As I continue my tales from the Land of Sky Blue Waters and Paul Bunyan.
Thursday we awoke with sunshine and some wind, but I wanted to travel to Hackensack Minnesota to see the statue of Lucette. Who is Lucette you ask. Why she is Paul Bunyan’s sweetheart. With the years growing up in Minnesota I had never heard of Lucette. It was only recently I came to hear of the name Lucette. There is a microbrewery in Menomonie Wisconsin named Lucette. On their web page they posted they named their brewery after Lucette in honor the hard working men of the lumber industry that built the Midwest. Interesting but still didn’t lead me to Hackensack. But what did lead me was the day before when we were in Park Rapids I found a story book about Lucette. When I was purchasing the book the clerk told me of the statue in Hackensack. So with that comment it lead me on a journey to meet the sweetheart of Paul Bunyan. Not knowing where to find Lucette, I looked for a city park in the middle of town. As we started going through town on the main drag a I spotted a big yellow sign pointing the way. As I turned the down the street, there she was standing in the middle of the street a couple of blocks away. I parked the car and took a couple of photos and went and visited the chamber of commence office which was next to Lucette. The lady in the office started telling me about Lucette. She told me she was constructed in 1950 as a tourist attraction between Brainerd and Bemidji. Brainerd had Paul Bunyan and Bemidji had Babe the Blue Ox. So the artist constructed Lucette and started the tales of Paul Bunyan’s sweetheart.
We headed back to camp and got our swimsuits on and met up with Becca and Jeremy. It was time to play in the water as we hadn’t yet that week. The week was as nice as it was going to be. We went out in the deeper part of the lake and Jeremy decided to take a loop with his wakeboard. They asked me if I wanted to wakeboard but I declined because the board isn’t set up for my stance. I did say I would surf. They set the boat up for surfing and I jumped in the water and set my feet on the board. I gave the ok and Jeremy hit the power and out of the water lifted standing on the surfboard. If you are able to do the surfing correctly you will ride the wake of the boat. I haven’t found the sweet spot of the wake. so I have to continue holding the rope so I don’t fall off the wake. But there are portions of time when the rope has slack and I am surfing. Then Becca took her turn and we headed back to shore and picked up the tube. I took a trip around the lake being whipped around behind the boat. It is fun to see if you can out duel centrifugal force and most of the time you loss.
Friday, the Fourth of July and our day started with wind. There is a tradition on Lake Belle Taine of doing a boat parade along the south shore. Boats are decorated in Red, White and Blue and so are the mates on board. There are many types of boats in the parade. Pontoons, speed boats and fishing boats. All parading the colors of our Independence. After all the boats gather the boats start slowly parading across the water waving at the people on shore. The people on shore are also wearing the Red, White and Blue and waving back. After the parade we wisked back to the cabin to continue watching the wind blow her lungs out. Dinner that evening was to be beer butt chicken on the grill. As we waited for the chicken to cook we continued in conversation with a main topic of whether the wind was going to let up so the firework would be displayed. We called over to the campgrounds and they stated the fireworks would be displayed at 10 pm. What the campground does is close the causeway from 10-11 pm. and they set the trailer with the fireworks on the causeway and launch the fireworks over the water. We were at the cabin and enjoyed about a 25 minute show then we headed back to our campsite at the campground.
Saturday we broke camp. Our week was over and it was time to go back to our real lives. After we had everything packed we headed off to a lumberjack breakfast. Now that is some serious eating! You get to order your eggs once and as many as you want. If you want two, order two. If you want six, order six. You can have them scrambled of easy-over. You get one order of hash browns and all the meat you want. Just keep eating, there is timber to be harvested! Paul Bunyan set the timber bar really high!
It was a great week even though the wind was blowing keeping us off the water. Laurel and I found land loving activities to investigate to fill our time. Maybe next year the week will be more welcoming to water activities.
This week we are in Nevis Minnesota. I think this is going to be a annual vacation for Laurel and I. Our grandson, Zach, will be celebrating his second birthday. His birthday is the fifth but the party will be the fourth. The kid will grow up thinking his birthday is celebrated with fireworks and others don’t get such festivities. The start of the week started with clouds, wind and rain. Total gloom! But Laurel and I tried to make the best of the situation and we took a couple of day trips in the area.
Sunday was a windy day at the cabin where Becca, Jeremy and the family stay. The cabin belongs to Jeremy’s parents. It was so windy that one of the neighbors trees had blown down. Laurel and I did a grocery run into Park Rapids and a look around town. There wasn’t much to see as the shops were all closed. Small towns close on Sundays and early if they do open. But there was time to do some loon watching and play with the grandsons.
On Monday we drove up to Itasca State Park to take another look at the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Becca, Jeremy and family joined us on the trip. The water was flowing swiftly over the rocks giving New Orleans plenty of water to float the worldly ships coming up river. We checked out some of the other attractions and vista in the park before heading back to camp.
Tuesday was a cloudy day and I said I would like to go to the town of Walker Minnesota. Walker lays on the edge of the iconic lake of Leech Lake. Becca and two of the boys went with and our first stop was at The Piggy BBQ. Smoked barbeque served from 11 am until gone. The service was slow but worth the wait. I had a Carolina Pork sandwich which had coleslaw on top. It hit the spot with full flavor. I will have to continue perfecting my smoking skills to get great tasting pork like the Piggy BBQ. After lunch we looked thru a few shops and stopped by Reed’s Sporting Goods. A sportsman’s dream store. Then we went looking for the lake front icon. As it turns out it is a lighthouse. I was expecting a giant walleye, but it was a newly constructed lighthouse in the city park. A few photos and on our way back to camp wiping the rain from the windshield. Back at camp we had fire grilled pork chops with the smoky flavor of north woods birch.
Wednesday brought back the sun, but with wind and cool temperatures. Laurel and I went to the town of Park Rapids to check out their downtown. Up one side of Main Street, in and out of shops and back down Main Street on the other side. The Candy stores….Time to load up and spoil the grandsons. We stopped by the little town of Dorset for an ice cream cone before heading back to camp. And supper…steaks on an open fire with birch smoke. Life is good in the north woods of Minnesota.
As a note on the campsite, we are staying at Campers Paradise. This camp is located on an island in Lake Belle Taine. The only way onto this island is a causeway. One lane. The sign reads, “Stop and look for cars on the causeway”. The causeway is about a half mile long. At camp our site is on the lake looking to the north. On the west is a small pond with a large white pine standing tall on the . The top of the tree is gone but a Bald Eagle has built a nest in the top. This year there is a pair of eaglets perched in the nest waiting for mom and dad to bring back a fresh catch of the day.
Here is a first look at the travels into the Land of Sky Blue Waters. I hope to past more tales of the Land of Paul Bunyan.
Over the last two days we have been playing on the water. Becca and Jeremy, my daughter and son-in-law, have a real fine boat. Jeremy as a child grew up playing on the water and he dreamed of the ultimate water toy. A few of years ago they bought the boat of their dreams. It is a Moomba with an inboard prop system. Jeremy loves to wake board and Becca will join in when she can. One of the reasons they bought a boat with an inboard was so you could do surfing. Yes, Surfing!
Two years ago when we were camping with the family, I tried surfing. I was looked. I couldn’t get up on the wake board but surfing was easy. When you surf you are about 5 feet off the back of the boat. With a regular outboard motor this would be extremely dangerous, but with a inboard, “Hang Ten Minnesota Style!” So I jumped in the water, grabbed the rope, set me feet and yelled “GO”. I popped out of the water with ease and surfed for over 4 minutes and 20 seconds. Now mind you I was not truly surfing, I was still holding on to the rope. I still have not found the sweet spot of the wake. I will have all week to find the sweet spot.
I also took a turn on the tube. The driver of the boat will add a little speed and do tight cornering and send you on a wild ride on the edge. If you arms and chest are strong enough you will survive the ride, but if not, then there is the barrel roll in to the deep water. How much fun can a 53 year old have? When I popped to the surface my face was filled with joy. Let me climb back on and hit full throttle. Life is good “Up North”!