Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Minnesota

State 21:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state is


Minnesota became the 32nd state on May 11, 1858. The capital is St. Paul.

Our first visit to Minnesota can be described in one word – SNOW. It started snowing shortly after we left Wisconsin one morning in early April. As we traveled west on I-90  we crossed the Mississippi River into Minnesota with the wind blowing snow horizontally across the interstate. It was so bad we pulled off the interstate and spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Winona. I will be forever grateful to the kind employees who put us up in a downstairs room with our Labrador Retriever. There was a restaurant in the hotel and they even had an indoor pool so we were roughing it in style.

Crossing the Mississipi River to Minnesota in a snow storm
Snowing over the Mississippi River
Terrifying icy road conditions in Minnesota – at times we couldn’t even see the road
Icy trees beside the interstate
Icy trees beside the interstate
Overnight Camping at a Holiday Inn Express

The next morning the hotel let us have a late check out so we could wait until the roads were safe enough for travel. Later that day we checked into Blue Mounds State Park and we were the only campers in the park. With snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing the water was turned off and the dump station wasn’t operating. It was a great adventure!

Camping in the snow at Blue Mounds State Park

20070413MN-(6)The weather was much better on our other visits to Minnesota. During our stay at Temperance River State Park on the Minnesota North Shore we enjoyed wandering around Split Rock Lighthouse and on the huge boulders beside Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota's North Shore
Split Rock Lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore
Minnesota’s North Shore
Island in Lake Superior on MInnesota's North Shore
Island in Lake Superior on MInnesota’s North Shore
Minnesota North Shore

20100606Minnesota-North-Shore-(89)We loved visiting the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park so much we camped there twice.

Mississippi River Headwaters in Itasca State Park
Mississippi River Headwaters in Itasca State Park
Walking across the headwaters of the Mississippi River
Mighty Mississippi River near the headwaters
The mighty Mississippi River near the headwaters
Walking across the Mississippi River near the headwaters
Walking across the Mississippi River near the headwaters
Sunset over Lake Itasca
Sunset over Lake Itasca

We made several visits to the St. Paul area to visit family. While there we visited the Mall of America and the Minnesota Arboretum.

A trip to the Spam Museum and the Green Giant Statue were on our bucket list as we traveled through Minnesota.

Some of the wildflowers and wildlife we found in Minnesota.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan

Day 9: Tourist Attractions and More Rain in Minnesota

Day 9: Friday, May 24, 2013. Coralville Lake, Iowa to Welcome, Minnesota with a couple of side trips. Welcome Campground, Site 10. 278 miles traveled.

Who says road trips have to be boring? We like to stop when there is something fun to see along our route. Sometimes we will even go out of our way to see something interesting. Today was one of those days.

We went out of our way to Austin, Minnesota to visit the Spam Museum. We learned everything there is to know about Spam! As soon as you take the Austin Exit I-90 you start to see Hormel processing plants. Signs direct you to the museum which is located right in the middle of downtown. We parked the RV on the street in front of the museum and took a tour and then had a Spam Burger for lunch at the diner outside.

After about an hour in Austin we were back on our way west on I-90. We stopped again in Blue Earth, Minnesota to visit the 55 foot tall Green Giant Statue.

The rain started after we returned to the interstate. We set up the camper in the rain in Welcome, Minnesota. We heard the rain on the roof most of the night and got ready to go in a drizzle.

If you like to see unusual and fun places as you travel, Roadside America is a great resource. You can also purchase a copy of the book to carry with you in your vehicle.