Blogs from Minnesota, United States, North America


North America » United States » Minnesota » Montevideo July 25th 2018

Prairie Waters Region, Montevideo, Minnesota We stayed one more day in Southwestern Minnesota because Joan had one more thing (I call them rebellion items) she wanted to see. At this point, though, as tired as we both are and as overwhelmed by everything we’ve seen, I’m not sure either one of us really had our hearts into this day. The original idea Joan had was to drive up to the Marsh Lake area, known as the Prairie Waters Region, rent a canoe and maybe do some paddling around some of the marshes and streams. She had read an interesting article about the area in our travel magazine and it appealed to her. One of the lakes in the area serves as a bird wildlife refuge. In fact it is, reportedly, the largest pelican rookery in North ... read more

Rainy Lake Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park, International Falls, Minnesota Ranger-led programs are some of the most important things to participate in when you go to a National Park. They operate on a schedule and, sometimes their schedule doesn’t dovetail with yours, but whenever possible, take advantage of their programs. Even in this day and age, Rangers maintain an infectious level of enthusiasm which helps animate their message. Plus they simply know so much, because they have the opportunity to read and study a particular park full time - something us casual visitors can only hope for on a four or five day visit. In some places, it can become your only way to see the park, as at Voyageurs. If you don’t have a boat of your own, and maybe aren’t interested in renting one ... read more

Ketogama Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park As I’ve said a couple of times about Voyageurs, without a boat, you are sort of up the creek without a paddle - or a boat, or even maybe not on the creek at all! As a ranger pointed out, you can rent boats from private companies, but if you add in camping equipment, provisions, and maybe a guide, it is going to get expensive. So for most of us, the only way to see this park is by taking advantage of what the park service offers. They have several programs that include both larger tour boat cruises and smaller canoe-based experiences. We’ve taken advantage of both kinds in this park and have enjoyed them immensely. (Warning, though, they fill up quickly, so sign up for these things before you ... read more

North America » United States » Minnesota » Marshall July 24th 2018

Camden State Park, Lynd, Minnesota We broke camp yesterday morning and drove around 380 miles southwest to this State Park in southwestern Minnesota. Our original plan had us spending a couple nights in St. Cloud, but we canceled that stop to add time to our Voyageurs stay. We both think that was a good idea, although it would have been better if we could have been at a better campground - we aren’t very happy with Arnold’s and Joan gave it a pretty poor review. But you don’t know these things when you make early reservations, and there really weren’t too many options available up here anyway. We are now done with Voyageurs and although it was a long drive, we managed it OK. We picked up US 71 right in International Falls and just followed ... read more

North America » United States » Minnesota » Faribault July 20th 2018

We pulled out of camp at 9:30 (after posting last night’s blog up next to the office where they actually had a signal!!) into a gray and cool morning. Happily the longer the day went on, the more sunshine we had and we finally had a very nice afternoon with blue skies. The afternoon temps are starting to be a title warmer every day...REALLY looking forward to the heat and humidity at home?? Our first stop was to take on fuel and then we headed to downtown Minneapolis for our own planned tour of the city thanks to Steve B, Tim D, and Jane and Marv’s suggestions. Thank you, we think! We drove by the Target Center where the Minnesota Twins play. It is right in the downtown area. Parking must be a nightmare. From there ... read more
Target Field
Target Field
Winter “walk overs” in downtown Minneapolis

North America » United States » Minnesota » Bemidji July 19th 2018

We were late leaving this morning which semi got us in a little bit of an irritating situation later in the day. However, we needed the down time, and alls’ well that ends well! We pulled out of camp at 10:20. By the way, there was a sign in the campground office that we thought was pretty cute: “Camping: Where you spend a small fortune to live like a homeless person.” Our morning was perfect at 73 degrees and a low humidity level. Arriving in the town of Bemidji at 10:45 we went looking for information on the headwaters of the Mississippi. As it turns out from information we got at a Science Center in town and along the way at different venues during the day, the facts are clear in that—the facts are NOT clear! ... read more
Paul & Babe—John and Pat!!
Entrance to Bemidji
Entrance to Itaska State Park

North America » United States » Minnesota » Maple Grove July 19th 2018

We pulled out of camp around 9:30, making the local Walmart our first stop. We got fuel and then went into the store to pick up a few small items, including fresh raspberries and fresh sweet cherries.Yum! While we were in the parking lot we made a phone call to Melissa D to welcome her to the blog. Since we had sorta kinda learned a lesson about finding campgrounds in Minnesota during high season yesterday, we called a KOA fairly close to Minneapolis and made reservations for tonight. On our drive today we crossed the Mississippi River about three times—each time we crossed it, it was a little bit wider! Amazing. We passed many, many lakes which made one of our discoveries later make a little sense once we realized what we were looking at. We ... read more
Barn for Tony...
A good part of the day...
Ice fishing rig/RV!

North America » United States » Minnesota » Bemidji July 18th 2018

First to finish up with yesterday: we took a walk by the Lake of the Woods after supper yesterday evening. You can see by the pictures that it was a very peaceful walk. As a matter of interest, I find the glaciated sculpting of the rocks that are the Canadian Shield to be fascinating. You can see by the pictures that tremendous pressure was put on these rocks by the glaciers that rode over them during glacial periods. They scraped everything down to the bedrock as they drove through, scratching the rocks as they went. This has always fascinated me. The striations are very clear. This morning when we got up the outside temp (wait for it Brently!) was 53 degrees with a crisp 60 degrees inside...until John got up and turned the heat on! We ... read more
View from dock
Glaciated Striations
View over striated rocks in Lake of the Woods

Arnold’s RV Campground, International Falls, Minnesota As I predicted, yesterday was very much a down day. We had a late pancake-bacon-and-egg breakfast and managed to grill up some T-bone steaks and corn-on-the-cob for dinner. And I we got the dishes done and the sewage tanks dumped. Otherwise, it was a do-nothing day. Partly, we are waiting for our last two boat rides in the park, but they aren’t until Thursday and Friday. So we have a couple of days that we’ve assigned to just resting up in preparation for the drive back home. Based on the weather reports, its going to be a hot one, and I think its at least 1500 miles driving, so it will take us a few days. We have a couple stops along the way to break it up, but still, ... read more

Ash River Visitor Center, Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota We had signed up for the ‘Wildlife by Canoe’ ranger program out of the Ash River Visitor Center. The park has three visitor centers, although they aren’t all open all year round. Rainy Lake is the one closest to International Falls, where we are camping. Ash River is nearly an hour away back down highway 53 towards the southeast. We had phoned there several days ago to sign up for the two-hour canoe trip. The description of the trip included skirting the shores of the Ash River to see what might be visible from the water. Even though it involved some paddling, we thought it would be fun. When I signed up they said that you didn’t need to be experienced rowers, just that you needed to be ... read more

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