Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Grand Marais Fall Rally Day 9-12

We spend the weekend camped at the very clean St Paul RV Campground visiting family. Saturday night we were joined by friends from Brainerd who were in the Twin Cities for a college football game. We had an excellent dinner at Cravings Wine Bar & Grill.  Sunday morning we went to downtown Minneapolis to Hell’s Kitchen in the basement of a large office building. In spite of the name it was mobbed with people and the line so long I never did see what the restaurant looked like.  We gave up on that place and went to an Irish restaurant called The Local. They must have imported the entire walls and bars from an old pub in Ireland. It was beautiful. They have poured the largest volume of Jameson Irish Whiskey in the world for four years in a row. We planned to take 3 days to drive the 785 miles to Murray in the View and another 115 from Murray to Nashville. We got off to a good start and after 388 miles at 3:00pm we were near my first choice destination at Starved Rock State Park on the Ilinois River. This seemed like a good choice since it is beside one of the locks on the Great Loop. Maybe we could meet a looper. However, since was still early, it would be better to keep going so we could be home by noon on Wednesday. I picked Ramsey State Park near Vandalia as our destination and called to see if it was open and had room. The lady that answered said “Heavens yes, we have room.”  It was another 168 miles which would get us there by 6:00PM.  Well we got there at 6:00 alright, but took 30 minutes to find the road to the campsites and then that road was closed as a bridge was being replaced. The next closest campsite was in Vandalia. I programmed the park name, Okaw Valley Kampground, into the Garmin and found the campground did not exist where Garmin says it is. By now it was after 8:00PM and we had to break one of our all time RVing records. We went to the nearest Walmart!  There must have been 50 trucks there with many running generators. I asked for permission to say and was told that it was quite alright just get a space on the outskirts of the parking lot near the trucks.  Our unit must attract trucks because after getting as far away from the trucks as I could two arrived and parked close to us.  We broke another record driving 575 miles in one day. Tuesday we only had to go 180 miles to the boat and were there by noon. We dropped off boating stuff and checked the beautiful new varnish on the Katy Leigh. While we were away, a couple from Florida drove to the marina and put four coats of new varnish on all the teak trim. We put the View away in the shed, and drove the car to Nashville arriving at 5:00PM.  Our next trip is on the Katy Leigh, starting September 29th travelling to Chattanooga and attending the America’s Great Loop Rendezvous on return cruise.

Posted on 09/18/2013 2:54 PM by Bob Duthie
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