Well, we only got one of them, and it wasn't the point of the trip, just
an interesting aspect.  On Sat. I flew to Chicago to see son John and
attend a Cubs - Cardinals game at Wrigley Field on Tues.  That left Sat -
Mon, Labor Day weekend, unplanned.  We both like pointless road tripping.
Back in July we hiked in a glacial moraine state park in Wisconsin, at the
same time knocking that state off my never-visited list.  While we didn't
start out to do so, this time we knocked Iowa and Minnesota off the list
and now only 4 remain, NE, ND, SD, and AK.  We also visited Illinois'
highest point on pure whimsy.  It is Charles Mound, located in the town of
Scales Mound in the NW corner of the state in a farmer's field.  It just
happens to be this month's featured high point on the Highpointer's Club
web page.
A more informative page is,
We also stumbled across 2 ski areas by pure accident, Chesnut Mountain in
Galena, IL and La Crosse in La Crosse, WI.  Both are perhaps 300 vertical
feet.  The former has a bunch of high speed quads and had filled their
condos with Labor Day weekend guests.  There was a big picnic and a
clearance sale of last season's unsold stuff.  Picked up some gloves for
almost nothing.  They had a lot of snowboards for sale and when I asked
said that they are a majority riding mountain.  Chesnut looked like a
successful operation built on a sound business model.  La Crosse was a
much smaller operation with nobody there and a powerline cut nearby that
spoke to us far more strongly that the ski trails.  It did not appear to
be posted and was as good looking as the one south of Richmond on I-89.

The banks along the Mississippi River are lined with high bluffs for
hundreds of miles and it is quite hilly for a considerable distance away
from the river.  The massive continental glaciers bypassed this area.  We
hiked in Effigy Mounds National Monument on the Iowa side across the river
from Praire Du Chien, WI, oldest permanent settlement in the state,
founded by French trappers in 1673.  The mounds are Indian burial sites
and are shaped like giant bears, birds, etc.  They are on the bluffs and
command spectacular views of the river.  We are quiet hikers and were
alone for a long time.  A flock of wild turkeys crossed the trail in front
of us and took to the air in alarm.  As we stood on the cliff most distant
from the visitor center a bald eagle cruised a mere 50 feet over our
heads. Further north there was another beautiful park in Winona, MN with
cross country ski trails along the edge of the bluffs.  Little towns of a
few 100 to a few thousand people are widely spaced along the river and
there are many country restaurants with great food, simply prepared.  It
is very easy to like the countryside and the people.  One wonders what
it's future might bring.  Here and there one sees small groups of white
bread kids with multiple body piercings hanging around their cars
listening to rap music.  It is reminiscent of "American Grafitti".

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