– Des Moines, Iowa to River Falls, Wisconsin –
I actually exhausted little Ripley today. You wouldn’t think it was possible, but I did it. We got up at 5am and went out for a run on the Clive Greenbelt Trail. We’d planned to run four miles, but I didn’t follow the plan and ended up dragging us around for about six miles instead.
At the end of mile three, after Ripley and I turned back around to go get Mark, just as we hopped back over a fallen tree for the second time, Ripley really started dragging. It was just too humid for her to breathe. I can certainly sympathize. The air up here was so thick with moisture today that it was oppressive just to walk in, let alone run.
We jogged back to Mark, who had just passed the bridge we were originally supposed to return from, with Ripley dragging behind me. Before long, I had to walk for a few minutes for Ripley to get her breath. We ended up walking back to Mark so she could go with him for a few minutes to cool down. I ran ahead.
About 10 minutes later, I ran back for her, and she was already feeling better. She was back to pulling on the leash out in front of me for the final mile. She just needed some air, I guess. Mark and I were soaking wet with sweat at the end of our run, and since the baby can’t sweat, I’m hardly surprised that she got a little hot. In any event, it’s a very nice trail. I’d come back when the weather was a little better.
John told us when we got back to the room that the local news had said the weather was turning, and the humidity was going to blow away in a cooler northerly wind, which turned out to be the case. We were out of the hotel just after 8:30, since we had to watch the end of Legally Blonde, which Mark and John had become invested in while we were trying to pack this morning.
Since there was a Quiktrip just down the street from our hotel, Vicki and I got big unsweet teas, John got some soda, and Mark had a coffee. We’d already had breakfast at our hotel, so we were off for the morning. We had to stop only about an hour later in Dows, Iowa, since we were all so full of our drinks. The rest stop there is very nice.
Our next stop was at a big travel center, but we didn’t really spend too much time there. We had to decide what we wanted to do with the rest of our day, since we had plans to eat with the family friends later in the day. We considered getting snacks for lunch, assuming that we’d have an early dinner, but Mark had been talking about stopping in Minneapolis, so that meant we’d be a little later getting to River Falls to meet our friends.
We ended up driving on, but decided to stop for a light lunch in Owatonna about a half hour later, just after noon. We had Panda Express, which has very limited vegetarian options. This one is particular was understaffed and slow, and we were there for a very long time. We ate outside at the tables with the umbrellas, while Ripley say beside us in the shade. She had fun trying to murder nearby flies.
In the end, we went to St. Paul instead of Minneapolis. It was a bit shorter drive, and the traffic looked like it would be quite a bit better. It was about an hour from Owatonna, and we parked downtown to take a look at the Mississippi River and take some photos of the city.
I guess it’s been raining quite a bit up here for the last few days, from what I understand. The river was up over the concrete boarding areas along the sidewalks. It was very nice in the shade, but once we stepped out into the sun, it got quite a bit warmer.
It’s a little funny seeing a city on a river called a port, since that’s never what you think of when you hear “port city.” It’s true, though. We saw several barges going down the river, and we took a look at a couple of the large bridges right next to downtown.
One of the bridges is the St. Paul Union Pacific Vertical-lift Rail Bridge, which is a really interesting-looking railroad bridge over the water. A section of the bridge raises up into the air to allow boats to pass beneath when no trains are coming through. From what I understand, only three bridges across the Mississippi River are built that way.
We tried to make a big square around the river sidewalk, but we were foiled by road construction, so we had to turn back to get back to our car. St. Paul isn’t a bad-looking city at all, but it was positively filled with construction. At least it was Sunday, so we didn’t have any trouble getting around.
It took us a while to cool back down when we got back to the car. We stopped outside of town at a McDonald’s for another restroom break and fresh drinks. It was not a nice McDonald’s. It’s rare to find one that’s so gross, so I was pretty surprised. It hasn’t been updated, either, which is unusual. Most of the ones in our area have been remodeled in the last 5 years.
Another hour or so later, sometime after 3pm, we made it to River Falls and stopped at the family friends’ house to catch up and have a nice cool dinner and later, some ice cream.
We finally made it to our hotel after 7:30, and John and Vicki went out for a walk while Mark and I hung out in the hotel room to work on our photos and this very blog post. Ripley is taking a nap. I’m pretty sure we really wore her out today.
Tomorrow we are going to get up and run and then head up to Voyageurs National Park. Today was pretty heavy on the Ripley pictures, but tomorrow I’m hoping we’ll have more photos of nature to go with the cute puppy pics. Time will tell.
– Trip Total : 1,021 miles –