A break in the high humidity gave us a perfect day to drive along the Mississippi, looking for Huck and Jim on their raft. We drove east from Rochester to Winona, MN on Rte. 14, a prettier drive than the interstate, then turned northwest along the river, getting as close as possible to the water on side roads. At Lake City, MN, we turned southwest on Rte. 63 and drove the last leg of our triangular route.
The level lands of the driftless area make good corn and soybean fields, and we passed a lot of them. Approaching the Mississippi, we found rolling hills before arriving in Winona, where a series of large sandbars clog the river but provide an excellent vantage point over the water.
Farther along, we stopped at McNally’s Landing just as a powerboat was being pulled out of the water after a morning fishing trip. Not long after, another truck towing a trailer pulled up and launched a boat. Out on the water, people were fishing, and pontoon boats were lumbering slowly along the channel to keep from swamping the passing kayaks.
We found ourselves alone on a forest path. It was just right for birds, sunny and shaded, near water, not too late in the morning. Following birds with our binoculars as they jumped from branch to branch, we wished they’d slow down just a little bit so we could get a better look. Sometimes, they cooperated.
Just before Minnesota City, we stopped to have our picnic lunch, looking out over the Mississippi and enjoying the beautiful day. A quick loop through Minnesota City revealed the secret getaway car emerging from Don’s Auto Body.
The road runs right along the river for a stretch beyond Minnesota City. On this sunny Sunday afternoon, every place where a boat could be launched was lined with trailers, and the river was full of boats. We continued along to Lake City, where we cruised the streets and discovered a beautiful old house. After our visit to Lake City, we headed for home, content with our day, and ready to try the opposite bank of the Mississippi on another day.