Great River Rumble is coming! Paddlers to begin trip in Elkader

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Rex Klein

Paddlers get ready for a trial run of a week-long trip that begins July 26 in Elkader.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

When the Great River Rumblers return to Northeast Iowa in July, they hope they’ll receive a better weather welcome than the one they got last week. Several paddlers did a trial run of the group’s next trip, launching Tuesday morning in Elkader. The trip started a bit behind schedule due to stormy conditions.

“Rain’s nothing—we’ll paddle in rain—but there’ve been some lightning strikes this morning, and we won’t stay on the water when there’s lightning,” explained “River Master” Rex Klein of Rushton Park, IL.

Klein has been with the group since 1995, when a handful of canoeists and kayakers decided to get serious about paddling. The numbers have increased substantially—nearly 200 participated in a popular St. Croix River expedition in 2013—and kayaks are beginning to out-number canoes. The group’s goals remain the same, however: to enjoy rivers and promote environmental awareness.

The Rumblers’ 2015 trip begins in Elkader on Sunday, July 26, with stops in Garber, Osterdock, and a few other places before concluding the weeklong adventure on August 1 in Savanna, IL. They’ll cover 107 miles of waterways.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t see 150 people or more on this trip,” Klein said.

The 2015 route was planned with access to the Mississippi River in mind. A fellow paddler suggested Elkader and the Turkey River as a logical starting point.

Weather aside, Klein, who has paddled every mile of the Mississippi from St. Cloud to St. Louis, was impressed with Elkader when he made his first trip here for the grueling four-day trial run.

“We’re excited about this trip,” he said. “This is a great town and I understand there will be a festival when we’re here so that’s something we’re looking forward to, as well.”

The Rumblers will roll into Elkader during the Sweet Corn Days festival. They’ll bring with them four trailers, two cargo vans and a beverage wagon. In addition to paddlers, the group has a support team that moves equipment from town to town. The event functions like RAGBRAI on water.

Information on the rumble is available on the group’s website: www.riverrumble.org.

 

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