Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Savanna Portage State Park September 5-8, 2008

We moved into our second destination of the trip, Savanna Portage State Park, about 3 p.m. on Friday. This park is located 17 miles northeast of McGregor, Minnesota, near Big Sandy Lake. We found this to be a remote section of the state. Our cell phones were useless in the park. We had the campground almost all to ourselves, despite the fact it was a weekend. Even though it was empty, the park has much to offer. There are at least five lakes within the park boundaries. One is a designated trout lake and all of them allow electric motors only. Our campsite was very close to one of the lakes, so the canoe came off the top of the truck for this segment of the trip!! This is another beautiful spot in the great state of Minnesota.

We had a nice big campsite. Luckily, it did not rain as we set up. Fortunately, we had plenty of room for our rain fly. We grilled elk sausage under the rain fly for dinner that evening. We had found the sausage at Johnson's in Grand Marais. It was excellent, perhaps the leanest sausage I have ever cooked.Because of the weather, we didn't have a fire that first night. We were tired from tearing down and setting up that day, so we went to sleep early.

We awakened Saturday to foggy, wet, overcast weather. So, we drove into McGregor to get some paper towel, which I must have in abundant supply when I camp and cook.

On the outskirts of this very small town, I spotted a winery I had read about in a book I was given by Dave, Rose and family, entitled "Off the Beaten Path". They sent me this book in a care package after my surgery to cheer me up and it did just that. So, I hold Dave and family responsible for that paper towel run turning into a bit more of an expense than we had planned. We went into this winery and the gentleman who owns the place and makes the wine was working behind the counter. The name of his winery is "Minnestalgia" and the wines he makes use Minnesota fruits such as elderberry and highbush cranberries and wild plums combined with honey.

One would think they would all be very sweet, but no, I can tell you they are not, because we sampled quite a few of them right there on that Saturday morning!!!! So, we came home from that little town, which is definitely "off the beaten path" with a roll of paper towel, a container of worms for fishing,


Come and visit us and you can try some!!! (If there is any left by the time you get here.)

The rain had stopped when we got back, so we drove around the park and explored.

We saw Loon Lake, which had only one fisherman in a kayak and Wolf Lake, completely empty except for two snow geese.

We went back to our campsite and put the canoe in the water in Lake Shumway and threw some casts. We didn't have any luck, but saw a kid cleaning a huge bass.

We took a hike to the bog walk close to the campground and found pitcher plants, which are also carnivorous.

It is no surprise this part of the state produces a great amount of peat moss.

That evening, after our showers, we had a spaghetti dinner and a great pine campfire.

It was a very cold and rainy night but we were toasty in the camper. Paul says we were too toasty, but I really think when the thermostat is set at 55 degrees, it is a good compromise. We will continue to work on that issue, I guess.

After breakfast, we drove north of the park to look at the Big Sandy Corps of Engineers Recreation Area. Paul's dad used to talk about this campground as he stayed there several times when he fished on Big Sandy. We found the park to be very nice and an ideal location for camping people with fishing boats. There were quite a few big fifth wheel campers and motor homes in the park. We continued to drive north along the upper Mississippi River to the little town of Jacobson and then back down the other side of the river along the Great River Road. If we ever win the lottery, Paul would buy acreage along that part of the river. It would be a beautiful place to have a spot, as long as one can live without cell phone and wireless internet.

The afternoon was sunny by the time we got back to the park, so we hiked the Beaver Pond trail in the park.

We went back out in the canoe and drowned some worms. We were the only people on the entire lake. It was absolutely wonderful, until the clouds told us to get off the lake.

The rain started back up again just as we finished car topping the canoe. It didn't last long, fortunately, so we were able to grill outside of the rain fly and had a great campfire. Despite the fact we did run into rain during the week, we ate every dinner outside and never cooked in the camper once.

The furnace ran even more often that night. We waited in the morning until the rain quit and were lucky to pack up without getting wet and drove back home. We leave on Monday for northern Michigan and the Porcupine Mountains. I can hardly wait!!!!!


Lisa D said...

I was just having one of those 'I need to jump out of the window moments' at work & thought - I need to find a happy place. Maybe Barb has posted another entry. Was very happy to see that you did!

You sure are seeing some beautiful sites!

When you said you found that vineyard, I thought you were going to say, ' roll of paper towel, a container of worms for fishing, and a BUZZ.! ;) ha. What a neat place. Kevin & Julie buy wine by the case from a Vineyard up by Grand Marais - is the best stuff!

Keep posting - love to hear what you are up to!!

qwerkyqook said...

post porcupine mt pics!