|Have You Seen My Dad?
|If you are following along with us, on my Dad's journey to travel US Highway 20, from coast-to-coast, you can find the posts HERE.
July 10 - Plymouth Indiana to Clinton Iowa
I know this is late - more is coming....
First stop on the program was Rail Fan Park in Park Forest IL. A large volume of rail traffic moves through Chicago every day, and needing to re-route those trains, they built a large loop - much like a car traffic circle - so trains entering and exiting could change directions and tracks. It is constantly busy. As I was told, so many people had been trespassing on RR property to watch the trains there, that the RR decided to build an observation platform. It is maintained by a local rail fan club.
In case you hadn’t noticed, I like trains.
Then on to Chicagoland Speedway, the one mile oval NASCAR track where Casey Mears raced to his only NASCAR win. He DID, however finish second in the Daytona 500 one year. It is even more impressive in person than on TV.
In case you didn’t know, I am also a NASCAR fan.
Next was the Air Classics Museum in Sugar Grove IL (I also like airplanes). Small, but well run with several rare WWII planes including a German Messerschmitt. I know that I misspelled that, but I have no internet right now to look it up.
Tonight, after crossing the Mighty Mississippi, I am camping just north of Clinton Iowa - with the fireflies flashing.
July 11 Clinton IA to Winona MN
I am going to use my favorite number again: Gazzillion! That was the number of mosquitoes surrounding BOB (Blocker Of Bugs) last night. Rule #2: NEVER camp in a mosquito infested swamp even if it is a National Wildlife Refuge. Rule # 1, of course, is never start a land war in Asia.
Highlights of a great, but tiring, day of hiking:
I toured the Polotsi Brewing brewery and museum. A very old brewery in Polotsi Wisconsin that I had never heard of. I bought a six pack when I realized that I hadn’t had a beer since leaving. I also bought a couple of brats from the meat store next door and later boiled them in a bottle of Polotsi. Yummy.
Wait . . . Wisconsin? Yup, I crossed back over the Mighty Miss so I could check out Polotsi AND take a ferry back from Cassville to the Iowa side. What an adventure - the ferry took BOB and one other van about a mile upriver to the Iowa landing. Took about 20 minutes.
Then I drove up the Iowa side riverbank to check out the dams and locks. At Guttenberg there was a tug pushing barges through the lock.
Yes, I’ve actually entered Iowa three times now, and there may be a fourth . . . depending. And they call Indiana the crossroads of America - HA!
I hiked the Effagy Mounds Historical Site where ancient people built large mounds in the shape of animals. Difficult to photograph. Drones are not allowed.
I have noticed a large number of state and federal parks/monuments/historical sites have ‘NO DRONES’ signs. Sort of wish I had brought one. A drone, not a sign.
All in all a great but tiring day. Tonight I am camping at a Minnesota state campground high on a bluff overlooking the mosquito infested Mississippi.
I realize that some of my postings have been coming late. I am still having technical difficulties with my laptop and internet. I asked BOB (Brilliant Ol’ Bozo) for help, but he claims his only computer knowledge involves fuel injection.
July 12 Winona Minn. To Adrian Minn
Original plan was I-90 across Minnesota, but I realized that on the freeway all you see at 70+ mph is concrete, green signs, and trucks. So, I took a loop south, crossed I-90, went north and then took US-14 west. Good choice.
In Spring Valley MN (self proclaimed trout fishing capitol of Minn.), I stopped for breakfast at a small downtown café, got out, locked BOB, and noticed an older gentleman was laughing.
"Nobody locks their car in Spring Valley - haven’t locked mine in years". Small town America.
After a tasty breakfast I stopped at a church, also in Spring Valley, that has a Laura Wilder museum in the basement. One of four towns with museums on the ‘Wilder Road’. No cameras, including cell phones allowed. Didn’t ask why.
I also stopped in Walnut Grove where Laura Wilder grew up - another site on the ‘Wilder Road’ - and, yes, I crossed Plum Creek.
At Florence MN, I turned south to take in the Pipestone National Monument. It is an historical sacred Native American site where tribes come to quarry a special stone they use to make the bowls of their pipes. Still an active site, only certain tribal members are allowed to cut stone at the quarry.
Then the rain came. Torrents. So much so fast that traffic stopped. Once it let up enough to continue, I made my way to a rest area / truck stop on I-90 just east of Adrian MN. Lightning lit up the sky in volleys and thunder shook BOB (Brave Old Blue). I received a severe weather alert on my phone, and a notice to evacuate low areas near rivers and lakes because of flash flooding.
Mother Nature was being AWESOME! I had never experienced anything this intense for this long before. Incredible! I tried to video it with my phone and sent it to Liz. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It is July 13 at 4:00 AM (my time) as I write this and it is still going on. WOW!
July 13 Adrian MN to Kadoka SD
4. Yes, four. That is now how many times I have entered Iowa. It keeps drawing me back - this time to drive by the highest point in the state. The first picture is it. What? You expected a snow covered peak? A jagged outcropping of rock? No, it is a rolling hill planted in corn and soy beans.
Then, on in the rain to South Dakota. It stopped raining late morning and the day grew nicer as I drove west.
I drove to Garretson to take pictures of ‘Devil’s Gulch’ and the falls. Then to Sioux Falls to ride the elevator up the observation tower and to take pictures of the falls there too. Nice town.
In Mitchell, I stopped at the George McGovern Library. I know, he never made President, but it was on the way and he was an interesting fellow. It is on the campus of the University there.
In Kimball, I stopped at the South Dakota Tractor Museum, and in Murdo I stopped at the Pioneer Auto Museum.
As you can see, I went against my own suggestion and drove I-90 most of the way. Had I taken an alternate route west, I would have had to continually driven north / south to get to the spots I wanted to see on I-90. The road grid in South Dakota makes a lot of squares with very few diagonal shortcuts.
Tomorrow will start off with the Badlands.
|Wow! This is my favorite picture so far, from Dad's Highway 20 Coast-to-Coast trip.