Galena was the MinnClan’s destination this year. A little town in the extreme northwest corner of Illinois, it had been a center for lead mining, a regional transportation hub, and home for Ulysses Grant. Now Galena depends upon tourists, such as us. It is located in a narrow valley of the Galena River. Its downtown is protected by a levee and, since 1951, a floodgate.

We stayed at a rental house about six miles outside of town for three full days. This place had a hot tub and five bedrooms, each with a queen-sized bed and its own bathroom. Wow! This was luxury.

On our first full day we visited Galena’s downtown. We climbed the levee. We wandered the main street and had lunch at Big Bill’s Sandwich Shop, and then explored the Old City Cemetery (1828-1859).

Little Galena, far from anywhere

Where we stayed

Sunday night dinner with Laura, the birthday girl, and Nancy

Minn Clan jaywalks in downtown Galena

Julie and Ann examine Galena’s War Memorial
Surprisingly, Civil War soldiers are not represented in the monuments.

Bob and Bill are refreshed at a coffee shop

A local resident explains Galena’s Old City Cemetery

Old stones in the Old City Cemetery

On our second day, some of us visited the historic Potosi Brewery, home of the ABA National Brewery Museum, while others went to Horseshoe Mound and Casper Bluff. On our third day, we visited the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in nearby Dubuque.

Good old Potosi!

In the ABA National Brewery Museum

Bob contemplates a Shawano beer

Would you buy a beer from this guy?

Enjoying the hot tub at our rental house

The Stonehenge-like structure on Horseshoe Mound

Horseshoe Mound has markers for the directions of
sunrise and sunset for the summer and winter solstices

MinnClan about to head home:
Bob, Maija, Ann, Gail, Julie, Bill, and Al

Bob and Lolly are missing from our final photograph because they had to leave the day before. After returning from the Potosi Brewery tour, Bob became ill. At first we thought it was food poisoning from his meal at the restaurant in Potosi. But the problem persisted on Wednesday so, while the rest of us visited the Mississippi River Museum, Lolly took him back home to Shawano. There, they found that the problem was his gall bladder. He had surgery that night and recovered quickly.

This is not the first time that a member of MinnClan has had to leave the gathering early due to gall bladder problems. In May 2001, the Clan camped at Berea, Kentucky, for an art and bluegrass festival. Shortly after arriving, stomach pains drove Ann to the emergency room. It was diagnosed as gall bladder so she and Bob packed up their pop-up trailer and headed home to St. Louis.

Where will we assemble in 2017? New Orleans would be fun, but it is a bit distant for some of us. One possibility is Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a city on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Prepared by Al Holm, 10 October 2016