The Fulton Windmill

This morning we relaxed a little bit, then hit the road just before 8 AM CDT.  The weather was gorgeous, and you really do run out of adjectives for the scenery on this drive.  Our first stop was in the town of Fulton, Illinois, at the Fulton Windmill Cultural Center and de Immigrant Windmill.  This is just darned cool.  The 100′ windmill was manufactured and pre-assembled in the Netherlands before being shipped to Fulton.  Then Dutch craftsmen came here in 2000 to do the final assembly.  Sitting high on the levee that was built to protect the town after the devastating 1965 flood (waters crested at over 25′ at Fulton when flood stage was 16′), it is fully

Made of Bilinga wood, this windmill is not susceptible to rot or pests.

functional and mills several types of grain.  As you climb up into the works, docents are on hand to explain how it works and give you a tour.  You always see pics of Dutch windmills like the one I took here, showing the wood framing.  What I didn’t know is that the dark line along the edge is a sail that is unfurled over the framing.  Depending on what you are doing and how much torque you need, you can use no sail, partial sail, or all sail.

The cultural center is across the street and has a story of it’s own.  There are 22 windmill models of all different types, some of which are powered to show the workings.  Henk  and June Hielema from

The same wood is used for the lattice on the blades. It is bleached gray by the sun, but the interior beams show the natural color of the wood.

traveled extensively, taking photos of windmills in many countries.  Back home, they built models from the pictures.  The Hielemas contacted the city of Fulton and told them that, if they would build a
museum to house the models, they would donate them all to the city to complement their windmill.  The Hielemas have since passed, but their craftsmanship lives on in this beautiful place.

Another interesting Fulton, note…President Reagan’s parents were both born and married here in the Immaculate Conception Church that still stands.  They lived at 907 12th Avenue, and the Reagan family plot is in the Fulton Catholic Cemetery, where his maternal grandmother and paternal great-grandparents are buried.  Fulton is part of the Ronald Reagan Trail.

Back in the car we realized that we had dilly-dallied a while and we were still quite a ways from our next campground.  We put the pedal to the metal (well, as much as you can towing a TT on back roads) and continued north, making one stop at a roadside park to walk a little bit.  Along the route we went by the turn off for Menominee, Illinois.  MW hates it when we see this name on a sign.  How many of you watched Sesame Street when you were young?  There was a musical snippet in that show that hits me every time I see this town name.  I start to sing it and drive him crazy…on purpose, of course.  I hope this plays for you…

Downtown Lanesboro, MN

We arrived at the Eagle Cliff Campground in Lanesboro, Minnesota later than we usually stop.  It is a really nice, well-kept  place right along the Root river (which is pronounced like foot instead of my southern pronunciation like boot).  The sites are level and they have both paved and grass.  We dropped off Penelope and headed out for dinner (flatbread) and beer at the High Court Pub (delicious and also on the river with a patio overlooking the water).  Several weeks ago I found a list of 50 must-see small towns, and Lanesboro was on it.  The beauty of the river plus a nice, walkable downtown area with a variety of little shops, inns, and restaurants make it worth the visit.  In addition to our campground, there is another on the river right in town, too.  (Galena, Illinois was also on that list.  We drove through there today, and it appears to be a nice destination for our next trip this way.)

More pics from today:


Great to see that familiar smile!

We awoke this morning to crisp, cool air.  Finally, we are getting to good sleeping weather!  We both remembered hearing a lot of cow noises in the middle of the night.  They were off in the distance, so it almost sounded like people talking and took us a while to figure out.  We pointed the truck toward the Minneapolis area and headed out.  I was pretty excited about the next part of our day.  Recently someone that I worked with about 35 years ago reached out and reconnected.  When MW and I realized this trip was going to take us near where Tom and his family live, we arranged a visit.  It was great to sit for a couple of hours and catch up over lunch.  I’m always amazed to run into people from the past.  The years inevitably make changes, but hearts and smiles are still the same.  I hope to keep up and visit more in the future.

After a great visit, we continued our trek north, with a side stop at Pleasureland RV Center in St. Cloud.  We’ve been discussing whether to replace Penelope with a slightly larger Penelope II or Petunia (we’ll decide that later), so we stopped along the way to look at a couple of models that we haven’t seen in our area.  I’m sure we will talk more about this later.

On the road again, finally, we continued up to Little Falls where we set up camp at the Charles Lindbergh State Park.  This is across the street from where Charles Lindbergh’s father lived, and there is a spot nearby where Lindbergh used to land his plane when he visited.  The weather has been slightly warmer this afternoon, but the site in the shade of the trees was very pleasant, and we enjoyed sitting outside.  This campground is very nicely wooded, and the wind through the trees is so relaxing.  After sandwiches for dinner, we took a walk around and settled in for the night.

Oh, one final note…somewhere along the way we passed a restaurant named…wait for it…Poopy’s.  Now I ask you, who eats at someplace called Poopy’s???!!!