Tuesday, August 3, 2010

12th State Paddle – Minnesota

Two paddles: 1) St.Louis River @ Floodwood, MN and 2) Ely – Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

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I parked at an Indian Casino last night... and slept in this morning, then went inside, lost $3 on machines, got free cokes, had a wonderful tour of a Leek Lake Indian museum and film.  I could hardly pull myself away.  Luckily the gift shop was closed for lunch by the time I got there... so am doing a quick check of critical email and then on to Floodwood to meet vandwellers.  The sun is out, the air is fresh, and no bugs.  Does it get any better than this?  

I’m at Mike’s (visionquestrv) Mom’s house in MN now, with Mike, Heidi, and Suanne.  Wonderful screened in porch… we are really enjoying.  Here is the message Mike posted to Vandwellers today:

So, we are having a little Vantramps get together here in the North Woods!

Charlene and Suanne are here with Heidi and I and my Mom and "Jerry" (her husband). We are having a great time of course! Wish you could all be here too! (no idea where you would park, but, we could figure it out)

Just thought I would mention it! BTW, the raccoons that were out playing by the house last night left Charlene alone...No matter how much I tried to prompt them :)

97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

We are having so much fun… all kinds of stories, looking at rocks, mending things, cleaning out the trailer, etc.  Mike’s mom is as sweet as Mike is.  The little house on the river is divine.  They have bird feeders all over the place, that Jerry made, and birds, squirrels, chipmunks, flying squirrels, and skeeters.minnesota_ 156 minnesota_ 131

Shifting stuff in trailer.  Boy what a mess.  First I have too many rocks and plan to create a rock garden here to leave behind.  Why can’t I stop collecting rocks?  I have a platform built in the center of the trailer, which I slide the kayak in on.  It’s about shoulder height from the ground, so I don’t have to lift it (doctors orders).  But the stuff sitting to the side of it… keeps sliding over toward the kayak and it became very hard to pull the kayak out or slide it back in.  So I have unloaded a bunch of stuff and plan to fix it by putting some 2x4 scraps of wood.

One morning soon, I’m going to take the kayak down to the river and take a quick paddle.  This will not be THE Minnesota paddle… that will take place in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  But I can keep in shape with a daily morning paddle here.  I have a cousin in Ely who works in a mine up there.  Maybe some other cousins there too.  Their mother died in March this year.  I don't think I ever met her or my Uncle... but they should know the boundary waters area. 

8/2/10 - My printer died on the way here.... and Epson is suppose to be sending a replacement here.... but it's not here yet, so I need to wait for it.  I have to call them today and see what's up.  It should have been here.

My eyes are better, and whatever I had is gone, but unloading part of the trailer yesterday did something to my back and I'm now nursing that.  Didn't hurt until I laid down last night.  Ughhh.

Oh, last night I got to watch nocturnal flying squirrels coming to the feeders.  That was really neat.  Rained most of the night... so I'll be taking it easy today.

Suanne and I are going to make supper tonight. Stew.  Wish I could do it with solar... but no sun here.

8/3/10 - Today, I paddled Minnesota.  This morning I paddled 4 miles down the St. Louis River in Floodwood, MN.

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Started off from Mike's mom's house... and got seen off with Suanne taking photos of my launch and then passing Mike's Mom and her little pooch, Molly, where were sitting on the steps down to the water in front of their house.

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Mike's mother drove down to the local park and I left my van and trailer there.  My kayak was left at there house.  Then she drove me back to the house, and I put in there and then paddled down river to where my van was parked. 

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A camper there helped me haul the kayak out up this steep hill, dragging my butt behind the kayak.  Wish I had had photos of that one.  I left my kayak at her place and we drove my rig down to the local park (about four miles away)... and I rode back to her house and put my kayak in there. It was a nice paddle. I saw a bald eagle.

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When I arrived at the park a camper there helped me pull myself and the kayak out... a very steep and slippery slope... and get it loaded back in the van... then they fed me a hamburger. How sweet. Funny thing... their names were Judy and Jerry. Mike's mom is Judy and her husband Jerry! How strange is that.

Nice paddle. I think I saw a bald eagle, some small ducks, a larger duck. And crows.  Lots of little “fav fishing spots” along the river.2010-08-03 10.42.29

Suanne, thank you so much for the photos.  I so seldom get photos of me with the kayak, these are very special.  I really appreciate it. 

Suanne left today... going toward Maine.

Tonight we should be able to see an aura-borealis (spelling?).  What fun is that?  I did four miles down the St. Louis River, in Floodwood, MN. 

Mike and Heidi leave tomorrow going to visit his sister.

8/4/10 - I drove north from Mike's mom's to Fortune Bay Casino...   http://www.fortunebay.com/index.php  and will park here tonight and then explore tomorrow.  Boundary Waters is a wilderness canoe area.

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Due to influence of writers like Sig Olson... I have always wanted to canoe the area. http://www.bwca.cc/ I have cousins up here I've never met.  If I can get to a point where I can stand any more people... I may try to find them and visit.  Maybe one of them can go out on the water with me. People ask how I decide where I will paddle. I drive someplace I want to paddle, and then do between 4-7 miles so far.  That's all I can do right now.   

I began checking email and a sister wrote that her daughter was dating a man who had two best friends from Ely, MN... where we had an uncle and cousins. She thought they must be related. I checked my genealogy software this morning and find the boys are second cousins to her daughter. I managed to find them both on Facebook this morning, and have been chatting with one. He is trying to put me in touch with his dad (my first cousin-I've never met)... and I'll have another mini reunion.

Anyway... it was delightful to spend time with Mike and Heidi and see the renewed Taj (floor and shower), and visit with Suanne (we cooked dinner together for everyone one night) and to have the photos Suanne took of me and kayak. Mike's folks are great. The house is like a little dream cottage... with yard filled with bird/squirrel feeders. The place is visited by all manner of wildlife... and I had planned to take a bunch of close-ups of them all but had to leave too suddenly.

But it was a wonderful little gathering. Thank you Judy and Jerry, and Mike and Heidi and Taj, and Suanne and little white car(?). Wish we had had a few more days to visit and take photos!

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(Photos... taking photos of Mike and Heidi... like trying to capture a photo of a ghost or vampires... they are so elusive... so I only got a couple of blurs and have been banned from even posting them. Shame on you guys... that's no fun! But I'll get you... one day.)


I will write up the Boundary Water Canoe Area paddle separately though that was also MN and still only my 12th state paddled.


Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.