Thursday, June 02, 2011

From Calm to Crazy

We started the day by going to Itasca State Park, home of the lake in Minnesota where the Mississippi River begins its journey south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The photo isn't quite at the river's source, (though it's certainly still considered part of the headwaters), just a little ways downstream, where it takes its first bend. Aside from the occasional buzzing mosquito, the place was about as peaceful as you could imagine.

We walked around, took lots of pictures, chatted a bit with the other few visitors there (such a treat to be a tourist during off-season -- no crowds), and lolled away a few hours.

By late afternoon, we were looking for a campsite -- this time one with Cable as necessary component (usually not even on our agenda), as the Canucks were about to play their opening game in the Stanley Cup Finals.

One by one, we ticked various campgrounds off our list, either by phone call or paying a visit in person. When we came upon our last-chance site, we discovered that the park where the campsite was located had suffered from the recent spate of terrible weather. The river running beside it had overflowed its banks by many feet. Many trees appeared to be growing out of the water, they were so immersed.

Huge tree branches were scattered everywhere -- hard to see in this snapshot out my window, but there's a giganto branch torn out of its tree, lying on the ground. And wouldn't you know, the wind damage to the trees happened during a storm on Monday night, the same night we were wondering whether we should run from the Rattler to the safety of our campground's washrooms.

Anyway, when that campsite proved to also not have Cable, well, we wussed out and found ourselves a motel room and even treated ourselves to the luxury of an ordered-in pizza. But the team's opening game made the added expense well worth it.

The experiences of the day also reminded me of how very glad I am that we decided to buy the Rattler, rather than having this be a 'tenting' tour (as we'd originally planned). By this time, we would have had to spend many nights tucked into the dry warmth of hotels. Instead, we've been comfy and warm, and continue our route steadily west.

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