Moving Around Minnesota

It’s been a week of wandering northern Minnesota – exploring territory new to both of us, in search of the headwaters of the Mississippi River. For the most part, we’ve had bright blue skies and most excellent weather.

At this time of year, we figured that we would be able to get along without having campground reservations. Right off the bat, we were wrong – our plan to stay at Pokegama Dam was thwarted by a full campground. No worries, John assured me – there’s a township park that looks to be okay about 40 miles down the road. Nope! That turned out to be a miserable park, with the bathrooms locked up tight. So, we just pointed the Fireball westward on US 2 until a turnoff appeared for a National Forest Campground at Winni Dam. An excellent choice! wp-1475687849591.jpgSituated on the Mississippi (where it’s still just an ordinary river), this small campground provided us with a park to wander around, and peaceful surroundings for the evening.wp-1475687828175.jpgLake Bemidji State Park was our next destination. Home of Paul Bunyon and Babe, this park features miles of trails for cycling and hiking, so we decided to put down stakes for two nights and stretch our legs. wp-1475507822806.jpgwp-1475507822990.jpgwp-1475507822902.jpgNot only did we have lots of room to wander with Jezzy, we were also able to get our bikes out of the truck and ride the 17 mile path around the Lake (with the obliagatory beer stop at Bemidji Brewing.wp-1475507822985.jpgwp-1475507822399.jpgOf course, we did have to see Paul and Babe.cwp-1475507822400.jpgContinuing our quest to find the Mississippi River headwaters, we headed to Itasca State Park, the source of the Mighty Mississippi. Another gorgeous park, but with a quirk. We arrived on October 1 to find that it’s the day the bathrooms and showers close for the season, and the water in the campgrounds is shut off. We made do with a clean(ish) pit toilet across the campground, and water collected from the dump station. Any inconvenience was more than offset by our terrific campsite.wp-1475601099558.jpgA paved trail took us the three miles to the Headwaters, where warm temps  had kids of all ages dancing in the water. wp-1475601230921.jpgA tear shed into the river here would travel 2552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico in just over 40 days. wp-1475601127255.jpgwp-1475601177743.jpgDay two began with the threat of widespread storms, so we decided to hit the Trail early and hike down to the Visitors Center, the opposite way of the Headwaters. Another delightful path, lined with yellow-leaved birch trees, rustling in the wind. wp-1475600953688.jpgwp-1475600889973.jpgThe big rains did come – a deluge sent us scurrying under our awning for cover for the afternoon and evening.

We awoke this morning (Wednesday) to find that our stretch of wonderful weather may be at an end. It’s only in the 40s as we roll into North Dakota along US2.

6 thoughts on “Moving Around Minnesota

  1. Sounds like a great trip! You must have also missed the bugs! Great time of year to travel. I’m heading to Utah for the month starting tomorrow Oct 8. Also worried about not having reservations. whatever! we are so independent with our little trailers! Where are you going after the Badlands? Sorry I won’t be able to meet you if you get to Devils Tower, its in the opposite direction for me.
    Liz Howell

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    • Not sure where we are headed. Need to be home by end of Oct, and will leave for the winter after Christmas. It’s nice just to wander.

      We’ll catch you next time in WY. Enjoy Utah – how long are you traveling?

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  2. I’m not surprised that you found some of the campgrounds full, a lot of people camp this time of the year to escape the summer crowds. That, and it’s the time of the year for color tours.

    I’ve only driven through northern Minnesota, I’ve never stopped to see the sights. That was a mistake from the photos that you shot, it’s very pretty there this time of the year. You didn’t see Babe Winkleman out fishing for walleyes on Lake Bemidji did you?

    I hope that the fine weather returns as you get to the Badlands, I’m really looking forward to that part of your trip.

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    • Hey Jerry. Thanks for stopping by. We did enjoy MN – our first time in this area too. We feel though that we have somehow skirted fall color. In the UP, there was little color yet, we saw some yellow in the birches and poplars in WI and MN, and here in North Dakota, the leaves are all down. Like a time warp of some kind. Yesterday was a rude awakening. Temps dropped into the 30s, with a nasty wind of 20-30mph. It is brutal! We stopped to buy RV antifreeze, and some long underwear for John.

      Pushing on to Teddy Roosevelt National Park today. Hope conditions lighten up a bit, although it sure doesn’t sound like it right now. The wind is still roaring!!

      Watch out, it’s coming your way.

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