on the road

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gadfly homepage on the road home notes on places last contact: 8/2008 first contact: 2/2001

MN Trip Stats (8/08):


Counties visited: 46

Best county: Cook Co.

Town visited most: Taylors Falls

Places slept in: Brooklyn Center (2x), Eden Prairie, Chisago City, St. Croix Bluffs Co Park (tent). Finland SF (tent), St. Croix SP (tent), Northfield, Myre-Big Island SP (tent)

Most impressive town: Taylors Falls

Least impressive town: Eden Prairie

Biggest town: Minneapolis

Most scenic area: North Shore

Most scenic spot: Interstate SP or Great River Bluff SP.

Highest Elevation: near Eagle Mt. in the woods north of Lake Superior (2300')

Three Words: wild, shopping, busy

State animal: turkey vulture

Road Trips: a large handful of trips to Minneapolis, i.e. Superior Circle (8/04), Upper Mississippi Trip, Northwoods Loop (2003), Northwest Wisconsin (6/05), Ring of Fire (8/07), High Plains (8/08)


Neighboring States/ Prov.: ON, MB, SD, WI, ND, IA


Major passes: There have been a few, including the 2002 trip to drop Micah off at Carleton College. Entering near LaCrosse, exited state the next day at Taylors Falls. Another pass was made in 2004 during a road trip north along the Mississippi, entering the state at LaCrescent and exiting at Hudson. The biggest pass was during the Lake Superior Circle Tour in 2004 when I entered state at Hudson and drove vertically across the state along I-35 and then MN-64 to the Pigeon River international checkpoint. Two trips in the summer of 2005 saw sweeps through the southeastern part. And another trip that summer brought me through the state east to west from LaCrosse to Pipestone.


Areas throughly explored: Southern Twin Cities. Chisago County. Mississippi Valley south of the Twin Cities.


Future Plans: The source of the Mississippi should be located on a trip to Bimidji. Canoeing the BWCA might be quite an enjoyable experience.


Heroes: Politicians seem to make handy heroes in Minnesota. The governor  has his own talk radio show and the people are not ashamed of former governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura. They even sold Jesse dolls at one time. In Minneapolis you are reminded you are in the home of former veep Hubert Humphrey as the intricate Interstates of the city stand as monuments to his influence. Fictional  heroes also abound, including Paul Bunyan (a large statue is set up in Bemidji) and Snoopy. Charles Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts" was born in St. Paul. (There are statues of Snoopy all over town.) In the center of the Mall of America you can find a theme park that revolves around the comic strip.

First Contact: Nowhere is Great Lakes, midwestern culture, for its good and its bad, more pronounced than in Minnesota. I first met Minnesota and its below-zero weather in 2001 on a birthday road trip to Minneapolis. On that trip I passed the border by crossing the St. Croix River at Hudson along I-94 and ended the day at the Mall of America, which was not so big a deal to me as Gurnee Mills in Illinois.  This was during a time when I was visiting all the major cities around Chicago in the hope that I might find another nearby hideout place like St. Louis had become. The air was so cold... I learned to actually love Minnesota on a future trip while driving along the Mississippi bluffs in the southeast.

Washington Co. (2001)

Stillwater. St. Croix Bluffs CP.   Wm. O'Brien SP. Afton. Lakeland. Bayport. Marine-on-St. Croix.

Ramsey Co. (2001)

St Paul.

Hennepin Co. (2001)

Minneapolis. Brooklyn Center. Bloomington. Richfield. Eden Prairie. 

Winona Co. (2002)

Dakota. Lamoille. Winona. Minnesota City. Rollingstone. Goodview. Homer. Great River Bluffs SP.

Olmsted Co. (2002)

Rochester. Marion.

Goodhue Co. (2002)

Cannon Falls. Red Wing. Frontenac.

Rice Co. (2002)

Northfield. Stanton.

Scott Co. (2002)

Passed through the southeast corner along I-35.

Dakota Co. (2002)

Betendorf. One fo the Quad Cities. Passed over  the I-80 bridge during an abnormal and catastrophic flooding.

Anoka Co. (2002)

Passed through

Chisago Co. (2002)

Chisago City, Taylors Falls. Interstate SP.

Houston Co. (2003)

La Crescent.

Wabasha Co. (2003)

Wabasha. Lake City. Read's Landing. Dorer SF.

Pine Co. (2004)

St Croix SF. St Croix SP. Mille Lac Res. Cloverdale. Sandstone NWR. Hinckley.

Carlton Co. (2004)

Passed through

St. Louis Co. (2004)

Duluth. French River.

Lake Co. (2004)

Knife River. Two Harbors, Castle Danger. Gooseberry Falls SP. Split Rock SP. Beaver Bay. Silver Bay. Tettegouche SP. Finland SF. Little Marais.

Cook Co. (2004)

Temperance River SP. Lutsen. Grand Marais. Gunflint Trail. Kodonce River SP. Grand Portage.

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The Split Rock lighthouse keeps guard over the North Shore. (2004)

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Peering out over Lake Superior just south of Grand Marais.(2004)

Ice fishing on a Mississippi bayou in Red Wing. (2005)

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I have never seen more turkey vultures than during my several trips to Minnesota. (2005)

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The Taylors Falls riverboat awaits passengers as seen from the rocky bluffs at Interstate SP. (2005)


Photos (c) 2005-08 by J. Bezold. All rights reserved.