As we planned our travels through Minnesota, we anticipated 2 stops – one on the west side of the state, and another on the east side of the state.
We picked Detroit Lakes as our first stop because it was close to Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge where John & Bridget (who we had met at the very first RV-Dreams Rally in 2008 in Branson) are volunteering this summer. We figured we’d have time to visit them at the refuge and explore one of the more popular resort areas in Minnesota.
Unfortunately, it is one of the more popular areas in Minnesota, and we must have called 20 different campgrounds, with no luck finding a site for the weekend! John and Bridget even drove around to several near them to check them out for us, but with no luck in finding any availability.
We ended up getting a site for just one night, Thursday, at Country Campground. We got an early start and arrived by 2pm to get setup on our site.
It was a small campground – only 35 sites – but very well-kept and clean, and we had plenty of room on our site. I got a little bit of work done while the boys took Casey for a walk and then played some ping-pong in the Recreation Building.
Fortunately, John & Bridget were off on Thursday, and had already planned a BBQ with their fellow volunteer, Judy, and a blogger friend of hers, which turned out to be Sherry & David, who we had met at the 2011 Pigeon Forge RV Dreams Rally. They invited us to join them for dinner, and a tour of some of the refuge backroads afterwards.
This really is a cute campground, and we wished we could have stayed longer . . . we’ll just have to come back to this area another year!
Casey wasn’t crazy about walking on that dock, but she made it to the end!
They don’t have a beach on this lake, bit it’s good for fishing, and they have several pedal boats that are free for campers to use.
We got Casey settled back into the RV, and headed over to the Wildlife Refuge . . . and I greatly underestimated how long it was going to take us to get there!
We were a little late, but we made it and John met us at the gate to let us in. Judy, Sherry and David had just gotten back from exploring the refuge, and were enjoying a southern treat of deep fried pickles, courtesy of John. We joined the gathering and enjoyed the volunteers’ stories of “life on the refuge”, and David & Sherry’s adventures in our home state of Michigan.
Our Hosts –John, Bridget & Judy
Fellow Bloggers – David & Sherry, with Nicolas and Bryce
John grilled burgers, and we had several salads to go with them, and cookies for dessert. After dinner, the conversation continued until it started to look like rain was on the way.
David and Sherry had a bit of a drive back to their campground, so they headed out, and John & Bridget borrowed Judy’s “work truck” to take the 4 of us on a tour of the refuge.
Unfortunately, it started to rain right about then, too, so we weren’t able to get out of the truck much, and most of the wildlife stayed hidden. We didn’t see any of the bears or wolves, but we did spot a couple of Bald Eagles (they didn’t seem to mind the rain),
and a couple more in their nest, although we were pretty far away. You can just kindof make out the shape of them in the left side of the nest.
There were swans out on a couple of the lakes, but too far out for pictures without getting out of the truck, and just before we made the turn back to the volunteer sites we spotted a couple of Trumpeter Swans with a baby in the marshy area close to the road.
We stopped for a picture, but they quickly hid themselves in the tall grass! I could only get a picture of their heads.
Check out Sherry’s post from that day – she got some great pictures around the refuge!
We went back to John & Bridget’s RV and visited with them for a couple more hours – discussing trucks and RVs, campgrounds, and volunteer jobs. It was great visiting with them, and hopefully we’ll cross paths again somewhere in our travels!
The owner of the campground had allowed us a slightly later checkout on Friday, so we didn’t have to get up too early, and I was able to get a few loads of laundry done while the guys got the RV ready to move. We weren’t in a hurry because our next stop was less than 200 miles away, and we couldn’t get into the campground until Saturday, so our destination was a Walmart about 10 miles short of our final destination.
We had gotten more rain overnight, but fortunately none on Friday, so it was a good day for a drive!