I loving living in northern MN (Ely now, Duluth before) but I grew up in Rochester. If you are trucking around the country, I'd look to Roch or possibly the Winona. Beautiful country but still close to I90 & I94 for your work. Even from southern MN it only takes 5.5 hrs to get to Ely.
If being close to the interstae doesn't make that much of a difference for you, look in Duluth. Good size, on Superior, and in 2 hrs you can be up the N. Shore in Ely, north Metro, of Eau Claire WI. It's a good location.