March 28, 2021

A Visit To Camping World


A Visit To Camping World
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 28, 2021

Spring is slowing creeping it's way to Minnesota.  In Prior Lake we measure it's progress by how quickly the ice disappears from the lake.  We didn't quite get rid of all the ice this week, but it's pretty darned close.

With the ice opening up, our bird friends start making appearances again.  We missed the blue herons in our lives.

Apparently this guy didn't miss us, however, as he sure didn't want to stand around and pose for my pictures.  A little bit stuck up I guess.

On Friday we enjoyed some chicken wings that were pretty wild and straight outta Buffalo.  Our good friends the Walters Brothers and their lovely wives joined us for the feast.  A good time was had by all.

We've been driving by this new Camping World and the "Largest Indoor RV Showroom" in Southwest Minnesota kept calling my name, so we finally stopped by for a visit.  Plus it was too rainy and crappy for one of our hikes so I had to figure out something I could talk about on the website this week.  

We keep kicking around the idea of buying a trailer or an RV.  We like to go on adventures so it seems like it would be a good fit for our lifestyles. We just have a lot of questions.

In the meantime, they're really fun to look at and imagine the possibilities.  One of these days we'll step in there and get one.  Then we'll have more exciting things to blog about other than our boring shopping experiences.

March 21, 2021

Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota


Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 21, 2021

I became eligible to receive the Covid vaccination this week so I jumped at the chance.  When the nurse asked me where I wanted to receive it, I said put it in my hand.  She looked at me confused and then I rolled up my sleeve and said this is my hand.  Then I giggled uncontrollably for several minutes until she told me she had other patients waiting.  So I took a seat to get my shot.

After I received the vaccine, I asked the nurse if the government starts taking control of me immediately or if I have to wait awhile to sync into their system.  She didn't really respond, but I think she was happy when I was leaving.

We were able to get with some friends this week including the Walters brothers and their lovely wives for a St. Patrick's Day celebration.  I don't think I have any Irish in my blood, but it's fun to pretend like I do at least once a year.

On Friday night, we went on a run with our good friends, Sue & Ron Korkowski and their nephew, Justin.  They called it a walk but they're in a lot better shape than I am, so it felt much more like a run to me.

We saw a flock of Trumpeter Swans on a pond we walked around.  Poor things had something wrong with their necks and could only look in one direction.  It was pretty sad.

On Saturday morning, my old buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, picked me up for one of our adventures to Mystic Lake Casino.  It's always fun waking up with Orlando.

This week was particularly joyous because we also met up with our good friends, Jason & Jen.  I hadn't seen them in a really long time, so I was happy we could connect and play some games together.

On Saturday afternoon, we went to a park we'd never been to before called Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota.  It's the largest park in Dakota County and encompasses 1869 acres and has 13 lakes and ponds contained within it's borders.  We were excited to go exploring.

We found it a bit unusual that the trails were listed as one way, but we asked some other people and they said those restrictions were Covid related.  We figured it was only a couple of miles around the lake, what could go wrong?

I was excited to check out this park because I saw a bunch of pictures of these wooden trails and I thought that would be a really neat way to explore nature without having to walk through a bunch of crap on the wet trails.

Little did I know, the wooden paths only covered about 20 percent of the trails and the rest were pure mud.  And since the trails were only supposed to be used one way, we couldn't turn back.  We had to trudge forward through more than 2 miles of this slippery gunk.

I tried to be nimble, but eventually slipped, fell on my boom boom and covered my jeans in mud.  It's a really nice park, but I don't think we'll be back again until we've had a few dry, hot weeks this summer.  Then the paths should be easier to navigate.

We did see these fun looking ducks along the way, although I think the lady duck was having a bit of a bad hair day.

March 14, 2021

Fort Snelling State Park


Fort Snelling State Park
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 14, 2021

We had the boys home from college for a few nights this week which is always great for us.  Grandma Linda even stopped by to visit for awhile.  Even though she's been fully vaccinated, we have all agreed to stay masked up when she visits until we all have been able to do so.  Plus, we like to play games where we pretend to be bandits.

We visited Lakefront Park this week and were saddened to see that the main building at Watzl's Beach has been removed.  Not that the building was ever open in the decades we've lived here, but it is just kind of striking to see how bare the beach looks all the sudden.

I thought this picture of some guy ice fishing at sunset was kind of fun.  Although I must admit, that ice looked way too thin for me to be comfortable being out there.  He has a lot more faith than I do.

On Saturday, we drove to St. Paul, Minnesota to visit Fort Snelling State Park.  It's another place I can't believe I've not visited before.  It's the oldest National Historic Landmark in Minnesota.  The actual fort is closed due to Covid, but we thought hitting some of the trails might be fun.

Apparently we entered through the wrong entrance so we were a bit confused why there were no people there.  Eventually we figured out where we were supposed to go.

The Mendota Bridge was the longest concrete arch bridge in the world when it was first completed in 1926.  It crosses the Minnesota River and appears pretty massive when standing underneath it.

The river doesn't seem quite as intimidating after walking down it for awhile.  More like the Minnesota Stream.

Poor beaver looks like he gave it his best shot before finally saying "Screw it!" and walking away from his whole Dam Beaver Life.  At least that's the story we told ourselves happened.

I thought it would be fun to duck inside this hollow tree to get a picture.  Blue decided that being away from me for that long was too much of a sacrifice and climbed into the tree trunk with me.  He seems pretty happy about his choice.

The early spring weather has brought our albino squirrel friends back to the yard.  It's always nice to see that they survived another winter.  Although come to think of it, they probably do much better avoiding predators when camouflaged in snow than anything else.  They stick out like a sore thumb when standing on a branch.

March 7, 2021

Here Comes The Sun


Here Comes The Sun

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 7, 2020

Luke came home this week and was greeted with temperatures in Minnesota climbing into the fifties.  We thought going to Cleary Lake Park would be a good way to celebrate.

The park was hopping with many people thinking like we were.  It's warming up so it's time to get outside and suck in that fresh air.  Now we just gotta get rid of that snow on the ground and we'll be in business.

There's still no signs of leaves on the trees so it's not quite Spring yet.  I'm pretty sure it's coming, though.

We bumped into our old friends, Marsha & Bob Jacobson, who we haven't seen since the pandemic started.  They told us the news they are planning to move away from Minnesota soon which is kind of a bummer for us, but we're happy for them!!  Weird how much can change in a year.

Avery came home on Saturday night so we had the chance to see both of our boys for the first time in a couple of months.    I think this was the longest period of time we've ever gone without seeing either of our sons.  It was way too long.  We picked right up where we left off, though, and had a good ole time.

We drove through Downtown Minneapolis after picking up Avery at the University of Minnesota and saw that the courthouse has been completely encircled with barbed wire fences.  The trial of one of the officers charged with murdering George Floyd starts this week.  It looks like we are setting up for another crazy couple of months in the Twin Cities.