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Thread: Riding Minnesota: a Man, a Motorcycle and a Map of Minnesota

  1. #1
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Riding Minnesota: a Man, a Motorcycle and a Map of Minnesota

    Several years ago the BMW Motorcycle Owners Club of Minnesota held a contest to see who could take a picture of their motorcycle in front of the most "Welcome to [insert state here]" signs. I happened to be riding the Iron Butt Associations "48/10" (riding your motorcycle to 48 states in 10 days or less) that fall. I rode to all 48 states, dutifully taking photos at each border crossing, and then promptly did... nothing. I didn't enter at all... whoops. Fast forward a couple years and we arrive to Spring 2018.

    I happened to be crossing back into Minnesota from a trip to Wisconsin and noticed the large "Welcome to Minnesota" entry monument along the side of the road. I thought "man, I wonder how many of those there are?" Luckily the MN Department of Transportation actually has a map of each entry monument.

    As I generally enter the BMW MN Club and the national BMW Motorcycle Owners of America mileage contest (see how many miles you can ride from April until October), I thought it would be cool if I rode my motorcycle to each one of the entry monuments and snapped a photo.

    That blossomed into... "gee, I wonder if anyone has ridden every highway in Minnesota". After some hours on Google, I found nothing!

    And so it begins...

    I'm not going to link to every single sign on this forum, but you can see them all here:
    Riding Minnesota: A Man, a Motorcycle, and a Map of Minnesota
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT
    Former: 1995 BMW K75S, 2009 BMW G650GS
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  2. #2
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Minnesota State Entry Monuments

    Minnesota has 3 different entry signs along the highway, for a total of 65 different signs and monuments.

    From the MNDOT website:

    "Type I - Major Entrance Monument (12 total)
    Monument-style signs located on interstate highways and the highway routes with the highest traffic volume.

    [​IMG]

    Type II - Secondary Entrance Monument (20 total)
    Historic and historic-style monuments of stone and wood, mostly located on highways with moderate traffic volume. Minnesota has 16 Type II entry monuments that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

    typeII-metal.jpg

    Type III - Minor Entrance Sign (33 total)
    Metal signs located on highway entrance routes with the lowest traffic volume."

    typeIII-entrance.jpg
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    I stopped by one of the Minnesota Welcome Centers and obtained several of the 2017-2018 Official Highway Maps. These would be my guide as I strolled across every highway in Minnesota.

    IMG_6287.JPG

    Side note - I think back in 5th or 6th grade our teacher had a whole lesson plan for a couple of days about using a map. We all received MN maps and had to find different cities, calculate distances, and plan routes. I also remember that he graded us on if we could fold the map back up properly. Weirdly, I think about that class pretty much every time I fold one of these maps back up...
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT
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  4. #4
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Numbers game
    The next step was to located each of those entry signs, and number them on the MN map. I started with 1 on the south east side of the map, since I live in Rochester, and went clockwise around. US 10 near Taylors Falls has 2 signs... fancy! So now I have 64 stops to make and a lot of roads to cover to do it.


    IMG_6289.JPG
    Current: 2007 BMW R1200RT
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  5. #5
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Sign Uno! Highway MN 26
    This is the entrance sign on MN 26 as you roll in from Iowa - not the world's best shot because of the shadow...
    Plus, two smiling faces

    1.JPG

    1a.JPG
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  6. #6
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 21 - I90E
    This is number 21 on April 22nd - I90 going east into MN - very poor shot 😔as I was in the middle of an Iron Butt Association SaddleSore 1000 (1000 miles in 24 hours or less).

    21.JPG
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    The sign that didn't exist - Number 7 - Highway MN 105
    This was the first time I've ridden to somewhere only to find that the Welcome Sign didn't exist. (I actually rode to this same location later in the year, only to find that it still hadn't been replaced) This is on Highway 105 coming in from Iowa. I don't know if it was stolen or taken down to be replaced?


    7_not.JPG
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  8. #8
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 8 - Highway MN 65
    This is the Welcome Sign for highway 65 near the town of Gordonsville, MN - they also had a nice bonus border marker which marked the completion of the Jefferson Highway system across both Iowa and Minnesota in 1930!!

    8b.JPG
    8a.JPG
    8c.JPG
    8e.JPG
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 49 - MN 53, 71, 11 in International Falls
    This was a trip up through International Falls and then over to Thunderbay, ON - beautiful crisp day!

    49a.JPG
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 50 - MN 61 from Thunderbay, ON
    A casual stroll down from Thunder Bay on my way to spend the night in Grand Marais. I woke up to near freezing temperatures in the morning - 33 degrees F in late May! The heated grips and heated vest were working overtime for a while that morning until the temperatures rose.

    IMG_5735.JPG
    IMG_5743.JPG
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    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 32 - MN Highway 117 into Wheaton, MN from South Dakota
    Beautiful area with Lake Traverse off to your right as you ride down the border

    32a.JPG
    32b.JPG
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  12. #12
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    Number 30 - US 12 into Ortonville, MN from South Dakota
    Brown with white lettering - so many of these Stone Monuments have subtle differences that make each one unique.

    30b.JPG
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  13. #13
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    Number 28 - US 212 into Dawson, MN
    Another brown sign with white lettering, this time on a lighter stone base than on US 12

    28.JPG
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  14. #14
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    Number 12 - US 169 into Elmore and Blue Earth, MN
    Another beautiful monument

    12.JPG
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  15. #15
    Registered User drneo66's Avatar
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    A little map update
    Here's about where I was currently - so many, many roads to go!

    map2.JPG

    Number 15 - Highway US 71 into Jackson, MN
    Welcome to Minnesota

    15.JPG
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