January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Great River Road

Blackhawk Park COE
De Soto, WI

We left the park today and headed north on the Great River Road on the eastern side of the Mississippi River.   We find the bridges across the Mississippi are few and far between.  We drove to La Cross and crossed over into Minnesota via this bridge.

Once in Minnesota we headed back south on The Great River Road on the western side of the Mississippi.  The road hugs the river and provides several pull offs to allow viewing of the surroundings.

Continuing on the road we left Minnesota behind and entered into Iowa.  Our drive took us through New Alpin where we attended church on Sunday and then Lansing where we had crossed into Iowa on that day.  We decided to continue on the river road past Lansing.

Along this road were several construction areas of one way traffic.  Twice we had to stop and wait and for a pilot car to lead us through.  On the way down an attractive young woman who was holding the "Stop" or "Slow" sign talked to us during our wait.  She explained they are building a bicycle path along this road. On the way back she was at another location.  She said they work one hour standing and 1/2 hour driving the Pilot Car.

We continued on through a few small villages until we came to Harpers Ferry, Ia.   Wondering if this town was named after the town of the same name in West Virginia.    In Harpers Ferry we visited the Effigy Mounds, a National Monument under the National Park Service.

The visitors center:

Over 1,400 years ago Indians began to build effigy mounds from just west of the Upper Mississippi River to Lake Michigan's western shore.  More than 2,500 years ago the mounds are more conical. They might have been religious sites or clan symbols.  Some show evidence of fire.  Building of mounds stopped about 850 years ago.  Surveys of northeastern Iowa in the 1800's and early 1900's indicated a presence of over 10,000 mounds.  Fewer than 1,000 have survived.  Effigy Mounds National Monument was established in 1949.  The name Effigy comes from the fact that several mounds are in the shape of birds and animals.

There are several hiking trails leading from the visitor center.   We walked about a mile on this handicapped accessible boardwalk.   A mile was about all we could do - the temperature was 97!

On the drive to the mounds we passed by a church that I wanted to get a closer look at on the way back.  It reminded me of churches we had seen in Ireland.

When we stopped and I saw the sign in front of the church I knew I was right.

Wexford!    Doesn't that sound Irish?    In 1851 Rev. Thomas Hore and 1,200 parishioners settled this area, founded the church and named it after their home in Ireland.

Our drive back to the campground took us once more over the bridge at Lansing, IA into Wisconsin.  The wait can be as long as 8 minutes waiting for one way traffic to change directions.  

Almost to the campground I noticed a bird soaring above.  Then I saw it's white head and realized it was a Bald Eagle.  What a treat.

As we pulled into the campground we saw this tug pushing barges 3 wide and 5 deep up the river.  Another treat.

Tomorrow it's laundry and preparing to move to our next destination on Thursday.


Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

We just saw some cool mounds in IN. They were used for religious ceremonies there.

Love the church photo.

JO said...

What a peaceful park around the mounds. Love the church.

Rick Doyle said...

Mounds seem to be turning up everywhere these days.

Nice pics.

The Odd Essay said...

We lived along River Road in Tennessee a few years ago. It's one of those National Scenic Byways.... but we had NO traffic as there was no bridge across the mighty Mississip where we lived (Fulton). Until I was almost 60 I lived just 30 miles from the Ohio... LOVE seeing the barges so your photos made me a bit homesick. I'd love to see that church... it's beautiful!

Laurie and George said...

You guys find the coolest places to explore. I'll be glad when we're not hurrying to 'be somewhere' so we have more time to explore!