River Road: From Rural to Urban

2022 North & North Again, Minnesota, Road Trip, States

Today’s adventure has been another day of driving The Great River Road starting from the hamlet of Palisade along back roads. It felt a bit like a trip through time when the route took us on dirt roads through farmland with old and weathered farm buildings. Along with multiple crossings of the still smallish Mississippi River we drove through a number of small towns. At Little Falls we drove past the Lindbergh House and recalled our visit to this area in 2016. At the Brainard Lakes Rest Area we got to pose with Paul Bunyan which of course got the the two of us speculating on the background to the legend. We fought mosquitos and didn’t linger long at Mississippi River County Park near Rice. By mid-afternoon we’d arrived at the Minneapolis West KOA at Maple Grove, Minnesota. After set up we still had enough time for another adventure and headed for the Mississippi Gateway Regional Park northeast of our campsite. At the Visitor Center we learned that the museum and activities are geared to kids but we got a beautiful spiral bound brochure of maps and descriptions of the various sections of Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and were encouraged to walk out to and over the Coon Rapids Dam. What a delight to experience the river this way! Another opportunity to cross the mighty river on foot! And to read a number of interpretive signs. We learned that construction of this dam, for hydroelectric power generation, began in 1913 and for more than half a century it provided electric power to the surrounding area but was decommissioned in 1966. Of course we had to check out some of the machinery that had once been a part of the power station. We learned that although the dam was no longer serving it’s original purpose that the community had chosen to leave it in place for at least two reasons. Not only does it provide recreational opportunities as part of Three Rivers Park but it also serves as a barrier against the spread upstream of the invasive Asian Carp. It’s been an amazing day traveling from ultra rural upper Mississippi farmland to the great urban center that is the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolis. Life is good.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Collins

    Thank you! Spectacular coverage!

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