Summer is a great time for a road trip, and a summer wedding is an even better reason. This has been kind of a regular thing most of the past few years.
We began by heading north and made a stop to look at the distant highlands across Wisconsin’s Black River State Natural Areas.
Anne & Sam in the back, doing some smart phone consulting.
My sister Marianne also joined us for this trip.
Our first objective was to visit the homes where we used to visit my grandmother and where my mother lived when she grew up in Chippewa Falls. The home on Cedar Street where grandmother ran a boarding house after grandfather died is now a pottery shop called Glazed N Glass Creations. Owner Lynn Peloquin gave us a tour and told us that previous to her occupation a realtor and an attorney had used the building.
A few blocks away was the Elm Street house where my mother grew up, with her two sisters.
A block down the street is the Elm Street Elementary school that she attended.
As we headed further north we stopped at Interstate State Park, Wisconsin’s oldest state park and the end of the Ice Age trail, to enjoy the scenic Dalles of the St. Croix River.
As we continued on I renewed contact with two major highways. Highway 2 crosses the northern tier of the U.S., starting in Massachusetts as the Mohawk Trail. I was on 2 a couple of months ago in New England, and two summers ago I rode the train that follows 2 across the northern plains. The Great River Road runs through my home town of Prairie du Chien, all the way from New Orleans, as it follows the Mississippi River to its source, which was our goal as well.
But first a quick stop in Bemidji to visit Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. This historic roadside attraction is second only to Mt. Rushmore in terms of popularity, according to one survey by Eastman Kodak.
Early the next morning we walked through the tall trees of Lake Itasca to see the source of the Mississippi River.
And there it was, the source of the Mississippi.
The rocks were a little slippery, but it was quite thrilling to talk across the river at its source.
I think Sam felt the same way.
And then we waded back across the Mississippi.
A hundred yards downstream we watched the the stream of water heading off to the Gulf of Mexico.
Anne said she could listen to the sound of rushing water all day.
But we headed off to other pursuits, which included stops at antique stores.
We noticed gas prices near Fargo and along the Red River Valley were significantly lower (by about 25 cents per gallon) than elsewhere.
Soon we were heading across the flat plains where the horizon stretches into the distance.
North Dakota farmers mow and bale the roadside ditches.
The road just goes on and on.
On our way back, along I-94, we stopped to eat at a random farm town, Freeport MN.
Charlie’s Cafe seemed like a popular place, it was pretty busy.
It turns out Charlie’s Cafe is famous for two things, its cinnamon rolls and it’s inspiration for Garrison Keillor’s Chatterbox Cafe.
Our final destination was Davidson Hall at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, North Dakota, the scene of the wedding.
The bride appeared right on schedule, on the arm of her father, my brother Galen.
It was a beautiful evening for a wedding for a beautiful bride.
A beautiful & fun ceremony.
Mr. and Mrs. Kellan Ryan.
Beth’s brother Tim and Kellan’s sister Sheraiah.