morning, we got up quite late which meant a welcomed contrast to
the days before, when we had to hurry up in the morning. We spent
the first part of the day writing our journals and getting ready
for meeting Joe Campbell at noon. Joe is a Native American and lives
in the Dakota Indians Prairie Island Reservation. We met up
with him at a huge casino that the Indians built in order to benefit
financially from the extraordinary legal status of the reservation.
He welcomed us and I immediately got a favorable impression of him.
We had lunch with Joe in a restaurant that is part of the entire
complex. We could (or had to) choose our food out of many alternatives.
Joe immediately started talking about one of his biggest concerns,
the nuclear power plant which is situated right beside the Indian
reservation. He is a passionate foe of the plant. Thus he calls
it "nuclear racism" that the authorities and the energy
company decided to build the plant right next to the home of many
Indians. Moreover, Joe participated in an international Anti-nuclear
technology meeting in Kazackstahn. Just like John told us before,
Joe Camppbell is the kind of man that sticks to one topic. His explanations
were widely ranging from Indian spiritual traditions to nuclear
power plants and neat streets in Kazackstahn. It was very interesting
to listen to him but I personally wouldnt say everything he
says is right. You sort of have to filter it and it might become
even more sensible and useful for your own life. After lunch, we
drove to some old mounds in the reservation and Joe explained to
us that his ancestors are lying under the mounds we were standing
on. We also learned a great lesson about Indian medicine and spiritual
traditions. Each one of us got a trifle of Indian tobacco. Joe doesnt
use that for smoking but for begging the ghosts to give him the
permission to do certain things. We also got to know that there
is a medicine man inside everyone. We all have the roots for developing
internal and external intuition. According to our Indian friend,
its a question of the transference of the cultural heritage.
When a thunderstorm was coming up, we drove back to the casino.
Joe still told us that the energy company has put containers full
of nuclear waste just next to the houses of the Indians. Joe was
really exasperated because the authorities and the company dont
care if the Indians take objection to that waste on their land.
In the late afternoon, I went to the local library with Hannah L.
and Desmond. Unfortunately, I didnt meet the woman I wanted
to interview for my project but Desmond and Hannah took the opportunity
to visit the Hamline web site. With the help of Ike, I found a store
where I bought some nice postcards for my friends and relatives.
At about seven oclock, we went to the YMCA of Red Wing to
relax in the pool. It was really fun to play water volleyball and
maybe we even would have been able to persuade Desmond to join us
if we would have known that they have a very hot whirl-pool. This
guy is just abysmally afraid of any coldness
May 7, 2002
morning, about nine oclock, we welcomed Peggy and Desmond
aboard. Peggy left after some minutes but Desmond is going to stay
with us for the rest of the trip. We took Johns van and drove
to the National Eagle Centre. A welcoming woman named Mary introduced
us to the world of these majestic animals. We got to know that Eagles
were endangered in the postwar times (after WW II) because of the
agricultural use of poisonous chemicals. Fortunately, they succeeded
in making Minnesota an attractive and comfortable home for eagles
again. Some years ago, most of the injured eagles they found were
wounded by human inventions, etc. Nowadays, the main reason for
injuries is fights between eagles. This doesnt mean that they
have become cannibals but that there are so many eagles again that
they have to defend their territory. She also showed us one of the
eagles they captured because it was too weak to live independently
. It had a really impressive, elegant appearance.
After our visit to the Eagle Centre, we went to the White Water
River Valley. We met Dave Palmquist, a naturalist from the DNR.
He introduced us to the special geological history of this part
of MN. The bluffs were mostly spared by large glaciers. That is
why the landscape developed differently to rest of MN. Dave also
emphasized that the bluffs only represent 3 percent of the area
but host 43 percent of the endangered species of the state. We went
to one slope that was so steep that I first thought I wouldnt
make it. It was also pretty slippery but we eventually made it.
At the top of the bluff, we sat down and Dave told us why they usually
burn down the prairies. Its because they want to eliminate
the high plants in order to give the grass a chance to come up.
The way down again looked even more scary but we also made this
there is always a wake to get down again- without problems,
except for Hannah L. who wanted to be very fast and got faster than
.eventually she slipped some meters.
Afterwards, we stocked up our supplies at a supermarket and I attained
my first experiences in taking videos. That tape might become very
valuable when I am famous
In the evening, we watched a video made of a presentation and slide
show given by Mike Davis. We originally intended to visit him but
we decided not do so because it would mean 5 hours of driving. The
presentation was about the development of the river, from its beginnings
to its current status. It was quite interesting but I was just too
May 6, 2002
Last evening, we had a discussion about next days schedule
and we agreed to get up at 8.30 in the next morning. Indeed, we
did get up at 6 oclock
The weather forecast was quite
bad and Ike wanted to get to our next stop, Red Wing, as soon as
possible. Ike set-off with the Lilly Belle at 6.30. We (the rest
of the crew) first went to have a very big breakfast. Afterwards,
we drove to a canoe factory in Winona. Sitting in the car, we could
already sense that the forecast was to our delight- likely
to be wrong. A young, likeable, guy showed us the manufacture halls.
They are producing various types of canoes. That implies various
ways of production and different materials. The boats he first showed
us were produced within one day. Other ones, made of kevlar, which
is also used for bullet-proof vests, need about one week till they
are finished. One funny thing he also demonstrated is an advertisement
project. For a brewery, they create a liquor-cooler, very stylish.
The factory in entirety was very cool. The workers seemed to be
mostly very comfortable with their job. Besides, they had speakers
that played rock music...
After our visit to the factory, we went to a bluff in Winona. From
that point, we could enjoy a great view of the whole scene. We stayed
up there for approximately one hour and were relaxing. Meanwhile,
it had gotten pretty warm. Then we went to a very old mill in Pickwick.
One resident showed us the old machinery and we watched a movie
about the historic building that was built in 1858 and is currently
being restored. There were six levels, the mill had a quite nice
smell in it. It was very interesting to read the short messages
people had painted on the walls about 80 years ago.
After we left the mill of Pickwick, we drove to Stockholm, to Camp
Pepin. There, we met some very kind guys. John had arranged for
us the possibility to do a high ropes park. The two guys, named
Clint and Tim, thoroughly explained everything to us. We really
had to learn several commands. Maybe I first should explain what
a high rope park is at all. Well, I also didnt certainly know
before. Its some high poles linked by cables at an altitude of apprx.
10 meters. Clint gave us the necessary equipment, a harness and
some ropes with hooks. These were attached to a wire above our heads.
Well-secured we started our adventure. It was really great! I was
less afraid than I honestly expected to be. After some minutes you
got used to the feeling but it was just so crazy! We had a camera
in order to capture this event on video. John carried the cam
we should regret soon for he was the first and only one to loose
the fight against gravity and it would have been cool to take picture
of him hanging on his security ropes. After one had passed all paths
that were of different difficulty, there was the final take-off
wire that was about 30 meters long. One just zipped down the line.
It was quite fast
an awesome feeling.
After that great experience we got to Red Wing where Ike was already
waiting for us. He told us he had a very good trip, he made about
5 miles/hour. We told him about the camp and decided to have dinner
in town. So we went to some restaurant with a bar. One had to be
21 to get inside but we were accompanied by our father and grandfather;
by John and Ike. I had a quite large pizza, I just hadnt a
clue what 14 inches mean when I ordered it. Well, I finally made
it. At the moment, we are sitting in our cozy living room, writing
our journals, completely content and very exhausted and tired as
we havent been before on our trip
May 5, 2002
This day started with really good weather. Its great to wake up
and look through the window to the water that reflects the sunlight.
We fast drove to Wabasha, our next stop. Hannah L. did her tests
and I discussed with John about how to interview people. I prepared
some questions that I would pose to people that might be interesting
for my project since the interview with that captain on the day
before hadnt been that successful. When we arrived in Wabasha,
we first walked through that small, old town. Then we went to Johns
car and drove to the local sand dunes. That was really amazing for
it did look completely different to the nature I had seen in Minnesota
before. It looked like Arizona or another southern state like this.
John showed some rare plants to us and we also found some cacti
that one usually cant find in Minnesota, as John explained.
Afterwards we had an ice cream at dairy queen. When we were aboard
again, we composed our journals for yesterday. I was sitting in
the swing with Hannah S. and it was really sunny and warm. So Ike
and John decided to grill in the evening. Our "barbecue party"
with blues music hadnt started yet when we saw a storm on
the horizon. Well, we decided not to funk but permanently scanned
the sky for any sinister cloud movements. Maybe because John sacrificed
a bottle of olive oil to the god of water (it fell into the river),
the weather spared us till we had finished dinner. At the moment,
there is a storm rampaging outside. We can watch the lightning
and the uncomfortable conditions outside the boat make our current
home appear even cozier than it already did.
May 4, 2002
Yesterday morning, I woke up to Ikes bird that suddenly got
very talkative at 6 oclock, whereas we didnt succeed
in making him sing the afternoon before.
John told us about some people that were living on boathouses quite
In agreement, we decided to visit them with our canoe. At 11.30
am , our canoe hit the water and after some minutes we reached the
peculiar settlement. We could see some of about 80 houses of odd,
interesting architecture, floating on empty barrels on the Mississippi.
Soon, we met one of the residents of Latch Island. Betsy was very
friendly and inquired about our project. She seemed to be a kind
of alternative but she isnt perpetually living in her boathouse.
She works for a computer company, so I guess she just uses her boathouse
as a possibility to escape from the overcrowded, stressful cities.
Another inhabitant of that floating village didnt look that
bohemian but was nevertheless very polite and told us about the
battle that the boat people had to fight in order to prevent their
houses from being destroyed by the government. That idea to live
without electricity, almost independent of the civilization really
captivated me. Maybe Ill do something like this when I am
After our fascinating canoe trip, we visited the history museum
of Winona in order to find some information for my project. The
museum was really interesting. Hannah S. captured the written explanations
on video so I can read them thoroughly on the boat. Afterwards,
we went to the local YMCA for a shower. That was really a kind of
luxury for us for our hygiene facilities aboard are pretty limited.
At about 4 oclock, we set-off with the Lilly-Belle. I spent
the time on playing the guitar that belongs to Tracey. Well, it
was really fun though I can barely play any songs but Hannah successfully
transferred some bass songs to the guitar. To my surprise, we found
out that a well-known German children song (Alle meine Entchen)
resembles the Israeli anthem.
When we were looking for an appropriate docking place, we got stuck
close to an isle. Ike gave us his orders and with united powers,
Hannah S. and I made it to push the boat with poles back into deeper
water. Eventually, we found a good place that was unfortunately
closely situated to a railway. But it wasnt the train that
interrupted our deep, peaceful sleep at about 2 oclock but
a huge barge. It caused big waves that shocked the boat but it neither
harmed our boat nor us
May 3, 2002
first day on the Lilly Belle was great. Before we got aboard, there
was a send-off ceremony. Many children from an elementary school
gave us their best wishes for the trip. Then the Lilly Belle took
to the water. The boat is so cool. Ike our captain, must be a kind
of genius for he built that boat for himself, and he usually has
an airplane on the barge that is pushed by the Lilly Belle. The
interior is so cozy
we have two couches, sitting on these,
you have a direct view of the water. I am sleeping in a very big,
comfortable bed, the girls sleep in bunks. The weather is just beautiful,
and of course I also already got sunburned
The scenery is fascinating,
quite different from all those sights Ive already seen. Our
first stop was Winona, an old town that we visited in the evening.
Today we are going to go to the History Museum in Winona in order
to find some information for my project. Some minutes ago, we were
visited by the author of a book about the steam boats on the Mississippi
river. And I already feel that I am getting used to the feel of
being on the water