Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Tale of a Fateful Trip!

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip....

If you grew up in the 70's and, maybe like me, Gilligan's Island was a favorite T.V. show as a kid. Then, of course, you must remember the iconic theme song that would start every episode. 

This song is carved in my memory and it's still a good sing-along even if I heard it today. The little ditty told a tale of a cast of characters on a 3 hour tour aboard a tiny ship that would be tossed in a rainstorm and land on an uncharted island. 

You're probably wondering why in the world I would be dredging up flashbacks of a childhood T.V. show. 

Oddly enough, it's what came into my head when thinking about my trip aboard our little boat and motoring down the Mississippi River on one fateful afternoon. 

This sailing story also has a Gilligan, that'd be me and a Skipper too, that'd be Mister O. However, our cast of characters didn't sail with us for a 3 hour tour, but rather would be met along the way to our charted destination. 

When we set sail that day we had no reason to believe that the Mighty Mississippi had other plans for us. The weather forecast looked good. Mister O, the weather radar guy, said there was a possibility of a passing pop-up shower, but nothing major. I brought my umbrella as a precaution in case we had a few raindrops. You see our 17 ft. boat is more of fishing and recreational boat and not a cabin cruiser. This means, we’re vulnerable to all elements, including flying fish should they decide to drop in. Basically, it's a floating convertible. 

Our 3 hour tour was to adventure down the Mississippi from Hastings to Red Wing, MN and return leisurely back with interesting experiences in tow. 

It's always been one of my dreams to take a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi from Minnesota down to where it ends at the Gulf in New Orleans. Unfortunately, on this day, I don't think this Gilligan was willing to do that in a Crestliner fishing boat. 

However, like a Huck Finn adventure on the Mississippi River, it had us reeling over the idea to just take off and go all the way...right to the end! What an adventure it'd be. Oh the people we'd meet, the scenery we'd discover on the banks of the river and the waterfront dives we'd dare to venture in. 

Which is why, when we saw a beachside sign alongside the river that said the Nauti Hawg Bar & Grill, we had to beach the boat to see just how Nauti it was. 

After the steep stair climb to get to the Nauti top, we found it to be a typical local bar and grill. Most likely, since it was in the middle of the day, it was pretty low key with a few locals and a couple traveling through on their Harley. 

Susi and I got to chatting and she told me that when her kids were younger they did more boat adventures too. Since being empty nesters, they have now taken to the road on their Harley for their travels. 

She was so nice to talk to; I had to grab a picture with her in her biker attire and me in my boating garb. 

After our Nauti visit and a greasy burger, it was time to shove off. So, with our knapsack of dry clothes and a cooler of beverages, we proceeded on our motor-boating journey to New Orleans...umm, no wait, back up a bit...I meant Red Wing

About 30 minutes into our boating excursion, darker clouds shifted and were hanging overhead following us like a Muskie to a baited hook. The clouds had thickened when the Skipper decided to check his radar. Sure looked like we were in store for a pop-up shower. 

No worries, I snatched up the umbrella and being the first mate, I was fully prepared to brave the elements and prove that I was seaworthy! I thought so, anyway. 

Forging ahead we motored around the river's bend to where the sun disappeared into a dark abyss of gnarly clouds and the horizon presented a backdrop of stormy murkiness. Thinking we must be close to our destination, the Skipper kicked it into high gear leaving leisure sailing somewhere in our wake behind. 

Right about here is when it may have looked like a scene from Gilligan's Island. It was a bumbling Gilligan trying his best to be smart to save the day, only to end up being a scattered mess. If you recall, I was Gilligan in this story!

A pop-up shower it was NOT

Like a sneaky pirate occupying a vessel, the sky mercilessly opened up to sabotage our little boat with buckets of rain. 

I tried like hell to keep my umbrella stable against the pounding rain, while teetering and butt clenching against a rocking boat that was being swallowed up by river swells. The faster we went, the tighter I grasped the umbrella and the more I howled "SLOW DOWN!"

Being air lifted by an umbrella, Mary Poppins style, was not out of the question! 

I'm sure this is where the Skipper would've liked to remove his hat to smack Gilligan with a quick flick across the head. So, waiting for just the right moment above the wind, rain and the high humming of the boat motor, I screamed, "how far away are we from Red Wing?"

Mister O, from under his rain coat and wet drenched face that was pressed to the windshield, hollered back "I DON'T KNOW, you tell me!"

This is when the crew's tolerance for one another would truly be tested and calling "MUTINY" might be out of the question at this point!

Thankfully, from the crow's nest (if we had one), and dead ahead we saw the Red Wing Marina, which was a welcomed vision through a sheet of rain. We quickly docked and ran for cover in the little marina's store. 

Other boaters and big cruisers gathered to wait out the storm and we soon discovered it would be awhile. Suddenly, a Bloody Mary sounded pretty good!  The marina owner called us a taxi and it was off to the nearest pub we went. 

The Bayside Tap and Steakhouse seemed like the perfect place to wring out, hitch up and belly up!

We were not disappointed! The Bayside greeted us with open arms and Dollie the bartender and self-proclaimed local Hollywood star was a refreshing change from the hard-driven rain shellacking my face. The "Hollywood Star" moniker was just a little tongue and cheek title as she had recently been filmed in a local commercial. Her fun-loving personality didn't give us any reason to doubt her stardom. 

Next to us at the bar was a trucker that entertained with his own tales of travels and knowledge of the area. 

Christy, The Bayside owner, was so sweet and down to earth we were taken in by her hospitality. She knew just how to keep the Skipper contained on deck and made sure the First Mate stayed on course. 

Realizing the so-called pop-up shower was lasting the duration of the evening, we knew we had to find a place to bunk for the night. I think this was a good decision as I didn't want to end up in Davy Jones' Locker at the bottom of the Mighty Mississippi

Our uncharted landing at the Bayside Tap ended up being more than a 3 hour tour that day, but besides the butt clenching and the fear of being carried off by an umbrella, I wouldn't have changed a thing!!

The Skipper and Gilligan hit the high seas (river) the next day and motored back home floating into the bright sunrise with a tattered umbrella, a knapsack full of wet clothes and memories, which were all packed snugly into the Crestliner’s sea chest. 

That was the tale of our fateful trip on the Mississippi and, hopefully, we can visit Red Wing and the Bayside Tap again under much drier conditions.

I'll have to wait for the trip down the river to New Orleans, but it's definitely on the junket list and the knapsack will be ready to go!

Do you have a tale of a fateful trip? Have you traveled the whole length of the Mississippi River?

Our Mississippi theme song - Re-worded
I know you want to sing it!

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful float
That started from this Hastings port
Aboard this tiny boat.

The mate was a mighty sailing gal,
Mister O brave and sure.
Two passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.

The weather started getting rough,

The tiny boat was tossed,

If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Crestliner would be lost, the Crestliner would be lost.

The boat set ground on the shore of this little marina town
With Laurie O
The Mister too,
They saw a millionaire and his wife,
Dollie, the movie star
A trucker and Christy Ann,
Here at the Bayside Tap.

Here's the real theme song to refresh your memory

Put your smile on and unwrap
   A Square of Chocolate,
Laurie O

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  1. What an adventure! And the photo proves you kept a good sense of humor about it!

    1. Carol, I enjoy hearing of your travels too and, as you know, it doesn't always turn out perfectly. A sense of humor is a must!!! Thank you for your comments.

  2. LOL -- love it -- glad you were safe -- I've been on that trip, but much nicer weather. Very fun most of the time!

    1. So glad you stopped by Mary! It's great to connect with another Minnesota girl :)

  3. Love your post and so glad that you're safe!

    1. Thank you Pia, I'm so glad the trip ended safely too. Not up for being river fish food. LOL

  4. That was a great story! Glad it turned out well!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kim, glad you enjoyed :)

  5. What a fun adventure! I've had a few that were far from what I bargained for. Happy you were safe. Brenda

    1. I guess that's what makes those little trips memorable. Just glad I was here to tell the tale! Happy to have you visit, Brenda!

  6. Laurie - I checked in to see if my photo made the cut :)
    It was very nice to meet you and yes, our ride turned out about the same as your boat trip. RAIN!! We made it home safely ad will try our adventure again. The Nauti Hawg is a favorite of ours, as it is on such a beautiful, scenic, windy road.

    1. Oh Susi, how awesome you stopped by my little blog! I think the downpour was a little unexpected for many that day!! Glad to have met you on our little adventure, it made for a fun day. Thank you for commenting :)

  7. Isn't is amazing how unplanned experiences/disasters can lead to wonderful adventures?!

    1. It so true Diane! Oh the memories I packed in that little knapsack will forever be there.

    2. What a great adventure and a great story!!

    3. Thanks Margie! That's Minnesota weather for ya! ;/

  8. I always envisage the Mississippi as a gentle balmy river cruise type scene - not pelting rain and Mary Poppins umbrellas. Glad you survived to tell the tale and now I'm singing the Gilligan's Island theme in my head!


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