Day Trip with Friends

In early September we took a day trip with friends from Woodland Trails.  These 3 couples, Wayne & Betty, Lon & Nancy, and Larry & Sherry, have all come to be great friends of ours this year.  The 4 couples went to Otter Tail county for the day, stopping at Phelps Mill county park for a look at the 129 year old flour mill along the banks of the Otter Tail River (formerly known as Red River).  The mill has much of the original equipment and all the original structure still in place, though it hasn’t been in use since 1939.  The fact that it still stands is in itself unusual because most flour mills eventually suffer damage from fire.  A dam and water turbine were constructed for the mill and although the turbine is no longer working, the dam provided a perfect photo moment.

We continued on for a stop at Inspiration Peak, another beautiful spot and a real chance to stretch our legs.  Inspiration Peak is located some 400 vertical feet above their parking lot, a quarter mile trek up the hill.  Once at the top we were presented an impressive view.  Author Sinclair Lewis, a native of nearby Sauk Centre, Minnesota, said of Inspiration Peak, “there’s to be seen a glorious 20-mile circle of some 50 lakes scattered among fields and pastures, like sequins fallen on an old Paisley shawl.”  Quite a view!

We finished our evening with dinner near Detroit Lakes, and returned to Woodland Trails.  There was much discussion of the results from hurricane Harvey since all 3 couples winter in RVs at a park in Rockport, Texas.  Each of them took some damage to their units and were very concerned.  We hope their damage is minimal and that they get back to normal sooner than later!

On the 17th, Woodland Trails officially closed and all the units are winterized, boats and pontoons are gone, and the docks are out of the water.  It is very much a bittersweet time for us.  We have enjoyed our stay here and really hate to see the summer come to an end. On the other hand, we know our journey of American discovery continues with our trip to Arizona, so we are excited.  We don’t know if we will ever return to northern Minnesota but the time spent with the Sullivans and all our other friends will always be a special, important part of our lives.

On The Road Again, Almost

We have had a nice summer at Strawberry Lake and we are beginning to get ready to hit the road again.  The resort will officially close on September 17th and we will be heading west this winter.

Our summer here at Woodland Trails has been more relaxed than last year. Since we did most of the “tourist” things last year, we took the opportunity to fish, kayak, visit a few places we passed over last year, and revisit some of our favorites.  It was also really nice to see (and work for) Dawn and Dan Sullivan who, with their kids, Benno, Holden and Alisa, make life at Strawberry Lake a pleasure.  We have also created some new and hopefully lasting friendships with several of the residents of Woodland Trails.

Last year we left WT and had a little fish in the freezer but this year we have stocked up.  Bass, sunfish, crappies, and a little northern pike.  Without question, Mary was the champion angler this year with a couple large mouth bass in the 5-5.5 pound range.  Tom caught a mess of hand-sized sunfish but it was really cool watching Mary land the big ones!

5 Lb Large Mouth Bass










While we were in Florida we had the opportunity to take advantage of the Rails-to-Trails bike trails.  We also were able to ride on the Heartland Trail which starts in Park Rapids, MN, and meanders east and north.  From Park Rapids to Dorset is about 6 miles so the 12 mile round trip, stopping for ice cream along the way, was about right for a nice afternoon.  Dorset is a small town with a couple of restaurants and tourist type shops, and is usually a fun stop.

The city of Little Falls is well-known as the boyhood home of Charles Lindbergh.  They have built an interesting museum adjacent to the house along the Mississippi river.  We drove there and had a nice, private tour of the home. Tom even got to try his hand at a simulated Paris landing of the Spirit of St. Louis.

Spirit of St. Louis simulator
Lucky Lindy










On our way out of Little Falls we stopped at Fort Riley army post and toured the Minnesota Military Museum.  Even though the focus was on Minnesota veterans, they had one of the best exhibits of war weaponry in one place that I have ever seen.

Minnesota War Museum










In nearby Moorhead, MN, is a reproduction of a viking ship that a local man, Robert Asp, built.  He completed it, even though he contracted leukemia during construction.  Asp was able to sail it around some of the Great Lakes before he passed away.  In his honor, his 3 sons and daughter enlisted other crew members and sailed it all the way to Norway.  It was later brought back to the U.S. and is on display at the Hjemkomst Museum.  It was a very interesting visit for us.

VIking ship reproduction
Panoramic photo of Viking ship






This summer we reconnected with Rob & Paula Herron, friends we knew from Florida years ago.  Their son, Tyler, is a pitcher for the Fargo-Moorhead Red Hawks minor league baseball team.  We got to go to a game but just missed the night Tyler was pitching, but we did get to meet his fiance’, Caitlin.  We hope to meet up with Rob & Paula on the road sometime.  They have been going back and forth from Florida to Maine seasonally but recently purchased a motor home to do some traveling.  We look forward to seeing them.

Something we will surely miss are the nightly sunsets over Strawberry Lake.  It seems that every night brings another “best yet” display of color.

July 4, 2017 Sunset
7/17/2017 Sunset
8/18/2017 Sunset
8/31/2017 Sunset
Strawberry Lake sunset


















The question has come up whether or not we will return to Woodland Trails next summer.  Our original “rule” was to not stay for a season at any one place more than once.  Circumstances led us back and we are glad we did it.  Our intention is to stay out west for a year or 2, BUT you can never tell where our journey will lead us.  We have seen and done so much in 2 years (as of August 21st) and we know there is much more out there.  Our first thought is to say “not next year” but you never know.  Time will tell.