What a beautiful day!!! This was the best day of our vacation – at least weatherwise. The sun was out – no clouds; there was a gentle breeze; temperatures were in the high 50’s and low 60’s. Who could ask for anything better?
We left a little later than we have been – sort of slept in. We crossed the Mississippi River into Wisconsin and headed south along the river. We passed through small towns – Nelson, Pepin, Stockholm, Maiden Rock – small in population but big in charm.
While driving along Rt 35 south, we stopped at a number of scenic overlooks to view the Mississippi. We did make one small mistake. We made a “pit stop” at an overlook above Lake Pepin, between Stockholm and Pepin. It really was a pit. Now I’ve used pit toilets before when we’re on the road, but I have never run across one that smelled as abominable as this one! So be forewarned, if you travel along this road – stop before or after, but unless you’re carrying a gas mask, skip the one in between.
Pepin was interesting because it is the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the “Little House . . .” books. Lake Pepin is really a widening of the Mississippi River, but at 1-5 miles wide and 22 miles long, it really does act like a lake. Lots of sailboats dotted the water on such a lovely day!
We crossed the Mississippi from Nelson, WI to Wabasha, MN. Wabasha was the goal of our drive, as we wanted to visit the National Eagle Center there. The center educates about eagles as well as housing several “disabled” eagles who help with the educating. We were able to photograph the eagles much more closely than you could in the wild. They were beautiful!
The reason the center is in Wabasha, MN is that, due to a unique combination of hydrology and geology, there is a portion of the Mississippi River that does not freeze over in wintertime located in that area. When the rivers to the north begin to freeze, hundreds of eagles move south to find open water where they can feed. Thus, you have the largest concentration of eagles in the lower 48 found in Wabasha – what better place to study and observe them?
The town of Wabasha is one of the oldest on the entire upper Mississippi, having been continuously occupied since 1826. Its historic downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. It looks like a wonderful place to live.
When we left the center, we traveled along the Mississippi north. More small towns, more history. We passed through Red Wing, MN where the Red Wing shoe company started and still exists.
Today was our short day. We try to have at least one day with less driving within every 10 days or so of vacation. Otherwise, the fibromyalgia flares and I don’t enjoy my time away. We’ve learned that by experience – in the beginning we would push to get as much as possible into each day. I always ended up in pain and misery. We live, we learn . . . and living with fibromyalgia means living with moderation and balance.
So tonight I’ll relax and read. Tomorrow – maybe a visit to the Univ of Minnesota Raptor Center in St Paul, where they treat more than 800 injured eagles, hawks, owls and falcons a year. We’ll see.
Along the route, we spotted several bald eagles in the trees. As long as we stayed in the car, we could take pictures to our hearts content.