Monday, May 29, 2017

At the Lake

When we posted last, we were planning to move the motorhome to our cabin on the Whiteface Reservoir.  We traveled on that Thursday, the day before the opening of fishing season.  Traffic was no problem and the drive was stress free. 

Once here, we took a little time to rake our parking area and unload the motorcycle before backing in and leveling.  Since then we have filled our days with mundane tasks like a complete raking of the lawn, floating the swimming raft, putting out the dock, and planting flowers.  All of these activities were spread over 2 weeks because the weather has been miserable: frequent showers, cloudy skies, and brisk winds mostly off the lake.  We have made a couple of walks around the peninsula, and chatted with a few of the neighbors and played cards a couple of times with Paige’s cousin Steve and his wife Deanna. 
On the 20th, Aerostich held an open house at its Duluth Headquarters.  This is the manufacturer of the well known motorcycle riding suit and a mail order supplier of many other motorcycle accessories.  We went there by truck since the temps were in the lower 40’s but many customers were hardy (?) enough to ride there.
One of their doorprizes was a booklet called “Zero below zero” which was a diary of the management and staff of Aerostich who ran an experiment with a Zero-brand electric motorcycle.  They took turns commuting to and from work all winter without parking the parking it indoors at all.  Reading of their experiences made that day’s temperatures seem balmy.

On one of the nicer days last week, we got a text message from Brett telling us he was on his way to the Boundary Waters on a search and rescue mission in the Minnesota State Patrol’s helicopter.  They passed nearby on their way to Ely, and then to Sawbill Lake, but they were too far east of us to be seen or heard.  Their mission was successful and, on their return to St Paul, they had time for a quick fly-by and wave.
Lucky for them that it was probably the best weather for flying during the entire week.

More recently there was one other nice-weather day just before the Memorial Day weekend, when neither jacket nor rain coat was needed.  We saw that many of our neighbors had lots of visitors for the weekend because of the cars and trucks parking nearby, but the lake and roads weren’t crowded and it was really pretty quiet up here.  We had 2 guests: David and Brayden came here late on Friday and spent Saturday hiking along the North Shore and getting some photographs at a couple of state parks.  Sunday we tried for another state park at Calumet but found that it is open Fridays and Saturdays only.  They left early on Monday to have time to photograph the St Louis River and its rapids in Jay Cooke state park.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Yet another Week (not Quite As Quiet)

When we posted last, we were enjoying Winnebago’s hospitality in Iowa.  We left there on Wednesday morning for a quick trip to Minnesota and Dakota County’s Lebanon Hills park.  They had just opened the campground for the season and were able to get us in for an extra 2 days prior to our weekend reservation.

Thursday we had lunch with the Hilmos, the fellow Nomads who also are originally from Minnesota and we have known for years, but have yet to work with them.  Our plans to volunteer together last fall in Missouri fell through when we were delayed in Duluth.  We last saw them in Texas early in November, before they left for Florida.  They have made the decision to “hang up the keys” and end their full-timing lifestyle after 17 years on the road.  We wish them well as they take on this more traditional lifestyle, and will continue to keep in contact, especially during the winter when we will be somewhere warm.

On Friday, David and Brayden came to the site next to us for the weekend.  We had a pleasant time around the campfire that evening.

On Saturday, Bob’s family held its annual reunion at a pizza parlor in Mankato.  Eleven of the 16 possible cousins were there along with quite a few spouses and children and Aunt Marion, the only surviving Dakins sister.  It was good to catch up with them, without the gathering being a wedding or funeral.

Sunday we moved to the street in front of Brett’s house for a few days.   We will catch up with him and his family, and catch some of the girls’ sports while we are here.  We are also taking the time to do tons of laundry, cleaning the motorhome, and catching up with friends. 

This weekend is Minnesota’s opening weekend of fishing season, so the highways will become choked with traffic by noon on Friday.  We will be gone before then as we expect to be parked at the lake by Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another Quiet Week

This time in Iowa.  First came a few days in Spirit Lake, then in Forest City.  While on our way to our appointment at Winnebago’s Factory Service, the Great Lakes of Iowa called out for a pleasant stop.  Northern Iowa only has a few good-sized lakes, but Okoboji and Spirit are two of the largest and are close to each other.  This area is known, locally, for fishing and boating and a lot of vacationing in the summer, but is very quiet this time of year.

We have been catching up on a lot of reading while also catching up to winter weather.  We are just now starting to see the sun for the first time in over a week, and heavy coats are finally being replaced with lighter jackets.

While in Sioux Falls last week, we spent some time at a Barnes and Noble store, getting ideas for future reading.  One that caught Bob’s attention was “38 Nooses”, subtitled “Lincoln, Little Crow, and the beginning of the Frontier’s End”.  It is a history book dealing with the Sioux Uprising that took place in southern Minnesota during the Civil War.  It ended with the largest mass execution in US history with 38 Indians being hung in Mankato Minnesota at the same time.  Abraham Lincoln personally decided to spare the lives of an additional 265 condemned prisoners.  We now have an electronic copy of this book.

Before leaving Spirit Lake, we found a historical marker at site of the Spirit Lake Massacre Monument in nearby Arnolds Park.  This monument opened as one of Iowas’s first tourist attractions and marks the location of an earlier Indian uprising.  Here 36 settlers were initially slain and 4 prisoners taken captive (only 2 survived).  More history can be found at


We arrived in Forest City on Saturday for our Monday appointment.  Their customer lounge is a spacious and comfortable to wait while repairs are being done.  Pets are also welcome and we met Marley, who loves to be petted by everyone.  He waits on his back until the next person comes to pet him.

A couple of minor repairs were taken care of by Tuesday morning and we are ready to leave.  But first we have to get to Mitchel’s Bar and Grill for their Tuesday night, all-you-can-eat chicken and ribs.  This is a regular stop for us whenever we are near the Winnebago plant.  We are going there with Marley’s owners soon.