Minnesota – Summer of 2014

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Prairie Flower (COE - Saylorville Lake)I should be writing this from Amana, Iowa but alas it was not meant to be.  We had reservations in Iowa starting September 23rd, said our good-byes to our kids and thought we were off to the land of the Hawkeyes but our truck had other ideas.  We had been having issues with an engine light coming on for about a month and had it in and out of the dodge service center several times thinking we finally had it fixed.  But it wasn’t to be.  The day before we were scheduled to leave the light came on again.  One more time to the dodge dealer ended up with us leaving it for 8 days.  Thankfully they gave us a nice little Jeep Compass to use but also grounded us in Apple Valley without a vehicle to move our 5th wheel when our reservations ran out.   We were grateful to Lebanon Hills Campground for calling the people that had our site reserved and moving them to another site so we could stay put.  On the eighth day Joe went to pick up the truck, drove it about 10 miles and had to turn around and go back to dodge.  The truck was running terrible so again he brought the Jeep home to leave the truck another day.   Meanwhile we had an appointment in Mankato, MN for our Lifestyle to have one of the slide-outs looked at which we had to reschedule because of the truck.  We finally got the truck back and it is running great and all costs were under warranty.  Off to Mankato early on a Friday morning for our scheduled appointment at Keepers RV.  We can’t say enough about the people at Keepers.  From the first phone call we made way back until we left their lot we were treated as if we were loyal customers even when we didn’t buy our Lifestyle from them.  They fixed our issue with the slide-out in just a few hours and off we went to a city campground in Mankato.   Life on the road means being flexible and that is what we had to be these last few weeks. We also won’t let this little set-back define our wonderful summer we had in Minnesota.

Merle visitFrom July 2nd to Sept 9th we spent our time at Dakotah Meadows in Prior Lake, MN.  There are many good things about staying here all summer but the biggest is that we are close to our kids, grandkids and friends.   Our first week brought my dad from California for a wedding and visit.  He stayed with us a couple of days which was very nice.  We went to our great-nephews wedding (oh that makes me feel old) while dad was back in MN.  We had such a great time watching the young people at the dance and catching up with relatives.  My dad, who is going to be 93 in Dec, couldn’t understand why the young people don’t play music that he could dance to because he loves to dance.   Those young kids didn’t have a hard time dancing and the dance floor was always packed.

Alex and Cate enjoying campfireSummer brought special times with the grandkids, Cate and Alex.  Both were able to spend overnights with papa and grammy which is always the best! We took Cate on the light rail to meet her mom and brother at the downtown farmers market and lunch after.  We went to the Minnesota Zoo and Como Park Zoo.  We took Cate to Chuck E. Cheese where papa had as much fun as Cate did.   We also went with Cassie and the two grandkids to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store between Jordan and Belle Plaine on Hwy 169.  If you haven’t been there it is a must but don’t go on a weekend.  Anything and everything candy and then some.

Alex camping Cate and Alex Scott county fair Mn Zoo Light Rail Cate at Chucky Cheese Cate and Amanda making faces

Cate Soccer gameWe went to Cate’s soccer games, gymnastic and swimming lessons.  Cassie, Amanda, Cate and I went to see The Little Mermaid at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.  I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, the play or watching Cate watch the play.   I couldn’t believe how a three year old could be so into watching the play.  Wonderful, wonderful evening!  We tried to pack as much into the summer with the grandkids as possible but when we look back we wonder where the summer went.  We count our blessings every time we get to spend time with our two little grandkids and of course our kids.

Joe and I also got to spend time with friends.  It is always good to catch up with old friends but it is also nice to make new friends.  We met a nice couple who were finishing off their last year of work before hitting the road.  Scott and Caroline have been living in their motorhome since their house sold in 2013.  They are finishing the working part of their lives and moving on to their traveling part.  It is hard for me to say they are retiring because they are so young.  We told them we could be their parents.  But a nicer couple we couldn’t have met.  We will catch up with them again next spring at Dakotah Meadows until they take off on their adventure.

Before we left Mystic Lake/Dakotah Meadows we went to a Yanni concert.  Over the years we have been to many of his concerts and have always enjoyed them but this one was one of his best.  The smaller setting at Mystic Lake made it feel like he was sitting in your living room.  Great evening!

Bolls and KleinsWe moved to Lebanon Hills Campground on Sept 10th for a 14 day stay but again because of the truck we ended up staying almost 4 weeks.  We spent more time with the grandkids and kids, camped a weekend with Joe’s sister, Bonnie, and her family along with a few of our kids.  We always enjoy our camping weekend with Bonnie and Tim.   Finally we were off to Mankato and on the road to Ohio or maybe Iowa.  Flexibility!

One last thing about Minnesota – we had a first for us since becoming full-timers or maybe as long as we have been campers – getting booted out of our campsite.  When we dropped our 5th wheel off at Keepers RV on Friday morning we went to check out the Land of Memories Campground in Mankato run by the city.  It is a small but nice park.  There was no one in the office only self-check in envelopes and slot to drop the envelope.  We drove around and saw several sites had tags on them to show they were reserved so we picked a site with no tag on it.  We self registered and dropped $50 cash in an envelope into the slot.   All was well until Saturday afternoon when someone put a tag on our post showing our site was reserved for Saturday night but not by us.  About 2:30 the people who had reserved the site online came and we had to move but there were no other sites open.  We were forced to drive about 40 miles to find another campground that was open.   Now we are working on trying to get our money back.  The City of Mankato’s excuse – money is tight so they have a ranger on duty only part-time.  Still didn’t excuse their terrible system.  We stay all the time in places that are self-register and never have had an issue so we thought we were okay.  But we are flexible.

So off we go – enjoy life, stay safe and be flexible!