The Working River that Divides USA

No river in the United States has had more historical and economical significance than Mississipi River. The "working river" as i...

No river in the United States has had more historical and economical significance than Mississipi River. The "working river" as it's often called for being the main transport artery to move grain and coal over the past 200 years, has also been used as a western frontier of the British colonies and early USA. Mississipi River is a widely used continental divide between the East and the West, and I often hear people say "west of Mississipi" or "east of Mississipi". It is the second longest river in North America (2,350 miles / 3,780 km) that connects Minnesota and 9 other states with the Gulf of Mexico.

Those who are interested to learn about the history and nature of the river, should take The Great River Road National Scenic Byway, a road that follows the river from its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota to its mouth in New Orleans, Louisiana. 
I only drove a small section of the scenic byway before heading to the airport in Minneapolis, but apparently some people take it for the full length according to the stickers on this van (below).
Frankly speaking, a natural beauty of the river and its valley is rather mediocre comparing to other rivers such as Colorado, so don't expect to see much on that regard. Of course, there are a number of parks along the way, some of them - with great views from the top of a cliff. 
However, what fascinates people when it comes to the Mississipi River is its human history.
It's fair to say that the river has actually shaped the history of the United States. Long before building the railroads and auto roads, the Mississipi River was the only practical way to expand westward and northward. 
Picture this: it would take up to 4 months to get from Louisville, Kentucky to New Orleans, Louisiana. However, once steamboats have appeared in the early 19th century, the same trip would only take 6 days thanks to a still and passable nature of the Mississipi River.
Steamboats have since long gone yielding to cars, plains and trains, but the river is still actively used to deliver cargo such as grain and coal.
According to the information sign at the visitor centre in Prescott, Wisconsin, if you live in the US and have eaten bread or cereal today or turn on a light bulb, chances are, the grain in your food and the coal producing your electricity were shipped on the Mississipi River. This is how much the river is being used today.
A number of cargo barges pass the river every day. A single towboat pushes about 15 barges at a time. A load of each barge is equivalent to 15 jumbo train cars or 58 semi trailers. The main cargo is grain which includes corn, wheat, barley, oats, and rye as well as iron, coal, petroleum, fertilizer, and sugar. If you have time, watch barges passing through a lock, you won't regret.
 A whole bunch of small towns and villages that look like one another dot the shoreline of the river. 
Lots of birds live and migrate along the Mississipi River corridor. 
One of the points of interest in Minnesota is National Eagle Center.
That's it from me. What was your experience at the Mississipi River like?

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