S: 2011 Road Trip - Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota
FC: 2011 Road Trip Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota
1: 2011 Road Trip Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota Friday, September 23 through Saturday, October 1 2500 miles | "Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken." – Frank Herbert
2: We'd packed the Enterprise Jeep Liberty the night before, so by 2 pm we were headed north. | By 3:30, we were already stuck in traffic. | By 7, we felt we were no where close. And then there was road construction. And more traffic. By 8:30, we were at the dreaded tollbooth, and still had an hour to go to our motel. 366 miles should have taken 6 hours tops. What happened??? | Friday, September 23, 2011
3: Saturday, September 24, 2011 | 6:30-ish Saturday morning, in Windsor, Wisconsin. A beautiful sunrise brings hope for a great day for the Midwest Border Collie Romp and Rendezvous. Back to bed for a little more sleep, then we were all up and ready to head out to the 40-plus acre Token Creek Dog Park for The Big Event. | Wisconsin
12: Bonnie and Lizzie were the champs of the games!
13: Dinner after The Big Event was from the very friendly mice at the Mousehouse Cheesehaus. | Somebody had a very full day!
14: Sunday morning brought an all-new adventure to the journey. A non-working blower in heavy rain made seeing out our windows impossible, and driving the Jeep a non-option. A switch to a Hyundai Sante Fe at the Dane County Airport, and we were on our way. The Garmin navigated us over-the-hills and through-the-woods to the Wisconsin River Scenic Drive. | Sunday, September 25, 2011 | Rte. 60 follows the Wisconsin River west to the Mississippi, through a region of limestone-capped bluffs, sandstone outcroppings, and narrow wooded valleys known as the Driftless Area, the only part of Wisconsin untouched by the last glaciers. | We all needed a quick rest stop!
15: Markets were plentiful between farms, all tucked artfully along the river valley.
16: Through Prairie du Chien and across the Wisconsin River. | McGregor, Iowa | Iowa
17: "Across this impressive gorge of the Mississippi River is the mouth of the Wisconsin River. The steeply notched valleys of both rivers are carved into sedimentary bedrock which underlies the level, plateau-like uplands and forms the abrupt, picturesque bluffs along the valley margins. The layered rocks originated as loose sediment on sea floors 450 to 550 million years ago, and over time hardened into strata dominated by dolomite and sandstone. Fossil remains of marine life are seen in rocks throughout the area. These valleys began to develop over 1 million years ago. The melting of vast ice sheets released enormous volumes of water, sand, and gravel which scoured, filled in, and shaped the valley profiles periodically until about 9,500 years ago. The towns of Bridgeport and Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, are built on terraces within the valleys that mark two different levels of sediment accumulation during these glacial meltwater floods. In 1673, a small band of French explorers led by Father Jacques Marquette and mapmaker Louis Jolliet journeyed in two bark canoes down the Wisconsin River to this site, becoming the first Europeans to see Iowa. Lt. Zebulon Pike, for whom this overlook and the Colorado peak were named, evaluated this location for a fort in 1805. The islands and pools seen in the Mississippi valley today are a result of ponding from the lock and dam system built in the 1930s. This valley provides valuable habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, and a dependable avenue of commerce for the region." | Pike's Peak State Park, Iowa
18: View from our campsite... | and of our campsite.
19: 5:30 pm
20: Sunday we'd set up our tent before the rain rolled in. And then rain it did, almost an inch in a 24-hour period. For dinner, we sat in the car and snacked on a Minnesota apple, some wine, cheese curds, Coca-Cola and maybe a candy bar. (Sometimes our meals are a bit ... lacking.) Monday morning it continued to rain. Even Jake didn't want to leave the tent. We did eventually tear down (in the rain - it gave us a chance to wear full rain gear) while Jake sadly watched us from the Sante Fe. Everything was wet, and we were very hungry. Back-tracking through McGregor and Prairie du Chien put us right by a Subway and their yummy breakfast sandwiches. Yay! With full bellies we headed up The Great River Road. In the rain. A torrential downpour is a more accurate description. The skies finally cleared around Minneapolis-St. Paul. Whew!!! | Monday, September 26, 2011 | Sunday night before tent-time. I smell wet dog! | Monday morning's ride was a bit cramped.
21: Down from Pike's Peak, through McGregor, into Marquette with a wave to their pink elephant, and across the Mississippi again into Prairie du Chien. | 10:12 am | 10:10 am | Wipers. Why don't we use wipers? | Wipers. There they are. | Noon. Still raining.
22: 12:20 pm | The rocky pinnacle? 'Sugar Loaf' overlooks eastern Winona, Minnesota. | Lake City, Minnesota | 1:30 pm, temps in the 60's, wind gusts up to 20 mph. Chilly to us, and these guys can't wait to get on the water! | Lake Pepin, north of Lake City. | Minnesota
23: 3:04 pm | Into Minneapolis-St. Paul and clearing skies!! | Ann Lake Campground, within Sand Dunes State Forest: pine and oak-covered sand dunes, with some campsites sitting on higher, open ground overlooking Ann Lake. Just what we needed to dry out! | See the lake through the trees? | Jake had a big dinner and crashed. We ate well, too: local corn-on-the-cob, steak, potatoes with garlic and butter, and green beans. Ah, so much better now! | 7:00 pm
24: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | 9:30 am | It's amazing how a great dinner and a good night's sleep can make you feel SO much better in the morning!
25: 11:24 am | Somewhere around St. Cloud, Minnesota | Swings along side the road. How nice! | Doug's old MG??
26: 11:40 am | What a pretty little park along the calm Mississippi!
27: 12:19 pm | Little Falls, Minnesota
28: Mosomo Point Campground, Chippewa National Forest, Minnesota
29: Chipmunks LOVE to taunt poor Jake!
30: 7:20 pm
31: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 | What a beautiful, spacious campground! After a good night's sleep for all (Jake slept better after I covered him up. He was chilly!), and some morning playtime, we were ready for the last stretch of driving towards the headwaters of the Mississippi. | 8:15 am
32: The Mighty Mississippi meanders so peacefully towards Lake Bemidji. | 12:15 pm
33: The Mississippi exits Lake Bemidji to the south, flowing some 60 river miles to the Headwaters. | 12:50 pm | Bemidji, Minnesota
36: Itaska State Park was established in 1891. Its 32,000+ acres include more than 100 of Minnesota's 12,000 lakes.
37: 2:15 pm
38: (Careful, Doug!)
40: Minnesota gets its name from the Dakota word minisota, meaning "water that reflects the sky."
42: On the beautiful drive into International Falls we spotted an eagle who was kind enough to wait for us to turn around and go back for pictures.
43: Oh, Canada. Eh? | Just can't get away... | The Chocolate Moose (our source for a perfectly cooked dinner of local fish), and the Days Inn (our source for a great shower, clean laundry, and a yummy breakfast), backed by an awesome sunset. | International Falls, Minnesota
44: Thursday, September 29, 2011 | Heading out of International Falls towards Lake Superior, the weather was cool and cloudy, but the drive was beautiful. The colors were amazing and the scenery more delightful around every bend. | Minnesota HWY 53 | 11:00 am
45: Pelican Lake, Orr Bay | 11:20 am
46: Minnesota HWY 1/169 into Ely
47: St. Louis County! | 12:15 pm
48: 1:15 pm
49: Birch Lake Campground
50: Doug said this was the cleanest pit toilet he'd ever seen, and that "the Virgin Mary herself would be proud to 'go' here." | Birch Lake Campground, is located in the Superior National Forest, 5 very scenic miles from HWY 1. | 1:47 pm
53: Beavers are the second-largest rodent in the world. They weigh an average of 60 pounds, average 3-3 1/2 ft. long, and live an average of 24 years. | 2:00 pm
57: 3 pm-ish, Little Isaballa River Campground
58: Our first view of Lake Superior, and the Wisconsin shoreline off in the distance. | 3:45 pm
59: Palisade Head's cliffs rise several hundred feet above the lake, as seen from Tettegouche State Park. | 4:00 pm, 55 degrees, 10-20 mph winds
60: 5:15 pm
67: The other side of Temperance River State Park.
68: Split Rock Lighthouse is located southwest of Silver Bay, Minnesota. Built in 1910, the lighthouse is 54-feet tall and sits on top of a 130-foot sheer cliff. | 6:50 pm, 57 degrees
69: We drove southeast along the shore of Lake Superior under the skies of a beautiful sunset. The GPS found us a Motel 6 with a great restaurant next door. (Organic. Local. Motel 6. Funny.)
70: Friday, September 30, 2011 | The Duluth Grill grows many of their own vegetables. | Featured once on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!
71: 8:30 am, 42-degrees | Out of Duluth, across St. Louis Bay, and back into the Badger State we go! | "Located at the western end of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Duluth-Superior seaport is the largest and farthest-inland freshwater seaport in North America. By far the largest and busiest on the Great Lakes, the port handles an average of 46 million short tons of cargo and over 1,100 visits each year from domestic and international vessels. With 49 miles of waterfront, it is one of the leading bulk cargo ports in North America and ranks among the top 20 ports in the United States." | Wisconsin
72: Amnicon Falls State Park, Wisconsin | 9:40 am
76: Chipmunks, chipmunks, chipmunks!!! So many chipmunks!
78: The Amnicon River's unusual root beer color is a result of high levels of tannic acid given off by decomposing trees, grass, and plants in upstream swamps and bogs.
80: 11:39 am | 11:12 am
81: After spending an hour or so at Amnicon, we traveled past farms and through forests to Lake Superior's South Shore. | 11:45 am
82: 12:04 pm, 50 degrees
83: Bark Point, Wisconsin
86: Wild turkeys have wingspans up to 57 inches, and have between 5000 and 6000 feathers. Hens generally weigh between 5.5 and 12 pounds.
87: Siskiwit Bay | 12:34 pm
90: "Wisconsin" is an Algonquian Indian word that comes from the Ojibwe name for the Wisconsin River, Wishkonsing. Rich with heritage and culture dating back thousands of years, the original inhabitants of the area that is now Wisconsin included: -The Dakota Sioux tribe -The Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) tribe -The Menominee tribe -The Ojibwe tribe (also known as Chippewa, Ojibway, or Ojibwa) -The Potawatomi tribe -The Fox and Sauk tribes
91: Bayfield, Wisconsin | "During the mid to late 1800's, three abundant resources - timber, fish, and brownstone - were commodities highly sought after. Coupled with the fact that Bayfield was located on Chequamegon Bay, a natural deepwater bay, the abundance of these desired resources gave the growing little village the potential to become one of the greatest ports on Lake Superior."
92: Built in 1890, the Old Rittenhouse Inn is a popular Bayfield bed and breakfast and gourmet restaurant.
93: 1:30 pm | Entering Greunke's First Street Inn and Restaurant, built in 1863, was like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting. The staff, owner, and decor are equally eclectic. The three of us had a great lunch on the patio before heading home.
94: "Bayfield has reemerged as a premiere tourist destination. The creation of the Apsotle Islands National Lakeshore and the designation as a historic district revived the economy."
95: Rounding bend after colorful bend, we headed south through Wisconsin, Iowa and finally into Missouri. Traveling without plans sometimes creates opportunities for new adventures, and tonight our adventure would be sleeping in our car at a rest stop.
97: There's always another bend to round, another path to follow. And the more we learn, the less we know. So we travel. "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for." - John A. Shedd