Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 28 - 31, 2017, MN

Tuesday, August 29.  Monday was Norah and Camille's first day at their new school.  They are so excited and happy to be going there.

Yesterday was a rainy day, so we headed off to do some sightseeing.  I had found a couple of things to see on the Atlas Obscura website.  The little town of Dassel had a historic mushroom shaped building that housed a gas station back in the 1950s - a cute little building at an intersection right in the center of town.

There was also a historic building where Ergot was processed - what in the world is Ergot?  Google informed me that the Universal Laboratories building is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the home of the Dassel Area Historical Society. From 1937 to the mid 1970s, Universal Laboratories provided raw ergot from the grain fields of the western US and Canada to pharmaceutical companies. Critical drugs were produced from the ergot, saving countless military and civilian lives. Exhibits present the story of ergot and the local area.  Unfortunately, the history center was closed.

We drove a few more miles to the west to Dawson, to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine - made by only one man.  Again, the museum itself was closed but the ball of twine is housed in a glass building, so we did get to see it.  I can now cross that off of the bucket list.

There was the World's Largest Crow but it was another 70 miles away, so we nixed that idea and headed back toward our campsite, stopping for a yummy burger and beer at Monie's, a local bar with a good selection of craft beers. A nice campfire with plenty of conversation, a cocktail, and a walk with Frisco when we got back to our campsites.

Tom fixed breakfast this morning, omelets loaded with veggies - we wanted a good start because today was 'take the canoe out' day.  We decided to go to Half Moon Lake, a small, quiet lake just to the north of here where motor boats are not allowed.  We had to carry the canoe down a pretty long path to get to the dock, but a friendly gentleman took my end and carried it for me.  The lake was surrounded by cat tails and we did see some wildlife - Great Blue Herons, 2 beautiful Swans just gliding along the smooth water, turtles that sensed us long before we even got close to them, and lots of bubbles and activity in the water.  We had the entire lake to ourselves, just moving along the shoreline and criss crossing here and there to check something out.

I'm not good at selfies but - we did it!

Loading the canoe back up and getting it strapped down was the hard part - mostly because of the mosquitoes.  They have been pesky here, mostly at dusk, but the parking lot by the lake was full of them and they had their share of our blood.

Wednesday, August 30.  There were no plans for today, so we started out with a walk, taking the path through the woods to the lake, along the lake shore beaches, to the boat launch and then back to our campsites, about a 2.3 mile walk.  And then we just hung out, reading or whatever until dinner time.

When we came through Maple Plain on Monday, we had passed O'Massey's Irish Pub, so we decided to go there for dinner.  It's a nice place that served tradition Irish dishes - I chose a Reuben sandwich and Tom had the Shepherd's Pie - both were yummy.  Back st the campsites, we decided to save our remaining firewood for our last night and sat out without a fire.  It got pretty chilly - dipping down in the 50s overnight.

Thursday, August 31.  Today was 'walk around Lake Katrina' day - that is, a 6.2 mile walk around the lake plus getting there from our campsites plus a couple of detours that led to other campsites or views along the way..  It was a beautiful, cool day and we saw only a few other people using the trail, bikers, roller-bladers, roller-skiers, and runners.  I'm sure glad that I decided not to take Frisco - I think he would have petered out.  The last mile was a hard one - hips and ankles were starting to hurt.

Last night's 🔥.

We had spaghetti and meatballs plus Tom's yummy chopped veggie salad for dinner, burned the last of the firewood down to the coals, and had a very interesting conversation of what our futures might look like.