Dean Klinkenberg, The Mississippi Valley Traveler

Dean Klinkenberg, The Mississippi Valley Traveler

I’m on a mission. I’m exploring the culture and history of the Mississippi River from the Headwaters to the Gulf. It’s my obsession. I started this project in 2007 by spending a couple of days in the Quad Cities in January (yes, you can travel along the river in winter). This led to more days in the Quad Cities, which led to weeks along the river north of the Quad Cities, which led to the passage of a couple of years and the publication of three travel guides: the Quad Cities Travel Guide, the guide to the river between Lansing and Le Claire, and the Driftless Area Travel Guide. You can read more about them here.

Now I’m writing fiction, too. The Mississippi River is too big and has more stories to tell than can fit in a travel guide, so I’m letting Frank Dodge introduce readers to more characters and more places along the big river. In Dodge’s first book, in Rock Island Lines, he chases down the legend of a Quad Cities gangster, John Looney, and ends up on the wrong side of an interrogation.

I also write shorter pieces about the river for publications such as Big River Magazine. I post regular updates describing my experiences, progress on the books, or whatever seems relevant at the moment.

Before I began all this, I worked as a research psychologist for a dozen years. For another dozen years previous to that, I was a student. Before I was a student, I was just me.

The Mississippi Valley Traveler in the News
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of talking with Cheryl Fusco-Johnson of KRUU radio in Fairfield, Iowa (the station is completely powered by solar energy!). We spent a delightful hour talking about the Mississippi River and writing. You can stream the interview here.

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