Sunday, July 12, 2009

Drive Day 1: 06-10-09 Champlin, MN to Grand Rapids, MN

Today I went to work, but I was going to drive to Grand Rapids afterwards. Again, this would cut off about 3 hours of my drive time to Red Lake tomorrow. My intention was to get to the park office early in the afternoon before the office closed so I could go over some maps to locate some additional campsites. I had already decided on a route with a couple of different options.

I had some training at work yesterday and since it went past by normal work hours by 45 minutes I left 45 minutes early today.

Once I left work I stopped at my house to change clothes and threw my two portage packs into the Suburban. My neighbor was out so I talked to her for a few minutes, then I was officially on vacation at 5:07 pm.

I drove to the Holiday gas station to fill up my Suburban. My starting mileage was 115872. There were some broken skies with the sun peeking out. It has been several days since the sun last made a cameo appearance. The heat from the sun sure felt good. It has been a cool spring.

I’m hoping this was going to be the break in the weather instead of the rain and cool temperatures we have been having lately. I’ve been checking the forecast for Red Lake, Ontario for the past couple weeks and it has been getting cool at night and not so warm during the day. The forecast showed that it was going to get warmer.

Traffic wasn’t too bad coming north. After I got past Elk River on Highway 169 there wasn’t any traffic to speak of. I got up to the west side of Lake Mille Lacs and the lake was very calm for as far as I could see. It’s not too often that I see this lake that calm. All there was the gentle up and down motion of the water from the boat wakes coming to shore from the distance.

There was one deer on the side of the road north of Aitkin. That was extent of the larger wildlife I saw coming up. I pulled into my dad’s place on Pokegama Lake south of Grand Rapids at 8:04 pm. When I started this road trip in Minneapolis the temperature was 70 degrees now it was 58 degrees.

My dad came outside and greeted me. I told him I needed to fill my 5 gallon water jug so he began running water through the garden hose. Once that was done I needed to vacuum seal the 3 pounds of Starbucks Guatemala coffee that I was bringing along. Better to have too much coffee than not enough. The coffee was wrapped in three one pound plastic bags.

Now it was time to sit back and talk to my father and step-mother about the trip since they had a few questions. I gave my father my itinerary and other pertinent information that I filled out for them. They also wanted to see the Iridium Sat phone that I rented from Mobal, so I brought it out to show them.

I went down to the bedroom and began writing in my journal at 10:12 pm. My plans were to get up at 5:00 am and be on the road by 6:30 am. It didn’t take long for me to write what I wanted to say in my journal tonight. I was ready to go to sleep at 1023 pm.

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