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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Day 10 Summary

Day Ten – August 12, 2004
Waterloo, IA to Brainerd, MN

By the end of this day, I’d finally be back in Minnesota! But first, I’ll talk about how this day began. We were in Waterloo, in a very chilly Iowa. Actually, it had been quite cold at the Hoover Memorial Park the night before, but it was even cooler on this morning. I’d later learn exactly how cold it had been in Minnesota the previous few days, as well.

I’ve completely forgotten about talking about the weather, now that I think about it. Basically, it was very warm the first day coming through Iowa, with temperatures in the 90s. A thunderstorm, with a lot of rain, thunder, and lightning passed through the Kansas City area the first day of the vacation, but we were not affected because it came through very early in the morning. Meanwhile, it was warm, but cooler than usual, in Kansas during the second day, and it even drizzled a little in Lawrence, KS. The third day of the trip was warm, but not too hot. While we were in Dallas, it was a little warm and humid, but according to the news there, it was actually very much below normal. The warmest it got when we were in Dallas was 89°F, and it’s not unusual to see temperatures above 100°F during the first week of August. Louisiana and Mississippi were much more humid than anywhere else we went on the trip, but the humidity wasn’t completely unbearable. Memphis was, like all other places, cooler than usual for this time of year, but still a bit humid. Finally, when we got to St. Louis, it was very, very comfortable. The cold front that brought cool air to Minnesota and Iowa had pulled into Missouri, and after having to have our air conditioning on every day of the trip, we were finally able to turn it off in St. Louis and points northward.

It was also a bit misty in Waterloo. That didn’t stop me from going to a cache and dropping off a travel bug, however.

We soon got out of Waterloo. Not too much happened until we got to the northern part of Iowa. This was a very, very scenic area for me; once again because I love rolling prairie and endless fields of corn (and soybeans, etc.).

The only relatively large city in Iowa we got to was Osage, in the extreme northern part of the state. Here, we picked up some farm-fresh sweet corn (which was really delicious) and some breakfast. We ate the local city park, which was really a wonderful place. Actually, all of Osage was a wonderful place. I’d be very happy to call Osage my home; the people who live there really have a lot to be proud of in their community. I simply can’t say enough about that place.

Anyway, we soon came to the Minnesota border, and, low and behold, the city of Lyle was right on the border (in some places there were houses only about 10 feet from the Iowa border).

Crossing the border into Minnesota also put me into Mower County, a new county for me. We followed U.S. 218 into Austin, where we got onto Minnesota Highway 59 and went into Dodge County, another new county for me. In Dodge Center, we turned onto U.S. Highway 14 and traveled to Owatonna. Here, we got on I-35 and the rest is really history, since nothing really interesting happened from there to Brainerd.

We did, however, encounter the worst traffic of the trip in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. It took us an hour and a half alone just to go from Burnsville to Elk River. I even got to see an accident occur in a one-lane construction zone on U.S. Highway 169, so I guess I shouldn’t have said nothing interesting happened.

Finally, at 6:30 PM (or so) we arrived back at home in Brainerd, and with that, my vacation came to an end.

Northern Iowa scenery
More northern Iowa scenery
Here's a picture of a Canadian National railcar in St. Ansgar, IA, with "Candian" misspelled
To the best of my knowledge, Dodge County is the only Minnesota county with lettered county roads
A scene in rural Dodge County
Some more northern Iowa scenery
Here is the Minnesota-Iowa border at Lyle, MN, but instead of a welcome sign, a Mower County sign is the first marker for Minnesota
After the Mower County sign comes the Lyle sign
Finally, after those two signs, a Welcome to Minnesota sign symbolically marks the state border
Main Street in Lyle, MN
The Dodge County sign

Note: to see full-sized versions of any of the photos above, select the download feature above the picture. The photo will then be downloaded to your computer, and you can view the full resolution version of the picture (800 pixels in width).

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Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001