Allright. I’m making a feeble attempt to try to keep up with this darn blog now. We’re still having a great time in Minnesota. Right now we’re in Duluth, on Lake Superior (more on that later), but over the past couple of weeks, we’ve visited the Twin Cities, and a great little state park called Lake Bemidji.
Minneapolis was a nice change from being, what felt like, so deep away from any sort of city for so long. We saw Obama bumper stickers! And there were whole foods and Trader Joes! We stayed in a KOA in a suburb of Minneapolis, Maple Grove. The KOA was fine — we had a full hook-up site, but after we walked through the campground, realized we would have been much happier in an electric-only site. Those were in the back of the campground, and really felt like they were in the woods. In Minneapolis, we did some shopping, and went to the Mall of America, because that’s what you do. It was… a mall. With all the same stores as any other mall, except more of them. We covered it in a couple of hours, because we really aren’t into a whole lot of mall stores, so we hardly stopped anywhere, except for an Orange Julius and a Caribou Coffee. (Caribou Cofee is identical to Starbucks in every way except that it’s called Caribou Coffee, and that sometimes they remember to put a chocolate-covered espresso bean on the top of your coffee cup). I was impressed, however, with the massive Lego scultures that literally wrapped around the lego store. Here’s a shot of some of them from floor three of the four-story mall. Also, there’s a full on amusement park in the middle.
We spent some time walking around some charming neighborhoods in Saint Paul — up Summit Avenue and its parallel streets, with stately residences that once housed the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Dillinger and Robber Barons. (Garrison Keiller lives in one of those houses now). Up the hill to the Cathedral of Saint Paul, a truly awe-inspiring piece of architecture.
We also had our first taste of White Castle. Can’t say it’s something we’ll be repeating. And we found this label on the bottom of the packaging quite baffling:
The KOA couldn’t keep us through the weekend (Labor Day, all booked up), and then I had remembered that there was an Airstream-only park somewhere in Minnesota. It turned out to be about an hour north of Minneapolis, and they had plenty of room for us. The park is made up of owners who own lots, some of which are available for “rent” for short-termers like us. Owners generally keep their Airstreams parked there for the three-seasons that the park is opened (they’re required to move them out for winter). So it made for a very quiet, almost too quiet, stay — lots of Airstreams, very few people. Great place to stay, though. Quiet, great prices, heated pool, free golf, and you get an enclosed gazebo on your site if you’re lucky (we weren’t lucky).
From there, we were off to Lake Bemidji State Park, Northeast of Minneapolis. It was a great stay — a walk to the very large lake, right on the Paul Bunyan Trail (great for bike rides), and the park had on-site WiFi. At a state park! And it was fast and reliable, too! (Stay near a restroom building; that’s where the repeaters are). We met a family who wanted to tour the airstream, and the guy, Dan, ended up being a tournament fisherman, who took Dennis on a late-night fishing trip for walleye on the lake. We just ate the results of that trip — delicious! We got a great site at this park, too — at the end, with forest on our “yard” side. Quite lovely. The squirrels are in full-gear getting ready for winter, and one industrious little guy was on a non-stop trip back-and-forth between the woods and a tree, stocking up for days on end. We also had a marmot for a neighbor, who lived in the base of a nearby tree, and would come out for some snacks and fresh air at about 3:00 on most days.
When we were in Grand Tetons, we got the kayaking bug and have bee waiting/planning for the right opportunity to get set up with some kayaks since then. We got racks installed on the shell of the truck while staying at the MN Airstream Park. And while in Bemidji, (after realizing that ordering the kayaks we wanted would be impossible with this lifestyle), we found The Ski Hut in Duluth, which had a good selection, so we reserved some kayaks to pick up there. I’m not sure if we would have ended up in Duluth had we not had to go there for our kayaks, but I’m glad we did. That’s next…