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A Chat With Riverboat Captain Kim Kottke
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A Chat With Riverboat Captain Kim Kottke

We recently traveled to where the Turkey River flows into the Mississippi to have a chat with Riverboat Captain Kim Kottke.  Captain Kim runs the Pride of Cassville, a car ferry service that runs from the Turkey River Boat Landing in Millville, Iowa across to Cassville, Wisconsin. 

The Turkey River Boat Landing can be found by following the Car Ferry signs a few miles south of Guttenberg, Iowa while traveling along the Iowa Great River Road.  Many travelers like to couple a visit to Guttenberg’s historic downtown and Lock & Dam #10 with a trip across the Mississippi River on the Pride of Cassville Car Ferry

Let’s take a peek at our chat with Captain Kim:

Did you dream of being a Riverboat Captain when you were growing up?

Actually no, I loved being outdoors and fishing has always been a hobby for me.

When I was I was in my early twenties I worked for John Deere in Dubuque.  It was obvious early on that working indoors was going to leave a void.  One lunch hour I jumped on my bicycle and trekked the couple blocks over to the other John Deere location where my father worked. 

I told him my concerns and he understood, to a point. Directly at that time, one of my father’s group invited me on their annual trip to Alaska.  Someone had backed out last minute and I was chosen to fill the spot. 

Once in Alaska, I got talking with the owner of the resort and he asked if I would ever be interested in guiding trips. I had always thought of my love for the outdoors and where it would lead, so I spent the next four years guiding in the summer. During those four years, I would come back to the lower states and call up Marquette Transportation, where I worked on their larger rigs on the lower Mississippi River. I started as a deckhand and on my second trip they moved me to mate and I spent the next four winters with them.

After that, I went back to Alaska to study and test out for my license.  The summers spent working the bigger rigs qualified me for the Merchant Mariner’s License 100-ton Master Inland grade.

Without that experience, I would have been required to take what is referred to as a six-pack (meaning I could take six or less people out on a fishing trip).

After getting my license, I went to work for JF Brennan.  I worked for them in Green Bay and La Crosse as their Site Safety Supervisor until coming aboard here on the Pride of Cassville.

Captain Kim, there’s quite a bit of traffic on the ferry this fine summer day.  What are most of your riders up to?

Our deckhands have a chance to talk to them while collecting the fee.  Most riders are usually crossing over to loop back up to Prairie Du Chien or down to Dubuque, it seems to be a popular route.  Some are just heading over to Iowa to visit for the day and vice versa.  We also have regular riders that come over to sell at our Farmer’s Market, stay to fish a bit and then cross back to Iowa. 

The Pride of Cassville Ferry is a bit of convenience, coupled with a relaxing ride across Old Man River and just a whole lotta fun.



Image credit: Author Image

Leave a Comment

  1. Travel Iowa Team
    Travel Iowa Team
    What a great Q&A! Thanks for posting!
    Log in to reply.
    1. River Ramblings
      River Ramblings
      Thanks, we had a blast on the Ferry. Cassville and STONEFIELD should be on any heritage traveler's list.
      Log in to reply.


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