Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bucket List Items Crossed off in Minnesota!

Our main reason for visiting this area was catching up with good friends Dino and Lisa. We had last seen them last September when we stopped by Yellowstone National Park where they were working. Since then they have eluded us.....we searched high and low on our travels, Arizona.....no Dino and Lisa.... Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota even Wisconsin...if they were there we could not find them. That is until we vaguely recalled that they were going to be visiting family in the Barnsville Minnesota area in early June.

We thought if were we lucky, if we were very quiet and stealth like, that we might sneak up on them before they could pack up and vacate to another "undisclosed location" before they knew we were in the area. There is only one campground in the Barnsville area, Wagner City Park, so we thought our chances were good. We left Douglas, North Dakota with high hopes of catching up to this elusive couple. 6 hours later as we slowly pulled into the park; we spied their rig with them sitting outside enjoying a cocktail. We saw the look of panic on their faces when they spotted us but by then it was too late, we had them in our crosshairs! They were good sports and acted like they were happy to see us and even made us dinner that night but deep down we knew they were already planning a late night escape.

We were surprised each morning when we woke up and looked out the window to see their rig still there. Having lived in this area much of their lives they are very familiar with this area and showed us many of the sights. Now we don't have a bucket list per se but if we did many of the sights we saw would have been on it!

Like the giant Prairie Chicken in Rothsay......


Or Otto the Otter in Fergus Falls....
Ya, that's me on Otto's back!
But the highlight of our visit was when Lisa showed us her childhood home in the center of Fergus Falls. Originally known as: "Minnesota’s Third Hospital for the Insane" the Fergus Falls State Hospital broke ground in 1888 and closed its doors for the last time in 2008. Lisa pointed to the window which was once her room and regaled with tales of what it was like to live there. (You think I am making this up? The fact that she married Dino should be proof enough!) At its peak the "hospital" housed 2,000 patients and served pie each week. This is an amazing complex that stretches a full 1/3 mile, it is now vacant and reported to be haunted by some of its former tenants.
Lisa's room was in the right wing, second floor, third window from the end.
We also visited Phelp's Mill an old flour mill from the late 1800's. Producing 60-75 barrels of flour a day this mill operated from 1889 to 1939. It was interesting to walk the mill and see how they produced flour back in the day.


These chutes were the elevators that carried the wheat


But wait there's more! How many of you have seen the ORIGINAL woodchipper from the movie Fargo?  I tried to get Barb to posed like I was stuffing her in it but she wanted nothing to do with that.

For those of you passing through Fargo, stop at the Visitors Center and you can cross the woodchipper off your bucket list as well! Also pick up a visitors guide. The last two pages are filled with coupons, there are 2 for 1 coupons for several of the local breweries so that is where we were off to next....The first stop was at the Fargo Brewing Company Ale House followed by  JL Beers where we have a couple more brews and a great burger.



Barb and Lisa noticed that there was a coupon for a free Ferris wheel ride at the local Scheel's Sporting Goods store so off we went. Into the store we went coupons in hand, turned them into the cashier for tokens and went and stood in line for the Ferris wheel. It was then we noticed that everyone standing around us was about 3 feet shorter and 40 years younger than us. Just when you thought it could not get any more embarrassing we see Dino elbowing and pushing little kids out of the way so he could get to the front of the line. Right before getting on Dino made the comment that he hoped he did not run into anyone he knew. The ride was about 10 minutes and we got off before Dino and Lisa. As we were waiting for their cart to come around we noticed Dino waving at someone. When they got off they said they saw their son Roman and fiancée Heather on the second floor. We went over and met Roman who I think was mortified that his mom and dad we on the kiddie ride at the sporting goods store!




Hopefully we will be posing with a few of these up in Ontario soon!
One of the things we really found interesting about this area was the communities approach to the area.   The campground was on the honor system, there are literally no rules, no signs saying don't do this or don't do that. Everywhere we went there is no litter, no graffiti and everything was open. Phelps Mill was completely open with no one around to supervise, the picnic tables in the park had power outlets and the restrooms were clean and had bottles of hand sanitizer on the sink counter. There were no signs telling you not to climb on Otto and it looked like it was actually encouraged. It brought us back to the way life should be lived. Respect the resources and use common sense.

As you may recall, I broke one record last week. Well evidently Barb broke a record this week as well. We did not know there was even record keeping in this category but evidently Barb ran across one of the few official record keepers. She had went to Fargo with Lisa to do some shopping and when she came out of the store and approached our truck she found this certificate of achievement.......Another bucket list item cross off!



To be fair it is often a challenge to park our truck into just one spot so leaking into a second spot is not uncommon. She is quite proud of this record but is confident that with hard work and practice that she could break it again.

We had another bizarre incident as we crossed the border from North Dakota into Minnesota on another shopping trip. As I was driving in the right lane I noticed a MN State Trooper on the shoulder so I moved into the left lane as I passed. The trooper immediately turned on his lights and pulled in behind us and pulled us over. I knew I was not speeding and all 4 of us were wearing our seatbelts so we had no idea why I was pulled over.

The trooper approaches the passenger side window and I thought to myself. "Good, he is after Dino, must think he is a terrorist or something". But when Dino rolls down the window the trooper asks me for MY drivers license! He then goes on to say that the reason he pulled me over was that all vehicles over 10,000#'s must stop at truck stops in Minnesota. What?!?!? The trooper went back to his squad car returning a short time later with a warning ticket. I asked him a few questions...... Although generally for commercial vehicles, private vehicles over 10,000# (26,000 in ND and 8,000 in SD)must stop at weigh stations so they can make sure you are a private vehicle. He went onto explain that although they don't want RV's pulling in, they are looking for RV haulers who take of their signage and try to sneak by weigh stations on their return trips when they are not hauling an RV. Bizarre. This truck was Barb's primary work and shopping vehicle and has been driving by hundreds of weigh stations while not hauling (in Minnesota) and never been pulled over. The only thing I can think of is that when we passed him and he saw that we did not have MN or ND plates he thought maybe we were haulers.

Despite this incident, we had a great time in the area. We took turns cooking out every night, had a night of beer tasting (go figure) and spent time around the fire spinning tails and had a couple of killer games of ladder golf. It was great to catch up after so long apart,
Daisy even got a spa day!
Today we lift the jacks for an hour drive to another friends house for a few days and maybe get a pole in the water!

For those of you who may take me a little too seriously, Lisa did not live at the hospital. She did say that she had been in it several times when her mother painted murals in some of the rooms but never actually lived there......or did she?  We may never know!


21 comments:

  1. We shall do better to keep our locations more disclosed. As far as the Trooper, I paid him to stop you. Hopefully you got the hint to get out of Minnesota and stay out. Until you track us down again.

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    1. We are now the ones at an undisclosed location in case you try and hunt us down!

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  2. Ha, ha, ha! Good story as usual. I sometimes wonder about that Dino and Lisa. They are very elusive. We have yet to spot them in the wild! Maybe one day. Yes, Daisy, you are beautiful!!

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    1. They are an elusive and solitary pair but well worth hunting them down!

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  3. Great post, Jim!! Poor Lisa and Dino! No wonder they've been staying under the radar and avoiding you...haha!!! Way to go Barb...four parking spots! Wahoo! A new record! Frame that "certificate." Love that you took the ferris wheel ride. Keeps one young:) Awww, Daisy, you are so cute:) Good luck with the mosquitoes as you move on!!

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    1. Shoot, we never thought of framing the note! We threw it away after taking that picture.

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  4. If Barb had the trailer connected she really could have set the record much higher.
    We'll be keeping our trailer with the bicycle attached the next time we go through MN.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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    1. Good point, we have parked with the rig and taken up many more spaces. There must be different classifications in the keeping of the records.

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  5. Doesn't everyone have a giant Prairie Chicken on thier bucket list? Strange stop by the Minnesota trooper. I was told in Texas, I was stopped because he looks for a reason to stop as many out of state plates as he can just to see what he finds. I am not sure that is constitutional.

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    1. I am sure that is why we were stopped. If we had Minnesota plates we would not have been questioned. I heard there are more exciting landmarks near where we are now, stay tuned!

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  6. Just got done reading Dino's version of your visit - you are both such entertaining writers! Always good for a smile or LOL!

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    1. Now who are you going to believe? Us or him?????

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  7. Loved loved the giant otter...good for you for getting on it..and all the other goofy stuff you did was just great. Congrats on a record breaking week.

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    1. I tried to get Barb up there but she was having nothing to do with the giant otter!

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  8. Great story! And a good reason to travel that way!

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  9. You and Dino have quite the rivalry that's very entertaining. Safe travels to Ontario!

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    1. I am glad someone is amused, I am thinking of filing a restraining order to get him to stop slandering us like that!

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  10. Ha!! Sounds like you had fun and we were wondering what Dino confirmed--he paid the trooper to pull you over!! Safe travels!!

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    1. We have now left the country entirely so hopefully we are safe from Dino's sabotages!

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  11. Great update and WOW,,, one more thing to pay attention to as far as weigh stations go in each state. I never would have thought about that, we will be in SD in a couple weeks.

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    1. Totally crazy but I guess we will add it to our list of things we need to pay attention to as well travel through different states

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