The day began with a thick fog, which leads to a depressing morning – an alleged lookout over the river in Winona turned out to be a bust, so we drove through the countryside and out of Minnesota and into La Crosse, Wisconsin. It is a sizable city with poorly laid out streets that were marginally worse than those in Boston, but without the air of historic authenticity. After some confusing turns that led us nowhere, we found an escape route that led us southward on a highway that provides scenic views.
We drove down the scenic Mississippi river, admiring the hazy views of the flooded river – it has been raining hard here, and the river has gone from a record low level to a flood stage, drowning trees and low-lying islands along its course. All along its route lay stubborn hills of layered limestone, towering over the river like a series of green-covered stone shepherds, their crumbling yellow-grey faces threatening to tumble down as we drive past. There are a few pull offs where we pause to take pictures, but the haze and humidity kept us in the car.
Before we know it, we’re ready to cross the river again, into Iowa.