Midwest Wanderer Newsletter – June 1, 2022

Welcome to the new Midwest Wanderer newsletter!

Life is getting back to normal! We’re experiencing far fewer mask mandates and cancelled events. Time to get back to exploring, and the Midwest Wanderer newsletter will guide you to some fun and interesting places to explore.

This issue begins on an island off of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, then back north to Minnesota’s Mississippi River headwaters, where we follow the Great River Road to the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa. We follow up with Oklahoma City, and attractions in Indiana and Kansas.

Check out our featured roadside attraction. This one we found in New Mexico.

And be sure to reply to our survey at the end of the newsletter. We’ll post the results in our next issue.

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The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

—Saint Augustine

Featured Articles

Have you thought about visiting the Gulf Coast? We spent almost two months there this past winter, mostly in Mississippi. What a gorgeous drive, west along U.S. 90 through Biloxi to Pass Christian, and along Beach Boulevard from Bay St. Louis to Waveland. White sand beaches on one side of the road, historic mansions on the other side. And seafood restaurants. I think we ate more shrimp during our seven weeks on the Gulf than we had in the past five years. Yum!

One of the highlights was a day excursion to Ship Island on an hour-long ferry ride. For years, the island was split into two, compliments of Hurricanes Camille and Katrina. But it’s whole again now, thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Read about Ship Island

Wading across the Mississippi River at its headwaters had been on my bucket list for years. I finally did that a few years ago, and it was so much fun—and refreshing on a warm July day.

That was just the beginning of a jam-packed two-week adventure traveling the Great River Road from the headwaters to the Quad Cities—one that we highly recommend.

We podcasted each evening of our trip to give you a good idea of what to expect.

Click on the following titles to hear what awaits along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

Great River Road Days 1-4

  • Traveling to Bemidji
  • Mississippi Headwaters back to Bemidji
  • Bemidji to St. Cloud
  • Saint Cloud and Saint Joseph

Great River Road Days 5-8

  • St. Cloud to Saint Paul
  • Exploring More of Saint Paul
  • Saint Paul to Fountain City, Wisconsin
  • Fountain City, Wisconsin, to Dubuque, Iowa

Great River Road Days 9-13

  • Exploring Dubuque, Iowa
  • Dubuque, Iowa, to Fulton, Illinois
  • Fulton, Illinois, to Quad Cities
  • Quad Cities: Illinois and Iowa
  • Quad Cities to Home

After winning the 1996 Brickyard 400, Dale Jarrett and his crew chief knelt and kissed the bricks that mark the start/finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Since then, most other winners at the famed racetrack do the same. Like racing champions, you can kiss the bricks, too. Find out how.

From the Oklahoma State Capitol and Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum to the Bricktown Water Taxi and National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, you’ll find plenty to add to your Oklahoma City itinerary. There’s even a museum dedicated to banjos! Read the article.

Driving east on U.S. 36 in Kansas, we passed a big sign: Hollenberg Pony Express Station. Immediately we flipped the car around for a better look and discovered the Kansas Historic Site was only four miles down the road. Of course we had to go, and we’re glad we did. Read the article.

Have You Seen This?

World’s Largest Pistachio

The roadside attraction featured in this issue of the Midwest Wanderer newsletter is the World's Largest Pistachio at McGinn's Tree Ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico
PistachioLand at McGinn’s Tree Ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico, is home to the world’s largest pistachio. Timm McGinn had the giant pistachio built in honor of his father, the pistachio farm’s founder. Besides the photo op, you can tour the farm, taste some wine, and buy pistachios in flavors you never knew existed.

We Value Your Opinion

How will higher gas prices affect your travel plans this year? Answer our one-question survey here.

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