A Travellerspoint blog

Mississippi River Trip Day 4..Minneapolis to Trempealeau, WI

sunny 78 °F

We are on day 4 of the trip and finally finding our groove. Staying the extra night without having to drive on Friday was a good pick me up.

We started out this morning on our way south towards La Crosse. We finally cleaned the windshield but the front grill as seen below is a lethal bug killing machine. We happened upon Lake Pepin early in our drive. The lake is about 38 Square miles and hugs the river road for many miles. The lake was created by too much debris and water coming down the mississippi during the glaciers melting. The river couldn't accomidate all of it. The lake was absolutely breathtaking and looks like a great place to have a home.

From Lake Pepin we wound our way around the river and passed through several small towns. We checked out antiques in a very small town in Stockholm, WI. We stopped and had lunch at a cheese factory in Nelson, WI (pop. 395) called The Original Cheese Factory. The locals call it The Creamery. And it is a very popular spot, there were so many motorcycles there!. The Creamery has all types of local Wisconsin Cheese and a very large wine section. They also make great fresh sandwiches with their own cheese and we thoroughly enjoyed those. We were going to try a local favorite the "Fried Cheese Curds" but we were too full. Hopefully we will have a chance on Sunday.

Our next stop was a drive straight out into the cornfields of WI on some very winding roads away from the river. We were on the hunt for the Laura Ingalls Wilder house. For those of you who don't know, she was a famous author who wrote about growing up in the midwest and was famous for the, "Little House On The Prairie"

We then crossed back over to Wabasha, MN where Grumpy Old Men was filmed to check out the National Eagle Center. We saw our first signs of the flood damage from late spring along the Mississippi River Area. They were rebuilding roads and making them higher. There was water on both sides of the road.

We arrived in Wabasha, MN and went to the National Eagle Center, which Mia really wanted to see. The building is right on the river and has a nice observation deck overlooking the river. They had 4 eagles at the center that were injured. All were hit by cars at some point and can no longer fly. They have a huge room with all glass so the eagles can be perched and watch out over the water. When we walked into the room, the biggest eagle took quite a liking to Mia. He kept looking at her up and down and cocking his head. There was another eagle in there that was close to 30 years old.

After a long day we arrived at our hotel. Well kind of anyway. See this isn't a traditional hotel. This is an old hotel, restaurant & saloon. It's from before 1888 and was the sole survivor of a horrible fire that burned all of downtown that year. The room was actually pretty nice and large, but had no internet or free breakfast which we have become accustomed to. We decided that we wanted to cap off our day with a ride on the river

We decided to do a sunset cruise on the Mississippi at 6:30PM. It was a great 2hr cruise with a beautiful sunset & tons of wild life. This was the favorite part of our day as it gave us time to unwind and relax. Mia actually go to be a Jr. Environmentalist and help show off skeletons of animals that live on the mississippi. She did a great job

Down to Dubuque Iowa on Sunday!

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Posted by mrcatphish 10:14 Archived in USA Tagged nelson pepin the_creamery mississippi_river-explorer-crui Comments (0)

Mississippi River Trip Day 3...... Minneapolis

sunny 83 °F

We woke up late this morning in our Best Western hotel across the street from the mammoth Mall of America. We didn't leave the room until 10am. We were relieved that there was no driving today, but excited about the upcoming day. We were also a little sad that there would be no site or thoughts of the river today as we would be staying in the city.

We did have a little bit of a scare before we left the room though. It seems, there are multiple things going on in the next town we plan to spend the night in, La Crosse, WI. We found this out when we went online to pick out motel rooms and only found a few low end hotels with unfavorable reviews mentioning "bed bugs", "unclean", "bad management". We finally decided to look through our guide book on the area just north of La Crosse and saw a hotel we really wanted to stay at when we were first reading the book a month ago. It's called the Historic Trempealeau Hotel, Restaurant & Saloon. It is the sole survivor of an 1888 downtown fire in Trempealeau. It has a really nice deck overlooking the Mississippi River and one of the lock and dams that the boats go through.

This morning we missed our free hotel breakfast so we walked over to IHOP near our restaurant and had a nice breakfast. We then walked across the street to the Mall of America. This place is so big! According to the guidebook it is 4.2 million square feet. To put that into perspective, it is as large as seven Yankee stadiums. The guidebook says it would take 86 hours to complete your visit if you spent just 10 minutes in each store. We ended up staying in the the Mall for about 4hrs and saw maybe 1/3 of the mall. Mia had a great time at the American Girl Store. Going in I told her she had a budget of $25. We left spending $75... LOL.. Here is something I find very odd and wrong, everything in the American Girl store is made in China. What's up with that? While in the mall we did not hit the Nickelodeon Amusement park or the Marine Life Aqaurium.

In the late afternoon we decided to take the light rail downtown. We first stopped at the Minneapolis Sculpture garden which is famous for the cherry and spoon. We ended up spending about 30 minutes there before heading towards Target Field. We had about an 1hr 1/2 to kill before the game so we got an appetizer and a few drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe, which has a very large outdoor patio facing the Target Center where the Timberwolves play.

We finished off our day at Target Field to watch the Twins take a beating from the Detroit Tigers. I realized that it sucks when you have a baseball team that has no power hitters in the lineup and have middle of the road pitching. However, we enjoyed the game and really enjoyed the stadium. It is an absolutely beautiful place with the cityscape in the background.

We are looking forward to tomorrow as we should actually be able to make it onto the river tomorrow on a 2hr eco cruise!

Good luck to all of our friends and family back home. We are thinking about you and watching WMUR on our phones to keep updated on the impending hurricane.

Twins Retired Numbers

Twins Retired Numbers

Twins Logo at Target Field

Twins Logo at Target Field

Twins Outfield Scoreboard

Twins Outfield Scoreboard

Batter at Target Field

Batter at Target Field

Outfield Scoreboard Target Field

Outfield Scoreboard Target Field

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Twins Jumbotron

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Twins Outfield

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Twins Sign Outfield

Twins Food Concession Stand

Twins Food Concession Stand

Kirby Puckett Statue

Kirby Puckett Statue

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Twins Glove

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Target Field Outside

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Target Field Outside 2

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Rod Carew Statue

Hard Rock Cafe Minneapolis

Hard Rock Cafe Minneapolis

Amy & Mia at Hard Rock Cafe

Amy & Mia at Hard Rock Cafe

Prometheus Strangling the Vulture  II Placard

Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II Placard

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Prometheus Statue

Reclining Mother and Child Placard

Reclining Mother and Child Placard

Reclining Mother and Child Statue

Reclining Mother and Child Statue

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Rabbit Sculpture

Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture... Mia Holding Up

Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture... Mia Holding Up

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Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture

Cowles Conservatory at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Cowles Conservatory at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Amy at IHOP in Bloomington across from MOA

Amy at IHOP in Bloomington across from MOA

Mia at IHOP in Bloomington across from MOA

Mia at IHOP in Bloomington across from MOA

Mall of America Entrance

Mall of America Entrance

Mia and Dad building at Legoland

Mia and Dad building at Legoland

Mia and Lego Woody at Legoland

Mia and Lego Woody at Legoland

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Legoland 2

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Mia with Backyardagins

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Nick Universe Amusement Park

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Legoland 1

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Posted by mrcatphish 22:09 Archived in USA Tagged mall_of_america target_field minneapolis_sculpture_garden Comments (0)

Mississippi Road Trip Day 2... Bemidji to Minneapolis

sunny 82 °F

Today was a very long day! It took us from about 9am to 8pm to do a 4hr drive! It was a tough travel day, especially for Mia who was a trooper. She was so bored at one point that she announced that she had 24 teeth because she counted them... LOL.

Our white Ford Escape is a lean mean bug killing machine though. The windshield and grill has so many dead bugs and bug juice that we will most certainly have to go through a carwash in the next day or two. Who brings their rental car to a carwash?

We started at 9am this morning and headed to downtown Bemidji to get a picture of the Paul Bunyan and Babe statues. These statues are right on the shores of Lake Bemidji. We headed out of Bemidji and immediately got lost and could not find the actual river road. We had my phone gps and two different maps. It was very frustrating. We finally found our way to Bena, MN and almost blew right past it's claim to fame, the 65ft Tiger Muskie. I had to yell at Amy, "Stop!" She slammed on the breaks and thought we were about to be in an accident. I said to her, you didn't see the 65ft fish right there huh? LOL. The Muskie and the associated restaurant, Big Fish Supper Club, was made famous in the Chevy Chase movie National Lampoon Vacation.

After taking several pictures we headed south again briefly finding the Great River Road on our way to Grand Rapids, MN. Grand Rapids is home to the Judy Garland Museum. We learned way too much about Judy Garland. For instance, she started on prescription drugs around 13 or 14 and was addicted for the rest of her life. This also lead to her death. She was also married 5 times. Won't bore you with all the details but the museum was actually pretty cool! After we left Grand Rapids, MN every place we tried to go to was already closed including the Charles Lindbergh House and History Center.

Some thoughts on the day today. If a virus ever breaks out like you see on the Hollywood movies, make your way to northern Minnesota. You will never see any other humans. You can drive for an hour before you see a house! It is a very beautiful area that has very long, straight landscapes with long stretches of flat roads. If you are an outdoors person and especially if you like to fish or boat, this is the state for you. I think they lie about, "Land of 10,000 Lakes" I think it's more like 20,000. There is a lake everywhere you look! If you like to gamble, they have almost as many casinos.

Tomorrow should be a great day as we are going to walk across the street and check out the Mall of America and then take the train down to Target Field to go to the twins game!

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oldergarlandsistersbureau

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miawithbabe

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miapaulbunyan

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judygarlandstroller

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judygarlandcribnote1

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judygarlandchair

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judygarlandbirthplacesign

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garlandwasher

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garlandrecordplayer

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garlandradio

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garlandicebox

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garlanddorothydress

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bigmuskie

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amymiamuskie

Posted by mrcatphish 21:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Mississippi River Road Trip Day 1.... Minneapolis to Bemidji

sunny 79 °F
View Mississippi River: The Great River Road on mrcatphish's travel map.

Well today was all about getting here to Bemidji. Bemidji is near where the Mississippi River and Great River Road starts. It is in the north woods of Minnesota. It was about a 4 1/2 hr drive here from Minneapolis. Agriculture dominated our scenery today. Straight & Flat roads with tons of open land filled with many hayfields, cornfields and animals, with a few farm houses sprinkled in here and there. We also passed a wild rice and horseradish farm. It was 80 degrees and very windy today. The wind blew our white Ford Escape all over the place!! We finally got to Bemidji at around 5:30pm.

We decided to check-in to the the Best Western and then drive back south about 30 minutes to Lake Itasca State park to go see the headwaters. On our trip there we had a deer jump out in front of the vehicle but we missed her! We arrived at the headwaters of the river and proceeded to walk to the other side. While that sounds very impressive, the water was knee deep and maybe 15ft across... LOL.. It's gotta start somewhere! Poor Mia slipped on rock and fell in the river... See funny video attached... Learned that when it rains here, it takes 90 days for that water to reach the Gulf of Mexico.

Looks like we will be making a stop in downtown Bemidji in the morning to get a picture with Paul Bunyun & Ox statue and then start the trek south tomorrow rolling back through Lake Itasca and back to Minneapolis for a two night stay. We will hopefully be stopping at the "Big Fish Supper Club" which is a 65ft long 14ft wide muskie fish with a cafe enclosed. This building was seen on the Chevy Chase movie National Lampoon's Vacation. From there most likely we will be stopping at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN and then on to Charles Lindbergh House and History Center in Little Falls, where he spent his boyhood summers.

I'll post more tomorrow... Amy and Mia say hi to everyone!

Apichell Family in Mississippi River

Apichell Family in Mississippi River

Log Marking Tool

Log Marking Tool

Log Marking Tool (close-up)

Log Marking Tool (close-up)

Marked Log from Tool

Marked Log from Tool

Great River Road Road Sign

Great River Road Road Sign

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Posted by mrcatphish 21:26 Archived in USA Tagged mississippi_river great_river_road Comments (0)

17 Days Until Traveling The Mighty Mississippi


The family is really excited. We will be flying to Minnesota and traveling north about 4 hours to Bemidji. Bemidji is near Lake Itasca where the mouth of the Mississippi River Starts. You can walk across it. That is what we plan to do!

Posted by mrcatphish 09:55 Archived in USA Comments (3)

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