There were more comments from the last post than any other post in quite a while. Actually, all the comments were basically the same.
“That’s cold! Not me!”
I have always found a good for every bad, an up for every down – and thought you might like to hear what we have discovered so far.
Yes it’s cold. But you sure do appreciate the warmth when you come in!
For someone who is usually busy with projects, this enforced inside time has allowed me to set up a music ‘station’ and practice – a lot! This is something I have not been able to do in the boats or the RV’s and I am very much enjoying it! In addition, by being in one place for several months I actually get to play a regular gig!
Shelly has taken up painting, and as in all things artistic, is turning out some pretty cool stuff. With the extra space in the cabin, she also has much more room for yoga and dance exercise!
It is amazingly still and quiet. There are no roads near us, no streetlights (or lights of any kind actually), and no other noise whatsoever except nature. It is wonderful! And the stars and moon on the snow at night are incredible. We are on the lookout for the Northern Lights.
When we go the 5 miles into Ely, there are never any lines in the grocery store and we now know the owner/manager who quickly gets for us anything we ask (like my favorite Tillamook ice cream!). We are known by the postmaster, mail carrier, the fed ex and the UPS drivers!
We do have to watch for the wildlife – especially the deer. They grow big deer around here!
The beauty and stillness of a sunny day after a snow storm is hard to describe to those without the experience.
When we do finally make it to a beach in the summer, we will have a much greater appreciation for that too!
So I would ask you to think about what you might have going on right now, that might seem to be a negative thing and find all the positive things that offset it.
Remember watching the weather channel and the guy/girl showing the coldest spot in the US somewhere up in northern Minnesota at about -40 degrees?
We are on the right. Lake in the background.
Yea, well that’s where we are. 😉 And yes it is pretty cold. Put it this way. There is a glass “screen” outside door. When we open that door there is a 1/8″ of ice on the inside of the glass – and your hand will stick to the door handle. Chilly.
Mo loves it. We still have to go out 5-6 times a day with him. It takes us longer to dress and undress than we stay out! Usually it is the hands and feet that drive us in. Even with heated gloves!
The snow is amazing. Since it never gets above 20 or so (rarely), the snow is light and fluffy and fairly deep. Especially out on the lake where it piles up in the winds. (We don’t go out when it is windy if we can help it for obvious reasons!)
Ely Minnesota is a cool little town. We get what we need from there in the way of groceries, auto mechanics and stuff like that. There is the old main street theater that has two shows running for $5. We are heading in this afternoon to see ‘West Side Story’ for Shelly. I really appreciate having 4 wheel drive!
Every other Thursday I play music for three hours at the local coffee shop from 4-7. My kind of hours!
We are trying to take advantage of local type outdoors activities. Ryan came up over the holidays and we went dog sledding (lot’s of work! Need more dogs!) and cross country skiing (also lot’s of work!) And cold. But a good time was had by all including the really smelly dog teams! Wildlife is everywhere. Big deer herds come through the yard and out across the lake. We have a Bald Eagle hanging around who is amazing to watch.
See the falls? Kinda frozen!
We are on the southern edge of the Boundary Water Canoe Area separating/joining the Minnesota/Canada border. It is an amazing place. All of these lakes (we are right on Garden Lake) are available by canoe and apparently you can go for hundreds of miles. This has been a tourist area for a long time. Right down the road is a short 1 mile hike to a set of falls where the lumbermen used to float the logs to the mill. It’s a good hike for the dog.
Mid December & the lake is freezing.
People keep asking us why in the world we would spend winter in the coldest part of the country. Around here they completely understand when I tell them this is last place the maniacs trying to take over America are going to come!
We just thought an update was due. Plans for the spring have not yet begun to be made as we wait out the maniacs!
God is so good to us. We just arrived in Ely, Minnesota on the Boundary Waters Area between Canada and Minnesota.
It is November and we are so blessed to have a couple days of stunning Fall weather to enjoy it before winter comes in end of the week with 14 degrees!
For the past 6-7 weeks, we called Buffalo Lake, Minnesota our home which is some of the most fertile and perfect farmland in the world. I hired on as a contract semi truck driver hauling field corn, soybeans and a few sugar beets.
With this being the first time in Minnesota, first time driving a semi, and the first time seeing how these farms work, the learning curve was steep, fast and fascinating!
To give an idea of how much is produced in America’s farms, Brian Ryberg farms a slightly larger than average acreage at 6500 acres. He has 5 sugar beet trucks and 4 grain (corn/soybean) trucks running for pretty much 7 weeks in the field 7 days (off for church Sunday mornings!) for 10-16 hours a day!
In that time frame I estimate hauling 20-30 million pounds of grains with just the one truck. Now imagine that across the whole breadbasket of America. It is simply mind boggling to digest how many crops are planted and harvested in our country.
No wonder China wants to conquer us!
Watch the video to see how farming is done in Minnesota!
For the next three or four weeks I will be driving a semi tractor trailer hauling sugar beets, field corn and soybeans from the fields to various storage and collecting facilities. For some (like me) the methods, processes and machinery to plant, grow, harvest and process beets to sugar, corn to ethanol, and soybeans to everything? is fascinating. I’ll spare you the details.
Since we left you last in Rapid City in June there have been a few more miles and a few more sights along the way.
One of the questions we have always been asked, whether on the boats or in RVs is “what is your favorite place?”. Our stock answer is “everywhere we go has its own special characteristics and there is no one place”. If there was, we might be tempted to stay!
We must admit though to a certain attraction to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I understand why the Dakota, Cheyenne, Sioux and other great Indian tribes fought so hard to keep their land.(It was certainly managed much better in those days!)
We stayed in an RV park just outside of Rapid City most of June while exploring from Custer State Park in the southern part through the mountains, Hill City, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments, and up through the north to the old mining towns of Deadwood and Lead.
So much history combined with so much beauty and so many possibilities.
There is a 110 mile hiking trail from Custer State Park through the mountains all the way north past Sturgis. I called Ryan and Ian to say let’s do it! Ian had to decline as he is being transferred to the AFB in Tucson from Valdosta, but Ryan was enthusiastic. We planned for an early September start and 8-10 days to complete it.
With engagements looming in Michigan and North Carolina we headed east across South Dakota, Minnesota and then northeast towards Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan.
What a beautiful country! Long straight roads with vast vistas in every direction and nothing but prairies and planted fields. Many of the small towns on the two lane roads we travel on have the nicest city parks with a couple of camping spots.
We have thoroughly enjoyed these and have been surprised with Friday night high school football games, rodeos, old flour mills, lakes , paths and much more.
In a state park on Lake Superior on the northern shore of Michigan’s upper peninsula, on the longest day of the year (June 21) the temperature was 42, with winds to 25 mph. Mo loved surfing the cold waters of the lake!
We wandered down through cherry orchards and Lake Michigan shoreline drives to Muskegon to Ian and his new bride’s family home and celebration. Michiganders are good folks!
The Indiana State Fair people had called and wanted us back for the state fair to run their RV campground in August so we puttered our way to NC to spend time with Shelly’s Mom. The campground we ended up in was a gold and gem mining mini tourist place but absolutely beautiful in summer. Mo got to spend much time in the river for those two weeks!
July 23 – August 21 we were in Indianapolis IN in a big field under a walnut tree helping 350 RVs in and out of the parking spaces and popping over to the fairgrounds to watch the 450,000 or so visitors to the fair. (Few masks)
We did get to watch the one remaining Wilson brothers from the Beach Boys perform with a large band. The other major member of the band was the grown son of one of the other original members! It was memorable!
From Indianapolis, we turned back west through Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and back into South Dakota to meet up with Ryan for a 100 miles 10 day hike. As an aside we have now traveled through every state except CA, OR, WA, AK, and HI.
Here is a bit of advice. Do not go hiking in the mountains with a 30 pound pack with a time deadline so you try to make 15 miles a day with no practice. It is very – how shall I say – challenging?
It kicked our butts. On the morning of the 3rd day we hiked 10 more miles by 1030am and were now looking up at the Needles and the mountains where Mt Rushmore is. Steep and rocky.
With very sore feet, very sore hips where the packs rode, sore knee joints and 90% chance for heavy rain I made the call to turn around and hike a mile back to a highway we had crossed and call Shelly to come get us. I can’t say Ryan was too upset! I like to use the excuse that I was thinking of Shelly and wanted Ryan to spend some time with his Mom – but…
Next time we practice first. We both agree the 25 miles we did was awesome and we really want to do more.
After Ryan flew out to Atlanta, we had some decisions to make. We had been looking at property in the Black Hills but realized prices were so inflated that it would be insane to even look.
Then in my daily email showing people wanting temporary help from RVers, an ad for truck drivers for three weeks in Minnesota popped up. So here we sit on a very pretty lake in a county campground waiting for sugar beet, field corn and soybean harvest to start!
Both of us think this is a very good place to sit and watch the world fall apart. When it does we will be more than willing to help put it back together again.