When my parents proposed flying out to visit us this summer for a week, we immediately started scheming grandiose plans to give them a good glimpse of our life on the road. I think the first pitch I gave was for them to fly into Minneapolis, we’d road trip to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore, and they’d fly back home out of Denver. In a week timespan, mind you. Luckily, plans scaled back to them flying into Minneapolis and sticking to that area. With their flight booked a good two months ahead, I remember casually beginning to browse for campgrounds that also had cabins. Cabin for my parents, place to park the rig for us, all would be grand.
Yeah, good luck to anyone trying to get a campsite in the Minneapolis area during summer, never mind a cabin to go with it. I spent countless hours that turned into days trying to find something. I even ditched the cabin idea and looked at renting an RV for my parents for the week – but had to scratch that idea too because I couldn’t find a freaking campsite. Exasperated beyond belief, I ended up booking a cabin and campsite in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin.
Knowing that this wasn’t going to be the Ritz, we gritted our teeth and decided to make the best of it. Our first mistake was arriving with full tanks, as the place had advertised a dump station. In the most fascinating dump station design known to mankind, the drain was up on a hill but the place where you park the RV to access the drain was not. In case you’re curious, poop doesn’t fight gravity all that well.
It was about this time, where we were staging the epic poop vs. gravity battle, where my Mom texted me and asked how the place was. My response? “Not my best work.”
That being said, the place wasn’t that bad and we really did make the best of it. It was located on a lake, but there was no useable shoreline. While this was devastating to Lucy, we didn’t have a wet stinky dog all week. So that was cool.
And as an added bonus, there were rowboats available! Combined with a trolling motor, we were racing around the lake at absolute lightning speed. I mean, check out the video as proof. We practically set speed records worthy of the Guinness Book.
Lucy wasn’t impressed.
We did have some pretty killer sunsets though.
We poked around northern Wisconsin a little bit, venturing into Spooner and the surrounding area, but alas, the area didn’t have that much to offer. Except one thing.
Leave it to Wisconsin to have their dairy game on point. Ice cream at 10AM? Don’t judge. It was that good.
We planned one jam-packed day for the Minneapolis area, which started at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. We had seen a juvenile bald eagle and nest out on our Wisconsin boating adventures, so getting to see a few of these birds up close was really neat.
And intense. Look at this guy!
After the birds, we toured Prince’s Paisley Park. I have zero pictures because the security there was no joke, but it was AWESOME. And I by no means would consider myself an avid Prince fan. Totally, absolutely, worth the money for the tour. I guess I can’t make that claim though since my parents picked up the tab for that one. Thanks Mom and Dad!
My parents also got to witness the juggling act that is occurs when we do dog-unfriendly activities with Lucy. We were lucky that the day was cooler to begin with. We used a parking garage when we toured the raptor center so no worries there, but Paisley Park visitor parking was all in the direct sun and my heart sank as soon as we pulled in. After an awkward discussion with a bunch of tall men in suits, headsets, and sunglasses that we had our dog and we needed well-shaded parking for her, they were able to make room for our truck in the shaded employee lot. Thanks, big burly security men of Paisley Park!
Our last Minneapolis stop was the Sculpture Garden because I had this weird obsession with seeing the spoon and cherry statue in person. I’ve always loved it. Lucy even waded through the water until we realized the water was part of the sculpture and was not to be touched. Oops. She did find other ways to immerse herself in the art though.
Given our newfound adoration of the Great Lakes, we also did a day trip to Duluth to hang out on Lake Superior for one last day. And we picked a heck of a day to do it – the water was uncharacteristically rough and we got rained on randomly throughout the day. But it was still my favorite part of Minnesota. What a great town Duluth is.
I could have sat and watched the waves all day, but we did a couple of neat things. We toured the William A. Irvin, a retired ore boat, which was especially wonderful because my dad bought himself a student admission and my mom a senior admission. She was not pleased.
The highlight of the trip for my dad, which he so declared, was watching the cargo ships come in and out of the port. The Indiana Harbor, pictured below, was a thousand feet long. A thousand. A thousand!!!! I know the panorama photo I posted is kinda cheating because it distorts a bit to make the ship seem longer that it is, but it really was massive.
And here’s an extra bonus photo and animation of Clay and Lucy looking super cute.
And far too soon, it was time for my parents to head back home and us to move on to a new location. After one last stop…
…we parted ways and Clay and I headed north. And that’s how we found ourselves at the Scamp fiberglass travel trailer factory!
Our timing was perfect, as they had a bunch of finished models available to look at. We saw nearly every single floorplan for the 13′, the 16′ and the 5th wheels. We took a bunch of video and photos, and Clay will be doing a detailed post on our thoughts on the Scamp lineup soon.
We were completely done with fighting the campground crowds everywhere we went, so we decided to wrap up our time in Minnesota and keep moving west to get back into open federal land. And so we did!