Great River Road 6: St. Paul to Lake Pepin

Railroad Tressel over the St. Croix River at Prescott
This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Riding the Great River Road with Harley Grandma

This is the sixth post on the Great River Road – Rollin Down the River tour. Biker Grandma and I are riding Harleys from the source of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca along the Great River Road to the Gulf of Mexico and sharing our story.

As you head down the Mississippi through the Twin Cities there is a dramatic change in both the level and type of activity on the river. From it’s source in Lake Itasca all the way to Minneapolis the Mississippi is mainly recreation oriented. In the Twin Cities there is an extensive parkway system along the river. Once you get to St. Paul the activity level on the river explodes. St. Paul is the northernmost port for most commercial traffic. The river just downstream of St. Paul is really a transportation hub with barge terminals, pipelines, railroads and the St. Paul Downtown airport right on the river.

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One unique area in the river south of St. Paul is Grey Cloud Island. This island is a little bit of sanity in a crazy urban world. You have to cross a one lane bridge to get to the island. Riding the few roads on the island you realize that this is a rural oasis tucked into the greater twin cities area protected by the Mississippi River. The homes here for the most part have significant acreage and waterfront on both the Mississippi main channel and back water.

Grey Cloud Island
Grey Cloud Island
One lane bridge to Grey Cloud Island
One lane bridge to Grey Cloud Island
Biker Grandma, Grey Cloud Island
Biker Grandma, Grey Cloud Island

Just south of Grey Cloud Island starts a series of lock and dams operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. There are 27 lock and dams operated by the Corps of engineers to facilitate traffic on the Mississippi. These pictures are from Lock and Dam #2 just north of Hastings, MN. If you ever get a chance to watch the locks in operation do it. It is amazing to see how big the locks are and how quickly they are filled and emptied to keep boats and barges moving up and down stream.

Large lock that makes commercial traffic possible
Large lock that makes commercial traffic possible
Lock opening up
Lock opening up
 recreational boaters taking advantage of the lock and dam system

recreational boaters taking advantage of the lock and dam system

https://vimeo.com/73591631

https://vimeo.com/73591632

 

Series Navigation<< Great River Road 1: Biker Grandma Hits the RoadThe Great River Road 7 – Lake Pepin >>

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About Dan Ashbach 793 Articles
Meet the Dan behind Dan330. He started a Pinterest account in December 2011 while off on a leave from his day job as a captain on an Airbus A330. While traveling the world, Dan practiced his longtime hobby of photography and developed his eye for natural beauty and appreciation of great photography. Continuing his love of exploration and great pictures, Dan added Pinterest to his daily routine; especially during the long Minnesota winters. His eye for great photography was recognized by the Pinterest community and in just under one year, Dan330 had attracted over one million followers. Dan and his wife Laurie have three children, seven grandchildren and two grand puppies. When not pinning, Dan loves to travel and participate in just about any outdoor activity. There are a few exceptions to this, but to find out what they are you have to go to the Dan330 board dedicated to “Things he won’t do”.