Book Review 2009 #45 : Tales of the Road

My next book is a travelogue by a MPR host.

Cathy Wurzer is well known to Minnesotans as a host of Minnesota Public Radio’s Morning Edition, and is one of Minnesota’s best journalists.
In this book, Tales of the Road, Highway 61, a companion to a PBS documentary of the same name (which I have not seen), Cathy Wurzer travels the quintessential highway in Minnesota, Highway 61.
Memorialized by Minnesota native Bob Dylan, Highway 61 stretches from the Canadian Border at Grand Portage and goes all the way to the Iowa border (although its re-signed as Interstate 35 for a good portion of its route). Wurzer takes us along this entire route, north to south, stopping at the famous locales, as well as the less heralded locations. Even more poignantly, like her visit to the tragic tale of rollingstone colony, only the site and a few ruins remain of one-interesting venues, attractions and historical sites.
This is where the power and strength of Wurzer’s writing comes through best. Her stories about the famous Split Rock Lighthouse, Tobie’s, and the Aerial Lift Bridge are strong writing, interesting and show good scholarship. Its her stories about the venues which are lost or are fading away, venues that, even though I have traveled much of Highway 61, I’ve never *heard* of, is where the strength of the book lies.
The next time this amateur photographer and transplant into Minnesota travels Highway 61, I will be taking this book along, so that I can find the sites and places, and stories that Wurzer has so ably brought to life.
Any Minnesotan, local or expat, would do well to have this book as part of their library.