Sunday, September 16, 2012

Toward the Big River

by Chuck

Today, we started in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, drove straight across Minnesota, and ended in Wisconsin. We regretted bypassing Minnesota sights, but we did see an Amish family driving down the road.  The real beauty seemed to be north, and we decided that we didn't want to lengthen the road trip for that. Maybe we can take that in on a future trip across Canada by train or car, dropping down on occasion to catch the far north of the US lower 48.

Along the way, about 11:30am, I spotted a sign for an A&W Root Beer stand only 2 miles off I-90. I was thirsty; there was no reflection necessary. Just short of the A&W, hungry Claire spotted a Subway sandwich shop; so we stopped twice for a threefer--the daily special sub sandwhich (chicken, on Sundays, for $3.25) for both of us, and then a root beer float for me and gas for Cristina. These refreshment stops make the long driving spells tolerable.

We were delighted to drive through the small, charming village of St. Charles on the way to eat. It is what I imagine much of this part of the country to be--low key, lots of old homes (large and small), no front yard fences, virtually no traffic (foot or car). I especially liked seeing the occasional brick home or office building.

After 4 1/2 hours of highway driving, we finally crossed Minnesota and the Mississippi, arriving at Perrot State Park. I had identified this as an end of day offering to Claire's insatiable lust for natural beauty.

This is a view across the Mississippi looking back to Minnesota  from the vantage point of Brady's Bluff--a 520 foot vertical climb from the parking lot. We noticed, along the way, that things were much greener than they had been recently and that the humidity seemed much higher. Minnesota license plates proclaim "10,000 Lakes" and the Mississippi certainly has water to lend to the air. Maybe my skin won't be so dry for a while.

Part of the trail had stone steps on the steeper portions

Claire has time to take photos while waiting for me to catch up

I do well on the flat and downhill sections

Here is the Mississippi, some shrubbery, and Trempealeau Mountain and Bay

Standin' on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away...

From a distance, the green on the water looks like scum; but close-up it is really little "clover" petals floating on the water.

I don't much like rowing; but, it is wonderful to watch someone else do it. After we hiked up Brady's Bluff from the east and down the shorter, steeper route to the west, we hiked the River Walk Trail back to Vicki Cristina Barcelona.

My reward for all this exercise was to lounge, alternately, in the pool and the hot tub at our Days Hotel, La Crosse, Wisconsin, followed by dinner at the hotel bar & grill. 

California Garden Flatbread

Wisconsin: Smell the Dairy-Air ~ Unattributable