Day 5: Old Man River

Up early and on the road – again small country roads in the so-called Tri State area – Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. Saw many farms, which  all had tall grain elevators here. Lots of corn fields. Near the town of Prarie du Chien we crossed the Mississippi over to Iowa to see the Effigy Mounds National Memorial, Native American burial mounds in different shapes, e.g. bears.

Back across the river and north along the Great River Road. In most of Wisconsin the landscape is relatively flat with rolling hills because the ice moved across the land and depressed it, but this area along the Mississippi was not depressed so much hillier with many cone shaped bluffs along the road. By the town of La Crosse we drove all the way to the top of one of these bluffs, called Grandad Bluff, on top of which was a nice park with a great view over the river, the town and the three surrounding states.

From there we wanted to cross the river again to the western riverbank, but some roadwork played tricks with Miss Garmin so she made us see quite a lot of the town! But eventually we made our way over to Highway 61, which is part of the Great River Road, and which Bob Dylan sings about in Highway 61 Revisited. Beautiful drive along the Mississippi, which some of way widens into Lake Pepin.

As we got nearer to the suburbs of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St Paul, Ole suddenly realized that he had been in this area before on a business trip! That had been quite a different experience, though, as then there had been 20 inches of snow, and the Mississippi had been almost frozen over.

Further into the city we were delayed by roadwork, but we finally found Ellen and Peters’ house in St Paul, where we would be staying for the next couple of days. It’s a beautiful one-hundred-year old very nicely restored wooden house in a nice street lots of trees and other old houses. Ellen and Peter had made us a delicious dinner of walleye, new potatoes, corn salad and lovely homemade bread.

After dinner we went for a little walk in the neighborhood and had dessert at the local ice cream parlor. Earlier in the day when we were driving further south the weather was very hot and humid, but here up north was nice – just the right temperature and drier. On the way home with our ice cream, however, we got caught in a sudden shower, but the trees fortunately gave us some cover. Back at the house we had a good long chat with Ellen and Peter about the area and got a lot of tips for the following day, but they were also very interested in Denmark and the Danes, and hope to visit soon.

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