Page 15g

Our trip to Groton, Massachusetts

Day 8

Portage, IN to Red Wing, MN

The Dan Ryan Expressway is no place for us

Our day began as we made a decision that looked good on paper but didnít seem as good in reality. We had planned our trip to end in Red Wing, MN to stay in a historic hotel so we thought taking the river road (US Highway 61) would give us the feel of the river theme that is so prevalent in Red Wing. To accomplish this we decided to take I-90/94 through Chicago, also known as the Dan Ryan Expressway. Much to our displeasure it was nothing but construction and gridlock as cars and trucks tried to negotiate in two lanes what used to be 4 lanes. But we managed to get through it unscathed. I snapped the picture above during one of our standstills; you can see the commuter train platforms in the background. This was the only form of transportation making any time on this route. Once past Chicago we made good time and began our journey up the river road. The picture below shows the King and Queen Bluffs near Winona, MN. The highway followed the river fairly closely so we had a good view of it most of the way.

KIng and Queen Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River near Winona, MN

River view near Winona, MN

A little further up the road we took advantage of a pull-off to take a couple more pictures of the river. There is a lot of vegetation growing in the backwater area, but this is still considered part of the river.

The mississippi River north of Winona, MN

The St. James Hotel in Red Wing, MN

We arrived in Red Wing, MN late in the afternoon and checked into the St. James Hotel. This 61-room hotel that was established in 1875. Our room, on the fourth floor, is named after the sternwheeler paddleboat, The Quincy. If you read our comments on the Stagecoach you are probably wondering what our thoughts are on this old hotel. Well to sum it up in one word, magnificent! The entire hotel is first class in decoration, cleanliness, and the staff really goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. The picture below shows a portion of our room, which is very comfortable in size and the comfort of the furniture.

Guest room Quincy at the St. James

Riverfront Centre

We had time to take a walk before dinner and visited the Riverfront Centre. This building was constructed in 1868 and is now the corporate office for The Red Wing Shoe Company. The ground floor has a nice display of how the Red Wing boot is made and there are several shops selling their products as well as other shops selling other items. The boot in the picture below is the communityís art form similar to the cows, pigs, and hands that we have seen in other places we have traveled.

Big boot art form

100-year Anniversary of Red Wing Boots, Indian Motor Cycle

The Indian motorcycle was in a shoe store inside the Riverfront Centre, we are not real motorcycle buffs but this one was a real beauty and felt it deserved a picture. The picture below is of the Hiawatha River that runs behind the hotel. It looks to be deep enough to support some serious boat traffic.

Hiawatha River at Red Wing, MN

Red Wing, MN train depot

Our last stop before going back to the hotel was the Red Wing train depot. It is still an active depot for the Amtrak train as well as the local visitors bureau. The picture below is one of four sections of wall dedicated to train signs. The signs that appear to be glowing are those that are reflective and they stood out brighter from the flash. We finished our evening with dinner at the hotel in their dining room called The Port. It was in the basement of the hotel but what a basement it is. The food was fantastic!

Sign display in Red Wing Depot