Yes, I know, it’s the first and last time turning 49, and no, I won’t be one of those people that refuses to turn 50. But for some reason this birthday feels important. Maybe because it’s my first birthday on the road, or maybe because it’s the penultimate before 50. I love the word penultimate and rarely get to use it! Either way, this post is mostly going to be pictures, so here we go.
On Saturday, the day before my birthday, Rick showed up on our doorstep. That may not sound like much, but he not only found us from reading the blog, but took the trouble to come and see us. It was so great seeing him, I don’t know if you remember, but when I took that white water rafting trip Rick was the one who fell out of the boat and we had to pull him back in. (I’ll just take this moment to mention that Tracy also fell in, – Lee) He and I really bonded over that trip and when he knew we were crossing paths but would miss each other by a couple of days he changed his plans and came straight to us. Rick is a widower who just retired and travels with his wonderful dog Maxine. He just started a blog too and I really like his pictures. We had a great time catching up and then I invited him to my birthday dinner the next night.
Sunday, Lee and I ran a few errands, including stopping at Rick’s campground, Woodenfrog State Campground (review below). Then Lee and I went to the Bait and Bite for lunch. I have been wanting to go here since we arrived. Combination diner and bait shop with a tag line saying “Eat Here and Get Worms”. Seriously how can a diner junkie like me pass that up? And it was really good.
After lunch Lee and I went over to Linda and Howard’s so Lee could shoot some video. Throughout the month Lee has been working with H&L on multiple videos and today they were shooting some introductions and a video about their truck hauler bed. My plan was to just hang out, but since it was so windy Lee needed to use a certain kind of microphone which is too big to mount on the camera, so I got to be the boom operator for a little while. It was a lot of fun and I learned quite a bit about their Utility Body Werks custom truck bed. I have to say, after watching them load and unload it, I am sold. Unfortunately, a new truck bed is not in our budget for right now but I’ll definitely keep it in mind. If you’re interested in more info on that check out RV-Dreams.com.
After work was done, Linda cooked some dinner and I helped a bit. We had fried fish (they had caught from the lake), beets (which were really good even though I don’t usually care for beets, and two kinds of green beans. Howard likes his mushy, Lee likes his squeaky and I am an equal opportunity green bean lover and had them both. It was a delicious dinner and afterwards we sat around the fire and had a very nice night. It was a great birthday and I was so happy that for two years in a row I got to spend my birthday with RV friends. That’s pretty unusual since we have this rolling lifestyle, or maybe not. I have spent more time with friends and family since we started rolling around than I ever did when we stayed still. Either way, it’s been really wonderful getting to know Howard and Linda on a personal level and I am so glad we got to spend this time together.
Monday I took the day off for our big birthday splurge. Lee loves boats and Howard had negotiated a special price for us to rent the resorts brand new pontoon boat for the day. I really like it here at Lake Kabetogama but seriously, it’s all about the lake, and without a boat there is so much you cannot do. We had been waiting all month for our special boat trip and the day was finally here. We spent just a little time in the morning filming H&L fishing and then it was all us for the rest of the day. It was another great day, with 6 eagle sightings and multiple stops, but I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The Ellsworth Rock Gardens, our first stop, were created over multiple summers by a husband and wife. They created art but are not professional artists, and Voyaguers National Park has maintained their work and provided a nice picnic and restroom area. By the way, I can’t say enough about the park service. All the places we stopped were free, they all had pit toilets that were clean and had toilet paper in them, and it was obvious in every case there was an ongoing effort to not only maintain but improve the properties. I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating, we are so lucky to live in a country with such a wonderful National Parks Service.
In between eagle sightings, and seriously, how cool is it that it was plural, we stopped and saw a couple of the older island resorts that the park service is maintaining. There was great information on the people who started the resorts and lived there plus several of the buildings you can walk in and look around. Lee was particularly interested in one of the old ice houses and the machinery used to pull the ice blocks out of the lake.
So the day was wonderful, but most of you probably don’t know that I am a boat albatross. Seriously almost every time I am on a boat it breaks down. In this particular case, we ran out of gas. I had asked at least five times if this was a possibility, and was assured it was not so, but when we were very close to the resort we did run out of of gas, and had to call Alex at the resort to come get us. Unfortunately, the engine wouldn’t start after refueling and while trying to start it we drifted onto some rocks. It was a bit stressful getting us off the rocks, but we stayed calm and then were towed back to the resort and everything ended just fine. Apart from the very end, it was a great day and although pricey, even with a “friends and family” discount, I am so glad we did it. Really, you can’t visit this area without taking a boat out for the day and it was the perfect way to cap off our month long stay. Next we are headed out west…so stay tuned!
The Pines at Kabetogama 12443 Burma Road 3 out of 5 pine cones
I have been really on the fence on how to rate this campground. It is the nicest campground we have stayed in and the staff was by far the best we have dealt with anywhere. We loved Site #1 up on the cliff and the marina, views, and access to the water was amazing. Wifi was strong and we had excellent AT&T coverage although our friends with Verizon did not fare so well. The cabins are absolutely amazing as well and have a daily cleaning service. The reason I have marked it as average, however, is for the price: $60 for a non-premium site and $100 for a cliffside premium site. I felt they needed to continue to make some improvements. Our site did not have a picnic table and the markings around the non premium sites on the cliff were very unclear necessitating some creative parking. They obviously have pride in ownership, however, and are constantly working to improve so I would expect them to reach a 4 or 5 rating in the near future. Basically, if you have the mone,y and a boa,t I would definitely stay here, but not sure I would recommend a long stay if you are on a budget because there are cheaper alternatives in the area.
Woodenfrog State Campground Kabetogama, MN 3 out of 5 pine cones
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative in the area, Woodenfrog Campground is a no services campground, first come first serve, for $14 dollars a night. It is well wooded, has good access to the water, and site 52 (along with others) had plenty of space to accommodate a large rig. Cell service was spotty and needed a booster to get Verizon. There is water at several places in the campground although not at the sites, and nature trails are spread throughout. Lots of space between sites and feels very isolated, but is close to the resort areas.
Grilled Potato Skins
- 2 large baking potatoes
- 2 TBL melted butter
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 green onions chopped
- 3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- Poke three holes in potatoes and microwave for 10 minutes
- Cut each potato lengthwise into 4 wedges
- Cut away the white portion of the potato leaving 1/4 ” or so potato on the skin
- Combine butter, rosemary, salt, and pepper then brush over both sides of the potato
- Grill the potatoes skin side up, uncovered over direct heat, for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned
- Turn the potatoes and place over indirect heat and grill for 2 minutes longer
- Top with cheese, cover and grill for 2-3 more minutes until cheese is melted
- Plate then sprinkler with bacon and green onions
- Serve with sour cream
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