“Wet Runs”

Kathy, I and a couple of friends took a test run of MikoMan on the Mississippi River at Trempealeau, WI in late July. My goal was to run the boat in the river current, which I’d never done before. I also wanted to check all of the electronics and go through a lock.

We did an out and back from the landing immediately north of Lock #6, first going upstream. There was a barge going through the lock at that time heading downstream. We found that the wake from the barge was not a problem at all for MikoMan.

All of the electronics worked well and MikoMan handled the current with no problem, even though the river was about a foot higher than normal. Unfortunately, I forgot to test my electric Minnkota back-up motor in the current. Judging from my lake experience with the Minnkota, and MikoMan’s performance in the current, I think (and hope) the Minnkota will be able to maneuver the boat to a safe shore, should we need it.

I was not able to pass through the lock due to several barges traveling on the river that day. Barges are given first priority for passage. Other commercial boats are given next priority, with recreational boats last. This did provide a lesson for the trip to allow time for delays at the many locks (40+) that we’ll travel through.

Following more work, MikoMan was taken for a second “Wet Run” on Lake Namekagon to see how she handled a fairly strong breeze and a few significant wakes. She was Excellent and Stable!

Wet Run #2
MikoMan is nearly finished and taken on a test “Wet Run” in the wind on Lake Namekagon

The Boat “MikoMan”

Maiden voyage
Friends enjoying the maiden voyage of MikoMan on Garden Lake in Namekagan immediately following her christening on July 3, 2018

I bought my 1996 Sun Tracker 24′ pontoon boat in September, 2017 specifically to make the Gulf trip. The boat was in good shape and equipped with 2000 Mercury 50 hp, four stroke outboard that runs very well. I’ve rewired the boat, removed most of the seats, added a back-up Minnkota electric motor, Lowrance GPS/Depth finder, VHF marine radio and a new AM/FM radio. More updates are coming soon, including a 100 watt solar panel and my mini-shelter for the trip.

Given the journey I’m planning, I felt it was appropriate to name the boat. I found out that naming a boat required a more formal ceremony to assure that the God’s of the sea and winds smiled kindly upon the boat and the crew, to assure safe passage and returns. The “christening” of the boat and naming her “MikoMan” took place before most of the crew, and close friends on Garden Lake near our home, on July 3, 2018.

I chose her name in memory of one of my best buddies, Miko, our Vizsla dog, who we lost a year and a half ago.

Ned with Miko


The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


What is the Journey? My plan is to travel on my pontoon boat, MikoMan, from the Twin Cities to the Gulf of Mexico. Launch day is Wednesday, September 5, 2018 and I hope to reach my destination, Appalachicola, FL, six weeks later.

The “Journey” began more than two years ago with research, planning and acquiring. This preparation has been interesting and fun in itself and has led to changes from my original plan including the route. My new route will start in South St Paul, south on the Mississippi River to Cairo, IL, up the Ohio River to Puducah, KY, up the Tennessee River to the Tom Bigbee Waterway, then South to Mobile AL. If weather permits, MikoMan will follow the intracoastal waterway to a final destination in Appalachicola, FL.

I have a crew of six friends who will join me for about a week each, then handing off to the next crew member. We will sleep on the boat and do some cooking and fishing. My plan is to visit many of the towns along the way, check out the local restaurants, hopefully meet and talk with people, and absorb the rich history and culture along the way.