Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Great River Road

great river road

My mom is visiting and when she visits it means I'm going to spend a large amount of my time at the river. She LOVES the river!!!! She has always wanted to drive along the great river road (Mississippi River that is) so that is just what we did yesterday. We started just a little south of downtown Minneapolis. 

Our first stop was at an over look of the river:
first stop river view

Then we realized if we were going to be stopping like this, the day was going to be very looonnnngggg. But as it turned out, I'm glad we stopped at those few places because as we traveled farther down south, the road wasn't as close to the river as it was when we had started, and there was really no other places to stop like that first little pull in overlook.

Second stop: Lock and Dam #1
lock 1 collage

This was my favorite lock and dam (out of the total of three that we *were* suppose to see that day). This one is between Minneapolis and St. Paul and I loved the bridge, but then again I love bridges. Kind of like my mom loves rivers! Wow what a coincidence, you can't have bridges without rivers :-P
bridge reflection

The other thing I love that has to do with rivers, is reflections! Bridges and water go together so well, like that awesome reflection in the above photo and then the amazing color of the trees in this photo:
changing leaves

So after a million and one photos were shot at Lock #1, we figured we should get back in the car and get on the road since we did have a ways to go still and the day was starting out slow... then the road turned, and curved, and we searched for the little green captain's wheel sign that assured us we were on the right path.

We made it to Hastings and stopped at a little park area before the lock because I was about to pee my pants and mom was ready for a smoke.
mom lock two

This little 3 minute stop ended up being one of mom's highlights because as we were sitting on a swinging bench, we both looked up to find this:

Which was pretty cool. They are pretty common around these areas, I remember Kyle and I seeing one around Lake Calhoun once and even where we were down by the river at the dog park. But mom isn't used to them and she really liked being able to see a wild bald eagle.

We hopped back in the car and continued down the dead end street to see Lock and Dam #2, which the guy we talked with at number 1 had said this one was busier since it's the last place the big barges go through before they head up the Minnesota River.
lock 2 collage

And we were glad we took the time to go up on the observation deck at number one because number two wasn't nearly as exciting. AND they were all out of brochures. This was very disappointing because we had picked up brochures at number one and I was looking forward to collecting them at all the locks we saw. They did have this weird button, that I REALLY wanted to push... but I didn't....
untouchable button

When we arrived the lock was filled and we noticed a little pleasure boat waiting in the distance and the water started to empty in preparation for this little boat to go through. So we waited, and waited... and nothing happened so we decided to head into the town, Hastings, to grab some lunch. I pulled out my coupon book, because you know me, I LOVE saving money. And I had one for a local deli & bakery called Emily's.

Next we went on a wild goose chase for Lock and Dam #3. Which is located just north of Red Wing (our final destination). While driving down the Great River Road, I saw a sign pointing left "Lock & Dam 3 - 7 miles" so I turned and we drove... we drove about 3 miles when we saw another sign pointing right "Lock & Dam 3 Overlook" so I turned again. We came across Treasure Island Resort and Casino (oh if only you knew the jingle that is played on the commercials for this place you'd be singing right along with me). It's a huge casino out in the middle of no where on an Indian reservation. We passed it and the road stopped... JUST stopped it was rather weird with big do not enter signs, so we turned around. We did see a Lock & Dam 3 delivery sign pointing off the road which I turned down on the way back... only to find a sign saying authorized vehicles only and we were not one. But I creeped down the road a little til we got chicken and turned around. We never did find lock #3.

We drove on into Red Wing out to a little park area along the river. Which was a cute, cute little place. Mom kept commenting on all the blue hairs she kept seeing. As we were leaving we saw a sign on the picnic shelter gazebo "Class of '54 Reunion" which would explain the blue hairs.
redwing tree

There was a great view of the bluff in town, which I just couldn't get enough of... I think it is just too pretty!
redwing bluff

Maybe it's the bridge I'm drawn to ;-P
redwing bluff numero dos

Now for my favorite picture of the day. As we pulled up to this park we noticed all these funny looking garages.
boat garages

I'm not sure if this allows them to keep their boats in there all winter long, or if they still have to remove them from the water completely. I'm sure they are able to raise them up inside the garages... But there were rows and rows of these funny boat garages.

Red Wing was our final destination so we crossed the bridge into Wisconsin and took the north side Great River Road back into the cities.

Home again, home again, jiggidy jig.

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