Friday, August 20, 2010

August 2010 - so far

Crossing the Mackinac Bridge
Mackinac Bridge from lookout on US 2
From Gaylord, it was a weekend of driving (8/7-8) to get to a new area other than MI and WI where I’ve been for almost 2 months. I headed north back across “The Bridge” and then took US 2, all day, all the way to Ashland, WI on Lake Superior. It again was a familiar drive from many years ago. We used to go up to Ironwood from Green Bay to go skiing. The old ski areas are still there and looked to be kept up based on the entrance signs (no I didn’t pull in). I slept overnight in the Ashland city beach parking lot with a storm raging much of the night. I just can’t seem to shake the rain and storms. It seems that wherever I’ve been the last month the rain and storms appear. It’s like it is making up for the last 12 years of AZ living or something. I woke up Sunday morning to dense fog so my hopes of nice sunrise pictures of the bay and Apostle Islands were not going to happen so I just hit the road to my next destination. This drive ran the experience gamut.  It was nice in WI but became very scary where construction had the lane down to barely a foot on each side of me as I left Duluth going south.  Then when I headed west in MN I was thinking “land-o-lakes”, not, it is “land-o-swamp”.  It was miles and miles of swamp across northern MN.

Sherwood Forest guard
Parked at Sherwood Forest
I arrived at Sherwood Forest CG (8/8) just north of Garrison, MN early afternoon on Sunday. This was a huge place that was 99.9 percent purchased camping lots. People buy a small lot and put something on it as their place up north. I think it is maybe 2 hours at the most due north of the twin cities so it is a convenient destination for weekends. I spent the week working and listening to rain pound on the roof. Did I mention that it rains every where I go? I parked on the highest spot I could in the designated space. By the time I left a puddle of water was several inches deep to within a foot of my door. Ugh.

Sherwood Forest CG lots
I finally had a nice sunny day on Saturday (8/14) so I drove back up to Aitkin. I had driven through on my way to the CG and noticed the welcome sign reading “Riverboat city on the Mississippi”. I thought this would be interesting to check out since I figure I have to be within 100 miles of the river’s origin. Seeing the river here versus St Louis was really cool. Riverboats? There were none to be found but I wasn’t surprised by that.
Mississippi at Aitkin, MN
Sunday (8/15) was travel day again. The planned destination was Big Stone City, SD. I left the CG and headed south on 169 and then west on 23 through St. Cloud where the Mississippi was quite large already! Once I started across highway 23 it wasn’t so swampy anymore. Starting maybe around New London it was all pretty flat, open, farmland all the way west. I arrived at my CG, paid and headed to my campsite. Well, did I mention there had been a lot of rain). This campground really should not have sent a 40 foot motor home down their narrow road. It’s a pretty new CG and they aren’t very experienced. When I tried to squeeze into my site I had to swing wide for my long wheel base and guess what. The soil under the grass was so saturated it was like quicksand. Down I went. So, 2 hours and a tow truck later (at least it was an easy pull out) I’m pulling back up on dry land and cranking up the computer to look for a new destination. I got really, really lucky. A campground only 35-40 miles away came up in my search. I called and yes there was a spot that can handle me (lots of questions asked). So, off I go and arrived to a very nice, brand new (but well run by a knowledgeable guy) CG in Summit, SD. What a relief after a stressful last few hours.

Summit is a tiny town but the CG is great, the owner is a super guy, a local farmer brings by free, fresh produce. Cell/air card reception is the best of the trip – all is good. Oh, and so far I’ve had a lot of sunshine and only one day/night of fog, rain and storms. Pretty much constant wind, but at least I can recharge in some sun.
County-Line CG Summit, SD
At County-Line campground, Summit, SD

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