Today was a very long day but didn't cover that many miles because we were on back roads ALL day! But it was a lot of fun.
Can you tell we are in Iowa?
Our first stop was the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, in West Branch, IA. It was quite interesting. After walking around the site, Marnie and I found a wonderful little cafe, Reid's Beans, for a late breakfast/early lunch. It was wonderful. Everything was homemade...even the buttermilk biscuits. I was in my heaven. Turns out the waitress used to work in Big Fork, MT at "Showtime" restaurant and she highly recommends that we eat there when we come through on our ride.
Then we took the scenic route north along the Mississippi River and the farming communities in north east Iowa. This are is part of the Silos & Smokestaks National Heritage Area. It was also athe Grant Wood Scenic Byway.
Along the way we found the GROTTO, in Dickeyville, Wisconson. The Grotto and Shrines erected on the grounds of Holly Ghost Parish are the works of Father Matthias Wernerusm a Catholic Priest, Pastor of the Parish from 1918 to 1931. His handiwork in stone, built from 1925-1930, is dedicated to the unity of two great American ideals - love of God and love of country. It is a creation in stone, mortar, and bright colored objects -- collected materials from all over the world. This religious and patriotic shrine was constructed without the use of blueprints. Some of the materials use are glass, gems, antique heirlooms of pottery or porcelain, stalagmites and stalactites, sea shells of all kinds, starfish, petrified sea urchins and fossils, and a variety of corals plus amber glass, agate, quartz, ores such as iron, copper and lead, fool's gold, rock crystals, onyx, amethyst and coal.
From here we traveled to the Effigy Mounds National Monument, in Harpers Ferry, IA. This monument holds 206 known prehistoric mounds, 31 in the forms of animal effigies. Others are conical, linear, or compound. Conical mounds are round domes of earth. Linear mounds are about 2-4 feet high, 6-8 feet across and could be 100 feet long. Compound mounds are conical mounds joined by linear mounds.
Once we were finished we headed west and found the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak, MN. After a quick stop it was back in the car and off we went until I could no longer sit in the car and we decided to call it a night in Dexter, MN, at the Windmill Hotel.
After we left the museum we took a route northwest that was also an Amish Byway. We saw several Amish farmers working in their fields behind horses pulling plows and also passed an Amish woman and a small child riding in a buggy most likely heading home after being in town.
Tomorrow we are onto another adventure.