Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota – May 2021 Part 4

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

This is the fourth of a 5-part posting. Each one will concentrate on a different campground that we visited during the trip. You can start at the beginning with Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota – May 2021 Part 1

We had another short drive when we left La Salle Lake to move on to Lake Bemidji State Park. We pulled into the Bemidji Target parking lot for a mid-trip food replenishment stop. It turns out that the new truck and trailer combination is fairly long. With the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the old trailer we could pull into the length of two parking spots. We found a location that was quite a walk out from the building but we took two parking spots and blocked over half of the driving lane. Oops.

There was Culver’s across the street so Lynn walked over to get lunch before we went into Target. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant was locked down and only doing business through the drive-thru. It was way too tight for me to take the trailer through there. Lynn was able to get a manager to take her order at the door instead of walking through the drive-thru.

After lunch in the trailer, we each went separately into Target. I did the shopping for the housewares and tech. Lynn then went in for groceries. I had better luck getting the items on my list. After these errands, we departed for the campground.

Lake Bemidji State Park

Since we were still early in the season and it was mid-week, we had very few neighbors in the campground. Our site, #77, was nicely wooded, but again with the early season there was not a lot of foliage.

Wooded site at Bemidji State Park

Dinner, like most on campsite arrival days, was simple. It was Canadian Bacon and Cheese sandwiches. We finished off the box of wine and moved to a Loxton wine. Since we were close to Bemidji, I expected to be able to pickup a range of television signals. We only received 3 versions of Fox and a Movies! channel. That was not going to help us watch The Voice on NBC.

So, I again attempted to boost the network. This time I was able to access the extender setup screen with the help of one of my Target purchases, a USB-C to USB-A dongle. I only had mediocre luck with that. The application I needed told me I was out of the market area.

The backup method required one of my other Target purchases, a USB-C to HDMI cable. This allowed the laptop to connect to the television. We were able to use the Xfinity Stream app to watch The Voice. We followed that with some HGTV. Life is tough on a chilly evening in northern Minnesota.

We went to bed about 9:30 PM. We also did not turn on the furnace. That oversight was corrected around 2:00 AM.

We woke the next morning at 7:20 AM. We are beginning to learn how to sleep later in the morning. Again it was too cold to go straight outside, but it was improving each day. It did give me a chance to get caught up on some routine financial tasks on the computer.

Breakfast was cooked and eaten outside. So the griddle was used to make bacon and French toast. After dishes and light housekeeping in the trailer, we were off to downtown Bemidji in search of new hiking shoes.

There were several possible shoe stores, but none had the type of shoe we were looking for in my size. I wanted a low-cut hiking shoe, not a full ankle hiking boot and not a casual shoe without good support. Since we had shopped right through lunch time, we dined at Fozzie’s Smokey BBQ. It was a very passable choice.

We also took some time to visit our old friends, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Someone had recently attempted to climb Paul and broke his arm. I don’t know of many 84 year olds that would put up with a full size man pulling on their arm without it breaking.

84 year old Paul with an arm splint

We then headed to what was once the edge of town to the Paul Bunyan Mall. There the store, Tradehome, had Keen hiking shoes in my size. Mission accomplished. We went back to the campsite, started a campfire, and put the Twins game on the radio. We were rewarded by listening to another Twins loss.

We had a meatloaf for dinner. It was made before the trip and frozen. Note for the future: don’t forget to thaw it in the fridge the day before. It was hard to time it for the correct temperature. The Parmesan potatoes we had with it were delicious. We went inside and I decided to do some clerical tasks on the computer. I ended up staying up until about 11:00 PM.

The next day we woke very late — 8:15 AM. Evidently Crosby was also tired because he didn’t try to wake us earlier. Lynn started a morning campfire. This was the first morning that it felt warm enough to even think of having a fire and sitting outside. Pancakes and Canadian bacon would come at a leisurely pace a little later.

Our morning entertainment was watching the park ranger, followed later by two sheriff deputies visiting a campsite a few spots down where a woman was singing at the top of her lungs. We had not heard it last night, but evidently they had been up very late making a lot of noise. The deputies made two trips to their campsite. We heard nothing more about it and believe that they left during the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon we moved inside the trailer due to a threat of rain. We had been having a lunch of BST sandwiches (that’s Bacon – Spinach – Tomato). We also had fresh gauc and Doritos. It was genius to control portions by bringing the snack size bags instead of the big bags of chips.

After the threat of rain subsided, it was time to do the Hiking Club trail. The trail started near our campsite and included a bog-walk. It was another out and back trail and by far the easiest Hiking Club trail so far. It was a very pretty walk. In a couple of weeks, the flowers would have be in full bloom and beautiful.

Prior to the trip, Lynn prepared her lasagna and froze a pan. This dinner was pulled out of the freezer the night before and popped into oven. We were finding good use for the oven that was a take it or leave it item when we bought the trailer.

During the day we began discussion around future camping trips. A friend posted photos of a tulip festival in Pella, Iowa. It is now in the plans for a southbound May camping trip. It might be possible to include the Twins minor league team, the Cedar Rapids Kernels, in the trip. Another idea for a May trip would be to go to the Ozarks. This would be a much warmer trip than going to northern Minnesota in early May.

We woke up late in the morning again. The day was going to be mostly a pack up and move day, so Cheerios was the breakfast of choice. We gave away our remaining firewood since it couldn’t be transported out of the county due to worries of various tree diseases. Around 1:30 PM we headed to the dump station with plans to drive with all three tanks (black, gray, and fresh) empty.

Our truck navigation system had us turning right as we left the park. Our navigator was hungry, so we turned left toward Bemidji. Lunch was sandwiches from the Holiday Stationstore. Our usual gas station meal is hot dogs, but they had just been put on the griller and they were not yet ready. We found a quiet street a couple of blocks away and ate our ham and cheese sandwiches, cheese curds, and chocolate chip cookies.

After lunch we drove to Gull Lake mostly on 2-lane roads. Along the way we drove a nice soaking rain — or it would have been nice if I wasn’t driving through it. It cleared by the time we were in the Brainerd area.

This trip will be continued in the last post of this trip: Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota – May 2021 Part 5

Hiking Club mileage

DateParkHiking Club Trail LengthCumulative MilesActual Hike LengthActual Cumulative Miles
Previous miles9.210.0
5/13/2021Lake Bemidji2.

Trailer mileage

DateStart LocationStart CityEnd LocationEnd CityMiles
Previous miles1685.8
5/11/2021La Salle State Rec. AreaBecida, MNLake Bemidji State ParkBemidji, MN27.3
Total miles1,713.1

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 11DinnerTropical Shrimp
Spinach salad
Wednesday, May 12BreakfastFrench Toast
LunchPasta w/Alfredo
Canned peas
Corn on the Cob
Little potatoes
Thursday, May 13BreakfastChili Con Queso omelettes
Canned corn
Friday, May 14BreakfastCheerios
LunchTuna sandwiches
LunchGrilled cheese & tomato soup
DinnerPasta w/pesto
Homemade chili (frozen)

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