Tuesday, August 29, 2017

North American Bear Center and International Wolf Center

August 14
 More dead straight roads running through swamp land and timber stands. We ran along lots of lakes and found out why MN is the land of ten thousand lakes.

 First stop was the North American Bear Center in Ely. They have four black bears in residence. They were raised by humans and cannot go back into the wild because they will want to rummage through the trash and get to close to people. It turns out the black bears are really big chickens and will shy away from human interaction. The researchers at the NABC have found that most black bears will bluster and stomp, but will not attack, so when I hear someone being killed by a black bear, I know they had to do something that really made the bear angry.

 Polar bears.

 Lots of things to read. Lots of information.
 Meet Lucky. They have a scheduled feeding session for the bears so people can watch them roll a pvc tube around and pick berries and nuts out of it.

 We did a behind the scenes tour (included in the ticket price) and got to see the other bears who were in their own areas. This guy is feeding peanuts to the bears. They loved him.
 When we came back inside the girl at the desk asked if we enjoyed the tour. Said yes and that I was especially impressed when the bear came swinging in on the vine yelling, "Hey, hey Booboo, grab me that pickinic basket!" She was not amused.
 Becky was enchanted with the cat stories of treeing bears and bears licking cats. Cats also scared bears out of the houses they broke into. She felt safe in the trailer with her fat cat.
 Second stop was the Wolf Center. I wasn't as impressed with these guys as the bears.

 Route 1 out of Ely was curvy and bumpy. We lost a lot of things off our shelves on this road. The trailer was a mess. I always wonder what one of those tiny houses like they make on TV would look like after a day of driving on roads like these. Especially since they have open shelves and no locks on most of the drawers and doors.

 We stopped in Finland for petrol and Becky wanted some firewood. She found some locally made root beer. Ranks in the top ten.
Spent the night at a MN state park outside of Finland. Everywhere else I called was full.

Smokey Bear, Rainy Lake Visitors Center Voyageurs National Park

August 13
We left the Walmart parking lot where it was the place to be. I called the local Ace Hardware and they said they could fill the propane tank for us. We drove across town and pulled off the tank, which for us, requires removing the bicycles, an arduous task that Patrick hates. Anyways, the girl in Ace had no idea what she was talking about and all they could do was exchanges not fills. We headed north again, our destination Voyageurs National Park. 

 The roads would become like this for most of our time in MN, WI and the UP.
 Saw this guy as we passed through Big Falls. It was a very small town. As I was circling around to get the picture, I saw a place that filled propane tanks and we got ours filled.

 A tracked log skidder with a wooden cabin.
 Next stop was International Falls, MN at the Smokey Bear Park. Beside the park was the Bronko Nagurski Museum. Bronko played for the Chicago Bears in the 1940s on both sides of the ball. The museum was closed on Sunday when we passed through.

 The road to Rainy Lake Visitors Center was under construction and part of the parking lot was closed. The VC has boat docks and lots of fishermen were out today. Their trucks and trailers were jammed into the parking lot. I had to back the trailer out of the slot we were in, around two boat trailers, and close to a third parked behind me. It took a few tries to get out, but we made it. Should have taken a picture of the tight quarters. 

 I think I need one of these top hats but Becky keeps saying no.
  We passed this guy on the way to the visitors center and stopped on the way back to International Falls.

 The last stop of the day was at the Lake Kabetogama Visitors Center, the second of three for Voyageurs NP. Then it was off to find a camping spot. So many of the places around the border are small resorts with cabins and several RV spots, many of them already occupied by seasonal campers. Finding a camping spot can be difficult on the weekends. We found a place at the Wooden Frog Campground, part of the MN park system. Campfire, marshmallows and food over the fire.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Around Alexandria MN, Fargo, ND, and Paul Bunyan

August 12
Our day started at the Runestone Stone Museum in Alexandria, the whole reason we came to the town. The Runestone was said to be carved by Vikings who came into the area before Columbus discovered the new world.

 across the street from the museum was Olaf, the viking. We walked across the take a pic of the bug man and perused the farmer's market.
Beside the Runestone Museum was a local municipal museum filled with boats.

 We headed across country on the interstate towards Morehead, MN across the Red River from Fargo. We started having problems with the trailer brakes. The truck would tell me that the trailer had come unhooked. The trailer lights still worked but the brakes did not. I thought it was the plug because the truck's plug is sloppy lose. We used electrical tap to tighten up the plug. It seemed to work.
 The yarn shop Becky stopped at to collect her sample of North Dakota yarn.
I took the dog for a walk while B was shopping we went out onto Veteran's memorial bridge and looked at the Red River. Each pillar was marked with the seal of a military branch. They even had those civil service boys, the Puddle Pirates.
 Red River

 We left Morehead and headed for Bemidji to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox. The Red River area is some of the flattest on planet earth. It is indeed flat.
 Bemidji, MN

We spent the night at the Walmart