We were up at 5:00 am to get the Villa ready to be moved into the service bay here at Shorewood RV, just outside Minneapolis. All went well, and by 6:15 the Villa was in the Service Bay and we were on the road to the town of Elk River, about 6 miles down the road…
Elk River is a delightful town along the banks of the Mississippi River. The town has been around a long time, but recent developments have nicely enhanced the town and the feel of the downtown business district. As you see in the photo above, the historic buildings are on the left and a new apartment building is on the right. The new building fits the scale of the street, contains retail spaces at the street level, and provide a very human scaled space. The same thing is going on around the corner:
We walked about the town, then had breakfast at the Olde Main Eatery. It is what a small town diner should be: friendly people, regulars sitting at their regular tables, with olde time photographs on the wall. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and looked at maps to better understand the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore. We hope to be there the day after tomorrow (Saturday).
After breakfast we walked down to the Mississippi River; it was very quiet in the early morning light:
The town has developed a nice waterfront park with an informal amphitheater for community events. All in all, it is a very nice town!
We returned to Shorewood RV to find out thet there was a small snag in the parts that had been delivered, so it was going to take a little longer to complete the new refrigerator installation.. We spent the morning in their lounge, planning our stays for the next few days…
By 11:30 the refer was done and we were hitching up. We were underway just before noon. We are heading west, across most of Minnesota, but first we had to get out of Minneapolis. We even encountered our first detour of our trip; we were led off the southbound freeway and re-routed back north again for five miles, then west and south again. Hopefully, we won’t see this type of thing again any time soon.
Once we were out of the city we traveled easily along two lane roads through endless farmland. While it was quite beautiful, it was not as lush as Wisconsin. On the other hand, it is one week later and fall is clearly on its way.
These photos show what we saw all day:
We did see a little Minnesota humor adjacent to one gas station:
And then, out of the blue, the road was closed. We had to head back east about 15 miles before we could go south and then west again.. These detours are maddening! Why can’t they put up better signs and prior warnings?
There are also some small towns that we passed through. Some are really tiny; this is Gibbon. It is a little more substantial than many:
And churches. Lots of churches:
Our mid-day break was to stop and see the town of Walnut Grove and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum:
The Ingalls family lived in Walnut Grove in two increments of two years each. In between, they moved to Iowa and managed a hotel for two years. In contrast to the Little House on the Prairie TV Show, they had a miserable time here. They lived in a dug-out, and their wheat crops were wiped out two years in a row by grasshoppers; they pretty much lost everything and moved to Iowa. Also, Mary had a stroke (not scarlet fever) that left her blind, and a newborn baby boy died. After their years in Iowa they returned to Walnut Grove, and “Pa” opened a butcher shoppe, while Laura worked as a housekeeper in the local hotel. But I digress…
The museum has very little memorabilia that is actually from the Ingalls family. There are lots of historical references, photos, book excerpts, and antiques gathered from many sources that attempt to show what life was like on the prairie. It was interesting in a modest way. But, in general, a giant waste of time…
They have a re-creation of a typical dugout, but it is made from reinforced concrete…
They have a recreation of a typical school house from the 1880s; Laura taught school for two years, starting when she was 15 years old, but it was not here:
To prove to you readers just how old I am, I actually did attend a two-room school, and we had desks exactly like this… (We never could figure out what those holes in the desk-tops were for…)
So we moved on; tomorrow we visit De Smet, the actual “Little Town on the Prairie”…
We drove to our RV park for the night, in Pinestone, MN. We have full hook-ups (water, sewer, power), plus good internet access and satellite TV. We had a quiet night, with Happy Hours and burritos for dinner. Tomorrow we can shop to re-stock the refrigerator.
An an enjoyable time was had by all…
September 18, 2017 at 5:15 am
Weren’t the holes for inkwells?
September 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
Holes in desktops are for your bottle ink for your ink pen. 😂😂
September 18, 2017 at 7:35 am
September 18, 2017 at 9:06 am
Of course! But we didn’t know what inkwells were…