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Author Topic: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012  (Read 35051 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #60 on: September 17, 2012, 10:17:13 PM »
Enjoy your drive down beautiful Hwy 61!  Plenty of things to see and do!

Lake City-Beautiful Lake Pepin.  The birthplace of water skiing.

Wabasha-Nat'l Eagle Center.  Also the the inspiration to the Grumpy Old Men movies.  Check out Slippery's Bar (about 6 blocks north of NEC) for pictures and props from the movie.

Kellogg-LARK Toys.  Right on Hwy 61, just 7 miles S. of Wabasha.

Have a safe trip!

I love your tips!  Thanks.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #61 on: September 17, 2012, 10:24:23 PM »
Sept. 5      Day 19         Lake Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

We chose to stay in Detroit Lakes last night because of its proximity to Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge, where the ranger promised me a good place to park the RV and an opportunity to see bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and a variety of ducks, geese, and grouse.  We got up really early to see as much as possible, and gobbled a quick PB and J.  We sailed right along until we made the turn-off and saw the road was limited to vehicles under 9 tons.  We weigh 15 tons, so we went down to a fat spot and made a U-turn.  We’ll have to do it in the Jeep tomorrow.

We knew we’d be way early, but went on to the State Park anyway.  Camping cost was $25 for en electric only + $5 for each vehicle each day (total $20) + $8.50 for not reserving using our non-functioning Internet.

We cruised by our campsite, and sure enough, people were still there, so we went to the Headwaters of the Mississippi (Picture 1).  Dean walked across the Mississippi (about 30’). 

There were lots of information boards.  We learned that early Indian people were aware of the lake at the source of the Mississippi River.  They camped here over 8,000 years ago   More recently, the Ojibwe lived here, and they called the lake “Omushkos”  (Elk Lake because its shape is like an elk’s head, with the tributaries being the elk’s horns), and the river “Gichiziibi” (Great River).  The name Mississippi has its origin from the Algonquian Indian language; “Misiziibi” means “a river spread over a large area.” 

The travels of the traders to these lakes and riverways introduced European and American Indian cultures to each other.  The Indians and traders cared about their furs and fish—the idea of headwaters just wasn’t important.  Lewis & Clark and Zebulon Pike looked but didn’t find it.  An Indian chief, Ozawindib, showed Henry Schoolcraft where it was.  He claimed it and named the lake “Itasca” by combining the end of the Latin words verITAS and CAput meaning “truth” and “head.”  He said he was sorely tried by “voracious, long-billed, and dyspeptic musketoes”, but there were no mosquitoes today.  Schoolcraft’s expedition collected valuable scientific information, inspected fur posts, vaccinated 2,000 Ojibwe against smallpox, and achieved an intertribal peace treaty with the Dakotas.

Lake Itasca is 1475’ above the ocean, and the Mighty Mississippi flows 2552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the only thing that goes to the Gulf.  The loons that I was so hoping so see left a day or two ago for their winter homes in the Gulf.  They are “early migrators.”

The weather was beautiful. We had a nice lunch on the patio at the Headwaters Café before starting a lovely 10-mile wilderness drive.  Then we went on to Douglas Lodge and had coffee while overlooking the lake.  And, we discovered that they have free WIFI!

We drove a few miles to the main visitor center.  There are also two informational multi- kiosk-type areas that they call visitor centers. A 5-minute film introduced us to Lake Itasca.  The small museum had lots of history and exhibits.

Lake Itasca SP is beautiful, and I would recommend it as a destination.  We came back and had dinner in the RV.  Dinner at the Douglas Lodge runs $14-20.  It had mediocre to good reviews on TripAdvisor, but at that price, I want “very good.” 

Staying at Lake Itasca State Park, Bear Paw Campground, Space 26-E—electric only, lots of pretty trees, no satellite reception
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #62 on: September 17, 2012, 10:29:02 PM »
Sept. 6         Day 20         Lake Itasca State Park

Dean and I like this campground a lot.  Sherlock loves it, but no one likes the constant “bonking” of pine cones on our roof.  However, they do make a good alarm clock.  We wanted to get an early start to see Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge and to be back by 1:00 to do the 2-hour Lake Itasca Boat Tour. We planned to go into Bemidji, sightsee, and have dinner.  Well, we saw Tamarack and got so entranced, we never got to the other two.

It took us over 1½ hours to make the beautiful drive back to Tamarack. We took a different road, and we couldn’t believe the large amount of color we saw.  Just yesterday, we had seen very little color.  Today, we also saw about 8 very colorful wild turkeys at the side of the road (no place to pull over and get a picture). 

We started at the temporary visitors’ center.  The main center is being retrofitted with energy-efficient windows, a new roof, and solar panels.  The ranger said the building really needed upgrading, and all the work is being done by local contractors, which helps out the local economy.  She told us that all NWRs are being made as energy efficient as possible.

The rangers have to bring the bird feeders inside each night because of  black bears and raccoons.  This morning, the ranger had forgotten to put food in the feeder outside, so she did that.   We saw many bright yellow goldfinches and a red bird (finch also?) (Picture 1)   A hummer flew within inches of Dean and me and drank from a feeder repeatedly. (Pictures 2 & 3) At our home we have several feeders, and we travelled to SE Arizona’s Ramsey Canyon to stay at a B & B with lots of feeders, so we’ve seen lots of hummers.  But, I had never been so close to a hummingbird without a barrier, and I was thrilled.

We drove down to the main center to look for a lake with swans, and instead, we found two beautiful sharp-tailed grouse—only the second time I’ve seen them.  The male was in the middle of the road, the female on the side, and they stared at us as we looked at them.  We just sat still and enjoyed the view, but when they stayed there, we decided to get the camera out of the backseat, which meant getting out of the car.  Immediately both of them ran into the bushes.  This was my first long look at a grouse, so I was excited.

We had gone a few miles on the 10-mile auto tour, seeing nothing when I yelled, “STOP!”   I had spotted a BEAR on the far side of the lake.  He was so far away, but he was moving—perhaps grazing?  Dean put his new camera lens on and looked—it was 2-legged bear (a man) poling a canoe.  In early September, members of the White Earth Band of Anishinaabe pole through the wild rice beds, harvesting the crop.  In the lower right, you can also see one of the 2 cormorants which I correctly identified.

We watched monarchs hover over brown-eyed susans (I thought they only ate milkweed), lots of other butterflies, and enormous buzzing dragonflies. We saw several maples with lots of red leaves, and many trees with yellow.  Fall has arrived.  I’ve seen this shrub turn red before, but here it was a more brilliant magenta, and it has an interesting half-green mix. (Picture 5)

We had glimpses of two large birds, and I am pretty sure one was a juvenile bald eagle.  I wanted to see swans, and I was already planning a return trip to where I’d seen one yesterday, when out the window I glimpsed mom and dad trumpeter swan and 5 babies scooting over the water in a lake.  We lingered there for a long time.  One cygnet was always lagging behind, and they were feeding.  So, getting a picture with all their heads up and all together was challenging.  Dean managed to capture 6 of them all with their heads up in one shot.  (Picture 6)

By now our ship had sailed, so we decided to stop at Summerhill Farms.  It’s about 6 shops with home goods, gardening supplies, wines, ladies’ apparel, and a restaurant, built on steppes on the side of a hill.  It is old, but well-maintained and charming.   I can climb steps with a rail, but these steps were tall and beyond my capabilities.  However, we accessed a back parking lot, and by using my scooter over grass, we were able to get to the restaurant.  Dean & I both had the ½ sandwich & delicious chicken wild rice soup, and we split a small red velvet cupcake.  Everything was wonderful, and I would definitely recommend it.

By this time, rainclouds had darkened the sky, and we decided to go to Bemidji tomorrow on our way to Duluth.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #63 on: September 17, 2012, 10:39:42 PM »
Sept. 7         Day 21         Superior, WI

The countryside was so pretty as we drove to Bemidji, home of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.  The thermometer had just passed 50° when we left and the flags were blowing in the 16 mph winds.  We had planned to walk the waterfront of Lake Bemidji, the first lake on the Mississippi River.

 We both decided that it was way too cold, (Minnesotans were wearing jackets with their shorts), so we headed for Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant.  It was a great decision!  We enjoyed corned beef and cabbage egg rolls, (Picture 1), tender beer-marinated beef in Irish stew (Picture 2), and the best bread pudding I’ve ever eaten.  My grandfather was a chef, and one of my fondest memories is of him making me bread pudding, so anytime I see bread pudding, I order it.  Being #1 out of probably 200 samplings is high praise. This bar is a fun place, and they work to make sure everyone has a good time.  The waitress taught me to play the pub game, Skittles.  It’s played by winding a string around a spindle, pulling it quickly, sending it spinning and knocking down tiny bowling pins (Picture 3), and I got a high score.  They have Irish entertainment at night, and I bet this place rocks.

We had detached the Jeep at the Bemidji Walmart.  When we returned, Dean worked with Motosat again, trying to get Internet.  We had been dropped by the group that bought out Motosat because we were considered a “delinquent account” for non-payment.  We are set up on an automatic annual bill-pay, and when the other company bought out Motosat’s service, they didn’t transfer the billing information.  So, we’ve been without our Internet for 3 weeks while Dean has been trying to fix the problem.  As we drove to Superior, the lady from Motosat called to say we had been re-connected.  Som when we arrived here, the first thing we did was put up the satellite.  We still don’t have Internet .   It is past closing time.  We’ll try again on Monday.

Staying at Walmart
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #64 on: September 17, 2012, 10:44:27 PM »
Sept. 8      Day 22         Superior, WI (outside Duluth)

It rained, rained, and rained some more.  Dean is a burger lover and friends had recommended that we try a unique burger bar.  So, at noon Dean went down the road to pick up a couple of burgers.  We had no idea that Superior is a pretty large city, and it is on both sides of a major bridge.  Dean had no problem locating the Anchor Bar, but he didn’t return to the RV for over 2½ hours!  The return side of the bridge was totally shut down, and Dean had a terrible time trying to get back.  (I would bet that he never stopped at a gas station and asked for directions!)  We enjoyed very good, inexpensive burgers—mine had cream cheese and green olives.

We went down to the Lakewalk & the Leif Erickson Park & Rose Garden, which was so beautiful that two wedding parties were getting their photos taken there.  I was surprised to see so many blooms, considering that we had such heavy rain and big winds. (Picture 1) These people really care about their roses.  They remove the several hundred rose bushes (perhaps over a thousand) each fall and re-plant them the next spring,

We drove to Canal Park to see the aerial lift bridge, built in 1905 by the Army Corps of Engineers.  This is a bridge with 2 vertical towers, one on each side of the river.  The section between the towers can be elevated to the top of the towers, allowing ships to pass under.  Luck was with us, and just as we parked, a large ship approached.  Picture 2 is with the bridge all the way up.  Picture 3 shows it going down, and Picture 4 shows the bridge all the way down. There is an interesting museum there with a film and lots of exhibits.  In looking for a place to have dinner, we drove over the bridge, hoping that no big ships came and made us wait because it takes 15-20 minutes for the whole process.  It’s pretty amazing that the bridge is still functioning so well.

Staying at Northland RV Park—FHU, 50 amps, nice manager, checks only, satellite-friendly
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Billy Bob

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #65 on: September 17, 2012, 10:53:34 PM »
Keep the pictures and info on your trip coming. I enjoy keeping up with your travels

Roadhappy

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #66 on: September 18, 2012, 01:01:26 AM »
You're doing a great job in your travel posts.  Really enjoying it.

Robin
Robin & Charles
2008 30' Crossroads Cruiser Fifthwheel
2008 F250 Powerstroke

Lorna

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    • Our itinerary
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #67 on: September 18, 2012, 05:30:16 AM »
Thanks for your trip reports.  Northland RV Park is very nice.  We stayed there the end of July for a week and a half.  The laundry room needs some TLC.
Lorna
Better to drive thy closet than pack thy suitcase
Want to know where we are?
http://whereis.nedreiter.com
Follow our trip of the USA at http://blog.usabyrv.us

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #68 on: September 18, 2012, 05:31:16 AM »
You're doing a great job in your travel posts.  Really enjoying it.

Robin

Thanks so much.  We're really enjoying living it.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #69 on: September 18, 2012, 05:45:34 AM »
Thanks for your trip reports.  Northland RV Park is very nice.  We stayed there the end of July for a week and a half.  The laundry room needs some TLC.

We liked that park.  I got a Splendide for Xmas, 2010.  It washes and dries in one small machine.  It does only about 4 outfits (8 total shirts & pants) at a time, or 1 set of sheets, and it wrinkles cotton, but I love it.  Before Splendide (BS), we used to save up laundry for over 2 weeks and go into a laundromat, and we would have about 6 loads.  We would look up laundromats using our GPS.  90% of the time they were in the ghetto area, and about 20% of the time, I felt fear.  We were the ONLY white faces, and I felt that we stood out as much as we would if we put "Rob me" signs on our backs.  I felt even more vulnerable with my arthritis because I walk slower.   However, doing it one load at a time had its issues, too.  I told Dean that if I could have a Splendide, it would take care of all Xmases, bdays, Mothers' Days for 3 years (Super expensive little bugger, and installation was expensive, too).  We solved the wrinkle problem with a portable, quick steam system.  And...it gives us more time to travel and have fun. We put in a load when we go to whatever we're going to see that day, and when we come home, my clothes are all washed and dried.  I LOVE MY SPLENDIDE!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #70 on: September 18, 2012, 05:52:55 AM »
Sept. 9      Day 23         Superior, WI (outside Duluth)

The North Shore Drive, a drive up Highway 61 on a peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior, is recommended in many tour books as one of the most beautiful drives in the U. S.  It is a 320-mile round trip.  There were many small waterfalls which flowed into creeks, and those creeks flowed into Lake Superior.  In the spring, there is 4-5 times as much water flow as there is now.  There were lots of state parks and opportunities for hikers. The lakeshore was pretty when we could see it.  Grass and bushes have grown tall and frequently obscure views.  The further north you drive, the more beautiful the evergreens are.

We stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park and enjoyed a short but pretty stroll to the falls (Picture 1)  There are 2 falls, the upper falls and lower falls.  Along the way, I discovered rose hips, radish-shaped bright red seedpods of the rose, something I had heard of but never seen before (Picture 2).  Rich in Vitamin C, they are used in teas and jellies to treat a myriad of illnesses.

The hidden falls at Temperance River State park have created a canyon, reminiscent of a miniature Grand Canyon with a creek running through it.  We could hear the roar, but you have to hike over rocks to get back to see them. (Picture 3)  They are a vanished ancient waterfall from a glacier and plunge into a pool below.

The best was the last, Grand Portage State Park, which is a joint venture with the Native Americans, the U. S. government, and the Canadian government.  The ½ mile walk through the lush forest was so rich with foliage you could imagine the “Indians” creating their 9-mile trail like this one to be able to circumvent 20 miles of falls. Later I regretted lingering and enjoying because I unintentionally provided the no-see-ums with a nice meal.  My legs have been itching ever since.  However, the falls were the biggest, (Picture 4) and the Visitor Center was brand new, so I’m glad we didn’t miss it.  We were so close to Canada that we could see the border crossing.

The trip home seemed much longer, though we drove the same road and had no traffic.  If I were to do this again, I would spend the night at the Grand Portage so I could shop in Grand Marais and at the other interesting shops along the way back.  They are famous for the Minnesota Agates found along the shore and available at rock shops, so I would have liked to have at least seen what they look like.

As we neared Two Harbors, it was almost 8:00, so we stopped at Betty’s Pies, a very well-known cafe.  We had delicious soup and sandwich and, of course, some of her famous 5-layer chocolate pie.  I would definitely stop here again.

Staying at Northland RV Park—FHU, 50 amps, nice manager, checks only, satellite-friendly
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 06:11:41 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #71 on: September 18, 2012, 06:19:40 AM »
Sept. 10   Day 24         Prior Lake, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today was a travel day, ending with a nice meal in the coffee shop of the Mystic Casino, who owns the RV park.  I tried walleye, a popular fish up here.  It was a very, very mild fish.  The tartar sauces (two types) were excellent.  I would recommend eating here.

Staying at Dakotah Meadows RV Park—50 amps, FHU, spacious back-ins on the perimeter, sites narrow on one side on the interior pull-throughs, WiFi  $32, with an RV wash with a CATWALK


Sept. 11   Day 25         Prior Lake, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

We got up at 5:30 to get to the Fort Snelling State Park Visitors’ Center by 8:00.  We fought the horrible rush hour traffic, only to fail.   The address on its website is for the State Department of Natural Resources offices in downtown St. Paul.  They are the people who govern all the state parks.  We could see lots of places on our To Do List, but none opened for almost two hours.

We did a frantic search on our I-Phones, and found 2 addresses and 2 phone numbers for FSSP, so we called them.  They say that no GPS works and the lady gave me complex directions.

We decided we needed a detailed map of both of the Twin Cities, so we headed to AAA.  The lady there was amazing and so helpful.  She gave us lots of insider information.  After doing a lot of plotting, we decided to move to Apple Valley tomorrow.

We stopped at a Famous Dave’s for lunch and discovered that they will be closing in 2 months because the highway will be usurping their restaurant.  They found a new site 45 minutes away, so employees are going to have some hard choices to make.

 We chose this park because it has a catwalk RV wash, appeared to be as close to the Twin Cities as Apple Valley, and Dean really wanted to wash the roof and the bug juice on the front.  He bought 25 coins @ $1 each.  Each coin is good for two minutes of power wash/ rinse/etc.  Dean worked hard and the coach is clean!  Downside was we didn’t get to go explore.

We ate dinner at the Mystic River Casino’s buffet.  It was OK, and $14.  However, I wouldn’t go there again.

Staying at Dakotah Meadows RV Park—50 amps, FHU, spacious back-ins on the perimeter, sites narrow on one side on the interior pull-throughs, WiFi  $32

Sept. 12    Day 26      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Dean expertly maneuvered through the many “Detour” and “Road Closed” maze that surrounded the Capitol.  They are putting in light rail and causing the demise of many mom-and-pop businesses because there is no highway access to them, necessitating going through back roads and residential neighborhoods to get to a frontage road.  Road construction is EVERYWHERE!

All of the handicapped parking was taken by Capitol Security and a car with state license plates, but we found a spot that wasn’t too far away.  The scaffolding on the front of the capitol is because they are replacing a glass North Star skylight.  The current one lets water in much better than it lets sunlight in. 

Mimi started our tour by requesting a donation of $5 per person.  We usually donate at capitols, but they just have a plastic box with a little sign.  Sometimes when we say we want to donate, they don’t know how to make that happen and we even end up meeting the state’s treasurer.  The $10 amount was fine; in fact, we have given much more than that.  However, this just had a wrong feel to it.

This is their 3rd capitol.  The first wooden one burned in 1881 and was replaced by a brick capitol.  It was poorly ventilated, and the legislators claimed they couldn’t breathe (cigar & cigarette smoke?).

Cass Gilbert was chosen in a national competition to design the new capitol.  He had only designed 1 office, 2 churches, and a few homes for the wealthy, but he went on to design the capitols of West Virginia and Louisiana, as well as the U. S. Supreme Court building.  He was meticulous and spent 4 years on the paper designs because he designed EVERYTHING—furniture, flag cases, doorknobs, lights, and more.  It cost $4.5 million.

 The chandelier is secured in a box while they renovate, but it still sparkles.  (Picture 3)  It is made of glass beads and has 92 lights.  The capitol was the first building in Minnesota to have electricity.

The Governor’s Reception Room is where they greet important guests and do news briefings.  It was based on the Venice Council chambers and was meant to impress visitors so they would know that Minnesota was not just a “backwoods state.”  I thought it looked gaudy.  Like my home state, Minnesota has never had a woman governor.

A volunteer spent thousand of hours to design this Lego Capitol model (Picture 4).

Each governor chooses an artist to make his portrait, and I had to take a picture of former wrestler Jesse Ventura (Picture 5).  He was good buddies with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They attended each others’ weddings and still see each other frequently.

The stars in the floor of the rotunda represent that Minnesota is the “North Star State”, the furthest north of the Lower 48. (Picture 6)  I thought Maine was the furthest north, but the upper peninsula of Minnesota pokes up and beats them.

There are 134 representatives and 67 senators.  They work from January through May, earn $31,500 and full benefits.  This is one of the longest working sessions that we have seen.  At the front of the House chamber is this painting meant to inspire, which reminds the representatives that, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” (Picture 7)

This voting board (Picture 8) in the house has been in use since the 1930’s.  There are 4 Andersons.  Thank goodness they all have different initials for their first name.  Our guide told me that there were 3 Andersons on the Supreme Court (now they only have 2), and they have had two governors named Anderson.

The staircase is cantilevered with no visible source of support (Scary!), and the architect used the same plans for that in the Supreme Court in DC. (Picture 9)

The Senate chamber is very ornate (Picture 10), as is the whole capitol (Picture 11).  Notice the saying inscribed on the black marble around the wall’s perimeter.  There were lots of inspirational sayings painted with orange paint on the walls throughout the capitol.  My favorite panel (Picture 12) was, “Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained.” (Garfield)  I hope that’s not the cat, but perhaps President James A.  The second part of the panel reads, “Education is our only political safety,” by Horace Mann.  I liked the sayings, but I thought the orange paint was out of place when contrasted with the overall ornateness.

Surprising (to me) facts that Mimi shared were that Minnesota was part of the Louisiana Purchase (I thought it was too far north) and that Minnesota played a big part in the Civil War.  They were the first state to offer 1,000 soldiers and 1/7 of their population fought in the war.  I thought they were too busy with developing their state, which was only 4 years old, and that they were needed on their farms.  At the turn of the century, they had such a big grasshopper plague that the governor put a penny bounty on each dead grasshopper.  That was big money at the time, and there were lots of grasshoppers. Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in Walnut Grove, MN.  I thought she grew up in Kansas.

We celebrated Dean’s birthday at Matt’s Bar, a true “dive” famous for originating the Jucy (sic) Lucy, an “outside inside” hamburger with melted cheese inside the patty.  It was good and messy. The fries were outstanding, but a half-order would have been plenty for us.

Lebanon Hills Campground—Thanks to Lorna & Ned, Paul, and Dave for the tip--$128.55/4 nights  FHU, 50 amps, WiFi—If it’s not a busy time, save $7 (I did) by avoiding the “Reservation Fee”.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #72 on: September 18, 2012, 06:21:47 AM »
More pictures...
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #73 on: September 18, 2012, 06:37:22 AM »
Sept. 13   Day 27      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska is an amazing research botanical facility run by the University of Minnesota.  Admission was $11 each and worth every penny.  We started with the 3-mile drive and found these pretty Canadian geese enjoying it, too. (Picture 1).  The lane took us through a shaded forest of amazing huge trees and then to  “lands” like the prairie grasslands, home gardens, a Japanese waterfall garden, a rose garden, and more.  There were parking lots after each two lands.  Dean and I each described the drive as “tranquil”.   
 
We ate lunch at their restaurant.  Dean and I had a cup of soup and half-sandwich.  Everything was delicious.  It would have been even better if we had bought our lunch there and taken it to the outside shaded patio surrounded by beautiful flowers, tall, tall trees, and chirping happy birds. 

Guided walking and tram tours are available 3-4 times a day for $3.  The timing didn’t work for us, so we went exploring.

We found many blooming flowers with lots of bees and butterflies hard at work. (Pictures 2 & 3).  There were huge sugar maples, birch, and oak everywhere. (Picture 4).  This is not designed as just a display garden.  They have engineered 100 new flowers and fruit.  They developed the honeycrisp apple, which I frequently enjoy.  They had interesting, unusual items in their gift shop, and I got some Christmas shopping done. 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is open until 9:00, so we headed there.  Admission is  free, so I had low expectations.  I was so wrong.  Audio tours were $4.  I could have spent an entire day there.  They had every kind of art collection represented.  I used to teach about the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Indians) who lived on Vancouver Island, so finding this gorgeous double-reveal mask was a treat. (Picture 5)  Picture 6 shows the same mask from the side.  As they did a dance and told a story, the mask would be closed to represent an animal, most often a bird, and then the dancer would eventually open to reveal a human.

The abalone button blanket was gorgeous. (Picture 7) They wore these at powwows and gave them away at yearly potlatches.  The center design of this blanket features a thunderbird and a sea serpent.  The thunderbird is powerful and man’s helper, and the sound of thunder is the beating of its wings.  The sea serpent is associated with bad luck, and only those who own the crest can use its image.

Their Asian gallery was amazing.  I spent over an hour there.  They had great modern art and works by the great masters of Europe.  It was a very complete museum.  Dean isn’t thrilled with art museums, and he maxes out at two hours.  I tore myself away at the 3-hour mark.  I am a novice at art appreciation, but I thought the works displayed here were quality work.  I would put this on a “Don’t Miss List.”

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 07:26:42 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #74 on: September 18, 2012, 06:45:51 AM »
Sept. 14   Day 28      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Dean started the day with a call to Earthlink to try to get our e-mail straightened out. He was NOT pleased when he was connected to someone in India.  Dean had a hard time understanding the men because of his thick accent, and the man kept on having Dean do the same thing over and over.  Finally, he said it was an Apple problem.  Dean didn’t believe it.  But, he called Apple, and they offered him 3 solutions—one of which was to go to the Apple Store in the Mall of America.  We wanted to go to the MOA anyway, so we made an appointment.  The Apple Genius managed to get the problem solved. Dean is convinced it was an Earthlink problem that the genius was sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to resolve. 

I wanted to eat at Twin Cities Grill, which has several locations, and had been highly recommended.  When I asked the Genius where he liked to eat, it was like karma.  So we headed to the Twin Cities Grill. 

We stopped to gawk at the LEGO Imagination Center which has 4 stories of life-size models.  This mall is the biggest mall in the USA and has every store imaginable, as well as an amusement park in its center.

There was a huge scrapbooking event going on, and about a thousand people were standing in long, slow-moving lines everywhere to get free help and free products.  They do this a lot here, and they have plastic crates with long handles.  Atop the crate there is a seat cushion so they can rest in peace.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Twin Cities Grill, and I would highly recommend it.  I saw so much attractive food pass by our table as the waitresses bustled about.  Service was as excellent as the food.  I’m not a bread fan, but their dinner rolls are the best!

When I saw the Minnesota History Center, I said to myself, “Good choice!”  The building is a gorgeous, modern, 3-story building.  I paid, and my heart sank when the clerk told me that,  “All the exhibits are on the third floor.”  I wanted to ask, “What’s on the other two floors?”  The part of the first floor I could see was a beautiful lobby—and lots of wasted space.  When we got to the third floor, we discovered that all the exhibits were in two rooms, well less than half of the floor.

The first exhibit area was on loan from the Smithsonian to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dakota Wars, which in a nutshell, was an Indian uprising caused by repeatedly broken treaties.  A lot of blood was shed on both sides. The settlers had been promised free land, and the Indians had been promised $9-$12 each year for 20 years in payment for all the lands the government had stolen from them.  Then the government failed to make the payment, took away their means of living by not letting them follow the buffalo, and they were starving.  The information was on about 100 storyboards with enlargements of photos from that time.  I learned a lot, and enjoyed it, but it was only one year in Minnesota’s history.  The second room was a cavernous room with a variety of paintings, none of which were about the state’s history.  What a waste of money—both mine and that of whoever funded this!

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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #75 on: September 18, 2012, 06:47:27 AM »
Sept. 15   Day 29      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today we went to the Mill City Museum, a National Historic Landmark.  It shows how water & wheat powered the city's growth.  The room where the film "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat" is shown typifies this museum.  The front and back walls are original stone, and all the rest is beautiful wood with modern seating.  This huge room used to house an enormous generator that was used if the river, which powered the mill, was too low.  The film is essential viewing.  It is both humorous and very informative.  I loved it! 

Then we went on the “Flour Tour” in an elevator.  As we moved through the floors, we stopped at each and saw wonderful displays that were narrated by the characters.  At the eighth floor, we got off and there was an observation deck, and we could see the ruins of the mill (it burned twice) and a panorama of the city (Picture 1).  Our guide was superb, and he was available to answer questions on the 8th floor.

When we came back downstairs there were a lot of great exhibits, advertisements for Gold Medal Flour, a 50’s test kitchen where they gave out samples of chocolate zucchini bread.  We had other things to do today, and the time on the parking meter was ticking, but we spent over 30 minutes at this area because it was so interesting.

This is a fascinating place, and I can’t believe AAA didn’t give it a gem rating.  I am going to write them a letter.  If you visit the Twin Cities, this is a “MUST SEE!”

Dean has had model railroad cars since he was a kid, so visiting the Twin Cities Model RR Museum was a must.  When we got off the freeway, the off-ramp’s name rang bells, so we followed it to Casper & Runyon's Nook, rated #1 restaurant by Trip Advisor. We had wonderful Juicy Nookies, essentially Jucy Lucys, but with better meat and bun.  I had great sweet potato fries (I should probably have asked them to leave off the dusting of cinnamon sugar, but they were SO good).  The accompanying sauce, possibly a chipotle, was so good that I would have asked for a lid and taken it home if it weren’t such a hot day.

In the Model RR Museum it was just one room in a building that in its former life was a repair facility for trains.  It held just one large club O-gauge layout.  In the Toy Train museum there were a bunch of Lionel (O gauge) layouts, one American flyer S-gauge layout, and one HO-gauge, and a couple of small N-gauge.  Dean had expected a true museum.  Admission was $6 each.  We were both disappointed, and we were gone 30 minutes after we arrived.

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Dean and Linda Stock
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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #76 on: September 18, 2012, 06:51:23 AM »
Sept. 16   Day 30      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today was a perfect day in every way!  Today, like most of the days this week, we had a high in the low 80° range, with a nice little breeze.  We chose to come to the Minnesota Zoo on Sunday because they are open until 6, but we could have come on any day, because their usual closing time of 4 works if you get here at 9:00 when they open, and if you don’t use time seeing an IMAX film.  We got a discount ticket from the RV park, which saved us $2.

I knew it was going to be a great day when we passed a sign as we left the parking lot.  It said that this was a totally non-smoking facility.  And, we never saw or smelled anyone smoking all day long.

They had many interesting animals, including several I had never heard of before.  I will write primarily about those, but there were some that were just too cute to be omitted.

As we entered the zoo, one of the keepers was feeding the South African penguins while another recorded which penguin got each fish.  They do this to make sure that every penguin stays healthy.  Meanwhile, in the gallery, a volunteer was giving an interesting talk about them. (Picture 1)

The snow moneys, a National Treasure of Japan, were playing  (Picture 2) until the alpha male appeared, and they all kept a lot of distance from him.  Snow monkeys live further north than any other non-human primates.  Several feet of snow and freezing temperatures don’t bother them.

The grey wolves were the most beautiful I’ve seen.  One was black (Picture 3), and the other was white.  I am glad that they are protected here in Minnesota.  In Montana and Wyoming, the state is eliminating many wolves.

The aviary had many interesting and beautiful birds.  One flew across my path, and he was like a big beautiful blue splotch.  A woodpecker busily worked on a tree right in front of us.  Getting pictures was tough because of the netting and screens.  This little guy played hide-and-seek with Dean’s camera, while tearing into an apple.  Dean won and got Picture 4.

Outside the aviary, a keeper had a tiny Eastern screech owl.  I blew up the picture so you could see the detail and how his blotchy feathers look just like bark. If you look at her finger, you can see how small this Minnesota native is. (Picture 5)  He is a partial imprint because he had human contact at an early age, so that’s why he’s here.  He doesn’t know how to hunt and would die in the wild.

Three black bears entertained us as one swam in a pool and another awed us by ripping into a fallen log.  I have a new-found respect for a bear’s claws and strength.  All three were orphans, but they seem very happy (Picture 6).  As we watched, a keeper gave us information.

In the next aviary, we saw a beautiful royal blue cassowary sitting in her nest (Picture 7).  The hornbill had such bright colors (Picture 8).

Red pandas (Picture 9) are not really pandas, though they are really cute and eat bamboo leaves. They are related to skunks, raccoons, and weasels.  They also eat other leaves berries, blossoms, and bird eggs.  Their cagemates, the long-tailed goral, clambered easily over rock cliffs. (Picture 10)

The small-clawed otters (Picture 11) enjoyed naptime together.

The white-cheeked gibbons used their long arms for swinging and hanging.  One took a break to pose for Dean (Picture 12).

The DeBrazza monkeys (Picture 13) would not face us.  They had beautiful markings and a goatee that looked like it had been professionally trimmed.  They store food in their cheek pouches to enjoy later in a safe place.

The zoo is thoughtfully laid out.  They had numerous play areas and this water fountain (Picture 14).  This little guy ran from spout to spout, letting water hit him in the face until he got a drink, and he squealed with delight.  We shared in his glee.

The takin from China is unique (Picture 15).  He appears to have the nose of a moose, the horns of an upside-down gnu, and the shaggy coat of a buffalo.

The goitered gazelle (Picture 16) lives in windswept plains and never drinks water.   He eats 30% of his weight daily.  He can run 36 mph.  I looked, but I couldn’t see a goiter on them.

The amur tiger (Picture 17) is the biggest, and I think the most beautiful, tiger.

The Minnesota Zoo has really interesting and unusual animals, Minnesota animals, great staffing, and nice-sized enclosures.  I would give it an “A”.  But the thing that impressed me most was all the children and parents.  ALL the children were VERY well-behaved.  We’ve been to the San Diego Zoo many times (annual membership), and I have to say that these Minnesotans are on to something with their child-rearing practices. The parents were patient, great teachers and could teach us Californians a lot.  We’ve noticed it here before, but today families with children outnumbered those without by 10-1, so it really stood out.  The layout of the zoo helped because it catered to the need for kids to play, eat, and use the restroom—everything to keep them happy.

I would definitely put the zoo on the “MUST SEE” list for the Twin Cities.

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
« Last Edit: September 18, 2012, 07:33:25 AM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #77 on: September 18, 2012, 07:00:00 AM »
More pictures....
Dean and Linda Stock
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #78 on: September 18, 2012, 07:04:05 AM »
More pictures....
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #79 on: September 18, 2012, 08:31:48 AM »
Sept. 17   Day 31      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

I praised the wonderful weather we’ve been having, so today we had rain until noon and a high of 61°.  At the first glimpse of sun, we went to Fort Snelling State Park.  Admission was $5.  They have lots of bird feeders, which made for fun bird watching.  We saw lots of nuthatches and goldfinches dressed down for winter. (Picture 1)  Squirrels and chipmunks scurried busily preparing for winter (Picture 2).  The black-capped chickadees flew in quickly, got a sunflower seed or two, and were gone (Picture 3).  This downy woodpecker played “You can’t catch me,” with Dean behind a pillar, and it’s a good thing that we don’t have to pay for film these days.  Dean took a lot of shots, but finally got one (Picture 4).

After watching the birds and squirrels feed, we were hungry, too.  So, we headed to the last true deli in Minnesota, Cecil's Delicatessen & Bakery.  They are rightfully famous for their yummy Reubens.  It was the best Reuben I’ve ever had; the meat was so flavorful, not fat, and tender.  Get the smallest (1/4 pound) sandwich, not the New York big version—way too much meat.  It is an amazing deli that opened in 1949, and the 4th generation is now serving the food.  They have superb potato salad, very good cole slaw, great root beer, carrot cake, cobblers, and excellent service. They bake all their own pies, cakes, and breads.  They have old-fashioned things I’d forgotten about, like egg creams and phosphates.   Everything we saw being taken to other tables looked and smelled delicious. 

The free ($2 donation requested) Como Park Zoo & Conservatory was nearby.   The Oriental garden area was undergoing re-construction.  They had some bonsais, polar bears (Picture 5), orangutans, snow leopards, penguins, and Minnesota timber wolves.  There was a pool for the polar bears, but we couldn't shoot through the glass. One of the bears was resting and had burrs above her eyes.  The keeper explained that she loves to roll in the grass. They had beige zebras (Picture 6), and few exhibits had good labels.  I tried looking the zebras up on the Internet, but I couldn’t find out what type they are.

When we were here on Sunday, there were so many people that we couldn’t find a parking place and decided to return on Monday.  The popularity raised my expectations, which is too bad. 

We were both concerned about the small pens.  The seal pool that was indoors was the size of a kiddie pool.  The pool where the seals perform in their stadium is smaller than our swimming pool at home. When it’s warm and I am home, I swim 40 laps a day, and I’m not at all athletic, so our pool is not large. 

We have been fortunate to see lots of zoos and conservatories, and this one just didn’t compare.  They are landlocked and are trying to cram in too many exhibits.  I wonder if the association of zoos has established a space minimum size for each kind of animal.  If not, they should.

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Billy Bob

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #80 on: September 18, 2012, 06:41:40 PM »
Dean & Linda Thanks again really enjoy your phoyos

Lorna

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #81 on: September 19, 2012, 03:20:23 PM »
I would be willing to bet that most if not all of the families with children that were there that day were home-schooled.  My niece has home-schooled all three of their children and when they are playing or any thing they are very quiet and well behaved.  We have found that with other home-schooled children, too.  They have interaction with other children because they participate in a home-school band and at their church.

The Minnesota Zoo is a must when you are in the Twin Cities area and glad that you enjoyed it.  I will finish it the next time we are at Apple Valley because my family and I only did part of it when we were there. 

Como Zoo, in St Paul, was one of my favorites when my two granddaughters were younger.  We would go to the zoo first and if they were good we would go to the fun park next door and after that we would stop at the arboretum if they weren't to tired.  It is about 10 minutes from my daughter's home.  Yes, I agree the pens are too small but they are limited in space.  Como Park has wonderful, open air concerts in the summer which I have attended several with my brother and SIL.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is also a must see when in the area.  Glad that you enjoyed it.  I was there many years ago and even though I am not really into art I was with someone that was and it made a big difference in what I was viewing.

Thanks for your trip reports, I have really enjoyed them and it has given me some new places to take my granddaughters when in the Twin Cities.  When you were on the North Shore did you stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park?  It is very interesting and the lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the Great Lakes.
Lorna
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #82 on: September 19, 2012, 09:29:19 PM »
Love the Lighthouses

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #83 on: September 19, 2012, 10:20:49 PM »
Sept. 18      Day 32            Tomah, WI

Today was exciting from beginning to end!  We drove along the Mississippi River on US 61 to the Wabasha Public Library, parked the RV, and headed to the NATIONAL Eagle Center.  We have seen the word “National” too often on minimal attractions, but we were impressed with the beautiful building sitting right on the Mississippi.  We paid $6 admission, and we immediately went to the 1:00 presentation.  Wow!

The speaker told us that 3 of the 4 “girls” (bald eagles) were out “having their nails done.”  They go into the Raptor Center in Minneapolis for coping (having their beaks filed--sides and tips and their talons clipped.)   

She gave us a brief bio on each one.  The one still on display, Harriet, was 17 when she was hit by a car.  How?  If prey is killed on the road (perhaps a deer), they find this an easy dinner-to-go, like our fast food.  When they see a car coming, they think it is another predator coming to steal their dinner, so they “mantle”, raise their hackles and feathers, and cover it with their wings.  By the time they realize that it is a car, they can’t get enough lift quickly enough because they are such a heavy bird, weighing 10-11 pounds.  Females weigh 1/3 more than males.  The colder the environment, the more they weigh.  It’s not unusual for an Alaskan female to weigh 15 pounds.

They can store 1 pound of food in their crop, which makes take-off tough.  It takes them a long time to get above the height of a car.  Harriet’s left wing hit the top of a van and had to be amputated at the wrist.  They knew she was 17 because she was banded in the nest.  She is now 31.  In the wild, the lifespan is 25-30 years.  She has a cowlick on her head.  She has appeared on Jay Leno, the Today Show, and her picture is on Minnesota’s Support Our Troops plate.  Harriet likes to eat at 3:00, rather than 1:00, so they are hoping the others come back soon.

Angel, age 13, is the loudest, and on cue, she screams out to let everyone know she’s back.  She can see eagles outside through the windows that are everywhere, and she is saying, “GET LOST!” to those eagles.  She broke her wing and the bones fused.  Herons throw fish forcefully at eagles who invade their rookeries.  However, her wing could have been broken in a myriad of ways.  They got Angel within a couple days of her breaking her wing, so they re-broke her wing and put in rings and rods.  It healed beautifully.  But…it only takes bald eagles 10 weeks to reach the same size as the parents.  So, while her wing was healing, the muscles that needed to form so quickly couldn’t.  She can fly about 10 feet. 

Columbia was hit by a car.  She had lead poisoning.  They probably caught her within a day or 2 of her ingesting it.  It kills an eagle in 5-6 days.  She is brain-damaged.  Lead is inexpensive, so it is used in sinkers and tackle.  Sometimes it is in the fish that the eagles eat.  Deer hunters often dress the deer in the woods and leave a pile of guts.  Eagles have a bad sense of smell, so they would not eat what they couldn’t see.  If hunters would just cover them with leaves.  A piece of lead less than the size of a BB will kill an eagle.

The stomach acid of a hawk or eagle has a PH of 1 or 2.  Battery acid is a 1.  They can digest bones, but they cough up pellets of fur and feather.

Donald, a golden eagle, was eating road kill when he was hit by a car.  His age in unknown, but he is en years or more.  Golden eagles are here from mid-October to mid-March. Goldens don’t like water and don’t recognize fish as food.  The male and female golden eagles are together all the time.  They are a powerful team and have twice unsuccessfully tried to take a white-tailed deer here.  They are “booted” meaning that their leg feathers go all the way to the ankles.  Bald eagles are “fish eagles” , and their feathers go just halfway down their legs.

Washaka, age 3, the last bald eagle, is flighted.  She had a tumor on his left eyelid, which left him blind.  Most eagles can see a rabbit on a bluff over a mile away.  Washaka would not be able to hunt on his own.

Only 50% of eagles make it to their first birthday.  Only 20% make it to adulthood, 5-6 years old when they get their white heads.

Eagles have strong nest-site fidelity.  When they return to the nest each spring, they lock talons and do cartwheels to check out each other’s physical fitness to reproduce and raise a new family.  If one of them doesn’t pass, they will select another mate.  (I wonder who gets the house!)  Bald eagles’ nests can weigh 3 tons.  They aren’t neat eaters, so they add nesting material to cover up the decayed fish, bugs, etc.  Angel was messy and threw a morsel of fish in the speaker’s hair.  Then, with the center built up, they have to add material to build up the sides.

As eagles age, they have to grow longer feathers, so they molt  The National Eagle Repository gets all feathers that are molted, and they redistribute them to qualified native Americans for spiritual uses.

Angel was brought in, with her yellow beak, yellow eyes, and yellow feet (Picture 1).  She has a 7’ wingspan.  We were warned to quickly back up if she turns her back to us because SHE CAN SHOOT HER POOP 6 FEET! 

She is quite a character.  They feed the eagles fish that are donated by fishermen when possible because they are free, so they don’t always have the kinds they prefer.  If Angel is offered something she doesn’t like, such as carp, she looks for her handlers’ fingers that are carefully hidden under the bowl, so she can bite her!  She liked the northern pike that she was fed today. (Picture 2)  When she was finished, she announced, “I’m read to go now,” by flapping her wings. (Picture 3)

At the conclusion, we were able to get our pictures taken with a different bald eagle (Picture 4) so we could see the eagle really close (Picture 5).  Then she announced she was ready to go (Picture 6).

Every Tuesday they put leashes on the eagles and take them for a swim in the Mississippi.

Our speaker was fascinating and strong.  Holding your arm out with 10 pounds on it for 45 minutes is quite a feat.  When the eagle was eating, he put 50-70 pounds of pressure on her hand.  This is a “MUST GO TO” if you are within 300 miles.

It was after 3:00, and we had an early breakfast.  On TripAdvisor, I found T-Bones Grill and Bar.  I had the Reuben, which was very good, and Dean enjoyed his cheeseburger.  The building is architecturally interesting and pretty.  The owner is a cattle rancher, and “he wanted good food when he came to town,” so he developed his own restaurant.  Service was great.   I would recommend it.

We didn't stop at LARK because it was getting late, but it did look interesting.  We'd definitely stop next time.

It was only 50 miles to Tomah, which is near tomorrow’s attraction.  Should be easy, right?  SO WRONG!  We use the RV’s GPS and my I-phone’s Mapquest.  Both told us to turn right, and they took us out on a dike surrounded by huge rectangular ponds that are cranberry bogs.  Then the road turned to dirt!  Scary!  Water was on all sides of us, and we were on this narrow dirt dike—definitely could not turn around, even if we detached the Jeep. And, darkness was descending upon us.   When we saw a fisherman, I told Dean to stop and ask him for directions.  He didn’t know how to get a vehicle our size out of the bogs, so he hopped in his pick-up, explored, found a way out that would fit us, and came back and guided us out to the highway.  Relief!  His truck had North Carolina plates, and I am so grateful to that Southerner, who told us, “By the way, you found the best fishing hole in Wisconsin!”  As I said, it was an exciting day.  But this kind of excitement, we’d be happy to skip.

Staying at WalMart
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 10:31:16 PM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #84 on: September 19, 2012, 10:26:54 PM »
I would be willing to bet that most if not all of the families with children that were there that day were home-schooled.  When you were on the North Shore did you stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park?  It is very interesting and the lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the Great Lakes.

I was on a similar wavelength.  I was thinking that with the cold winters, families would play board games, cards, do hobbies--all of which means interaction.  We saw lots of kids, so I'm sure some must have gone to public schools.  It would be interesting to know the "why".  All I can tell you is that it is.

No, we would have enjoyed the lighthouse, but time was a factor.  We like to linger and savor, and this really should have been a 2-day trip.
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Billy Bob

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #85 on: September 20, 2012, 08:35:51 AM »
I liked reading about and the pictures of the eagle center would love to visit there. Some times you just can't trust those GPS they can get you in trouble, glad that you found the fisherman to lead you back to the Hy.

ArdraF

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #86 on: September 20, 2012, 12:21:45 PM »
Fascinating description about the eagles, Linda.  Thanks for passing it on to us.  And neat photos too.

You really were lucky to find that helpful fisherman!  We love our GPS but never entirely trust it.  Sure glad you didn't have to try to turn around!

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #87 on: September 20, 2012, 12:29:10 PM »
Loved your eagle article, Linda.  I printed it for Tom to read, too. 
 
We can sympathize with your getting stuck on the levee.  We were misdirected to a Mississippe River levee (navigator's fault -- me) and were stopped dead by an 8 foot clearance trestle.  We managed to disconnect and turn the little 1982 Suzuki Samari around.  Any larger toad and we wouldn't have been able to turn it.  Then, Tom backed up at least three or four miles to get us out of that jam.  That was the last time his navigator recommended a "short cut".   ::)
 
Margi

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #88 on: September 20, 2012, 05:29:16 PM »
Dean and Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed the Nat'l. Eagle Center in Wabasha.  Here I thought I was going to have a chance to meet you in person.  I read your post early this morning from my hotel room (Hampton Inn) in Tomah, WI.  Right across the street from the WalMart! 

I packed up for my work day and drove across the street at 7:45 a.m., but you were already gone!  Only a Class C and a 2008 or 09 Winnebago Destination sitting in the parking lot.  I hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip.
MN Cake Eater (Paul)
2009 Winnebago Destination 39N

Paul, wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a boat load of patience.

Minneapolis, MN

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
« Reply #89 on: September 20, 2012, 11:51:17 PM »
Sept. 19      Day 33            Baraboo, WI

We had a short drive to Necedah NWR. The beautiful new Visitors’ Center has solar panels all over the roof which supply about 60% of the energy they use.  They had interesting displays, and s short film.  The gift shop was small, but they had nice, quality items.  I bought myself a Christmas present.

Necedah is the premier site working hard to save the endangered Karmer blue butterfly.  They have planted lots of lupine and are doing studies. However, we didn’t see any Karmers.  We did see lots of pretty dragonflies.

They have a lovely driving trail through heavy woods and meadows.  We went very slowly for quite a while and saw absolutely nothing.  We started driving a little faster and saw some turkeys.  We’ve seen turkeys everywhere, but have never been in a position to be able to get a photograph, so I suggested to Dean that we get a shot of them.  As Dean turned to get the camera, the turkeys ran into the brush.  I saw an adult bald eagle fly into a tree right above the turkeys, and he was followed by a juvenile bald eagle.  Then a fox bounded across the road in the same spot. I have never seen a fox in the wild before.  I yelped with glee, and when Dean turned around to see what was up, he spotted a porcupine on the intersecting road (Picture 1).  The picture is a little blurry, but he was moving right along and was quickly into the bush.  This is the second porcupine I’ve seen in the wild.   In 60 seconds, I had seen turkeys, bald eagles, a fox, and a porcupine.  I was in heaven! 

With the possible exception of Denali NP, I saw more different wildlife here than I’ve ever seen anywhere.  We saw trumpeter swans, a whooping crane in flight (no picture), raptors, Canadian geese, and snow geese.  (Pictures 2 & 3)  Unfortunately, they were either so far away or they came and went too quickly to get good quality pictures.

We made a wrong turn and stumbled across this doe and her 2 fawns.  I don’t know who was more surprised.  They took a long look at us, and we have a forever look at “mom” because we got her photo before she ran into the woods. (Picture 4)

Please pardon the picture quality on #1-3.  We'll get out the long lens on the distant shots and ask the critters to stay still and let us get their photos.

We didn’t see any, but I believe them when they say they have otters, flying squirrels, wolves, and bobcats.

At one time there were only 16 whooping cranes.  They were taken into protective custody, and through an intense breeding program, their numbers have slowly increased.  If you have seen the film about when the first whooping cranes were re-introduced to migration by following an ultra-light to Florida for the winter, that happened at Necedah.  The cranes thought was the ultra-light was a crane. They did it again the next winter, but they remembered the route.  They now migrate each year all by themselves.  One year they did have a tragedy.  The flock got into a terrible storm system, and 17 were killed.  This was a real setback, but they are now rebounding and number over 200.

We have had two wonderful wildlife days in a row—the best 2 days of my trip.  Nothing trumps Mother Nature!

Staying at WalMart
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 11:53:39 PM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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