Explore Minnesota (Part II), Day Three

August 27

Upon waking, the Super declared we would be heading home on this day.  It was open ended, after all.  The bane of the traveler, bad in-room wifi, sent us in search of an early morning hot spot.  The Thunderbird Lodge does not have a lobby – one goes to the dining room or the bar.  We were prowling for a signal before either was open.  Finally, we signaled a staff member cleaning the dining room and asked if we could come in just to get an internet signal.  Once entered, the Super exclaimed, “OMG, look at that sunrise!”

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Then I came back inside . . .

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[After the photo session we had breakfast . . . ]

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[You may have seen the Super’s contribution on FB?]

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[Then we went down the road a tad to Voyageurs National Park, the only national park in our fair state.  Befitting our daily routine of up with the loons, we were there an hour and a half before the park opened.  Oh, to our biking niece and nephew in California, this would be a beautiful place to come to ride the trails!  :-)  So, onward . . . ]

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[Then we turned back toward International Falls, turning off on side roads to try to catch a view of the lake.  Any relation to the Alexandria Houskas?]

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[What it says.  We went in and found out all about the wonderful things we would miss by not staying here for a few more days.   Some day (famous last words), the boat ride on Lake Kabetogama and to Kettle Falls.]

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[Paper mills in International Falls – they once employed 3,200 people, now it’s down to 500.  The plant across the border in Fort Frances recently closed for good.  Obviously, not a good thing for the area.]

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[Remember, we passed this on the way into town yesterday . . . ]

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[It exists on conjunction with this!  :-)  ]

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[Then we went inside to pay homage to Bronko – from International Falls he went on to be an All-American for the Gophers, and NFL Hall of Famer for the Bears, and a pro wrestling champion in the 20’s and 30’s.  The high school took its nickname, The Broncos, from him.  After his athletic career, he came back to International Falls where he lived the rest of his life.  Interesting stats from Wikipedia – Nagurski has the largest recorded NFL Championship ring size at 19½ and wore a size 8 helmet.  The ring is on display there – you could drive a Plymouth through it.  Now, he was only 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than me – why don’t we look more alike?  The caretaker of the museum was a chap about our age, and we were his only customers.  Despite signs to the contrary, he said we could take photos if we didn’t use flash.  He was helpful and gave us a lot of history.  He’s concerned about the future of his town because it’s losing population – it’s smaller now than it was in Nagurski’s day.]

8-27-15-54 - Copy8-27-15-55 - Copy[Two snowmobiles from the 50’s . . . ]

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[And a photo I particularly liked – the photographer’s name was Oberholtzer (wrong on the plaque).]

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[And the Super chipped in with these.]

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[And will now be leaving the museum to . . . ]

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[Could Bronko have played here?]

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[Homeward bound, heading south on US 71.  Little Fork-Big Falls has been a consolidated school since . . . well, forever, but I never knew they were 20 miles apart.]

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[Our pre-flight planning, turn off US71 at Northome to take Mn46, a scenic byway through Chippewa National Forest.]

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[And scenic it was . . . and then we took this 26-mile detour.]

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[I had to go.  Blackduck was made famous in the 60’s because of the state’s most ubiquitous bumper sticker then – Where Hell is Blackduck?   OK, the final photo was lifted from Brother Cam, who took it almost two years ago – this was on US71, which we were no longer on.]

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[We drove back toward Mn46 on CR13, past sunflower fields, fields of evergreens to . . . in response to overwhelming interest, I give you Hoot-N-Holler! And this, as far is I could tell, is all of Alvwood, Minnesota, at the intersection of 46 and 13.  A local establishment where everyone knows your name, and yet were very friendly with we strangers. We signed a buck and hung (‘hung’ is appropriate here because we weren’t hanging anyone) it on the wall.]

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[We told the locals our Blackduck story.  Obviously kids, there weren’t aware of the bumper sticker, but were aware of “Where the Hell is Funkley” from the 70’s.  I was not around then, so that was a new one on me.  They said Funkley was famous for the Funkley Bar and Lounge, a notoriously adult facility frequented by bikers.  I checked it out when I got home – the place is the smallest incorporated town in the state with a population of 5, located not far from Blackduck.]

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[Once again, heading south on scenic byway Mn46.  And here’s why – an avenue of red pines, one of my favorite trees.]

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[Then why Deer River, I hear you say? . . . ]

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[Because back in the days, when we were allegedly students at the U of M residing in Centennial Hall, at least three of our brothers heralded from Deer River, including the Erola brothers.  All of them paid their way through college by wild ricing.  I  believe I was responsible for sending this game report to the Minnesota Daily.  :-)  ]

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[How can one not appreciate a town named “Ball Club”?]

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[The Big Fish Supper Club, hard by Bena, I believe has been featured here before.]

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[Pretty famous school name around these here parts.]

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[And Akeley has its Paul Bunyan.]

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[At the end of every great trip, all roads lead through Nevis.]

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. ~ Susan Sontag

Up next:  Somebody’s birthday?

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Explore Minnesota (Part II), Day Two

August 26

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[It’s now the am in Roseau, Minnesota.  This is not a photo of a trailer park; this is a picture of a windshield.  There is an issue with summer travel the farther north you go – it’s called insectosplatia.  In this case, I counted the remains of 42 different species on the do what you wanted to dowindshield.  Caribou have been known to plunge over cliffs, sometimes executing one and a half gainers with a full twist, in order to escape the mass assault of these creatures.  The natural enemy of the flying insect is the windshield; however, the windshield has not been in existence long enough for insects to have developed an innate fear and to take evasive actions.  In our case, the Super’s super-duper diesel VW (a/k/a, bug (appropriate)) gets 46 mpg on the road.  She normally has to stop for gas every third year.  But in this case visibility becomes a real problem when she’s only down an eighth of a tank.  We had to stop regularly at gas stations to double clean the windshield while she put in about a buck-two-eighty worth of fuel!  Which of course leads me to the question of why does this happen, in consideration of such things as biology, physics, string theory, Sanskrit, and possibly the capital of Burkina Faso.egrets  The Super’s VW travels at highway speed (almost in spite of itself) and in doing so pushes a bow wave of air in front of it.  So this air, which has some heft to it, is moving forward in front of the car at, say, 65 mph.  The query then is why does this blast of air not move these small airborne creatures over and around said vehicle – they somehow are able to penetrate this shield only to become a globby mess of protoplasm on the windshield.  A question for Bill Nye, the science guy, or possibly the Car Talk guys.  I took a lot of photos through the windshield on the trip – and while the focus is always on some distant object, you may occasionally notice windshield bug residue in a photo.  As for the rest of the car, we dropped it Olav’s Towing & Sandblasting and pick it up again in about a week.]

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[Number 2 on the sign is a Bucket List item.]

8-26-15-3 - Copy 8-26-15-4 - Copy 8-26-15-5 - Copy 8-26-15-6 - Copy 8-26-15-7 - Copy 8-26-15-8 - Copy[Remember the good ole days when this was just a drive-through?  Now this?  The Canadian guard, whose demeanor was that of a dead carp, for some reason took a long time to review our passports?  There were no other cars there or in line so maybe he thought he had the time to review my blog to see if I had ever published anything negative about Wayne Gretzky or, heaven forbid, Celine Dion?]

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[But eventually we were released on our travels, through the tundra not unlike what I recall from driving over the top of the Great Lakes many years ago, until we arrived in Sprague . . . at its hotel.]

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[In the absence of research, we didn’t realize this would require extensive travel on a gravel road, thus mussing the Super’s vehicle.  We did see lots of deer along the way, however.]

And so to the Northwest Angle, the northern most point of the contiguous 48 states.

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 Hail Minnesota

Minnesota, hail to thee!
Hail to thee, our state so dear,
Thy light shall ever be
A beacon bright and clear.
Thy son and daughters true
Will proclaim thee near and far,
They shall guard thy fame and adore thy name;
Thou shalt be their Northern Star.

Like the stream that bends to sea,
Like the pine that seeks the blue;
Minnesota, still for thee
Thy sons are strong and true.
From the woods and waters fair;
From the prairies waving far,
At thy call they throng with their shout and song;
Hailing thee their Northern Star.

The music and original stanzas were written and revised by two students at the University of Minnesota in 1904 and 1905. The official University of Minnesota song was adopted as the state song in 1945.

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[This is not Jake – we didn’t get his name – but I believe he said two generations of “Jakes” have died.  He was a nice chap, quite amenable to giving us the story of the area.]

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[Sand greens!  :-)  ]

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[As in everything up here, the most northern in the contiguous 48 of . . . in this instance post offices.]

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[The most northern international airport in the contiguous 48 . . . ]

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[And the school tells its own story.]

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[A final tour of the neighborhood . . . it’s not really a travel destination area, unless you’re an avid fisherman.]

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[Then heading on back, interrupting a heron reverie in the middle of the road along the way.]

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[Pay place, dirt road again, didn’t enter.]

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[Hadn’t run across this franchise before?  :-)  We’re back to Sprague and wanted to make sure we got a shot of this on the way out.]

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[This requires a long story.  Look at this place – seems like an entrance to a top secret facility.  There are cameras everywhere.  We were pulled over here, and questioned by a border guard in full riot gear, minus the Darth Vader helmet.  It was embarrassing . . . and incredibly discourteous.  Amazingly, in the short time we have been home we have heard several anecdotes of similar nature.  My brother this summer at the same crossing point; a friend who told a TSA agent at MSP to “never talk to my wife again like that;” people in Warroad and International Falls who have to deal with it every time they cross the border. Something has really gone afoul here.  The U.S.-Canada border used to be the longest unprotected border in the world – there is no reason it shouldn’t be so today (our last conflict with Canada was 200 years ago).  Honest to goodness, we had a much easier, and more pleasant, time crossing borders in Eastern Europe, and most places in Western Europe are like it used to be between the U.S. and Canada.  I have written on this before – and since now there is talk among some presidential candidates about building a wall on the Canadian border, I give you:

“Good Fences Do Not Make Good Neighbors” – Joyce Marcel (6-21-2007)

The “something” that does not love a wall – Frost impishly suggests “elves” – causes frost heaves to spill boulders. It attracts hunters who tear apart sections looking for a rabbit in a burrow.

Why have the wall at all, Frost asks. He’s raising apples. His neighbor is growing pines. “My apple trees will never get across and eat his pine cones,” he chides. His neighbor just huffs, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Frost wonders, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out/ And to whom I was like to give offense.” It’s a fair question.

When the Chinese built the Great Wall, it was an attempt to keep out marauding Mongols. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t.

The Maginot Line was an attempt to stop the Germans from attacking France. Instead, the Germans went around it.

The Berlin Wall was an affront, designed to keep a captive people inside the Iron Curtain. The world rejoiced when it was torn down.

The Isreali-Palestinian Wall, besides meandering here and there to steal a little more Palestinian land, bristles with barbed wire, cameras, electricity, sensors, watchtowers and sniper posts. By building it, Israel is giving the world a lesson in cold brutality.

In the latest issue of The Nation, Naomi Klein spotlights another aspect of that particular wall: it is helping the Israeli economy. The creative intelligence of the country has been poured into “selling fences to an apartheid planet… Many of the country’s young entrepreneurs are using Israel’s status as a fortressed state, and its occupation of Gaza and the West bank, as a kind of twenty-four-hour showroom.”

During the years since 9/11, the federal government has obsessively focused attention and money on border control. The Canadian-American border is a mess. The American passport system failed this summer. So if illegal aliens are still flooding in, either our government is incompetent or it has an impossible job. Either way, how will a fence help?

Latin Americans are workers, not apple trees out to eat our pine cones – or our lunch.

Who are we walling in, Frost asks? Who are we walling out?

Clearly, it’s ourselves we’re walling in. We’re creating our own jail. We’re walling out fresh people, fresh ideas and fresh labor. We’re walling out the world.

If we let the conservatives win this fight, we turn America into one large gated community. And no matter how we feel about illegal immigrants, we will all be deeply injured by the results.

Frost’s neighbor, clutching his stones, is “like an old-stone savage armed/He moves in darkness as it seems to me/Not of woods only and the shades of trees.”

Walls create darkness. Eventually, they collapse. Historically, when have they ever make good neighbors? They must not be built.]

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[Warroad is all about Marvin Windows.  I guess you’d say Warroad is Marvin Windows. The business burned down in the old days, as businesses in the old days often did, but the family decided they would rebuild – right there in Warroad.  When they had their first profit sharing (the photos), one of the Marvins drove to the Twin Cities to get enough silver dollars to give their employees a bag full of them.  When the Great Recession hit in 2008, they never laid off any employees.  It’s now an international business.]

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[Warroad has a hockey history similar to that for Roseau – home to such as the Christian brothers, T. J. Oshie, Henry Boucha, and Gigi Marvin.  Still upset over our border crossing incident, we totally forgot to visit the Christian Bros. hockey stick company!  :-(  ]

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[Baudette, on the Rainy River, now internationally-known as the hometown of the Carlos Creek Winery owners.]

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[After entering Baudette, we back tracked a bit because we had yet to see the big open water of Lake of the Woods.  We went out to Wheelers Point where the view of the “big water” appears to be blocked by a barrier island?  Oy!]

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[So then, why not just a picture of us enjoying a nosh and a brew where the Rainy River empties into Lake of the Woods?]

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[We were shocked, if not surprised, to learn that these places do better tourism-wise in winter rather than summer.  Something about ice fishing really gets some people’s juices flowing!  Full disclosure:  I went ice fishing once; once was enough.]

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[Back through Baudette, and along the Rainy River, still on Mn11, heading toward International Falls.]

8-26-15-74 - Copy8-26-15-75 - Copy[Then, as if on cue, the Super mentioned something about not seeing fire watch towers.]

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[Hay!]

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[Hay!  Hay!]

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[Hay!  Hay!  Hay!]

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[Hay!  Hay!  Hay!  Hay!]

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[Bees!  Saw lots of these along the route – good sign!]

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[Hay-ay-ay . . . ]

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[Good-bye!]

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[Upon arriving at “The Falls,” a/k/a America’s icebox, we just did a drive through . . . ]

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[Just a bit further through Ranier . . . ]

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[On the way to . . . the Super, not a fan of traveling without plans, did call ahead from Roseau to make our overnight destination here, on Rainy Lake.]

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[Our first sighting on going lakeside . . . all the years in D.C., we always thought a houseboat vacation on Rainy Lake would be the way to go – and here they were!]

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[Lake view from the lodge deck.]

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[Gorgeously perfect day to sit out and enjoy the view.]

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[Our server was from Kansas City – and yes, B’ball Dan, she knew Arthur Bryant’s but had never been to Stephenson’s.]

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[I think I’m really getting the hang of this retirement thing!]

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[And since dining is right here . . . ]

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[Why go anyplace else?]

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[And it comes with such a great view – I believe those are bald eagles circling just outside out window!]

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[And, of course, we split a two-filet walleye over wild rice dinner, because it’s the Minnesota thing to do!]

There’s only four ways to get unraveled; one is to sleep and the other is travel. ~ Jim Morrison

Up next:  While there was talk of going 4 days, we settled on one less.

Apologies to the Super . . .

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[I forgot to include her contributions, the first two from the View Point Saloon on Rainy River and the last two from the Thunderbird Lodge on Rainy Lake.]

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Explore Minnesota (Part II), Day One

minnesota

MinnesotaTuesday morning I awoke with a start, realizing we had nothing on the calendar for the rest of the week.  I had no recollection of that ever happening before?  So, when the Super roused herself a few hours later, I proffered, “Dear, how ’bout a road trip for the rest of the week.”  After her “are you nuts” gaze dissipated, I explained the situation and reminded such has been in our long range plans ever since we sold the pontoon and gave up our golf membership.  Plus, our friends Viv and “Weakie” had planned such adventures for themselves a few years back – to do two and three-day adventures to parts of Minnesota never visited before – but illness and injury have prevented them from doing so.  Better do this while we’re still relatively healthy!  I directed her to a couple of websites I had discovered about 1:00 am that morning – travel routes through far northwest and north central Minnesota, parts of the state where I had never been farther north than Moorhead, Detroit Lakes, or Bemidji, respectively.  We tossed some socks and undies in suitcases, packed a couple bottles of wine, forgot my razor, said good-bye to the kids (who looked at us like, “old people, what’re ya’ gonna do?”), and were on the road by 10:30 am with no plans for a return date.

[This is (Part II), because (Part I) was actually part of the Wisconsin trip to Camp Brosius.]

August 25

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[The first stop, an hour and a half down the road, was at the aforementioned Detroit Lakes, and Detroit Lake, where the only thing we missed along the way (again) was to get a shot of the world’s largest turkey in Frazee.]

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[We took US Highway 59 north out of Detroit Lakes – everything from here on would be places of first impression.  As a travelogue, we’re mostly cataloging the places we went through.  And as the supervisor noted, there’s not much topography in this part of the state – this is the world of potatoes and sugar beets.]

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[At Brooks, we hit a detour on US59.  It worked out great as we had to go west to State Highway 32, the location of Red Lake Falls.  I always wanted to visit here because as a kid growing up in Victoria Heights one of my best friends was Craig Gullickson, who just happened to be from Red Lake Falls and from which he brought hockey skills such as we’d never seen in Alexandria.  :-)    I’m writing this on August 28, the day on which the StarTribune reported on the city taking the Washington Post to task for ranking its county as the worst place to live in the entire country (based on 15-year old data, mostly saying it’s cold up there – duh!).]

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[Mn32 took us to the only BIG city we would hit the rest of the way, Thief River Falls.  TRF’s population is a tad over 8,500, almost exactly the same size as Detroit Lakes.  The city is known as the home of “The Little Ralph,” the hockey arena built for the high school by native son Ralph Englestad.  Ralph also built “The Ralph,” the hockey arena for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, some 30 miles to the west of TRF.  Oh, and the Prowlers and Alex have had quite a little competition going in girls’ basketball the last several years.]

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[Hay!]

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[Handy signs to let you know that, in this case, if you turn right off the highway you may be turning right into an onrushing train.]

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[At TRF, we got back on US59 and continued north to here.  This may have been our overnight stop, but I knew it unlikely to be a place big enough for a motel.  But we turned east from here on designated scenic highway, Mn11.]

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[This was the scenery to date.  Ruthie thought it looked like Texas – the trees gnarly and a bit on the smaller size; in Texas from heat, here from cold.]

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[Greenbush was on  the way to Roseau, a blue line slap shot from Canada.]

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[Roseau is famed for Polaris and in Minnesota hockey lore as the home of  . . . ]

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[Among others, the Broten brothers and Butsy Erickson.  And Mary Loken, the 2nd player down on the left side margin of this blog, played for Roseau against our Cards in 2008 when we won the state championship (she then went on to play D-1 hockey at North Dakota, as I recall).  This facility is a nationally-known mecca for hockey.]

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[How could I not?]

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[Back Checking 101 taught here.]

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[We came into town on a side road (another detour, on Mn11) and started looking for lodging.  Nada,  up and down the main streets?  Well, there has to be motels . . . Mn11 was dug up right into the city, so maybe back where the construction was.  Yup, found an access road and there they were.  This was the first place, North Country Inn – the Super didn’t like the quoted price but it was about the same as the other places so we moved in. Then she found out it came with dinner, two drinks, and breakfast.  Then she was all smiles.  This is the concierge room where they served the meals and had a bar.]

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Editor’s note:  There was a long break between posts (you’re welcome).  The Cardinal sports season has begun, and I thought I would be covering the first football game last Saturday.  Well, the weather did not cooperate – at least to the standard I now require as an older person.

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The Super’s Summer Travelogue, Days 7, 8, & Going Home

August 6

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[Ahhhh, screen porch overlooking a lake.]

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[I hope my drive-in starts to do better?]

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[“My” drive-in was on our field trip way to the newest winery in Wisconsin.  We have also been to the oldest, making us a “question” on Jeopardy.]

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[This, with the The Blind Horse front house, is the only complete restaurant and winery combination in Wisconsin, and among the few in the country, so we were told.]

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[Then I had an afternoon nap.]

The FB posted camp photo of me napping on my back drew inquiries as to the depth of the distance from my back to the top of my tummy on which my hands were resting. It was suggested that maybe it was an extra thick sweatshirt (which it was) or that maybe the pouch was filled with candy wrappers (which was a possibility). Anyway, as an old guy myself, I have observed that old guys who lose weight “look” older and unhealthy. Who wants that? Of greater concern, which aligns with the plastic surgery I may need in light of my injury (just kidding), is the dappling of my aging skin. I don’t see this as a vanity issue, but I’m scaring small children and dogs!

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[The evening led to our annual pontoon ride around the lake.  Our driver was Andi.]

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[This, as I’ve noted in the past, is rumored to have been Tom Cruise’s house, back in the day when he and Paul Newman (also a home owner here) came to race at Road America.]

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[The monster Osthoff Resort and Condomium, next to the Victoria Village Resort with the colorful umbrella Tiki Bar.]

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[Lost our sunset in the clouds.]

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[The Super loves lakeside boathouses.]

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[Ain’t we got fun?]

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[The DOM and Reetz, chillin’.]

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[By going forward for this shot, we took on water over the bow!  Andi recovered us.  Oy!]

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[Shooting over Chris and Beth, deniece and denephew, is the Johnsonville Brat mansion, home of my favorite lake walk sculpture.]

August 7

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[Our last full day at camp, it rained all day.  Thus, it rained out the final night’s campfire. That made it the fist time in collective memory that both the opening and closing night’s ceremonies were rained out.]

August 8

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[The last breakfast morning with the camp’s three Ruthies.]

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[Goodbye, Rappaport!]

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[Heading for home, a mile down the road is Broughton Marsh Park.]

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[Probably decent advertising.]

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[If we go home via the northern route, we always stop at Leinenkugel’s in Chippewa Falls. Unfortunately, it was Chippewa Valley Days (or something like that), and both the town and the brewery were overwhelmed with people.  We sampled nothing.]

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[Crossing the St. Croix River from St. Croix Falls to Taylors Falls, where we noshed at the Drive-In on the Minnesota side.]

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[We arrived home to a weird sky, part of a continuing series of weird summer skies.]

Travel is only glamorous in retrospect.  ~  Paul Theroux

Up next:  Egypt, Portugal, the Galapagos?  OK, just kidding.  How ’bout the start of the Cardinal football season?

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Catch you next time!

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The Super’s Summer Travelogue, Days 5 & 6

August 4

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[Love going down to the lake early on sunshiny days.  The Sunfish provide great photo ops.]

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[It was regatta day, so The Biddies went to check out a paddle boat so they could keep an eye events, to see that nobody was missing their checkpoints!  Actually, I think they just wanted to visit with the hunky shore staff on the dock.]

8-4-15-7 - Copy[The regatta rules are explained to the contestants . . . ]

8-4-15-8 - Copy[The shoreline is awash with spectators, the usual yacht club crowd . . . ]

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[The competition tacks for starting position, and – they’re off!]

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[The Biddies are keeping an eye on things.]

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[Here comes our winner.]

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[Here comes Jack, the geologist from Austin Peay.]

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[The Biddies work is thus done.]

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[The contestants arrive in the landing zone, then Jack and Phyllis (also a geologist at Austin Peay) take off in the doubles.]

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[Dinner, the Super catching Jack and Phyllis at the end of our dinner table.  This was the “adult” dinner, with wine, and stuff like prime rib and fish.]

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[Part of “our” group, after THE dinner – the DOM in the rocking chair holding court.]

August 5

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[The morning was the lake walk, meeting at what next year will be the new camp office.]

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[The flag raising and birdie song precede our departure.]

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[Then we were off, and soon were looking at camp from across the bay.]

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[At times through rugged forests, then with The Biddies leading us on the lake shore path (well, actually I guess we were following everybody else).]

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[Hi, camp!  We’re waaaaayyyy over here!]

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[Then we came upon my longtime favorite sculpture (for reasons incomprehensible to me) along the path in front of the Johnsonville Brat family house.]

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[This was something new for me?  :-)  ]

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Now before we enter the town of Elkhart Lake, we’re going to back track a bit for the Super’s much more comprehensive coverage of the hike.

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Now we enter town at the big Victorian Village Resort.

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[These are my contributions through town.  We walked back the way we came, but on the road, something I’ve never done before.  We had to go back this way because there’s a bit of an issue among the homeowners on the lake.  Their lake association by-laws have long required that the property around the lake be made accessible to people who want to walk around the lake.  Who’da thunk it?  But they do.  Well, now there’s a homeowner, don’t know if he’s new, who has put a locked gate across the lakeshore path, denying hiking access.  We hear other homeowners are quite upset about this.  As of this date, we are not aware of any resolutions.]

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[And these are the signs you see on the road back to camp.]

Now the Super’s turn again.

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And I’ll finish the hike.

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[Hi, Mom, we’re home!]

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[The afternoon gives way to games.  Starting here with cornhole, we’re covering our longtime camp buddy, the DOM, on the far right.]

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[Two longtime campers pitching shoes – a physics professor at IU on the left and an environmentalist with his own company on the right.]

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[And the big event, my two fellow Medicare guys, the DOM, and on his right, Ed, the father of our nephew Chris, also at the camp.  I did not participate because as the cub reporter I needed to provide coverage and sit in the shade with cold beer.  We all gave Ed “10’s” for style points (he was every elegant in his delivery), while the DOM used the quick wrist flip – they proved to be equally effective.  I did not shoot many family pictures this year because . . . well, I already know what they look like.]

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[Resting up before dinner, Ed on our porch.]

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[The euchre tournament – The Biddies were merciless against the DOM and Vick.]

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[Niece Beth, Reetz’s daughter and Chris’s wife, catching up on stuff.  Every morning she either ran, walked, or kayaked around the lake.]

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[Down for dinner, the clean-up crew was there and ready for the outdoor diners.]

Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.  ~  Susan Sontage

Up next:  Time to leave.  Discussions began this morning for the monster trip.

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The Super’s Summer Travelogue, Day 4

August 3, Camp

We arrived at camp Sunday afternoon in a heat index of 100 degrees.  By dinner time, you could feel it coming.  Before we had slathered butter on our second roll, people were rushing to close doors and windows in the mess hall.  It came up so fast, bass boats caught in the lake were struggling to make shore with thousand horse motors.  It blew heavy rain sideways, with we heard 70-plus mph winds, and before dinner was over the power was out – for 3 hours.  The evening’s opening ceremonies and camp fire were postponed.  The storm did usher in a week of beautiful, if windy, weather, which was great for those of us who love jacket weather.

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[Awoke to a beautiful morning and trundled down the aforementioned 70-some stairs to the lake front for coffee in the Round House before breakfast.]

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[The Round House contains copies of a family’s photo albums from previous years, and of course the Super immediately found one with Grandson Tom’s picture in it when he was a counselor.]

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[Then a short stroll before breakfast to see how camp was doing.]

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[At breakfast, we heard a tree was down at a next door property blocking the path that circles the lake.  It was.  The owner had it cleared in short order because circumnavigating lake walks are a big part of camp.]

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[Back up to the cottage after breakfast, the Super captured the 9 o’clock flag raising and kids singing “the birdie song.”]

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[Then let the day’s excitement begin with The Biddies crafting . . . ]

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[Then a little photographic housekeeping around our abode . . . ]

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[Then grab your book, head back down to the lake, watch sailing and the Super grilling the lifeguard . . . ]

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[Just let the good times roll.]

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[The boat catcher, ultimately he who would win the regatta, a grandpa who has the audacity to be in shape and paddleboard, and practice sailing . . . ]

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[And The Biddies worked up an appetite for lunch.]

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[Then we took a road trip back to Plymouth for supplies, past the Elkhart Lake fire station (for a town of 1,000?  for the Starks), past Road America where there was serious racing all week.]

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[Continuing past Road America to Plymouth, which was hit hard by the previous night’s storm. Trees were down all over town.]

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[Past the Plymouth cow (their Big Ole), and on to Vinnie’s, Plymouth equivalent (in a way) to Ron’s Warehouse.]

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[Back to camp for dinner with family and friends.]

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[Then back up top for the one-night-later opening night camp fire.  Then I was tired.]

Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.  ~  George Carlin  [We took the Super’s VW diesel convertible, which seemed appropriate to Carlin’s quote, getting 73 kilometers per gallon!]

Up next:  Camp all week.

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The Super’s Summer Travelogue, Day 3

In our continuing efforts to educate and entertain, with various or no degrees of success, yesterday’s discoveries included Batman’s hometown, an escaped giraffe, the alternative name for “gym,” the place famed in a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, and our hometown for many years. We also found “Waldo,” but the Super sped by at such a high rate of speed I missed it.

August 2

The Super and I went for a 40-minute walk this morning (before hell arrives this afternoon) all for the sake of you lovers of fine art. In 2011, “The Walldogs” converged on historic downtown Plymouth, Wisconsin, and produced 25 murals, presented in chronological order. Is Alex Next?

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[And the following are other shots around Plymouth that morning . . . ]

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[The Super heads for her car outside our lodging, depicted in the painting.]

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[You just never know what you’ll find in a bookstore window.]

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[Then it was on to Elkhart Lake, where our first stop was the Victorian Village.  We had a couple hours to kill before we could check in at camp, so we thought we’d just sit at the lake and people watch.  Rita, Beth, and Chris soon joined us, and we enjoyed . . . ]

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[Some adult beverages at the Tiki Bar.  What’s not to like about that?  :-)  ]

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[The camp must have remained solvent through our stay as we weren’t kicked out.  The following video shows how we are greeted every year.  A shout out to the camp counselors who do their best to keep we fogies entertained all week.]

When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.  ~  Susan Heller

Up next:  Camp.

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