New Kindle Versions of our Most Popular Steamboat Book…and a Little Something Extra!

If your favorite River Buff has become a Kindle fan, we now have the following NEW Kindle Editions available for Pre-order for Christmas gifting this year!

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“Treasure Hunting” has been one of our most requested river topics through the years. Pirates, military trails, payroll caches, old maps and steamboat wrecks have all left tales of sudden death and unrecovered treasures. In the first of our Kindle “INSIGHT Series” we  have collected a number of our previously published favorite treasure hunting stories, how-tos, and resources available to the Treasure Prospector here on the upper Mississippi River.

One Man’s Treasure” is now available for pre-order in the Kindle Store. PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE, now, just $2.99!

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Our ever-popular steamboat anthology, COME HELL OR HIGH WATER by Michael Gillespie is newly available as a quality 2-Volume KINDLE edition. Filled with historic photos, witty commentary, footnotes, bibliography, Glossary and fascinating river facts and stories. Each Volume is purchased separately. 

Volume 1 PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE.   $9.95

 Volume 2 PRE-ORDER RIGHT HERE.  $9.95

 

 

Fall Color Forcasts for Mississippi River

 


Fall Foliage Hot Lines from greatriver.com

Mid-October seems to be the month when Fall Foliage really POPS along the Upper Mississippi River. You can follow its southward march with the contacts below. Weather is perfect, enjoy the drive!

Arkansas. 800-628-8725; www.1800natural.com (late October to early November)

Illinois.  800-226-6632; www.enjoyillinois.com (early October)

Kentucky. 800-225-8747;  (late October)

Minnesota. 800-657-3700; www.exploreminnesota.com (late September to mid-October)

Missouri. 800-778-1234; www.missouritourism.org (mid-to-late October)

Tennessee. 800-697-4200; www.state.tn.us/tourdev/ (early November)

Wisconsin. 800-432-8747; www.travelwisconsin.com (early through mid-October)


And don’t leave home without the indispensable guides to Mississippi River and Great River Road travel! Every volume of DISCOVER! America’s Great River Road is filled with a variety of fascinating Mississippi River fact and lore.  Photos, maps, charts!  All Volumes contain info on birding, wildlife viewing hotspots. Each highlights Geography, interpretive history and natural history attractions along the Great River Road.  SAVE $10!!!   Purchase ALL FOUR VOLUMES of Discover! America’s Great River Road… St. Paul, Minnesota, to Venice, Louisiana, individually signed by the author.   Four guides for $62.

How Fun is This? Cruising on the River Steamer, African Queen

African Queen Key Largo

How fun is this? The actual little river steamer from the movie, AFRICAN QUEEN, with Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart is docked in Key Largo, Florida at Mile Marker #100.



I was able to take the helm and pilot it during most of our cruise, and the gentle put-put of the engine and its “naked” operation was a huge delight. The boat itself celebrated its 100th year in 2012. It has been fitted with an 1880s steam engine and is available for short sightseeing and Dinner cruises through the canals of Key Largo and out into the Key Largo Sound.  It only carries a maximum of 10 people, there were 4 of us on our little excursion!

The iconic vessel was made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name and she still remains a timeless classic. This famous steamboat is available for daily canal cruises and dinner cruises in the Port Largo Canal area and also for private events. 54BE53F1-6C83-4CF9-8163-95498905E7DA   Engine and today’s diesel boiler.

A LITTLE HISTORY: The African Queen was built in Lytham, England in 1912 for service in Africa for the East Africa British Railways company. She was used to shuttle cargo, missionaries and hunting parties across the Victoria Nile and Lake Albert which was located on the border between the Belgian Congo and Uganda.

In 1951 she starred in the famous movie directed by John Huston. Afterwards she remained in service in Africa until 1968 when she was brought to the United States working in San Francisco, Oregon and Florida. She has been the pride and joy of  Key Largo since 1982, where she is registered as a National Historic site and in 2012 celebrated her centennial year.  Below is a video of the steam engine. It should be horizontal, not vertical!

It has been fitted with an 1880s steam engine and is available for short cruises through the canals of Key Largo and out into the Key Largo Sound.  Below left shows the steam engine and boiler (diesel). I also tried to insert a video of the engine operating.

 

CONTACT:  PHONE: 305.451.8080  Website: africanqueenflkeys.com  There is a lot of interesting info on the boat, the movie, and the history of its service in Africa!

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If the Florida Keys is one of your favorite places, check out our hand-painted historic and custom designed maps of Florida available for purchase or viewing by clicking HERE on our FLORIDA FINE ART MAP site!

Everyglades LR

Everyglades LR

Find the Everglades, all five coasts of Florida, and beautifully painted historic hand-painted historic and custom designed maps of Florida by clicking HERE on our FLORIDA FINE ART MAP site! 

Use the SEARCH BOX at Great River Arts to search ALL our extensive collection of Fine Art Maps from across the country and the world!! 

Special Pricing our most popular Book and Map RIVER BUNDLE… Great River Road/Mississippi River Guides and SAVE $30!

Perfect for Gift Giving! Need extra maps? Everyone who loves our 1887 map by Lisa Middleton will love Discover! America’s Great River Road, our comprehensive guide to life along the river for their favorite section!  Just CLICK HERE to purchase additional maps!

All Great River books can be ordered activity coverindividually as well. CLICK HERE to go Straight to BOOKS on our new Shopping Cart at Great River Arts.

Let us know if you have any questions!

 

First Tundra Swans Arrive in Pool 8!

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Just ahead of our first major COLD spell of the season, a few dozen Tundra Swans are visible along Wisconsin Hwy 35, just south of Goose Island and La Crosse. There will also be naturalist/Interpreters on hand at the new wayside south of Goose Island. Bring your binocs and learn not only about the swans, but also an assortments of ducks! No doubt there are also Swans visible just south of Brownsville, MN.

Over the course of the next 4 weeks, numbers of Swans and migrating ducks will increase exponentially!! Have fun!!

Exploring Lake Superior’s North Shore!

Enjoy exploring Lake Superior’s north shore through the eyes of our map artist and the early explorers! Thank you, Courtney for writing us! See maps at www.greatriverarts.com   Entire map title or region in a Search Box.

5 out of 5 stars
“I’m absolutely in love with these maps! My fiance and I purchased these to go along with pictures we took while visiting the boundary waters and these maps are the icing to the cake!”   Courtney

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Boundary Waters, custom artisan design by Lisa Middleton

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Custom map by Lisa Middleton  A fun combination of past and present!

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Carver’s historic map of his travels includes so many historic notes… and the Grand Portage is carefully noted by extra large dots!

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The Gunflint Trail includes lots of local landmarks which will have you remincing about when you went where and with who!

Lisa’s maps are available all along the Gunflint Trail and at many better gift shops along Hwy 61… or visit www.greatriverarts.com and search for Lake Superior maps!  Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Interactive Flood Map

Below is the USGS interactive map that provides REAL TIME info on which Rivers in the US are cresting. The map below is accurate every day. Black Triangles indicate flood stage. Looking to compare stats with the Flood of 1993? CLICK HERE.

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See more interactive maps by clicking the category in the list to right: INTERACTIVE MAPS

New Railroad Anthology by Michael Gillespie now available!

New from Michael Gillespie, THE PHANTOM BRAKEMAN and Other Old Time Railroad Stories from the Era of Steam
ISBN 978-0-9711602-6-2, 172 pages, $19.95. Also available to museums and gift shops.

Phantom LR book coverPlease call 608-457-2734 to ORDER your books for immediate shipping.

As with all our books by steam historian, Michael Gillespie, this collection is full of historic photographs, entertaining tales from the days of steam railroading, and witty, insightful editorial commentary!

If you enjoyed COME HELL OR HIGH WATER, WILD RIVER WOODEN BOATS, or OLD TIME RAILROAD Stories, you will want to add this quality book to your steam collection.

Railroad buffs will also enjoy our broad selection of gift prints of Railroad maps! Please visit greatriverarts.com > SHOP and then enter railroad maps into the SEARCH button. We have maps for many individual lines and states. Also, all maps in the 1906 series include rail lines from that time frame.  NO_DELTA_MAP_small

 

Rail Trespass Law Hearing, Stoddard, WI. Continued.

Marc Schulz of the La Crosse County Conservation Alliance said of the trespass issue, “There is no bigger issue regarding the river.”  He added that greatests percentage of fatalities on the railroad happen at designated crossings.  Schulz said that, “Young professionals come to western Wisconsin because of its natural resources.”  He added that, “This is the people’s land and water.”

John Wetzel representing the Wildlife Federation said, “We need more state oversight.  Minnesota has done that.  He added that this isn’t just a Mississippi River corridor problem saying there are, “. . .hundreds of places in the state where this is a problem.”

Pat McCabe of De Soto said, “I have property on the other side of the tracks.  I will not stop crossing.”  He added, “I beg you make them (trains) slow down.  Who are you going to call? (if there is an accident.)”

Guy Wolfe of Stoddard representing CARS-Citizens Acting for Rail Safety said, “There is a public trust doctrine law.  We have a right to these waters.”  He added that he has seen derailed cars on both sides of the tracks on “our property.”  He urged people to photograph and report issues with the tracks and rail bridges.  He said he feels that after reports about decaying rail bridges the railroad started enforcement of the trespass law.  He said after letting the permit to repair the Coon Creek bridge at Stoddard expire, the railroad suddenly worked “24-7” to repair it.  Wolf added that at least one bridge still in use along the river was built in 1867.  He said, “We can’t afford to let (rail) bridges fail.”

Commissioner Wadhwa replied that, “The new fast act law requires that we put bridge inspection results on websites.”

Kirk Holliday of De Soto said that, “BNSF is making threats to the village sewer.” De Soto’s wastewater treatment plant is across the tracks on the river side.  He added, “The government bails them (the railroads) out.  They get billions to fix their problems and then they basically hold us hostage.”

Gary Moltert of De Soto told about railroad rolling stock that hauls Bakkum crude and ethanol.  He said, “Double hulled tankers are safer.  Canada is being very proactive enforcing this.  Here investors have $80 to $90K in old tankers and the government allows them six years to replace them with safer cars.”

Commissioner Wadhwa replied, “We can’t do anything, but the feds and USDOT can.” He added that, “New tank cars constructed after 2015 and existing cars must be retrofitted and have an advanced brake system installed.”

Sherry Quamme, representing the Mississippi River Parkway Commission said that, “We’re concerned with Wisconsin issues for eight counties of the Great River Road . . . we want to see that there is legal pedestrian access . . . additional crossings are not the answer because it requires a large capital investment.”

Mike Collins of the La Crosse Snowmobile Alliance said, “We purchased a building across the tracks.  We asked the railroad for a recreational crossing.  We asked them for $6,000.”  The railroad denied the request.  Collins added, “They said it’s a safety issue.  It’s not.  It is straight and level for miles.”

Frank LeMay commented that, “Point of access changes won’t work because the river changes from day to day.”

Joan Wolfe of Stoddard asked about changing Act 179, “What’s the downside?  Why wouldn’t the governor want to sign it?”

Senator Schilling said that, Assembly leader Van Wanggaard didn’t bring up the trespass law change proposed by 96th Assembly District representative Lee Nerison in the Assembly because,  “Governor Walker would likely veto it and the Republicans in the legislature don’t want to be put in the position of overriding the governor’s veto.”

Phillip Hooker of Victory said that the railroad speed limit is too high.  “It should be 45 mph max,” he said.

Monique Hooker of Victory expressed her concern about being able to do river cleanups, “The Friends of Pool 9 need to clean along the Mississippi and on the Wisconsin side.  Students and volunteers need access to clean up the river banks.  We have to look at the environmental issue and put your money where your mouth is.”

Ralph Knutson of De Soto said, “We need more rail inspections.  There is no state accountability – no rail inspectors.”  He added that, “The railroad is also interested in having only one person on a train to operate it to save money.”

Commissioner Wadhwa said that, “The federal safety board is taking comments on fewer crew.”

Senator Shilling added, “There is a bill in progress to improve emergency preparedness along the railroad and to train first responders to deal with (railroad) emergencies.”

A larger group attended the 1 PM session at Stoddard.  More than half a dozen people said they had received trespassing warnings from BNSF officers.  The railroad calls it, “ a public safety education campaign.”

Vernon County Sheriff John Spears asked those who received warnings if the officers were polite and courteous.  They all replied, “No.”  Spears who supports a compromise, told the Stoddard crowd that his deputies were not enforcing the law.  “If anybody gets arrested, they’re not spending a night in my jail. That’s for sure,” he said.

Dick Jensen of Stoddard said, “It’s almost like that railroad track now is a fence.”

Richard Meyer of La Crescent, Minn. ““This whole situation has damaged the state’s reputation and the railroad’s,” he said. “People are furious.”

Mike Widner of Boscobel, “The only folks who will likely obey the laws are hunters, fishers and trappers.”

Stoddard Village President Kevin Gobel said, “The enforcement campaign started soon after rail safety groups and the village complained about the condition of BNSF’s bridges.”

 

Tundra Swans, Migrating Eagles

Anyone out to enjoy the last vestiges of fall color along the Upper Mississippi River might enjoy keeping a pair of binocs handy. Some of our larger raptors and waterfowl are on the verge of departing the area and it is a great opportunity for viewingtundra swans relatively large congregations of Egrets, Great Blue Herons, American White Pelicans. Small groups of Tundra Swans are filtering onto pool 8 and likely pool 7 already. Please comment as to where you are seeing swans.

Eagles are also abundant as the summer and winter Bald Eagles make the winter switch. Our summer residents are soon leaving for permanently open water closer to the mouth of the Ohio, Eagles from the north are moving down to their hunting snags located at the pools. Are you seeing a Golden Eagle? It’s possible!Eagles on ice

Saw 14 Eagles flying between Hwy 35 and a bluff top near Genoa on 10/29/15. Others have also reported seeing large and small clusters. Listen for their chittery calls as they interact!

Please use the Search option at the top of the page to read more from our RAMBLIN’ ON Blog about Tundra Swans and Eagles on the Upper River.