Lake Carlos – June 2021

Invited to join family that had just booked sites

We were able to get a site close to, but not next to, the two sites that our family had booked.

We completed the packing on time and left the yard at 12:59 PM. We had planned on a 1:00 PM departure. To avoid traffic, even though it was a Sunday and we were heading outbound from the Cities, we took off on a northerly route using Main Street and Bunker Hills Boulevard. This allowed us to get on US 10 at Armstrong Boulevard. It was pretty clear sailing even through Elk River. There, it was still 2 lanes northbound, but only 1 lane that was backed up southbound. Made a mental note to avoid this routing going home. We turned at Monticello to get on I-94. This routing got us past the construction in May, but that was no longer the case. We were now in uneven lanes without a shoulder and facing a stiff wind.

We battled the wind the rest of the way up to the Osakis exit from I-94 with another 20 miles to go to the campground. We arrived at the park about 4:30 PM. This was perfect since the check-in time is 4:00 PM at the park. Our family had arrived shortly before us and were busy setting up screen tents and sleeping tents as we drove into the campground.

We set up and got level. The passenger side needed about 3 ½ inches of lift to accomplish this. The back end of the site also dropped off, so we needed 8 leveling blocks on each side to make use of the stabilizer jacks. Now, at this point, I remembered that we were supposed to stop and fill the water tank at the dump station upon arrival. Luckily, there was a spigot very close to our site and we have a water bandit to allow a temporary connection to fill the tank. An entry is now on the checklist — “stop at the dump station, if needed”.

Any site is level with enough work and blocking

We also setup the portable awning since it was very hot and we could use the shade. Temps had been breaking records for consecutive days in the 90s. Most of those heat records were in July, not mid-June.

Dinner was somewhat delayed, so I made margaritas from scratch for everyone. When we did eat, it was steak kabobs, little potatoes, and asparagus on the grill. We ended up calling it a night without going over to the family firepit.

The next morning it was very important to get the flag flying from the hitch since it was Flag Day. So, we got up about 7:00 AM and had a lazy morning. Ginger cookies provided an early breakfast. Okay, we had a full-fledged breakfast of French Toast and sausage later in the morning.

Our family likes this park because of its proximity to Carlos Creek Winery. On the way to the winery, we stopped and filled the truck gas tank. In was full when we left home, but that wind took its toll. We had a wine tasting and followed it with pizza lunch at the winery: the chicken pesto and the spicy sausage pizzas. They were good, but not very spicy. Minnesota spicy is salt and pepper, we like it spicier.

Don’t leave your chair around Crosby.

After returning to the trailer, it was nap time. Later, we had a dinner of tacos and guac with lime chips. This was served with a chilled bottle of Cannon River’s Fiesty Bitch Red. Yes, this is a red wine that can be served chilled or at room temperature.

This night we headed over to the family firepit, but Crosby decided it was bedtime. So, back to the trailer after a short visit.

The 7:00 AM wake-up provided a nice time to walk the dog around the loop. Not really anyone else was stirring. Breakfast however was stirring a bunch of leftovers into an egg scramble – kabobs, sausage, potatoes, and asparagus.

After breakfast, we headed out on the Hiking Club trail. We drove to the trail head. The sign we found in the parking lot had fine print that we took as a yellow line. The sign told us to go to the right to start the trail. Instead, we walked past the sign and up a hill following our map down the trail. We did notice that many of the hiking club trail signs pointed in the reverse direction. We had not encountered a trail that had a specific direction, so we went ahead following our map.

Lake Carlos

For a short part of the trail we did go in the correct direction. We thought we must be close to the password sign. We did find an empty green signpost where we thought the sign should be. We completed the trail never finding the password sign. We stopped at the ranger station to report it missing from the green post.

We were informed that it was not missing, but you would never see it going in the “wrong” direction. They kindly provided the password since it was obvious that we knew the trail and had walked it. Note for future: read the Hiking Club sign small print and pay attention to the direction of travel.

Now, back to the campsite for lunch. We had taco salads using the leftover taco meat. We ate inside due to the sun and bugs. Some of the bugs were caterpillars that would drop from the awning and crawl up on everything.

After lunch we started to break camp. We now have the process down pretty well with this trailer. We pulled out of the site at 3:10 PM. This is not a typical departure time for us, we are usually out of the campsite before lunch. Clearly we were within the 4:00 PM checkout time and this was a weekday.

We headed to the dump station to find a plumber working on it. We were not able to use it and we had to snake carefully between two pits to get around his van. We should have asked him to move. A closed sign posted out before the turn into the dump station would have also been a nice amenity.

So now on the road with laden tanks. Since I-94 and US 10 were both so bad, we chose a route taking us across to Cambridge and down MN 65. That mostly worked until we found construction ahead near Ham Lake on 65. We cut over to I-35 at Stacy and took the freeway home. We arrived home about 7:00 PM.

Trailer mileage

DateStart LocationStart CityEnd LocationEnd CityMiles
Previous miles2,073.2
6/13/2021HomeWhite Bear Twp., MNLake Carlos State ParkCarlos, MN153.0
6/15/2021Lake Carlos State ParkCarlos, MNHomeWhite Bear Twp., MN168.0
Total miles2,394.2

Meals Planned

Our meal lists are 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.

Sunday, June 13DinnerSteak Kabobs
Little potatoes
Monday, June 14BreakfastFrench Toast
LunchPizza at the Winery
DinnerHamburger Tacos
Tuesday, May 25BreakfastCheerios
LunchTaco Salad
LunchGrilled cheese & tomato soup
DinnerPasta w/pesto
Homemade chili (frozen)

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