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Day 15 (9.16.07) - We Reach Minnesota (Photo's Added)

Mom and I visited Babe, the Blue Ox and the headwaters to the Mississippi River.

0 °F

Sunday morning we woke up in the Wal-mart in Devil's lake just fine, well rested and ready to go. Several other RV's (three anyway) had also taken advantage of their hospitality and stayed the night, but this store didn't open until 9 AM, so we were all pretty much gone before they opened.

About an hour later we got to Grand Forks, ND - which is on the border with Minnesota. The visitors center in Grand Forks WAS open, and we were able to pick up several useful brochures (including information about where campgrounds were around Devils Lake!) We also learned about some of the sights in MN on or near Hwy 2 that weren't in our travel books and decided to check them out. We learned that the city name comes from the fork in the rivers between the Red River and the Red Lakes River <<Recheck this!!>> I asked the girl at the counter about the weather in the winter and she said it gets down to 20 degrees below 0 F on a regular basis, maybe warming up to 0 degrees F in between cold spells.

We crossed the Red River into Minnesota and proceeded east.

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There is a gradual shift in the landscape between North Dakota and Western Minnesota along Hwy 2, ND is both prairie and farmland, although there are quite a few ponds and lakes along Hwy 2 in eastern North Dakota). As we got into Minnesota, we saw mostly farmland. They grow a lot of sugar beets in this region. I also noticed that the barns along this stretch now seem to be painted (red or more often, white). I suppose that the wetter weather as we head east doesn't allow the farmers to scrimp on paint as much? We also began to see more trees the farther east we headed and more evergreens (vs decideous trees). We went through a number of small towns however, including Solway, MN - population 89!

We pulled off at the visitors center in Bemiji <<recheck spelling>> which was closed, as well as most of the downtown businesses (was this because it was Sunday or because it was after Labor Day?) The town is located by a nice lake and has a grand statue of Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyon by the visitors center.

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The gas station was open as well as a gift shop, from which Mom was able to obtain directions to Lake Itasca State Park, about 30 miles away, plus or minus. This is the headwaters of the Mississippi River. There was some dispute about that earlier in the century, but they were finally able to figure out that while a number of creeks and streams feed into the lake, they aren't consolidated into the river that eventually becomes the great Mississippi until they leave this lake. Of course we had to visit this, so this is where we also decided to stay for the night (very expensive for a state park though). Fortunately, our fellow campers were quite friendly.

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Mom was pretty tired by the time we got to the 'Headwaters' monument, but was game enough to walk all the way out there (600+ feet each way from the parking lot).

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If you ever get the change, it's a cool place to visit - probably the only place along the entire Mississippi River that you can actually walk across it! (I did, bought a button to say so also).

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Logistics:

Starting Mileage: 112416, Devils Lake ND
Ending Mileage: 112657, Lake Itasca, MN
Weather: Sunny, 70 F

Posted by jl98584 20:43 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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