Yesterday was our first day of actually driving the Great River Road. We joined the Mississippi on the east side of Lake Bemidji and meandered along the river all the way to Palisade. It truly is an area that invites you to travel over the river and through the woods. In an era when we tend to just set the GPS and rather blindly follow the directions, driving the river road requires a different approach. The Great River Road app offers a map that indicates your position and the route. Our technique was for Karen to watch the app continuously to guide Steve to the frequent turns on the back roads along the Mississippi as it grows from a big stream to a small river. The route follows not only the Lady Slipper Scenic Highway for a while but also the Mississippi River Trail, a bicycle path from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. We left Bemidji without a campground reservation in part because we didn’t know how far we would want to travel. By early afternoon we were checking the Allstays app and called the office for Aitkin County Campgrounds to learn that of the nine sites at Berglund Campground near Palisade, Minnesota only one was reserved giving us a decent chance of getting a site on a first come basis. When we arrived we found signs indicated that more than one was reserved but no one was there. Folks had reserved for the Fourth but gone home early. We picked an unreserved spot, self registered, then walked into the hamlet of Palisade to Rustic Trail, the only eatery open on Tuesday evening and ordered the Taco Bar, the only food on the menu that day. It was fun to sit there at a table and watch the interaction of locals as they gather in what constitutes their community center in this small rural community. Back at the campground we enjoyed the scenery from inside our T@B 400 and opted to skip a short walk to the river bank thanks to the enthusiasm of the mosquito swarm.

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Cobh on Our Own

Cobh on Our Own

For our first adventure together on the Emerald Isle, we walked the streets of Cobh, County Cork, explored St Colman’s Cathedral, and visited the Cobh Heritage Center.