Traveling through Minnesota - Wind Turbines - Wow!

Trip Start Jul 05, 2012
Trip End Aug 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Sleep Inn & Suites Madison
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 23 - Today we will continue driving east. We plan to drive about half way through Minnesota and then turn south and drive into Iowa, but our plans will change. The temperature today feels wonderful, in the upper 70s.

 We start the day by driving to the downtown area of Sioux Falls. I read on the Internet that there were wonderful art sculptures to see here, so we drive downtown for a look before heading out. We have come to really enjoy taking a little time each day to get a feel for the cities we travel through or stay in. We locate the sculptures and find the atmosphere of the town to be captivating.  We park to get out and get a closer look and end up walking the streets. We come across a Gourmet Grilled Cheese restaurant that we have to try. How often do you see those! So we go in for lunch. The menu is wonderful and has every kind of Wisconsin cheese (and others) you can imagine. We both have a grilled cheese sandwich with different meats on them (I add turkey and Art has roast beef). Awesome sandwiches.

We walk around some more and take pictures of some of the art sculptures. We do not get to see them all as they extend down the street a long way. There are cafés, coffee shops and other shops all up and down the street.  This town has a wonderful atmosphere  and it looks like there is much to explore.

Soon we were on our way and enter Minnesota. We had planned to travel half way through the state and take a southern turn and spend the night in Waterloo, Iowa, heading then into Illinois. However, after looking at the map we decide to continue East on I-90. This highway runs for several states, just like I-40. We realize if we keep going we will run into Lake Michigan and that sounds much more interesting than going through Iowa
As we drive we begin to see huge Wind Turbines.  The more we drive, the more we see. They are huge and many are turning in the wind. They are spread out across the landscape as far as your eye can see.We cannot believe how many there are. I Google them to find out the following facts. They are amazing and beautiful to see!  

    * Minnesota has 11 cities powered by Wind Turbines.

    * One Wind Turbine can power 500 homes

    * One Wind Turbine costs between 2 and 3 million dollars to construct and install.

    * Wind farms are large groups of Wind Turbines that combine their energy (we are seeing wind farms)

    * Farmers in the area rent their land for wind farms to be placed in their fields.

    * Wind Turbines must have about 1/3 acre of space between them to work efficiently

    * The Wind Turbines are turned facing many different directions so there are always some turning in the wind.

We drive for a few hours and continue to see the Wind Turbines, stopping for our afternoon ice cream treat at Dairy Queen. I was hoping to find Wisconsin ice "cream" today, but no luck.  We notice that Wisconsin is the first state we have been in where the landscape looks very similar to ours. We are out of the western mountain ranges and out of the grasslands and now we have trees!

 The drives takes us across the Mississippi River. Nothing special really, but I have never driven across it before. So that is pretty exciting for me. We continue to drive through the Minnesota, seeing the Wind Turbines all along the interstate and set our goal to reach for the night as Madison, Wisconsin, home of University of Wisconsin. We always enjoy visiting college towns. And it is always nice to stop in the larger towns for the night because you have more restaurants and places to see.

We arrive at our hotel and find a bubbly college girl at the desk. She is so friendly and tells us where to eat tonight and what to see the next day. We head out to the restaurant which is not too far from the hotel. Todd's Cookhouse Restaurant. It is a restaurant and bar and we love the atmosphere and music there. They have TVs on with the Olympics and we get to watch some of it for the first time. Everyone sitting around the bar is clapping and cheering for the US teams. Our food is wonderful and we really enjoy being here tonight.

This has been a very enjoyable and relaxing day for us.

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