Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Old Man River - 30 July 2012

Today was going to be a long day so after being woken by rain (again!) we were on the road nice and early, heading due west on Route 8 bound for Stillwater and what we thought was the Mississippi.  

Before long the lakes gave way to pasture and the conifers were replaced by corn.  Miles and miles and miles and miles of corn fields interspersed with a few fields of lucerne, beans and grass - but mainly corn (or maize?)

Our first stop was the town of St Croix Falls on the "Mississippi" but when we arrived we discovered that the falls disappeared in the early 20thC when the "falls" (a series of rapids) were flooded for a hydro dam, and that the river was actually the St Croix, a few miles upstream from where it joins the Mississippi.

Nevertheless, it was a great lunch stop and we followed the St Croix river downstream to Stillwater, which was not as appealing as the guide books lead us to believe, so we pressed on down the Great River Road, now following the real Mississippi.

Leaving St Croix Falls we crossed from Wisconsin into Minnesota and there was a dramatic change in the topography and scenery.  The flatish land of Wisconsin became quite hilly and all covered with broadleaf trees.  This continued until we finally left the Mississippi so was probably more associated with the fact that we were in a river valley system than any artificially created State boundary.

We followed the Mississippi south-east (effectively losing ground) down as far as Winona where we dropped down to get on to the I-95 for another boring long straightish westerly run for 170 miles across Minnesota to a town in the middle on nowhere called Jackson.  (Cruise control is a wonderful thing!)  

532 miles today, total trip 2320. States: Wisconsin, Minnesota

Follow the trail

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