From Pine Creek Motor Coach/RV Park – Walker, MN
At 1440 (2:40 PM) CST on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 our Great River Road trip officially concluded at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. It is from an elevation of 1,475 feet above the ocean the waters from Lake Itasca begin their winding and ever changing 2,350 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.
In the last three months, twenty-seven days we have driven a total of 10,596.9 miles of which 2,320.5 we had our home hitched to the truck and following behind. Our travel has included fifteen stops along the way each with many points of interest that have allowed us to explore, discover and learn interesting, historical and even whimsical facts about this great American waterway and it river towns and cities.
As we stood looking at this small amount of water bubbling and trickling across a bed of rocks resulting in a shallow pool of water it was a prolific moment. It was at this point realization set in that we had indeed seen this river in many of its forms and were now ending here where it all begins……..The Headwaters at Lake Itasca, MN.
It also was a very serene moment knowing what lies ahead of this small amount of water. The thousands of miles of twists and turns will take it past high rocky bluffs, islands that have formed at its center, fields of cotton relying on it for irrigation and remains of ancient civilizations.
It will flow past many sites of earlier military conflicts over its possession in our Nation’s history. These same flowing waters makeup water highways for commercial navigation by tug and barge, they were the waterways of the steamboat era and have always been a source for stories, poems, myths and legends.
Before its journey’s end it will flow beneath 221 bridges, be joined by numerous tributaries along its path, pass through twenty-nine man-made locks, measure more than three miles across at its widest and flow between levees built to protect the beautiful old plantation mansions of the South.
All of this in the 90 day journey before its monumental rendezvous with the Gulf of Mexico just below New Orleans, LA…………..where our journey now complete began!
Guided by the many green Pilot’s wheel logos this river adventure has offered an up close and personal look at the single most recognized geographical feature in North America……………the river that divides this nation into East and West. We have seen how this mighty river has molded landscapes, created fertile deltas, provided trade routes and is a source for food and water as well as a place to play.
We have learned of how it sustains all kind of life, including that of man but also brings death and destruction. Over the course of history this “Father of Waters” has been ferocious as well as gentle.
We have truly been amazed discovering all the ways this river touches lives, industry, nature and the vast historical history it contains. The trip at times has been like a whirlwind filled with so many facts and information and then constantly going against the flow on our backwards upriver journey has been tiring. So much so at this point many places, stories and things seen and learned along the way are a blur and run together (old age may play a small part in this too!) but that is why I have documented our travels in this journal both in word and picture. We will need these facts and information in the months to come as we remember and retrace our travel along the “Mighty Mississippi”…………am sure it will settle some disputes along the way too!
Hope you have found this Mississippi River journey interesting and hopefully learned a few interesting things along the way. We have truly enjoyed sharing our adventures with you. Stay with us and see what this fulltime RV lifestyle brings next.