Sweet Home Minnesota

Today we finished our journey in the South and crossed the mighty Mississippi into Minnesota, but not before we had some bus trouble.

We were cruising up I-39 through Illinois, listening to the last of the student presentations and how Joe used his new organizational skills in Minnesota after Freedom Summer of 1964.

After the last of the presentations, we noticed that the air conditioning wasn’t as cold as it should be, plus the electricity and Wi-Fi on the bus wasn’t working correctly, so we let Cris know.

She called Lamers Bus Lines and they ran a system check on the bus from the office in Green Bay, Wis. They told her that our bus was going to shut down automatically in two hours and that was the amount of time to get to Rochelle, Ill. before the bus shut down and left us stranded on I-39.

We were about an hour and a half away from Rochelle, so without any delays, we should make it there just in time. Cris firmly told us we couldn’t stop for anything and off we went, racing time to Rochelle. Lamers would send another bus to come and take us the rest of the way to Winona.

Just as we reached the designated truck stop in Rochelle, the bus started beeping.

“We made it just in time,” Cris said. “The bus is going to shut down.”

While Cris went to find the other Lamers bus, we were able to sit down and eat. After an hour, the other Lamers bus arrived and the two bus drivers transferred the luggage and we were ready to go again. The new bus had the same amenities as the old bus and it was able to get us back to Winona without the threat of stranding us on the interstate.

Our original bus, on the left, decided it couldn't make the full journey from Winona to Mississippi and back again. Our new bus, on the right, took us back to Winona.

Our original bus, on the left, decided it couldn’t make the full journey from Winona to Mississippi and back again. Our new bus, on the right, took us back to Winona.

Since we were an hour behind schedule, we weren’t going to stop until we got to Winona, Cris said.

Joe continued his presentation on the new bus, but with microphone problems this time. He had to hold the microphone very carefully or it would squeak loudly and hurt our ears.

Joe stayed in Mississippi after the summer of 1964 and helped Kemper County start up “Head Start Centers” for children to get people involved and build a stronger community.

Joe finally came home to Minnesota and joined three other movements: the anti-war movement, the women’s liberation movement and worked with the environmental awareness movement.

In Winona, Joe started a group called “Beyond Tough Guise.” This group talks to men about prevention of sexual abuse and violence in Winona County. The program has been successful, Joe said.

We made pretty good time going through Wisconsin and managed to arrive in Winona at 7:30 p.m., our planned arrival time.

A small crowd of parents, friends and spouses greeted us off the bus and we said farewell to each other. It wasn’t really goodbye though because we had post-trip classes to finish up.

It was a long but worthwhile trip full of learning and many fun times.

This is the last post for the trip. The author would like to thank her fellow classmates and professors for her camera getting up in their face and getting their reactions about the trip.