Sunday, October 08, 2006


There seems to be a pattern...when you head to rural Minnesota and people find out you are going there, they all have suggestions for places to go and things to see. One friend recommended Alexandria and the Runestone Museum (and had some ideas for Morris, too, unfortunately I got them too late), and Boof told me that if I was going to Marshall I had to head down to see the wind turbines. Unfortunately he didn't know much more about them than they were on the way to Pipestone and they were sorta near Marshall. So I did my own research, and during a break of a few hours, I set out on a mission. Actually, first, I nourished myself with a stop at A&W for a hot dog, fries and root beer, and THEN I set out on a mission.

My research found that Lake Benton is the "Original Wind Power Capital of the Midwest." The chamber website claims: "We are conveniently located in southwest Minnesota on the crossroads of the nation, U.S. #75 (International Highway King of Trails) and U.S. #14 (Laura Ingall’s Wilder Historic Highway)."

The 45 minute trip was to consist of 2 roads...a north-south road and an east-west road. The rules of rural Minnesota. 1 road to get you anywhere. The East-West road is U.S. #14 - part of the crossroads of the nation. I'm a little puzzled - Alexandria, MN is the birthplace of America, Stillwater, MN is the birthplace of Minnesota, but the crossroads of the nation are in Lake Benton.

As I was approaching U.S. #14, I was just thinking about how I had basically only looked up directions to the town of Lake Benton - not to anything wind turbine-specific. But I figured, "How hard could they be to find?" My thoughts were shown to be correct, because the instant I turned West on U.S. #14 and looked up, I exclaimed out loud (yes, I was alone in my car), "WINDMILLS!"

This was the first sighting of windmills:

This was across the street, and I found it to be rather cool since it was an "old" windmill:

And then I approached the town of Tyler, one of the little towns just before Lake Benton. There was a cool turbine there that kinda reminded me of an airplane.

Actually, there were two of them, if you can see the second:

And then I got into Lake Benton. I drove up a dirt road to get closer to some of the turbines. They were really cool. It was a drive well-worth the time I could have spent chilling or napping in my hotel room!


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