Loooooooooooong Travel Day
Jul 25, 2009
|We knew we had a long travel day ahead of us on Friday, so I expected we’d want to get an early start. But I knew I was in trouble when Fred started shaking me at 6:30. I shuffled out to the living room and settled into my recliner with my first cup of coffee, but by 7:00 Fred was on the move. Sheesh. I usually need at least an hour and several cups of coffee before I can seriously get into the rhythm of packing up for moving day.
In the blink of an eye, we were packed up and slithering out of our site between the two big trees. Fred did an awesome job of pulling us out in one try. I couldn’t believe it was 8:00AM and we were heading over the bridge into La Crescent, Minnesota to travel the scenic road north along the Mississippi River. This has got to be the earliest we have ever gotten on the road.
It wasn’t a particularly nice day, and the forecast for the Minneapolis area was rain and thunderstorms. And darned if that rain didn’t show up south of the city. And not just any rain. Pouring-down-can’t-see-in-front-of-your-face-windshield-wipers-on-high kind of rain. Thank goodness I wasn’t driving. And thank goodness, it was short lived. A long drive under those conditions would have been unbearable.
Besides the rain, there was the ever popular road construction. We avoided going through the city of Minneapolis, opting instead for the interstate bypass around the southern and western perimeter. But as cities spread out more and more in a radius around their core (a phenomenon known as urban sprawl) that tactic is only slightly better than driving right through town.
By the time we got through the metropolitan area and hooked up with I-94 going west, we definitely needed a break and some lunch. It was time for me to take over the driving and give Fred some relief. It was estimated to be a 4 1/2 hour trip, but with everything we encountered and stopping for lunch, I think it was 3:00 by the time we got to Two Rivers Campground and Tubing in Royalton, MN. We were bushed.
It’s not a bad campground, but it’s definitely geared to families. They have a basketball and a volleyball court, soccer field, mini-golf, playgrounds and tubing on the Platte River. We settled into the upper loop which was wide open so we could get satellite reception and have full hookups. I was surprised it was so quiet and not very full, considering all the trouble I had getting reservations at so many of the campgrounds.
But later, when I took Boo Boo for a walk down into the lower loop which is heavily wooded with views of the river, I found out where everyone was. That loop was loaded with campers of every type, big families, multi-family groupings, dogs…you name it. It looked like another party weekend. It was actually quite pretty down there and I actually wouldn’t have minded being there, but with all the trees and no sewer hookup, it was out of the question.
So we accomplished our mission this weekend. We got 236 miles closer to our rendezvous with Margaret and Ian in Dickinson, ND. I got caught up with the laundry (all SIX loads of it). Fred got caught up with his internet surfing and we ended up having a relaxing weekend.
Tomorrow is a new day and another long drive, 273 miles, another 4 1/2 hour trip. Our destination is Jamestown, ND which Fred just discovered is a prime birding hotspot in an area known as Prairie Potholes. Prairie what? Birding hotspot? C’mon…North Dakota? Who knew? Can you believe, it's one the spots listed in the book "Fifty Places to go Birding Before You Die." That's 50 places in the world>, not just the U.S. And maybe we’ll even see some of the albino bison I heard were there.
Just please don’t roust me out of bed at the crack of dawn.