July 11, 2015

RV Vacation to Whitewater State Park in Minnesota


RV Vacation to Whitewater State Park in Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for July 11, 2015


We rented an RV to get a taste for how much we would like this lifestyle.  The first 3 nights of our trip was to Clear Lake and the next 3 nights were spent in Whitewater State Park in Altura, Minnesota.


My co-worker, Nicole, made this photo in honor of our trip.


We drove into Whitewater State Park Sunday evening.  They tell me these rock walls are called Bluffs, but I don't think they're fooling anyone.


Since we were all confined together in a small living area, we thought it would be best to leave the puppy at home, but we couldn't go on a camping adventure without Sunny.  He loved peeing in the park!


We went to Mystery Cave in Fillmore County to get a glimpse at a hole in the ground that's nearly a million years old.  I would have sworn it didn't look more than 800,000.


Our guide told us this was his first day on the job.  I thought what a perfect time for a roof collapse to happen and trap us inside.  Lucky for us, that didn't occur.


He told us a lot of the formations were formed by something called Calcite, but they looked more like caramel covered dragon heads to me.  I kept having the desire to lick the walls.


Every time I walk by a deep hole in a cave, I always wonder if that's the gateway to hell.  I didn't see any fire or devil horns or anything down there, so it probably wasn't.


This cave had an underground pool of clear water that was really beautiful.  I wish I could have taken a bath in there, but Miss Sheri thought it would be inappropriate for me to get naked in front of the other cave visitors.


Luke and Avery took advantage of our camping trip to work on their Cooking merit badges for Boy Scouts.  It worked out great for their mother and I because they ended up cooking every one of our meals.


They had to do everything from meal planning, shopping for the ingredients, preparing the food, cooking it, serving it, and cleaning up afterwards.  We could really get used to living like this.


The boys discovered that one of the biggest challenges to cooking outside is keeping a consistent fire that gives enough heat for cooking, but doesn't flame up too much to burn everything.  It's more challenging than it looks.


I had low expectations for the quality of the results, but we were actually pleasantly surprised that every meal ended up tasting great!


The beef and chicken kabobs were the best!


We told Avery that he and his brother were going to now become our full time cooks.  Not sure if he likes that idea or not.


My biggest annoyance with the trip was the fact that we had no cell service or wifi in the park.  Everyone tells me that they think that sounds like heaven, but not to me.  I love being connected and know what's going on in the world and it's unsettling to me when I don't have that access.  Although, waking up and walking out to see this every morning didn't suck.


On our second day, we went to a nearby campground called LazyD Campgrounds.  They had a magic pillow which we just could resist.


We had a shocking coincidence happen to us when we went to schedule our horseback riding adventure.  The next time we could go was at noon and the lady told us their was another group going at the same time.  Suddenly Dawn Barragy walked into the place and we discovered that we were going horseback riding with some old friends.  It was a very pleasant surprise.


I've known Dan Barragy since I was a sophomore in high school and we were in cross country and wrestling together.  He used to give me a ride to school every day also, so it was great to have the chance to get on a horse with him and his family.


The ride was supposed to be an hour, but ended up closer to 90 minutes of fun walking through the hills, pastures, and woods of southeastern Minnesota.  I highly recommend Lazy D Campgrounds to anyone in the area.


They also had a really cool petting zoo that gave us the opportunity to touch tongues with creatures we hadn't touched tongues with before.


The llama and the alpaca weren't quite sure what to think of us.


Luke has become fascinated with fishing lately so we thought we'd give it a try in the creek.  Lucky for us, we didn't catch anything.


I thought I had something for a little while, but it turned out to be a weed.


All in all it was a great vacation and a wonderful time spent with the family that I love dearly.