We had company, III

[Another “there.”  Friend Roy retired to Hawaii this year.  This is his beach on the big island, less than a mile from his home.  He wants us to visit. 😉 ]

Thursday was the big day.  The trip up north.  We were going to Itasca, the kids’ “harn,” and Bemidji.  With side trips it took over 12 hours.  We were pooped and took it easy the next day.

The supervisor initially wanted to take the Wadena by-pass.  No point in getting all caught up in that big town traffic.  But the tourists were hungry and wanted breakfast.  Besides, I don’t think I’d seen the new high school, built after the tornado ravaged the town.  We stopped at the Boondocks Cafe, right downtown.  It must be Wadena’s Travelers Inn, a place where all locals eat breakfast.  We all ordered the special, for about a buck-two-eighty.  Of course, the hardly-pay-anything special could have fed the entire Garfield Elementary School.  Nevertheless, before we left – leaving substantial amounts still on our plates – Scott wanted to check out the bakery right next door.  To our disappointment it was no longer a bakery – it was the Republican political headquarters.  But it was yet another gorgeous day, so off to Itasca we fled.

[I have to admit that the accomplished Ms. Gibbs was a candidate for the article photo.  But I had another photo of Rooney Mara to use.]

[I believe Itasca was a place of first impression for our Ft. Wayne friends.]

[So, again, the first thing to do is to take in the introductory video.]

[Welcome to Itasca State Park!]

[The Biddies check out the park’s topographic map.]

[The supervisor, on the phone with her broker, is blithely unaware of the danger overhead!]

[The Biddies double-team their broker!]

[The guy with the cane appears to be a party animal.]

[Scott advises his broker to buy low and sell high!]

[The day was startling in its clarity.  I had to show them the photo on the camera’s small LCD screen because it jumped out at you.]

[The Lodge – famous in family lore as the place where we got caught in a hail storm.  Young grandson Tom was jumping up and down with excitement; I was thinking, my car is exposed in the parking lot!]

[Always, always seek out the rockers!]

[Let’s just sit back and enjoy the scenery . . .]

[That’s a red pine on the right.  They’re easy to identify – their bark is visibly red!  Itasca is home to the state’s tallest red and white pines.  Unfortunately, on this trip, we couldn’t see them.  While the Wilderness Road was open for traffic to get to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, it was closed beyond that point.  The whole West side of the park was inaccessible by vehicle because of fire danger – another victim of the drought.]

[We were a little early for fall colors – though they maybe muted this year because of the drought.  But September and October are certainly the months to visit the park – far less crowded with cooler temperatures.]

[This guy has seen better days.]

[Rita enjoys a rest – checking on Vickie who went down the path.]

[Lake Itasca]

[The Hostel – this is where the kids often stay(ed) when they are up at the “harn.”  They have become good friends with the proprietor and have run the place in her stead.  Even the supervisor ran the place for one day.  🙂 ]

[Lake Itasca, both directions, from the access.]

[Entry to the headwaters.]

[Vickie and Scott are flush with excitement!]

[Our new BFF, Ms. Gibbs, again.  Note the place was built by an Alex company.  😉 ]

[“Headwaters Caretaker Woman”]

[The mighty Mississippi?  Indeed.]

[No matter where you go, there you are.]

[We’re there!]

[The Biddies have a moment of Zen.]

[The supervisor thinks about walking across the Mississippi – decides against it, we’ve done it before.  We went to the little foot bridge in the background to get to the other side.]

[Rita grins, “I made it!”]

[The tour boat is coming around the lake.]

[Scott was determined to walk across the Mississippi.  At our age, balance is not a strong point.  We’ll follow his progress . . .]

[That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind!]

[Cue the theme from Rocky! 🙂 ]

[Here comes the tour boat . . . and little girls can cross the Mississippi in flip-flops.]

[Vickie has her moment of Zen.]

[The first bridge-bridge over the Mississippi.]

[We say good-bye to Itasca.]

I said it was a long day.  We will continue it in the next article . . .

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