As we prepped to launch from Bay City this morning, fellow Capitol United Cycling Club members, Dennis Williams and Katie Williams, rolled up to join the ride to Pepin. 

Our first challenge was a steep climb in the first three miles as we rode south toward Maiden Rock. We were rewarded with a long downhill stretch and some of the best scenery you’ll find along the Mississippi. Victoria covered the last miles into Pepin on foot and we met at the Marina.

There we found Captain Beth (one of the very few female USCG Captains you’ll meet) and Kathy Sweeney (our host for the night). Beth owns and operates WIMNSail and does a whole lot more. Check out her profile and link to her website to learn of her accomplishments and current pursuits.

Before long we were on the water, setting out on the Rudder Chaos for a tour of the lake. No wind on Lake Pepin today, just blue skies and bluffs all around. Thankfully, there was no sign of Pepie the river monster . . .

We motored up near Deer Island and learned about the Pepin community along the way. The K-12 school in Pepin remains viable for now, with a graduating class of 14 last year. There’s a concern in town that there’d be a great loss of community identity if the school closed.  Pepin Area Schools has banded together with Alma Area School to share some programs. It seems to be working in 2019 and hopefully for years to come.

The area is made up of a mix of local folks – with at least two generations of family in the cemetery – and residents who came from elsewhere. From our experience, everyone who lives in this area is rooted here and very proud of their community regardless of length of residency. 

Back on land again, we said goodbye to Kathy and Beth (for now) and set off to explore Pepin on foot. When it was time to rest, we pulled up at the Pickle Factory. They provided electrical outlets, WiFi and frozen margaritas for our mobile office. We spent some time catching up on work and watching the sun set over this beautiful stretch of the Great River.

We stayed the night at Kathy Sweeney and Jörg Kessler’s place on Bogus Creek Road. It’s a beautifully restored farmhouse on a trout stream. A great place to stay when you’re passing through.

Listening to enchanting water music as we drifted off to sleep . . .