Off The Editor’s Desk – 9-21-2016
We as citizens of this great country take many things for granted. One of those is the highway system that we drive on daily. Last week we took a few days off and traveled to our place in Hayward and then drove to northern Minnesota to visit a classmate from my days of study at Dunwoody Industrial Institute in Minneapolis.
Accompanied by Dave and Sue Brathal of Hudson, we traveled from Hayward to Superior and then up to Tower, MN and then onto Northome, MN where Roger and Kathy Rafferty spend their retirement summers. The one hundred mile stretch from Tower to Northome was on Highway 1, which is an old narrow road that winds through northern Minnesota about 40 miles north of U.S. Highway 2. I have driven Highway 2 many times, several of which were from Iron River, Wisconsin to the west coast, and it’s a great road. But the experience on that Highway 1 took us back to what travel must have been like in the 1930s. Over that hundred miles, there was no services, only a couple of crossroads, one of which was at Effie with a population of 123. We were able to stop at a wayside that had a satellite for our comfort. However, traffic was very light and we met only about six vehicles on that route.
I had called Roger the day before and suggested that we have lunch at a local café, but he said that Kathy was cooking fresh walleye for dinner. What a treat! Both enjoy their beautiful home overlooking the 3,000 acre Island Lake.
We made our way back to Highway 2 and back to Duluth and onto Highway 53 over the Bong Bridge and back to Hayward. All roads were in great shape, for our driving pleasure.
Leaving Hayward, we headed for New Auburn to attend the wedding of Rhea Smith and Vernon Gibson at the home of her parents, Mark and Betsy Smith on Sand Lake Sunday afternoon. We had a great afternoon with family members and other wedding guests. We left for home just before dark and headed into Bloomer and onto Highway 64 going to Connorsville. These road were in great shape, but as we turned onto Dunn County Highway Q and then onto Highway X, what a difference. The Dunn County Highway Department must have forgotten about those two roads. Entering St. Croix County, Highway X was not much better, although, the road stripping was visible in St. Croix County, which made for better night time driving.
What came to my mind was all the money that Dunn County has spent keeping their nursing home (Neighbors of Dunn County) afloat and how great the roads are around Menomonie, but they are bad out in the rural areas. That made me wonder why the county is in the nursing home business? St. Croix County has the same taxpayer cash drain to keep their home running.
I don’t need to be told that it’s the state’s fault for not funding road improvements at the county level. Come on, let us not forget the folks on the outskirts of the county, both Dunn and St. Croix County.
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton