MISSISSIPPI CRUISING WITH THE WEBERS - 2005


Friday 16th September 2005:

WOW - what a day - 100 miles of cruising the mighty Mississippi River in a Starcruiser. Ray Mathews from Freeport, Illinois drove the 80 or so miles to join us for the day, so three Starcruisers were launched from the Potosi Landing a short drive from Cuba City around 10.00 am, under a cloudless blue Wisconsin sky.

We headed north along the broad expanses of the Mississippi River, Peter travelling with Verdon Weber, and Arthur with Linda Weber in the 'Pink Lady'. The GPS was fluctuating between 45 and 50 mph as the three craft skimmed above the surface in synchronized flight northward, while above us, flocks of geese were winging their way south in anticipation of the colder months ahead.

This huge river freezes solid during the winter months stopping all traffic - except hovercraft. Linda pointed out various spots along the way where she and Verdon drill holes through 2 feet of ice to go fishing when temperatures are 10° below zero.

A short stop or two at various sandbars along the way to soak up the atmosphere, and another stop at Cassville, before we headed west into Iowa along the Turkey River for 20 miles or so.

The Turkey river is much narrower than the Mississippi, and quite shallow, winding its way upstream with numerous logs, sandbars and rapids along the way to negotiate - ideal hovercraft territory where no other craft venture, but still an easy 35 mph in the Starcruisers.

The three Starcruisers ready for launching at the Potosi Landing on the Mississippi River
The three Starcruisers ready for launching at the Potosi Landing on the Mississippi River
The Starcruiser trailer
Ray Mathews cruising in "The Prowler"
We stop for a chat on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River
We stop for a chat on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River
Heading north along a broad expanse of the Mississippi River
Another brief stop on the boat ramp at Cassville
Winding our way west into Iowa along the shallow Turkey River
The Turkey River is quite shallow and much narrower than the Mississippi
Cruising an open stretch of the Turkey River a few miles into Iowa
Cruising an open stretch of the Turkey River a few miles into Iowa
Our lunch spot beside the Turkey River about 20 miles into Iowa
Our lunch spot beside the Turkey River about 20 miles into Iowa
Linda Weber cruising in "The Pink Lady"
Our lunch spot beside the Turkey River about 20 miles into Iowa
Heading back downstream over a section of rapids
A stop along a wider stretch of the the Turkey River
There's no shortage of snags along the Turkey River
and a few open stretches of water as well
Ray Mathews cruising on the Turkey River
Ray Mathews cruising on the Turkey River


Friday 16th September 2005:

After a lunch stop we retraced our way back to the Mississippi River and continued north to the Guttenburg Dam, where we watched a beaver who thought this dam had been built exclusively for his use, while a honking white swan glided gracefully over the water a short distance away.

Massive barges use the river for commercial travel and the dams have locks to allow traffic to continue upstream. This dam was our northern limit for today, so after a look around the area we headed south towards home, stopping on a large sandbar a few miles north of Potosi Landing to watch one of the barges making its way upstream.

After a short deviation a few miles along the Grant River, we made our way back to the landing to finish a perfect day on the river. Peter took the controls of Verdons craft for the last 20 miles or so and we still haven't been able to wipe the grin off his face. He did make the comment though that he was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs as he flew someone else's craft - with the owner sitting directly behind him....

WOW - what a day. If only we had a few Starcruisers in the Queensland Hovercraft Club.

Even if nothing else happens on this holiday, our expectations have already been well and truely exceeded. Thank you Linda and Verdon Weber for allowing us to accompany you on such a fantastic day on the Mississippi River.

The Guttenburg Dam - our northern limit for today
The three starcruisers parked while we explore the Guttenburg Dam
Peter filming from Verdon's Starcruiser
Peter filming from Verdon's Starcruiser
Peter filming from Verdon's Starcruiser
Peter and Verdon back on the Mississippi River and cruising north
Peter and Verdon cruising the Mississippi River
Peter and Verdon cruising the Mississippi River
Cruising past the Mid-American power station on the banks of Mississippi
Peter and Verdon cruising the Mississippi River
Peter and Verdon cruising the Mississippi River
One of the larger sandbars on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River
Verdon's Starcruiser parked on the sandbar
Linda's Starcruiser - "The Pink Lady"
A massive coal barge heading upstream along the Mississippi
Ray Matthews Starcruiser - 'The Prowler' - with a Mississippi barge hauling coal up the river
Cruising the Grant River before we head for home
Cruising the Grant River before we head for home
Cruising the Grant River before we head for home
Cruising the Grant River before we head for home
Peter slows down to get under a low level railway bridge over the Grant River
Peter ducks his head as the StarCruisers go under a low railway bridge over the Grant River
Peter ducks his head as the StarCruisers go under the low railway bridge