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Minnesota completion thread


Iím still only around 70% but thought I would start a journal as I progress toward 100%. Unfortunately that means most of the cool roads are already done, but Iím still finding some things to write home about. I wonít be the first documented 100% completer, but itís still something Iíve gotten a little more fired up about lately.

This weekend I was in Ely for a getaway and used some of the time to fill in some areas that are generally out of my day trip range, in central/northern St. Louis and Koochiching counties. I hoped to make it to International Falls to wrap up US 53 in Minnesota, but a late start on Sunday plus time spent on other activities, and finally a closure in downtown I-Falls that I wasnít sure if it was a hard closure or just a dissuasion for through traffic led me to put the last stretch on the side. I spend enough time in Duluth that that shouldnít be too much of a challenge in the late fall.

US 53 is kind of a cool route in central and northern St. Louis County, with the old iron towns and the scrapes against lakes north of the Range. I turned off at MN 217, which was the wrench in this entire process before I ditched the idea of finishing 53 because I couldnít figure out a method of doing everything I wanted without driving 217 twice, and I found itís not worth a second drive anyway.

From 217ís west end  I made the short jaunt up MN 65 to US 71, then back down 65. This is some of the most remote road in the state if not the most. I didnít see any other cars for 90 minutes. As the afternoon faded into evening, it almost felt eerie as the trees grew bigger and inched closer to the road. Officially itís about 95 miles from US 71 to the first gas station on 65 itself (you can detour on 217 into Littlefork, or I believe into the Nett Lake tribal center for gas). I havenít clinched 65 yet, but all thatís left to clinch now is between the US 169 south junction and MN 200ís north split.

Next weekend if it works out I hope to clinch either MN 76 and/or add miles on US 14 east of Rochester.

On Monday I clinched MN 15, MN 257 (short spur from MN 15 to Hanska), and the rest of US 169's mileage in Minnesota, as well as a large chunk of MN 22, though I couldn't clinch it fully because of a long-distance closure. We're starting to get into some really boring routes now. Worthington was a little peppier than I expected it to be, with quite a few younger residents that I saw when I stopped at a local in-town Kwik Trip.

I took a short jaunt through northern Iowa; the little US 169 shields on the mileposts along the IA 9/US 169 duplex were cool.

Glad to hear you survived the ROUNDABOUTS OF DEATH.

Oops, I meant Fairmont where I posted Worthington. Bad me, lol. I did go through the ROUNDABOUTS OF DEATH last summer, though.

Yesterday I clinched:

MN 78
MN 79
MN 114
MN 287

This also included significant new miles on MN 55 and US 71. I wanted to go for MN 87 (unrelated to MN 287) as well, but a long-distance closure and detour didn't allow for that. Central Minnesota felt very Plains-like in appearance, probably accentuated by the dreadful drought of this summer.

Total % now clinched: 76.4%


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