Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

American pride on the road May 30, 2018

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I GAVE THIS SEMI driver a thumbs up as Randy and I passed him along Interstate 94/90 near the Wisconsin Dells Saturday morning.



To see such visible public patriotism and pride on Memorial Day weekend pleased me.

The driver nodded and smiled and, I expect, appreciated the appreciation.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


Enough to scare the blank out of you February 26, 2016

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Semi view 1


AT FIRST GLANCE, you likely are questioning my sanity in photographing a semi seemingly headed directly at the vehicle in which I am a front seat passenger.

If I did not understand the context of this image taken in October, I, too, would be screaming at myself to get the blank out of the way.

But things are not always as they seem.

This is actually a photo of a semi cab hooked to a cab traveling along Interstate 90 near the Rochester exit in southeastern Minnesota. Now imagine if my husband hadn’t been paying close attention. He may have thought the semi was aiming toward us and took evasive action. Thank goodness someone (not me) in our vehicle was fully alert and not fooled by an optical illusion.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


How a car looks after spinning into the path of a semi truck January 10, 2012

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A WEEK AGO I published a post, “New Year’s thankfulness,” about my niece (in-law) who was involved in an accident that quite easily could have killed her. She lost control of her 2002 Saturn Ion on an icy Minnesota interstate sending her car spinning into the path of a semi truck. Her car was then subsequently struck by a pick-up truck. (Click here to read that original post.)

Heidi was knocked unconscious, had to be cut from her vehicle and was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester. She, miraculously, suffered only a concussion, a gash on her head, and bumps, cuts and bruises.

At the time I wrote that post, I did not have photos of Heidi’s car meaning I could not fully grasp, but only imagine, the severity of this accident.

Recently I received two images from Heidi’s husband, Jeremy, and permission to post those car photos here. It is one thing to read, in an e-mail, details of an accident like this involving a semi. It is quite another to view images.

In this case, I would most definitely agree that “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

The demolished rear of Heidi's Saturn after her car was struck by a semi and pick-up on I-90.

Heidi was cut from her car following the December 30 morning crash on an icy interstate.

Jeremy reports that Heidi, also the mother of two young children, is doing much better since the December 30, 2011, crash. “…we’re able to go for walks now and she is able to go down stairs backwards. In a way, her healing process reminds me of watching our kids learning to walk in fast-forward.”

Godspeed in your recovery, Heidi.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photos courtesy of my nephew, Jeremy