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Barry-Sue
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« on: April 30, 2014, 06:32:47 pm »

We've been to 43 of the  50 states but have never been to Minnesota or North Dakota.  Planning a trip for late August/September.  Any adivce as to where to sight see would be appreciated.

Sue
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 08:57:07 pm »

Um....Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota?

Recommended to me a few months ago are two scenic byways....perhaps something on those routes?

http://stcroixscenicbyway.org/

http://www.lakecountryscenicbyway.com/

   - Mike
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2014, 07:15:38 am »

In North Dakota you should stop in Medora for the Pitch fork steak fondue and the outdoor play.Theodore Roosevelt National Park is right there also. Medora's house and the town are nice to tour. There are two campgrounds right at the edge of town, so you can walk to town. I think both have a shuttle to the fondue and play.

Do a search for Medora.
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 08:14:13 am »

Mike and Tom,

  Thanks, very helpful, I can now start planning.

Sue
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 12:25:18 pm »

We have no first hand knowledge, however, our scenic drive book lists one for North Dakota and two for Minnesota.

North Dakota starts at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park near Mandan, heads up and around on 1804 hitting lots of stops including the Audubon Wildlife Refuge, Knife River Indian Villages, Garrison Dam (last two on by looping west on 200A then 200 then back onto 1804) up to Lewis and Clark State Park, a side spur to Fort Buford then down 85 through Theodore Roosevelt State Park North Unit, Little Missouri National Grassland, Theodore Roosevelt South Unit with nearby Medora on 94 west that Tom mentions. It then rolls back east on 94 to the starting point. I can't list everything but it says "Not to be missed": Medora Musical, a Western-style review (Jun-Sep) in Medora; Mandan Rodeo Days in July in Mandan; Lewis and Clark weekend (Aug) at Cross Ranch State Park; United Tribes Powwow (Sep) Bismarck. Full loop is about 400 miles.

Minnesota has a loop drive listed that is pretty far north. It starts in Grand Rapids, up 38 to Effie, west on Rte 6 then Rte 1 to Northome then south on 46 and then Rte 2 back to Grand Rapids, It takes you through Chippewa National Forest with numerous lakes and rivers and refers to it as the "watery, wooded reaches of northern Minnesota". Length of the loop is about 140 miles. Features good fishing, some old growth pines over 12 stories tall, hundreds of lakes. Just realized the book has you driving the opposite direction, don't know if it matters.

Minnesota also has a lake drive listed on Rte 61 running along Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Portage passing through numerous state parks and small towns. A portion of the northern section is in Superior National Forest. Nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area lies along the Canadian Border. There is a 3 hour boat trip to Isle Royale leaving regularly from Grand Portage. This drive is about 150 miles one way. The book notes that Rte 61 is the state's busiest highway so leave plenty of time for the trip. .. and don't drink from the waterfalls. A quick scan of the listings shows notes on spectacular overlooks and vistas, waterfalls, hidden harbors, etc.
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 10:46:59 pm »

We visited  Theodore Roosevelt NP in mid September on our way to Glacier in 2010.  The park was lovely and we enjoyed seeing the wild horse herd.  It was very hot and dry at that time so we stayed in a private campground since we needed air conditioning, but the NP had some nice dry camp sites that the buffalo and horses actually moved through.  We stopped in Medora but the tourist dinner show ended after Labor Day and there was nothing much going on.  We also had intended to stay at the Fort Ab Lincoln state park but as I recall, there had been some flooding earlier in the year causing the campsites to close.  The area was hot and dry yet flooding was a problem along some of the rivers. We only allowed a couple of nights in  North Dakota with short tours since we had only three weeks to go from SC to Jasper Canada and back.  Still a nice place to visit.  Just be aware that Labor Day is the end of the season and many things are closed.
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 01:56:47 am »

Last year we got stuck in Glacier NP.  It is very hard to leave there when the weather is great.  We loved it so much that we nearly quadrupled our planned time there and blew off other planned destinations.  That is why we go everywhere without reservations.
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 07:09:37 pm »

Have relatives in Twin Cities and usually just hang out their. Lots of museums and historical sites. The drive along the Mississippi River has lots of interesting small towns and history.  I just Read about Lanesboro, MN in a Smithsonian Magazine as being one of America' great small towns so you might give it a try.  If going way north, Duluth and on along the north shore of Lake Superior is also very beautiful, interesting and historical.
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2014, 04:39:57 pm »

 ;)We were in the Dakotas last fall and traveled up from the south and joined I94 just east of Bismarck, the Capital.  Coming from the east you first travel from Minnesota to North Dakota at Fargo - Moorhead.  Remember the movie "Fargo"?
North Dakota slopes up from the east to the west starting around 900 feet above sea level on the east side and reaching over 3,000 feet above sea level on the west side.  Don't expect great fuel economy; it looks very flat, but you are traveling up hill all the way.

There are some historic sites all the way across the state, but the Bismarck - Mandan area is really like an oasis.  The Missouri river divides the two cities and the view from the observation deck at the state capital in Bismarck is spectacular.

The Medora area is in the Badlands and is very interesting.  Teddy Roosevelt loved the place and ran cattle there.  The Marquis de Mores and Teddy did not get along and the history of their relationship is very interesting. 

One word of caution;  the west side of North Dakota and the east side of Montana where they meet is deluged with oil rigs since they have discovered relatively  easy ways to extract the oil.  The research indicates there is 4 times as much oil below the surface there as under the richest Saudi oil fields has led to  massive influx of people and equipment.  The infrastructure is taking a real beating, but it is still quite interesting.  Make every effort to secure your rig before wandering about.
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2016, 07:12:32 pm »

We may do a trip to these two states in a month or so.  Did you ever do it Ron?  Any further comments?
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2016, 07:30:43 am »

We had to travel through Minnesota without much time for sightseeing on our last trip, but can recommend Checkers Welcome Campground (Welcome, MN), right off I-90 for a good, cheap overnight stop.  Someone had also recommended we stop off at the Spam Museum in Austin, MN....also right off I-90, just southwest of Rochester......we passed on that one.  LOL

 - Mike
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2016, 10:23:58 am »

  You missed a good one at the Spam musuem--
Anyone going near there should stop in, They do a great job.
The price is right, as I recall, it was free when we were there.
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2016, 10:52:46 am »

We may do a trip to these two states in a month or so.  Did you ever do it Ron?  Any further comments?
Hi Barb,

I assume you are asking this Ron.

We start all journeys from the Chicago area.  We loved travelling through Minnesota & North Dakota via I-94, very tranquil up there, little in the way of other vehicles.  An overnight stay in a rest area was so very good.  Our first destination was in Theodore Roosevelt NP both north and south units which we enjoyed, then north to Route 2 & west into Montana.  That is our experience in Minnesota and North Dakota.  Not much else to say.  Our focus that trip was Glacier NP and west from there.

I can't emphasis this enough.  It was very refreshing to drive west on I-94, cool clear weather, just what I needed at the time from a very busy work life.
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2016, 01:16:08 pm »

If you are coming from the South,  jump on The Great River Road,  in Alton IL  and follow it North to the headwaters of the Mississippi River  near Lake Itasca MN. It is a beautiful trip in the Fall. On your way up river, Slippery's  (of  Grumpy Old Men fame)  is in Wabasha as is the eagle  conservation center.  It is in Wisconsin.  Stop in Red Wing  MN.  The Stoneware  factory is still there tho'  I believe the pottery was to close around the first of the year.  If you're  Scandinavian, The Uff Da Shoppe is fun.  Get some Knudsen's caramels.   I'd suggest  switching both sides of the river.  When you get to the Cities,  there are very nice hiking and biking trails.  St. Anthony's Falls are  quite spectacular.   From there you'll head West around St. Cloud towards Bemidji - Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox  will  greet you.  It's not far to dip your toes in the creek that will become the Mighty Miss.  at Lake Itasca State Park.  From there, Southwest a bit and you'll be in Fargo and another beautiful state to explore.
 Patti
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