The plan was to camp at parks along the Mississippi River, this time in Minnesota
This is the last of a 5-part posting. Each one concentrated 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
Gull Lake Recreation Area
We found the campground and made a stop at the dump station to fill the fresh water tank on the way in. This was the only campground on this trip that was not a Minnesota DNR managed site. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) maintains the campground. This one has paved roads, flower beds at the intersections, and level gravel sites edged in 6×6 timbers. The gravel was also recently raked. I later found out that they have volunteer campground hosts that clean up the sites when someone leaves including raking any debris out of the site. They also had racks in the campground holding tools to allow you to do your own maintenance.
After we setup and took a short walk around the campground, a ranger came by to verify our check-in including seeing the America the Beautiful Senior Pass that was on our reservation. She also gave us information on getting firewood in the park.
They had online firewood ordering and delivery to the site. The profit goes to a charity. It was fast to order on my phone and they came with the wood quickly. There was a threat of rain, so we had it put under the trailer.
With the weather threat we went in for the evening early. The plan was to cook steak on the grill. Instead, it was made on the stovetop with a cast iron skillet. The potatoes and carrots were roasted in the oven.
After dinner we retired to the couch to watch a couple of Jeeves and Wooster episodes. Crosby was reluctant to give up the couch, but he gave us enough room to squeeze the three of us into the short seating space.
In the morning we put together the meal plan for our next camping trip. That one would include the grandkids, so the meals would be very different. Around 11:00 AM it was time for me to move outside and start a campfire. It was a nice mostly sunny morning. The birds were singing and there was a bullfrog somewhere nearby.
For lunch we had flatbread pizza. Lynn included fresh basil on top of the pizza. She brought a basil plant along on the trip and simply snipped some leaves. Another threat of rain kept us inside for lunch and doing the dishes.
The sun came out soon afterward and we sat outside for a while. We finally got up and went over the dam to the hiking trails. There was no hurry to get there. Camping days are like that. The trails gave us some nice views of the lake.
When we got back to the campsite, we made the decision to see what Madden’s Resort looks like. Our impression was that it was like a Disney resort minus the theme parks. We also drove to see downtown Brainerd. Of course, 5:00 PM on a Saturday meant nothing was open. Along highway 371 on the way to downtown, we passed just about every big box store and chain restaurant and store that has a presence in Minnesota.
With scratch-made margaritas, we had a taco dinner. Lynn made the meat in a skillet and then moved it to one side and heated black beans in the same pan. The leftover andouille sausage from the jambalaya was also cut up and added to the pan. The tacos turned out great.
After dinner and a little time by the campfire, we went inside for another episode of Jeeves and Wooster. Around 10:00 PM we headed to bed for the last time during this trip.
We woke up early around 6:40 AM. The Chili Con Queso Omelettes were pushed off earlier in the trip to become a special last day breakfast. Now we made a change to Cheerios to get a faster prep time for breakfast along with a reduction in clean up time. This translated into packing up and a 9:38 AM campsite departure.
After a stop at the dump station, we left Gull Lake at 9:52 AM. The drive home was fairly uneventful. Traffic was building as we approached the Cities, so we skirted across the top of the metro area by turning off US10 at Armstrong Boulevard and turning east on Bunker Boulevard. We arrived home about 12:45 PM.
This completes the trip Along the Mississippi River in Minnesota.
|Date||Start Location||Start City||End Location||End City||Miles|
|5/14/2021||Lake Bemidji State Park||Bemidji, MN||Gull Lake Recreation Area||Brainerd, MN||101.0|
|Gull Lake Recreation Area||Brainerd, MN||Home||White Bear Twp., MN||142.0|
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.
|Friday, May 14||Dinner||NY Strip Steak with Jack Daniels Marinade|
Carrots with balsamic
|Saturday, May 15||Breakfast||Scrambled Eggs with Everything|
|Sunday, May 16||Breakfast||Pancakes|
|Lunch||Grilled cheese & tomato soup|
Homemade chili (frozen)