|Leaving Indiana when it was still pitch dark is what we did today. Looks like we are getting earlier out every day. Must be the journey through the time zones causing it.|
Anyway, we were headed towards the Windy City, but unlike the 2 previous days there was no wind, which made for a much more comfortable ride.
To my dismay they had still closed off the ramp where I-80 and I-90 are parting. Luckily we found the DETOUR and ran down the I-65 until we hit the I-80. I never go through Chicago itself but continue on I-80 until it intersects with I-39. From there we went straight north to Rockford and Wisconsin. It’s the only sensible way around Chicago, unless you LOVE traffic jams and toll stations.
Wisconsin is such a beautiful state with all its colorful forests and rivers and lakes. I can’t but ooohhh and aaahhh myself, when I go through there. What we learned this time was that the state is home to extensive cranberry production.
Wisconsin is indeed the nation’s leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country’s crop. The little red berry, Wisconsin’s official state fruit, is the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value.
The cranberry, once called “crane berry” by settlers because of its blossom’s resemblance to the sandhill crane, was first harvested in Wisconsin around 1860 by Edward Sacket in Berlin, Wisconsin. Today, more than 250 growers produce cranberries throughout central and northern Wisconsin.
Cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in Wisconsin. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.
Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment.
Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.
And then we went on towards THE TWIN CITIES. It was about 4:30pm when we first approached St.Paul. I had decided to run straight through in I-94 rather than driving all around the ring road on I-494.
An Avalanche of cars coming around the bend
In the beginning it all went fine. While the oncoming traffic had stalled and been converted into a parking lot, we still made a 50mph speed. That, however, changed the minute we had passed St.Paul and were approx. smack in the middle of Minneapolis. Now it was our turn to crawl along. Even though we hardly ever stopped completely things ran kind of slow. Even after we had left Minneapolis and the traffic sped up we got another halt way out towards the town of Rogers.
We had thought of staying at the Super 8 in Rogers but were disappointed to learn that they don’t accept pets at all. So we went back on I-94 and continued to the town Monticello where we found yet another Super 8, this time accepting dogs. Great place and the best of all: There is a Pizza Ranch in the close neighbourhood. It’s buffet-style pizza and more.For $8.99 you eat and eat and eat until you roll out the door. They got excellent coffee and ice cream as well. Well-fed and somewhat rested we drove the short distance home.
If you wonder how we survive those daily distances: we alternate on driving. Works great!