Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When did that Tree Change Color?

A sign of things to come has appeared in our front yard. One of the trees has changed color already! That can't be! It's too soon! My God, That means we have to start thinking about winterizing Tourist. Something we haven't done since the winter of 2007.

Change is on the way!


But why fret over the uncontrollable? We still have 6 or 7 weeks of boating left on the Upper Miss. before Tourist gets tucked away inside at Island City Harbor in Sabula, Ia.  Until then....Enjoy!

It's been a warm and somewhat wet summer in our area. That means that I'm cutting grass every 4 to 5 days but it also means that the river has been running higher than normal which allows us to sneak Tourist into areas that are not normally accessible.
The river stage at Dubuque, Ia. normally runs in the 9' range for this time of year. It hasn't been below 10' for the last month. So far it's gotten as high as 16' just 1' below flood stage and with more rain to our north it's going back up as I write.

The high water does give us new gunkholing opportunities. The following photos were taken over several weekends at various locations between Lock 11 and Lock 12.

Following Kim & Lu into the wilderness. Always a questionable experience!

No fear of Pirates with Otis along!

With Kim & Lu & Mike & Nancy behind 1 Mile Island.

Sometimes a motor just won't get the job done.

Where did that opening go?

Cruising the backwaters into Gears Ferry Landing.

What Florida needs instead of "Minimum Wake" signs.

The boat ramp that I used for years. Not fancy but it served the purpose.

On Harris Slough looking up the Galena River at the BNSF RR tracks. It's now hard to believe that these waters were once plied by steamboats.

Polish anchor setting.

OK. Let it go!

Mike & Dixie coming back from their morning outing.

Nancy trying to talk Pam into joining her in the water.

Of course you work up an appetite on the river. 2.5 lb. cowboy steak.

Ready to eat! We had 4 meals from this chunk.

We commandeered a pontoon boat on Labor Day weekend for a trip to Spruce Creek for dinner. Not sure about the drivers qualifications though. She seems to be distracted!

Thankful to be back at Tourist we enjoyed another sunset over the Mississippi. Always a peaceful moment in time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Home for the summer

We've had Tourist back in home waters now since June. In some ways it's like we were never gone and then I think back on all the places that we've been since 2009 when we last had Tourist home. We've been very fortunate to do what so many others dream about. And we're not done yet!

 Let me catch you up on some of our summer happenings.

Of course there are the grandkids!

Tractor rides.

Dining on the bedroom floor!

Watching a movie on Tourist.

Touching a buoy on the Mississippi.

Hanging with Grandma Pam in the "Princess Chairs".

Boat Projects.

Always something to change, replace, or repair on a boat.


A few days before we left Florida we decided to replace our bridge carpeting. Les from Sea King Canvas gave us a good price. We gave him the old carpet to use as a template with the understanding that we would pick it up when we returned for our car. All we had to do was get all of the old carpet backing off of the floor before we installed the new.


What a job! We tried all kinds of products and methods hoping to find one that would make the job easier. It quickly became a task that you could find any excuse not to do. We became so good at finding excuses that we didn't complete the job until we were back home!
Now that it's done we're very pleased with the results. The carpet fits perfectly and looks great too!

Our salon table became a project when we were nearly home. It's had a haze under the clearcoat finish for most of it's life. Pam has been able to hide it with a table decoration. Then we put a battery operated fan on it one evening and when she removed it found that it had dripped battery acid onto the table! (lower right) It went right through the coating down to the wood. As of this writing we are still waiting to get it back from a furniture restoration guy that we took it to. He claims it's a slow process but that he is making progress. Hopefully we get it back before the end of the season!

Of course there have been the normal oil and impeller changes that come after a 1900 mile run and the ongoing list of items that require attention even if you don't move.

On the water scenes from the summer so far;

The Nina & Pinta followed us from Ft. Myers to Dubuque. Their voyage took them up to the Twin Cities area before they turned around.

View from our anchorage accessible only when the water is high.

A lonely deer making it's morning rounds.

A couple of Tourists!

Anchored with Mike & Nancy and waiting on Kim & Lu.

Only one word can caption this photo.....Trouble!

Outside of Spruce Creek Restaurant near Bellevue, Ia.

Sunset over the Mississippi.

Once again we were able to view the fireworks display over the river at Dubuque, Ia.  This time from our own boat.

A few of the boats gathered to for the festivities.

What happened to the yellow line?

Ange & Doug waiting for the action to start.

A little bit of the air show before it got dark.

Two things appear on the 4th. KFC!!!

and...Jerry Garcia.

Doing my part (cigar) to keep the insects at bay.

We and several other boats stay the night rather than fight the crowd of boats heading back to the launch ramps and marinas. We had a surprise waiting when we woke up.

Fish Flys!!!! Yuck!

This is the back of Mike & Nancy's boat. Ours looked just like this.

They say that a large hatch of these bugs is an indication that the river is healthy. It must be because we've had several hatches this summer. We were bombed with them the next night too!

Most weekends have found us hanging on the anchor.

Kim cleaning his transom locker.

Then chillin' with his friends.

Relaxin in the "Princess Chairs" (me, Ange, Doug, Ainsley, Ryan, & Pam) Cheers!

The river level has fluctuated this summer as it always does. Once in awhile it's running fast enough that I have to lock the shafts to keep them from turning while at anchor. That was the case when we traveled south to Sabula, Ia. one weekend.

I've been using this string method for several years. So far I haven't had to cut it to release it.

Lock & Dam 12 with the gates up letting the river run free.

The American Queen passing our anchorage. Unfortunately I had the wrong camera so it's a bit dark.

The Wm. E. Lawson helping the Titletown get lined up for the Sabula RR Bridge.

A southbound tow below 9 Mile Island.

Our anchor chain full of seaweed.

Not all of our time was spent on Tourist. There have been a couple of family milestones that we celebrated since we've been home.

We celebrated Pam's parents 62nd anniversary in July with a family gathering.

And my Dad's 90th birthday brought the Hillard clan together in August for a lunch at Chestnut Mt. Resort.

Prior to the lunch a few of us took the Segway tour. Here demonstrating our control by going hands free!

And after lunch there was the alpine slide ride to the bottom of the hill.

We also celebrated Pam & her sister Barb's August birthday's with dinner at Fried Green Tomatoes in Galena.

 Getting younger every year!

And Ryan and Ainsley welcomed Olive into the family.