|Well everybody, I'm back on the road again and this time I brought along a traveling companion besides Eddie. My former MIL, Connie, is with me and we are having a wonderful time. We left Lima on Friday, Sept 9th and stopped in northern Illinois at Kankakee River state park for our first night.
The park was mostly deserted, except for several families with young children who thought it was a good idea to let them run and scream well past 9:30 at night and let them start up again at 6:47 am. Since we were up anyway we decided to head west to Iowa. We had planned to spend two days touring the Amana started with the largest one, called Amana.
It had historical buildings like this one
and lots of little shops but most of the merchandise seemed to be just like every other tourist gift shop. We browsed a bit, had ice cream cones and bought some baked goods in the bakery. Then we headed to the RV park just outside of town, which was basically a large open field with hookups. But it was a gorgeous sunny day
so we grilled some steaks for our supper and just chilled out for the evening. We discovered that we had seen the best and most of what there is to see so decided to head up to Minnesota a day early.
Our first stop there was a county owned park just south of the twin cities. In the morning we drove to the nearby Mall of America where we caught a train into Minneapolis. We got off at government center and took a few pics of the buildings there
)and one of this guy, once a vice president of the United States
This was absolutely the quietest city we had ever seen, there were virtually no people around and very little traffic. Later we asked our cab driver if this was normal for the area and he said it was not but he didn't understand it either. He drove us to the Walker Art Center where we walked around the large sculpture garden and took more photos of the statues there.
This was my favorite, it is called "Spoon and Cherry".
Next, we walked across the street to this
St. Mary's Basilica, the first of its kind in America. Just as we arrived they were ringing the bells for the start of a noon Mass, so we couldn't go inside to take more photos. We took a bus back downtown to hop back on the train then got off at Mall of America Metrodome, home of the Minnesota Vikings, to take this.
Then we headed back toward the Mall of America, so we could say we visited the country's largest mall. We had a delicious meal of barbecue at this restaurant
and then visited the Lego store to marvel at the many amazing creations there.
Connie did buy a few items at the scrapbook store so at least one of us also shopped there!
The next morning we headed north to the St. Croix River area and made a stop in the little town of Taylor Falls
We took a short hike to see the famous potholes
and then down by the water
After lunch, we boarded a double wheeled steamboat for a cruise up and down the river
Eddie was permitted to ride along and he was very well behaved and a favorite of many other passengers. Next we headed north for Lake Itasca state park,home of the headwaters of the mighty Mississipi River. We arrived there fairly late, (for us, anyway) and it was almost dark so we didn't get a good view of the lake. The temperature got down to 28 degrees and I temporarily mis placed my small electric heater so we kicked on the furnace in the morning to take off the chill. This park had absolutely the best shower and restroom facility I have ever seen in a public park - all tiled, spacious stalls and sparkling clean! After a warm breakfast, I took Eddie for a walk and took this photo of the beautiful lake.
Next we headed to the visitor center
for the headwaters and then hiked a short distance to the water. We were going to walk across but the rocks were quite slippery
and uneven so we settled for photographic memories instead.
For our last stop in Minnesota, we headed a few more miles north and east to the town of Bemidji, home of the legendary Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe.
We spent a few minutes at the visitor center there and took this photo too.
We had a wonderful time in Minnesota, and are glad we visited Iowa also. Next stop, North Dakota!