Thursday, February 15, 2024

Day 3 - Rochester MN to Lincoln NE

September 2017 - Lincoln NE

Day 1 - Toronto to Chesterton IN
Day 2 - Chesterton IN to Rochester MN

September 7

Another good Hilton Honors breakfast cooked to order, better than yesterday. Great servers too.

We set out around 8:45 and it is a little chilly, 9C but no rain in the forecast.

A number of Rochester buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the historic Chateau Theatre, which in 2015 was bought by the city for preservation. Built in 1927, the Chateau was one of the most elaborate theatres built in Rochester in the early 1900s. The exterior sunburst design marquee is lit with 636 light bulbs. Its unique French Village decor includes interior balconies and turrets and, on the ceiling, stars in the night sky. The theatre is currently closed.

Rochester was founded in 1854. Rochester developed as a stagecoach stop between Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Dubuque, Iowa. When the Winona and St Peter Railroad initiated service in October 1864, it brought new residents and business opportunities. In 1863, Dr. William W. Mayo arrived as the examining surgeon for draftees in the Civil War. The community was named after Rochester, New York.

Standing larger-than-life bronze renderings of William Worrall Mayo (by Leonard Crunelle) and Mother M. Alfred Moes (by Mike Major). The size difference between the two sets of sculptures gives the appearance of dedicated guardians watching over and providing special care for My Bother and I from a distance.

My Brother and I brings to life the deep abiding concept of family, teamwork, and relationships exemplified by the Mayos.

Avalon Music, formerly a hotel was important in the local civil rights movement.
Avalon Music is a historic three-story red brick building. It opened in 1919 as the Northwestern Hotel. The Sam Sternberg family operated it as a kosher restaurant and hotel for Jewish travelers, including many visitors to the Mayo Clinic nearby.

In 1944, Vern Manning bought it and renamed it the Avalon Hotel. As the only hotel in the area which welcomed African Americans before desegregation, its guests included Duke Ellington and boxer Henry Armstrong. It became a local focus of the Civil Rights Movement and opposition to it; both a march for racial equality and a cross burning occurred at the property on August 23, 1963.

It has since been restored as retail and studio space, and houses a shop for musical instruments and audio equipment.

I promised you that we would do a selfie with the ear of corn and after trying to find the perfect spot we did!

Time to make some serious driving time!

Oh! Let's stop in Austin, this is a road trip.

Hormel Foods Corporation is the largest employer in Austin, and the town is sometimes called "SPAM Town USA". Austin is home to Hormel's corporate headquarters, a factory that makes most of North America's SPAM tinned meat, and the Spam Museum. Austin is also home to the Hormel Institute, a leading cancer research institution operated by the University of Minnesota with significant support from the Mayo Clinic.

 Just a tease from the Spam Museum, it deserves its own post.


Awesome rest area.

Make a stop in Mason City, why? Music Man.

Born in 1902, Willson's early life in Mason City, Iowa was full of music. His mother, Rosalie, was a music teacher and gave lessons to hundreds of Mason City's sons and daughters, including her own. Every day, he and the daughter of the local barber would play piano and flute duets during the lunch hour at the Mason City Cafeteria, splitting the $1.50 salary. Although he mastered many instruments, the flute was always Willson's weapon of choice; he later titled his autobiography "And There I Stood With My Piccolo."

"Well, ya got trouble, my friend. Right here, I say trouble right here in River City.”

Anyone who has seen the movie or watched the musical knows these words are from the musical “The Music Man.” Robert Preston portrayed the lead character in the movie, Harold Hill. Shirley Jones and Buddy Hackett also starred.

The true music man was not Harold Hill, but Mason City’s own – Meredith Willson. The Iowan penned the 1957 Broadway musical, which later became a hit movie in 1962.

Mason City honors its native son with a museum area called “Music Man Square.” 

Designed by Canadian artist Douglas Walker, the “76 Trombones” sculpture is on permanent display within the planter on the southwest corner of the building, not far from where some of the lyrics of its namesake song are etched on the building.

Who knew? Birthplace of John Wayne.

I'm going to let you guess that these are on the back of a truck.


Traffic as we hit Omaha at 5 PM!

Lincoln is the capital of the Nebraska, It is the second-most populous city in Nebraska and the 71st-largest in the United States.

Using points again, we are staying at Marriott Cornhusker. Not that impressive, rooms are dated and dark, small TVs, $20 US valet parking.

The corn maidens adorn the doors of each room.

Nice lobby though and quite a history.

The Cornhusker, with its sizable venue for banquets and high-profile events, drew figures including John and Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Eugene McCarthy, Herbert Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt and Lady Bird Johnson.

Martin Luther King Jr. stayed there. Elvis signed autographs in the lobby.

More recently, Paul McCartney and Pink checked in, and Jon Bon Jovi, following a performance at the Pinnacle Arena, ordered a Pinot Grigio on ice at the hotel pub.

We ordered room service for dinner, John had a buffalo chicken salad and I had a bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries. 


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