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On the Road: Upper Mississippi River Reflections — Historic Towns, Trails, Tales

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Program #14948RJ

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7 Days | 6 Nights
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Navigate Upper Mississippi river to discover rich history, quaint culture, explorers and storytellers who called the Mighty Miss their home. Three very different floating excursions reveal new insights into the commerce, historic towns and nature's foliage waiting around every bend. Enjoy experts, local residents and themed dining as they weave your overland and river excursions into an unforgettable adventure.


• Enjoy three uniquely different river excursions into special places where the big boats can't go.
• Visit charming river towns in four states: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois.
• Have "nose-to-beak" encounters with bald eagles at the National Eagle Center, then look for eagles in the wild.

Program Notes

Click here to see more Road Scholar programs with Iowa State University.

Activity Notes

Must be able to climb two flights of stairs on riverboats. Will need to tote own luggage between bus and hotels. Must be able to climb 4 motorcoach steps within 10 seconds and several times per day, and walk/stand up to one hour at a time with stops.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., 1 night; coach to Onalaska, Wis., 1 night; boat to Dubuque, Iowa, 2 nights; coach to Galena, Ill; boat to LeClaire, Iowa; boat and coach to Onalaska, 1 night; coach to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; 1 night; departure.

Date Notes
August program stays two nights in Galena, Illinois instead of Dubuque, Iowa. Lead Instructor is Diane Van Wyngarden. August offers very warm sunny days with gardens in full bloom and farm crops ripening. It is a peaceful time before the urgency of fall harvest and migration begins. We spot Bald Eagles in the refuge and watch fledglings practice their new flying skills. This date offers the most hours of daylight for early morning or evening walks.9/11/2016
Lead Instructor is Diane Van Wyngarden. September is an exciting time on the river. Moderate temperatures and mostly sunny days make September a very pleasant time to explore the Upper Mississippi. Gardens are blooming, grain fields are ripening, and towboat traffic increases as everyone prepares for harvest. Wildlife is also on the move, as migratory waterfowl join Bald Eagles in the refuge. 9/18/2016
Lead Instructor is Sandy Scholl. River activity revs up in late September. We see harvest in action as we explore the countryside, and watch towboats busily move ripened grain down river. More migratory waterfowl arrive each day to join Bald Eagles in the refuge. A mix of sunny days and crisp nights sometimes create a gentle first hint of fall colors as October nears.10/2/2016
Lead Instructor is Nancy Franz. October is the best chance to see beautiful fall colors, which the Upper Mississippi’s famous bluffs display in dramatic fashion. Daytime highs are usually 60-70 degrees. Harvest is in full swing and river barge traffic is busy. Migratory waterfowl increase in numbers each day.

Coordinated by Iowa State University Extension.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
12 Expert-led lectures
11 Field trips


Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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