Our legs needed a break from the bike riding so we headed toward La Crosse for a Mississippi River cruise. Many rivers come together here - the Black, the Root, the La Crosse and of course the Mississippi. The two story boat wouldn’t fit under the railroad bridge and it was supposed to swing open so we could pass by. After waiting for two trains to go over it, we got under OK, but when it was time to return to the dock the bridge wouldn't swing open again. The bridge was built at the turn of the century - the last century and only one local man knows how to tweak it into action. The base looks battered where lengthy barges occasionally haven't aimed through the central channel properly, but that shouldn't affect the swing mechanism. We bobbed in the sunshine watching jet boats and house boats go by and waited for Mr. Repairman to appear. If we were on an airplane tarmac waiting for a gate we would have felt like gnashing our teeth, but being stuck in the middle of the river on a beautiful day was a treat. Turtles sunned themselves on logs mired in the sand bars and eagles soared over head. Eventually the bridge opened and the extended sail was over.
Lunch at Rudy’s felt like a return to our childhood as the car hops skated to the car window after we placed our order to the speaker box. But we must confess that the nostalgia we felt was not for our own childhood. We could not remember ever being served by a car hop in roller skates in our home town.
A drive to Granddad’s Bluff 590 feet above gave us great views of the city, the rivers and Minnesota across the bridge. Below us cars lined up unloading students and their necessities as they prepared for the opening of school at Viterbo University and the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Swine flu is in the air.