I'm running up to Minnesota to take my skeet guns in to the expert for repair/update/etc. So, here I am in Willmar, MN & here's how I got here (& what I saw along the way):
Left at 6:40 AM via MO-13 north. At Polo, MO-13 becomes the Zack Wheat Memorial Hiway, and there's a monument to baseball HoF player Zack Wheat. In town, there's the History House, Cooty Farm Service, and the Red Rooster Cafe. A bit further north, there was the Won By One Community Bank. At Hamilton, took US-36 to Cameron, then north on I-35 toward Iowa. The MO welcome center near Eagleville looks pretty fancy, with a herd of buffalo & a cowboy (all metal, of course) on the hillside behind it.
Crossed into Iowa at 9:16 and stopped at a welcome center in Lamoni. It was in a big "Amish Country Store" which also had a Maid-Rite cafe in it. On its lawn were displayed cattle made from fuel tanks and a historic schoolhouse. As I proceeded north, I passed New Virginia, IA (could some Southern folk have settled here?). Exit 52 leads to alot of attractions - Madison County covered bridges and John Wayne's birthplace the most prominent among them.
Passed Des Moines at 10:30 and picked up IA-141. Near Granger saw a sign for Jester Park - wonder if it's any fun? Picked up US-169 at Perry, would be on it for almost 100 miles. This area is mostly flat, with endless corn & bean fields. The barns almost all have roofs curving down from a point rather than a constant slope. Roads good modern 2-lane, with a frustrating 55 mph speed limit.
Lunch & gas at Ft. Dodge from 1147 to 1205, and back on US-169. Humboldt has the BackSeet diner & drive in. Roads north of Humboldt aren't as good, but they're straight as they look on the map. Algona has a railroad overpass painted with an 1870s locomotive & the words "Algona, on the Right Track." Picked up US-18 here. Passed Cylinder, IA, and the Wild Rose Casino in Emmetsburg. Area is more hilly like NW MO, and some more northern trees start to pop up in plantings.
Took IA-4 to Estherville, and switched to US-71 (a familiar number thru MO, AR & LA). Saw a Softail Saloon in Superior, IA, and a group of old railway passenger cars deteriorating nearby. Crossed into MN about 2:05, but saw no welcome sign. Adopt a Hiway signs featured the Sleepy Eye Garment & Pottery co and the Germantown Livewires 4-H club. Jackpot Junction Casino is outside Redwood Falls, MN. Near Olivia, couldn't initially figure out why there were porta-potties in a corn field - until I saw the stand selling hand-picked sweet corn. Olivia also has the Sheep Shedde Motel, and not far from there was held up by a TC&W train (look it up).
Got to Willmar, a town of about 20,000, at 4:19 PM, 537.4 miles, averaging 32.3 mpg & 57 mph. Temperature pushing 100. Downtown has a statue of an Indian on the Kandiyohi County courthouse lawn - yep, it's Chief Kandiyohi. Downtown lightposts have cages on them that I think are the type used in Frisbee golf. Couldn't find a local cafe, so ended up eating at El Tapatio - which doesn't hold a candle to the one in Sedalia. Came back to the Comfort Inn, and enjoying a PBR. Tomorrow, it's on to Spicer to leave off guns, then about 550 miles home!