Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Minnesota and the Mall of America

June 27 I aired up the right front tire on the Tahoe. Its been slowly leaking for awhile now and it finally got to the point that it needed more attention than just a top off. After that, we hooked up and headed up the Great River Road for Minneapolis.

I took a wrong turn which lead us down a road through Yellow River State Forest in Iowa. It was a nice little route and I was glad that I made the mistake.

We ate lunch here at this overlook. It was part of a wildlife refuge and the state was working on building islands in the river for the birds and fish.

 Our original destination was in Wisconsin at a state park. They were full up and after calling around, I finally found a place at Lowery's Place RV park in northern Minneapolis. The first night we were treated to a rowdy drunken shouting match that almost became a street fight. The second night we could hear a large number of gunshots from a small caliber pistol then ambulance sirens. Then the rains came and turned our parking spot into a river of mud. Look at the stories that I have to tell.
Sunday June 28 we were to meet Becky's aunt and uncle, Bob and Kathy for breakfast at Ihop. Well our low tire yesterday was a flat tire today and we changed it out. Patrick did most of the work so if you need your tire changed I will loan him out. You might have to pay him in food or iTunes gift cards.
We eventually met just Bob, as Kathy had to go help her mother, at Ihop by the Mall of America. After lots of good food and good conversation, we parted ways and headed across the street to the Mall of America. Thanks for the breakfast Bob!
Here are a few pics of the mall.



Ninja Turtles ride

A brony and his love.

Mall rats in their natural environment.
Okay, the Lego Store which is the hit for our family.

 This store Brickmania sells WWII Lego supplies and the artist in resident was creating the USS Missouri.

The mall was amazingly large and we heard they were going to add on to it. There were multiples of some stores. All said and done, it's just another big mall and well. We have been there and don't need to go back.
More updates to come, we are in Grand Forks North Dakota tonight.

Pikes Peak, Effigy Mounds and Iowa yarn

June 25 We left Bob Shelter this morning. It rained a lot overnight and there was water everywhere around the campsite. Fortunately we did not have the wind affect us down in the hollow we were in. The next stop was Effigy Mounds back on the Iowa/Wisconsin border. The route we took mirrored the route yesterday to the Matchstick Marvel Museum and we could have made that a lunch stop but we didn't. Guess I'll plan better next time. Eventually we crossed Iowa marveling at the fields of corn and the beautiful scenery.
The GPS routed us a back route down a stone road (about where that last large white dot is) and finally into the region known as Little Switzerland because it is so hilly.
Our nights stop was at Pike's Peak State Park. This is the most photographed place in Iowa on a bluff that stands 500 feet above the Mississippi River. It is named for Zebulon Peak just like the bigger more well known Pike's Peak in Colorado.

We used the cooking rack to dry out our wet wood from the previous night.

It was hazy when we made the stop at the overlook on the morning of the 26. The camera batteries died right after I took the panoramic so I made do with the camera on the HTC phone.
It is said that the first time white man saw Iowa was from a canoe coming down the Wisconsin River which is off to the right in the picture.

A larger view of the Wisconsin joining the Mississippi.

After the overlook, we drove up to Effigy Mounds National Monument. The large mounds were down an inaccessible trail but they had a board walk to over look several smaller mounds.

The smaller mounds. 
These larger mounds are what we would see if we were able to follow the trail. These are supposed to be bears. Patrick said they did not look like bears. Thanks to the national park service for the photo.
  They also had a board walk the went under the road, through a swamp and across the river. It dead ended and you had to come back the way you came but it was beautiful.

After looking around the mounds, Becky wanted to go shopping for some yarn down in Dubuque. First we stopped in McGregor for some riverside views and some brats and dogs at McGregor Marina Beer and Bratz. They had 1919 rootbeer from the tap. It is very good.
 Lunch ate and the dog walked, we headed south.
The road along the river was great with long sweepers and I enjoyed Iowa's curvy roads.

Route 52 ran along a high ridge with sweeping views that I just can't seem to catch with the camera.

Finally we ended up in downtown Dubuque.
Right down the road was a coffee shop. Becky's mother has a coffee shop named Thms. Jitterz Coffee Company. I took this pic for her.
It says Jitters Coffee and Cafe.
After running some errands we went back up the the campsite and watched some more cowboy television and roasted some marshmallows for smores. A good day.