Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21

#1 A different kind of water lily
#2 Our path in through the grass and weeds at the headwaters of the MS River

#3 Dunking my feet in the "mighty" Mississippi
#4 A loon on the lake
#5 A view of Lake Itasca
#6 Jerry and his sidekick Kudzu
#7 Our intrepid boat
#8 The skateboard ride at Mall of America

Up early and made coffee, then decided to head back to headwaters but stopped by the boat rental place first…weather maybe a bit iffy, but there was blue sky showing and the lake was calm when we got to the boat launch so we rented a small aluminum skiff w/ a 9 horse motor on the back. We immediately set out for the headwaters end of the lake and as it was all grassy and lily pads for about 100’ from lake to shore, Jerry rowed us in. We got out and waded in the headwaters pool again and really enjoyed it.

After that we cruised the lake shore for over an hour or so. It was most enjoyable…we saw a couple of deer, lots of loons and ducks and a few otters that poked their heads up in the weeds. Lake Itasca is beautiful and of course we always enjoy time on the water.

There is a most generous check out time of 4 p.m. at the state park. We got away around noonish I think, and arrived in Minneapolis (actually a campground in Savage, just outside Minneapolis) around 4 p.m. On the way we drove through heavy rains in places but eventually got ahead of the storm and looking back the clouds were unbelievably black and threatening. We found the campground and proceeded to set up. The site was a drive through and very tight. We pulled in and did some of the preliminary stuff to setting up and were very surprised to find hanging on the back support strut of the camper a HUGE fishing lure!!!!!!! It was a major lure for big fish, complete with glitter and all kinds of feathery stuff. We have absolutely NO idea where it came from or how it attached itself to us, but we plan on finding a place of honor in the RV for it.

From there on out, everything went haywire! I guess we should have known when Jerry went inside Rover at a gas stop and discovered that I had not stowed the utensil holder I keep on the table and it had flown off the table and dumped a multitude of plastic utensils, paper plates, napkins and salt and pepper shakers on the floor. He picked up the salt and pepper and a couple of the other things and put it on the couch. I found out later when we got to the campsite that he had dumped the salt shaker (open, of course) upside down so there was a pile of salt on the couch where he put the carrier and another one on the table where I moved it from the couch!

Proceeding to set up, we discovered the site was not level side to side so Jerry had to get out the boards, back up and drive one side up on the boards…almost perfect! (Did I mention that it was rather a pain to get the RV in place to begin with, even though it was a drive through….?) So after achieving level status (very necessary for proper use of the propane tanks) we proceeded with the rest of the hook up. That means putting down the front struts, raising the trailer high enough to clear the hitch in the back of the truck, pulling out the truck, hooking up the water line, the electric line, putting wheel chocks in place and lowering the back struts for stability. Jerry always saves the sewer for last, so he got out the sewer hose to connect it and we were too far away from the connection - by about a foot! There was no place to park the truck and the site was not long enough to leave the truck in front of the RV so we had already moved the picnic table and very gingerly backed the truck in, dodging a tree w/ the mirror on one side and Rover on the other. So, there was nothing else to do except to hook everything back up, raise the struts and take up the wheel chocks and back up about 2 ft. !! Fortunately Jerry had put enough boards down to make up that length.

HOWEVER, before we hooked up the sewer, he decided to make sure it would be long enough so he hooked it to Rover only when he opened the valve, it had not totally drained from this morning so we spilled a bit of the black water…he hat given me the other end of the hose to hold up so it wouldn’t come out the end of the hose so I held my end up while he connected w/ the trailer. Then he came over to put the other end into the sewer hole and could not get the cover off as it had been screwed in too tight. I got to hold the hose some more while he got the pliers to get the cover off, then he had to take off a fitting and screw it into the hole, then attach the hose….what a comedy of errors!!! There is a reason that sewer line duty is Jerry’s!!!

All the while the weather is threatening (the rain storm we had managed to outrun was catching up and intensifying) and our goal when we first pulled in was to get set up before the weather hit. Since they were predicting hail, we had decided not to let the slides out until the weather had passed. By the time we got all connected, the weather had pretty much gone around us so we got the slides out and the dogs were much happier. It is a tight fit with the slides in, especially with all 4 of us inside.

After a good stiff drink, some cheese and crackers, we left for Mall of the Americas. What a place that is! As Jerry commented, "It can’t make up it’s mind whether it is a mall, an amusement park, or restaurant row!" If you have never been, it is a huge 4 story mall that surrounds an amusement park with at least 4 roller coasters, a log flume ride, a really scary looking giant skateboard ride, a carousel and I don’t know how many more rides in the center of the mall. There are some unique one however. It is all enclosed. There is a Lego store and kids can build legos and play with them on tables outside the store, an American Girl doll store (which is complete with American Girl beauty salon so you can get your doll’s hair done), and a wedding chapel….and I haven’t even begun to hit all of that. Restaurants were numerous, from traditional food court fast food places to Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory, Kokomo’s, ad infinitem! Then there is the aquarium, the movie theaters and a dinosaur exhibit. The stores in the mall are typical of mall stores everywhere, but there is so much under one roof. This is the biggest mall in the U.S., but the biggest one in the world is in Ontario, Canada.

We picked up a meal from some Asian fast food place in the food court, got a table on the edge of the food court overlooking all this madness and watched it all from the third floor level. We were back to Rover around 10 or so.

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