Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota – May 2021 Part 1

The plan was to camp at parks along the Mississippi River, this time in Minnesota

This is the first of a 5-part posting. Each one will concentrate on a different campground that we visited during the trip.

Last year we went south along the Mississippi River. This year we headed north and stayed in Minnesota. Of course, early May and going north might have been better thought out. We planned an itinerary of five parks, spending 2 or 3 nights at each. We had company at the first two parks.

This was the first trip of the season. That meant extra work to prepare for the trip. All of the stuff removed from the trailer in the fall had to be put back into place. We removed fabrics such as towels, pillows, sheets, and blankets to prevent little creatures from finding nesting material. We also removed items that might freeze such as toiletries, pantry items, and cleaning products. Other items were removed simply because they might get used during the winter.

This was our longest trip at 13 days. We needed to bring almost all of the food, since we were still under COVID-19 restrictions and shopping opportunities and dining out were extremely limited.

Part of spring trailer prep includes an inspection. Of course, due to weather before the trip, this gets put off until the last minute. In checking the roof seals, a big area of concern since we lost a trailer to roof leaks, some pinholes were spotted. After consulting with the dealer over the phone, we decided to stop at their lot on the way up north to pick up sealant to do the minor repair at the first campsite.

So, on the way to the state park, we stopped at our trailer dealer. They took a quick look and decided that since it was warranty work, they would hop up there and add sealant, if we could wait 15 minutes for it to skin over. So, a slightly longer delay, but we could afford the extra 20-25 minutes for the work and the skin over time.

It was explained to me that sealant pinholes are common in the first or second year. The sealant is put on in the factory and the trailer is rolled out in the sunshine. If the sun is too intense, it bubbles and they later pop becoming pinholes in the sealant. The pinholes don’t necessarily cause problems, but have the potential to grow into problems.

We left the dealer heading north with a stiff breeze from the west. Don’t you love that combination with a trailer acting as a sail?

Charles A Lindbergh State Park

We arrived about 4:30 PM at the park and proceeded directly to our reserved spot, #12, in the campground. We were just getting the stabilizer jacks down when my sister and her husband arrived with their brand new trailer into site #11.

After setup, it was declared Happy Hour. We opened a bottle of Cannon River Winery Feisty Bitch Red. This went well with the steak kabobs and foil wrapped potatoes on the grill. The salad was partial made with items that would have spoiled in the home fridge while we were gone. Our mushrooms were frozen. They were placed too high in the refrigerator and the fridge was set too cold.

After dinner we gathered for a game of Qwirkle and drinks. Since it was May 4, Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You), I added light saber swizzle sticks to the drinks. The drinks themselves were hot – Darth Mauled Pomegranate Cider.

We turned in about 10:30 PM with the furnace on and two wool blankets on the bed. Northern Minnesota in early May can often still have snow on the ground.

Speaking of Lindbergh, the park is not named after the famous aviator. That was Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., his father, Charles, Sr., has the honor of the park name. He was a Minnesota politician in the early 1900’s. Tours of the Lindbergh home were not available due to the pandemic.

Charles A. Lindbergh home

The next morning we woke to temperatures around freezing. We did sleep in…7:05 AM. At home we are typically up at 6:00 AM. A basic breakfast today with Cheerios and COFFEE!. We use a pour over and lots of ground coffee. This gives us strong coffee.

We walked up to the office to see if it was open. We wanted to get a hat pin for our board and also join the Hiking Club. The Minnesota DNR has designated certain trails in the state parks as Hiking Club Trails. When you complete one of these hikes and log it in the book, you start toward earning badges and free camping nights. The office was closed. This is the way of the times with COVID-19.

When we returned it was time to make lunch. This was tacos for Cinco de Mayo. The quantities in the meal were designed to have leftovers. Taco salads were a future menu item. We also found the sour cream was too close to the freezer compartment. It went on like sorbet.

An afternoon hike was in the offing for my wife and me. The others went on a 20-mile bike ride. The hike was delayed by a hunt for my trailer keys. They live on a double biner usually clipped to a belt loop. After an extensive search, they were finally located in the lock for the outside shower. It had been used to fill the dog bowl earlier. It is out of sight on the ‘back’ side of the trailer.

The Mississippi River at Little Falls looks small

We headed out to complete the Hiking Club Trail. It turned into a 3.6 mile hike because of the walk to and from the official trail. Being early spring there were sections of swampy mud to go through. Both of us had mud on the cuffs of our pants and Crosby had muddy paws.

We have a couple of brushes that are good to remove the mud and embedded seeds. Not doing that means you can carry seeds to your next location where those plants may not be native. It also means that the trailer will stay cleaner.

The dinner wine was a Loxton Pioneer Cuvee. The dinner plan was for a favorite – Jambalaya. This batch turned out well. A mistake was made at the butcher counter and we bought cooked shrimp instead of raw. Since they were already cooked, they were in the pot for less time and didn’t get as warm.

Jambalaya with pre-cooked shrimp

At dinner time our camping companions came over with their own dinner of bean burritos and grilled pineapple. After all, it was Cinco De Mayo. I made scratch Margaritas to consume while sitting around the campfire.

Woke up 3 minutes before a planned workout with my trainer over Slack. Cancelled that due to the time and the fact that it was only 38ºF outside and I was the only one awake in the trailer. By 7:30 though, the dog was walked and fed, the bed was made, the flag was unfurled, and I had a coffee in front of me.

The ranger stopped by to let us know that the road was going to be closed around 1:00PM so that they could safely fell a tree. That made departure plans a little more complicated. The ranger also told us that there was someone up at the office, if we wanted to get that pin and Hiking Club book.

In discussions at the office, I found out that the trail has stayed muddy longer into the spring the last few years since a new housing development went in half a mile away. They had to close a different trail because it never dries now. The ecosystem is all interconnected.

When I returned, it was time for breakfast. Pancakes and sausage. We like to have sausage links with pancakes or French toast since they don’t leave as much grease on the griddle as bacon.

We had a lazy morning and we did not get on the road until 2:15PM. There was an interesting 180º turn into the dump station because of the tree trimming project. The drive northward was also fun with a stiff breeze out of the west keeping the driving challenging and dropping the mileage to under 10 MPG.

We stopped in Motley at a Holiday Station for gas and lunch. Those ice cream sandwiches made a nice change of pace for lunch.

This trip will be continued in the next post: Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota – May 2021 Part 2

Hiking Club mileage

DateParkHiking Club Trail LengthCumulative MilesActual Hike LengthActual Cumulative Miles
Previous miles0.00.0
5/5/2021Charles A. Lindbergh2.

Trailer mileage

DateStart LocationStart CityEnd LocationEnd CityMiles
Previous miles1,364.5
VariousMaintenance TripsTrailer Dealership88.2
5/4/2021HomeWhite Bear Twp., MNLindbergh State ParkLittle Falls, MN106.0
Total miles1,558.7

Meals Planned

The meal list was designed to incorporate leftovers to reduce the amount of ingredients we needed to pack for this longer trip. We also always incorporate some stable items for backup in case the main plan goes out the window.

Tuesday, May 4DinnerSteak Kabobs on the grill
Little potatoes
Salad greens and tomatoes
Wednesday, May 5BreakfastCheerios
Chips and Salsa
DinnerJambalaya on the campfire
Sourdough bread
Salad greens and tomatoes
Thursday, May 6BreakfastPancakes on the griddle
Sausage links
LunchJambalaya leftovers
LunchGrilled cheese & tomato soup
DinnerPasta w/pesto
Homemade chili (frozen)

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