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Travels alongside the Mississippi
A return to familiar territory. I have passed this way many times, but this time, I am here to stay. The Mississippi, and it's wonderful towns, river life, scenic views, natural wonders, and assorted wild creatures are my destination.

I love this place, and have driven up here a number of times just to stop, look, listen and smell. It is a good three hours from Milwaukee to this spot, perhaps a bit longer. These photos were taken in early spring, so the grass is green, but the trees are not yet sheathed in their usual dress of leaves.

A view south along a line of bluffs fronting the river. I have numerous photos of this spot from various years, but can not resist always taking just one more. The sign towards the bottom of the photograph tells of the old Grand Tour, when affluent adventurers would take luxury barges down the river. This was at a time when the river was still wild, and many parts were yet unsettled.

An early spring view of the arcade, and viewing area of the park. This early in the year, there are not really many travelers, but they will come.

A look down the walkways and picnic areas adjacent to the park.

The locks, far off in the distance, and not very busy at the moment. In the summer months, barges are sometimes backed up waiting to get through.

Getting off of the bridge, and entering LaCrosse

Coming over the bridge for local traffic. This is the bridge for highway 61, rather than the Interstate. It takes us right into the heart of the Downtown area of LaCrosse. Interstate 90, which crosses the river nearby, does not really go through town, only skipping by the outskirts.

A view of Downtown LaCrosse from the bridge, and another view from  one of the main streets. This is a very pleasant place to live, and seems to be just about the right size,

One of the side street of downtown LaCrosse.

A woodpecker gets ready for summer, by building his house. Within a few months, I suspect a female and some chicks might be in evidence here.

The woodpecker turns his(?) back on me and goes about his business.

Underneath the Interstate, are parking areas, boat launching ramps, walkways, and a chance to get up close and personal with the river.

A couple of views from down by the riverside. Here you can reach down and touch the water. This was the river of Mark Twain, countless Indian tribes, trappers, and explorers. It was also, for years, the boundary line of the nation, and for many more years, the line of the frontier.

This is the base of the bridge across which Interstate 90 links the midwest and the west. The photograph was taken looking east towards Wisconsin, while standing on the Minnesota side.

A view of part of the natural bank of the river. even so far north, the river is thickly overgrown. The islets and other land masses visible in the photo are constantly shifting. The whole river is alive, and always changing.

A few old style houseboats, or fishing shacks can be seen at the side of the river. These are little shacks built on planks and floated over oil drums. Though not suited for anything like open water, they are cheap to build and are fine for the river.

This little shack has a deck, as big as the house. Note the oil drums visible underneath for floatation.

A slightly more modest structure, with no large deck, also sits, tied up among the trees at the bank. Notice the mail box by the front door. These sometimes serve as summer homes, though the mosquitoes must be terrible to behold.

A look up towards the Interstate bridge from the base of the hill, just above the boat launch ramps.

I resent this sign. I may not be the fastest person in the world, but I do not consider myself to be particularly slow, even in middle age.

Cars lined up waiting to launch or retrieve some of the myriad of little boats out on the river

I sportsman is nearly ready to launch his boat. River access here is easy, and the river is well used by commercial and recreational traffic.

One boat is being launched, while another awaits it's turn to be picked up. This recreational activity mirrors, at a smaller scale, the commercial activity which usually goes on at the locks.

A look down the river shows several small boats out for a day of recreation. We are only seeing about half the width of the river here. The main channel is to the left, outside the view of this photo.

This vertical view give a bit more of an idea of the span of the river. Many hundreds of miles down this stream of water, past numerous turns, and countless little towns, is the city of New Orleans, and the Gulf of Mexico.

A nice shady spot to watch the river, and to make a call.
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