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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