: Writes Eve, “miraculous recovery of EVERYTHING: bike, kayak, accessories: your dreaming WORKED! and was accurate even down to the reeds!”

Great to hear it, Eve!

Previous story, from this morning…

Fellow Mississippi River traveler Eve Beglarian has been traversing the Mississippi River in a tag-team effort of kayak and bicycle, moving herself forward time-wise very close to myself, having launched out from Lake Itasca July 20th.

Eve is a sincerely nice woman – she contacted me some two weeks back to say hello and to try to plan a meetup – a meeting I was eagerly looking forward to. A NYC-based artist-composer of note, Eve has already had her adventure chronicled by the New York Times.

Eve needs our help… In today’s blog report, she tells us of two major setbacks.

Reports Eva: “When we went out to Green Bay landing this morning, the kayak was gone. Simply gone, no trace. The last time I saw it was Sunday around noon, when I was about to paddle down to Ortho landing where the bike was locked up. The wind was too strong, so I decided not to paddle, and I thought it was a bad idea to try to put the kayak back up on the car, partially because I was alone, partially because I needed to drive up to the Quad Cities to pick up Rafaela at the airport Monday and the wind was strong enough that highway driving with the kayak seemed dangerous. I had already left the kayak there overnight with no trouble, so I thought it would be okay.”

But the story gets worse… while Eve was investigating the missing kayak, her bicycle was stolen – meaning she is now contemplating moving forward down the river on foot…

If you’re local — anywhere near Fort Madison, IA or Nauvoo, IL, or have any friends in the area — please help!

For more details please visit Eva Beglarian’s River Project as well as the Fort Madison Democrat: Thieves taint woman’s visit to Lee County, a story featured in today’s edition.

 

 

 

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Status Update from the Great River Road

Currently paddling strong – bound for the great city of St. Louis…

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Twilight with Twain

HANNIBAL, MO

Couldn’t believe and still cannot believe the chance I was given to sleep over in the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum. Many thanks to the Town of Hannibal — ‘America’s Hometown’ — along with all of the wonderful people I was able to meet. Here’s the full report of my rather magical Twilight with Twain.

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Filed under Americana, Community Project, In the News, Literary Reverie, Mississippi River Town, On CNN, On the Mississippi, Wanderlust

Status Update from Keokuk, Iowa

KEOKUK, IOWA

Departed Nauvoo, Illinois last evening at around 5pm.  Spent two days in Nauvoo and will be bringing you a story shortly from that fine town.  Out on the Mississippi in these parts, where the river is famous for being deep, wide, and extraordinarily treacherous, the conditions couldn’t have been better with a subtle wind that helped push me right along.  I hugged the Illinois coastline around the bend and crossed the river, dodging a barge.  I could tell the sunset was going to be epic, which it most certainly was.  The entire scene was so surreal and picturesque that I stayed out on the river well into the dark – not wanting to give up that feeling of pure exhilaration and joy.  The lights of the Keokuk Yacht Club beckoned and I answered, keeping my sights on the lights of the marina until I at long last arrived.  Although a private club, the friendly staff welcomed me and let me pitch my tent along the breakwater for the night.  Next stop: Hannibal, Missouri, to be followed by an extended stay in the great city of St. Louis.

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A Policy of Clean Water

FARMERSBURG, IOWA

Traveling along the Mississippi River on an extended canoe expedition, one becomes mindful of the importance of clean water. According to the Department of Natural Resources, you’ve got point and non-point pollution. It’s the non-point that the DNR is concerned about, generally attributed to agriculture – farmers with heavy soil loss.

I spoke with fifth-generation Farmersburg, Iowa farmer Jason Klinge about the importance of clean water and what his farm is doing about it – which turns out to be quite a bit. Jason and his son Jordan turned their farm organic and in so doing are raising their cattle chemical-free on grass as opposed to grain.

“What I’m trying to do is mimic what the buffalo did when they grazed,” explained Jason, moving his cattle from paddock to paddock, letting them eat the natural grass while trampling a combination of their own manure and excess grass directly into the soil – a strategy which many observers say is responsible for the quality of Iowa’s once legendary wild-prairie soil.

Jason showed me one of five sinkholes on his property which is believed to go directly into the local water supply. He also showed me a 1948 copy of The Yearbook of Agriculture which underscored multiple studies by the Department of Agriculture in 1930 that concluded “From clean-tilled crops … the average soil loss over a period ranging from 6 to 11 years amounted to 42.10 tons an acre annually,” going on to explain, “In contrast, from the same kind of land on the same stations, the corresponding losses from grassed fields were only 0.08 of a ton of soil an acre.”

“We all depend on the farmer to care for [the] soil,” explained Teresa Opheim, Executive Director of Ames-based Practical Farmers of Iowa. “From a policy perspective,” continued Teresa, “what … needs to happen is that we reward farmers for the stewardship benefits that they provide.”

One of a handful of local farmers that helped write The Conservation Stewardship Program to accomplish just this is Greg Koether, a cattle rancher from McGregor, Iowa, who talked about the importance of clean water and how this fits into the Green Payment Program (aka Conservation Stewardship Program), a program that both he and Jason Klinge now benefit from.

“That’s one of the results we’re trying to achieve in conservation,” explained Greg. “Clean water – clean water that never leaves our farms, clean water that runs off in a heavy rain event that has been purified, or clean water that we’re drinking – water that is seeping through our soils – being filtered, chemical free, and improving our drinking water.”

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