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Saturday, September 4, 2010

VACATION – Friday: Fruitful and Fruitless?

So here we are, all snug in the motorhome on our site in the Mills Lacs Lake state park in Minnesota (errr Minney-soh-tah) as they say here!  LOL  We can tell a distinct accent here as compared to our own from the midwest in Wisconsin.  We will stay here till Monday night, and then venture on again. Who knows where?

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The doggers let us sleep IN till 8:30 am!   Can you imagine that?  But sadly, by the time they get used to the new vacation schedule of sleeping in, we will back to the household grind of 4:30 a.m. and such stuff. 

It was raining a bit in the early morning, but due to warm up and get sunnier as they day wore on.  We were lazy in the morning and hung out in the rig,  I caught up on some emails and got the blog out.  Nice that we have an aircard and cell signal here.  Spent some time talking to Erin and Heather on the phone, and chatted with the grandkids.  Been sending them out some postcards to the kids, just like Gram Kafehl used to do for us when we were little. 

Chelsea sent this one, saying she MISSED ME!

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And Allegra has turned 9 months old while we were gone, and Jameson found out how to take OFF his diaper and explore the texture of the contents… ewwwwww


As for the fruitful and fruitless parts of my title…. well….   we decided that Steveio’s little Android run netbook by Augen was cute and all, but it would only run their *apps* type programs and not let us load up our Streets and Trips with GPS program on it.  Even keeping our S&T on a big SD disk and tried running it from that in the SD slot.  No way.  So we decided to return it to Kmart.  Looked up on the internet that there was one located in Brainerd, about 35 miles away.  We wanted to take a drive and see the area anyhow…  this is one HUGE lake, 17 miles long and 13 miles wide.  We saw fishing charters and signs for wonderful cruise trips around the lake too.

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It was windy and gusty as we drove, our little Tracker getting buffeted by the blasts, but once we were away from the shoreline of the big lake, it seemed to calm down a bit.

On the way to Brainerd, we passed through a burg along the shore of the big lake called Garrison.  Saw a produce stand and bought some of the biggest raspberries we have ever seen!    And we bought some big bing cherries --- plus a few tomatoes, cucumbers, onions etc.  It was a “Fruitful”  stop!


Thennnnnnn we get to Brainerd, happily munching on our bing cherries as we drove along, looking for the Kmart.  We drove up Baxter Ave, we drove down Baxter Ave….   finally we stopped at a gas station and asked the gal.  NO KMART!   It closed up last year!  hahahaha  so that was the “fruitless” part of our day!   


We hopped back in our Tracker and headed to the campgrounds.    Traffic that was west/northbound was backed up for miles on end… slowed to a crawling snail’s pace.  Luckily we were heading south/eastbound and had clear sailing all the 35 miles back to the campground.  Guess the holiday traffic from Minneapolis/St. Paul was all heading “Up North”?

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Just as we returned to the park, the sun was suddenly shining, the sky was blue and the winds died down. 

We have seen some wildlife in the park so far, more deer again today, one being a young buck with velvet covered antlers, and then this little bird gobbling up bugs at the side of the road.  Not sure what kind of bird it was, it had a red V on the back of it’s head and a big white spot on its back as it flew away.  Anyone know what kind it is?


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Saw a porcupine and a fox too, and could smell a skunk, but thankfully didn’t run into him! There are horse trails all over and a separate camping area for equestrians, and we are very careful to wait till they are crossed and well back into the woods before driving on past them.  Skittish horses and pavement do not mix well, so we are respectful and give them plenty of time to get across.  Our campgrounds (one of three in the park) is 3 miles in from the main gate, so it’s long winding and pretty roads to get to our area.

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Once we got back, and unloaded with our fruits and fruit-less netbook, we let the doggers out and took care of supper.

I whipped up some chicken stir fry and rice and we ate inside, as the temps were already dropping out there.  After supper, we bundled up in some autumn clothing and took a walk around the park and some of the hiking trails before it got dark.   Found some *worms* on one overlook  (bookworms!)   

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They were so cute, two young gals, with their noses in books, reading on the overlook to the Rum River in the golden sunshine.  They told me the titles of their books, but I didn’t recognize the authors.  Guess I am not up on the pre-teen reading lists.

This is the Rum River, that flows around behind our campsites….

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Doesn’t this look like a movie set of a deep secret woods, full of fairies, elves and magic?

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Like I said, there are hiking trails all over the place, and some have picnic tables and rest areas here and there.  This is such an inviting spot to stop and have a picnic!

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We found two other sheltie dogs in the campgrounds, so the doggies visited with each other, and we visited with folks as we passed around the loops.  Once we got back to our site, it had cooled off considerably (forecasted down to low 40’s overnight)  so we turned on our catalytic heater on low and got comfy for the night.  We had the computer going, plugged in the router, the tv, lights and water pump, but only used up 10% of our power available overnight   Due to having a big sunny day on Saturday, the four big solar panels will have us charged up in no time, I am sure. 

We have to learn to be *extravagant*  instead of *stingy* with our power use now.   We did notice a few campers running quiet external generators in the non-electric sites, and do not recall any notices banning generator use.  So I guess it is allowed if need be.  The sites are so far apart here, we don’t notice their sounds of them running unless we are right in front of their site.  We do have one dog nearby with a repeatedly booming bark, but I think the rangers will take care of that if it becomes a problem.   Sure beats being camped next to a bunch of roaring dust throwing partying ATVs, right?

Well, on to the next adventure!


  1. To bad about the K-Mart, they are losing ground fast, I guess to Wal Mart, We used to have a bunch all around St charles County, now O'Fallon MO. has about the last Big K left in the county. I used to really like K-Mart it was a friendlier store than most Wal Marts. Looks like you guys are having a great vacation, Glad we are past the daiper stage with all our Grandkids. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! The woods looks so inviting.

  3. I think your spotted bird with the red spot on the back of the neck is a Flicker. I believe their part of the woodpecker family, but do a lot of ground feeding on insects.

    Enjoy your posts!

    Selene, NC

  4. Hey! That is our old stomping grounds! We lived in Hibbing MN and did the Tour Round Mille Lacs on the bikes (bicycles) one year. Been to Brainerd but not the KMart :) Ya, you betcha and all that. It is beautiful up there! Enjoy!

  5. Ya, that's a Northern Flicker (yellow-shafted), don't cha know, and a female to boot! :)

  6. Am wondering if you use the Picasa Photo editing program Karen. Some of your photos have a green caste to them & I think Picasa could color correct that for you. K-Mart dried up in this area many, many, years ago. I worked for a short while in one of their camera depts back in 75. Nice area you are in. It's beautiful country up here in the northern latitudes.......except in winter!!!!

  7. What a really beautiful place to spend some time in. How peaceful!! Great pics!!
    Sorry about the K-Mart but it sounds like you all had fun anyway.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)


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