Simply the Simmonds Life

family, life and love on the lake

North Shore Travelogue Day 4 August 30, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 9:38 am

Day 4 was the second day in a row that Jeff and Zach were going to get to Boulder Lake fishing and the second day in a row the weather was an issue.  No rain predicted for today just really strong winds.  Some of them were gusting to 35 mph!  We made Mountain Man Breakfast in the dutch oven.  Mountain Man breakfast is a hearty meal of sausage, hashbrowns, eggs and cheese all layered and cooked for an hour in the oven. Yummy!

Since there was no way we could cast a line in this wind we decided to head to as yet unexplored Two Harbors.  We started out on the waterfront stopping to take a look at the Edna G. tugboat.  The Edna G was one of the first tugboats on Lake Superior and was the LAST tugboat in operation.  It is now a small museum.  They were giving tours at the top of the hour and we got there at 10:19 so we decided to move on rather then wait.

From there we headed to the Depot museum and gift shop.  A sweet lady there told us about the four museums in town we should take in and encouraged us to walk the break wall into Superior.  After posing for a shot by the old steam engine we headed in that direction.

"Hurry and take the picture Mom, these rocks are digging into my back!"

While stopping to see the only operational lighthouse still in Minnesota (which is now also a Bed & Breakfast) we DID walk the break wall.  I was terrified the whole walk out.  The wind was just whipping and blowing me around (no easy feat!) so I held onto the steel cable that ran along one side for almost the entire way.  We did stop and get our picture taken (a little too close to the edge for comfort!).



We then stopped to look at the only still working lighthouse in Minnesota which is also a bed & breakfast, we ooked for agates in Agate Bay, and then went back to the campsite to put stuffed porkchops in the dutch oven for supper.  Zach fished along the shore and then came up at nightfall for some Jiffy Pop popcorn over the campfire before hitting the sack.


North Shore Travelogue Day 3 August 29, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:16 am

Day 3 of our North Shore Camping Trip was the day Jeff and Zach had planned to go to Boulder Lake fishing but Mom had warned us the night before it was supposed to storm up here and when we woke up it definitely looked like rain.  As we fried up some eggs and bacon flavored Spam it started to get darker and darker.  We moved our dry firewood under the screenhouse and decided to take a drive instead of sit around in the rain so we headed south this time to check out the fishing lakes.  The farther south we went the sunnier it got.  We stopped first at Island Lake, a lake with about 15 small islands on it and occupying both sides of the road.  One of the islands had a home on it.  That would be kind of fun as a summer getaway!



We also stopped at Boulder Lake Reservoir which is supposed to be a phenomenal walleye lake and one that was definitely on the fishing agenda.  We stopped at a few small bait shops in the area and picked up a lake map of Boulder which Jeff spent the rest of the night studying.


See the readers? They go well with his gray hair don't they? Yes, he IS getting old!


The evening ended with a game of 35 which Jeff won mightily.  It never did rain.



North Shore Travelogue Day 2 August 28, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 10:49 am

Day 2 of our North Shore camping trip started out sunny.  Zach loves to cook camp food- it’s kind of his specialty- so when I started the steak and eggs and toast for breakfast he promptly took over.

After breakfast we headed out to do our day of exploring along the coast.  We first headed north to Silver Bay where we stopped at a little tourist info center in the “Taconite Capitol of the World.” A nice lady there told us to make sure to stop at a scenic overlook just past the Baptist church. If she wouldn’t have told us that we would have totally missed this spectacular view since it wasn’t marked in any way at all!

From there we pushed up to Tettagouche State Park and walked the steps down to Two Step Falls and also walked more steps (pant, pant) to High Falls.

I really enjoyed this hike to see the falls.  Coming from farming country, “flatlanders” as Jeff’s friend from Silver Bay calls us, seeing all the cliffs, hills and waterfalls is really a different perspective of Minnesota for us.  Waterfalls are something we just don’t associate with our state so to be able to travel a mere 3 hours north and see them is kind of cool.  From Tettegouche we traveled further north to the Temperance River.

From the foot bridge you see in the above photograph we were able to see out to Lake Superior again.

Up near Tofte we stopped at a public water access so Zach could finally dip a toe in Lake Superior.  He decided to go one step further and dive in.  We warned him it was cold but he didn’t realize just how cold it was until he was in the water.  He came up huffing and puffing and tried to get out fast.  He couldn’t feel his legs and other important pieces of him!  His first jump up did not get him on the rock, the next one did.  While he did not appreciate me laughing at his temporary stupidity (“why did you let me do that?”) he did finally have to smile as he stood warming up in the sun.


Finding not much for eating establishments in these small towns we ended up stopping for lunch at a Holiday gas station for Deli Express sandwiches!  Now heading south, we stopped next at Split Rock Lighthouse where we toured the lighthouse and saw the view from the top (the light shines 22 miles away!), the keeper’s house, the tram area and the museum.  We made a video postcard to send to Mom and our home but for some reason that didn’t go through and we never received it.


This picture taken from inside stairwell at the keeper's house


Then on to Gooseberry Falls.



Zach wanted to swim under the falls like I did when I was younger.  Signs up at the site said Swimming NOT recommended.  Since it didn’t say swimming was prohibited 😉 I assessed the situation and I let him jump in for a quick swim.




We stopped at Betty’s Pies, featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.  Zach really wanted to try the Sauerkraut Pie that was featured on the show (he’s weird like that) but settled for Coconut Cream when he saw it wasn’t on the menu.  Thank goodness!  I don’t think I could have watched him consume that!  On a full stomach, we headed home.


North Shore Travelogue Day 1 August 27, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 6:09 pm

Our recent North Shore camping trip was so much fun that there is no way I can pack everything we did into one post, so I decided to spread it out over a few days.

Our first day was mainly a travel day.  We started packing early Sunday morning.  I had packed the majority of our clothes and food the evening before it was just a matter of getting everything packed into the car and boat.  We ran into a snag with the boat lights not responding on my vehicle.  After messing with it for a while at home we decided to just get a new light connector at Walmart on our way out. 

We stopped at Walmart bought the light connector and that worked for the driver’s side but the passenger side still being a problem we went back in for a new light bulb.  We headed from Walmart over to Holiday for ice and realized we also needed to change the driver’s side brake light!  After messing with lights for about two hors total we were finally on our way!  We headed north on 210 and didn’t make another stop until we got to Wright or Cromwell or one of those little towns past McGregor where we stopped for a lunch of cold pizza (I had made an extra pizza the night before for a snack/lunch on the way up) and a bathroom break.

After that we traveled through Duluth, hit 61 and started North to Two Harbors where we stopped at a gift shop/info center for another stretch break before heading northwest towards our campground at Indian Lake.  Zach’s first glimpse of Superior (our last trip by the lake had been ten years ago and he doesn’t remember it at all) was exciting.  He couldn’t believe how big it was!

We finally got to our campground in the boonies (just like we like it- in fact, we had no cell phone service from T-Mobile, AT & T or Verizon) and set up camp. 

Once camp was set up the guys got around to doing what they really wanted to do- FISH!

Zach caught a northern which he threw back and we had our first camp meal of bratburgers and Panburger Partner. Not exactly gourmet, I know, but quick and easy.



Zach fished until it was too dark to see while Jeff and I scoured the woods for dead limbs on the forest floor to use for fire wood.  We spent a few hours around the campfire before finally retiring to our tent.


Troop Bike Ride (with a Dairy Queen for dessert!) August 20, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:58 am

Last Monday our Boy Scout troop went for a seventeen mile bike ride starting at the Nisswa City Park and culminating at the Northland Arboretum.  Zach and I had planned on going but his knee has been sore again lately and with vacation looming I didn’t want him to push it and be miserable while we were camping so I asked him not to go.  Unfortunately, that left me going by myself since I had already signed up to be one of the adult leaders and we always have to have two adults for any Scout function. 

We were supposed to leave Nisswa at 6pm sharp but one boy got there without a helmet so we had to find someone to borrow one from and one boy didn’t realize until he got there that his tire was low.  Once we got that monkey business taken care of we finally got under way about 6:30. 

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  It was sunny and 75 degrees with a nice slow breeze.  I got three miles down the road though and I was huffing and puffing to beat the band.  What was the deal?  I had gone on longer rides before and they hadn’t affected me like this!  Then I realized I was in first gear which means I was pedaling about three revolutions to everybody’s one!  I revved my handgrip shifter, or tried to, but it was froze tight!  I struggled on that way for the first half of the trip.  When we finally took our first break in Merrifield I had one of the boys see if he could work it loose.  He couldn’t, but he did manually move my chain to a higher gear for me.  From then on, the last half was a piece of cake and we rode into the trailhead in Brainerd at a few minutes after eight. 

After taking five minutes to rest and stretch out, we headed across the street to the Dairy Queen at the Westgate Mall where I quenched my thirst with a strawberry lemonade before catching a ride back to Nisswa to get my car.  It was a fun evening.  I really enjoy biking so I don’t know why it took me so long to get on a bike this summer.  Probably because it’s not near as fun doing it by yourself.  If I could only talk Janeen into it…!


Highlight Reel August 13th-19th, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 11:35 am

Saturday- Camping at Rock Lake!  We also took some time in the afternoon to go to the Eschenbacher family reunion.

Sunday- Camping at Rock Lake, continued.

Monday-  Troop Activity 17 mile bike ride from Nisswa to Brainerd.

Tuesday-  Zach and I biked over to Janeen’s house but it was too hard on his knee so she gave us a ride home and Jeff picked up our bikes.

Wednesday- Jeff & Zach and their friend Dean went fishing all day on South Long Lake.  Upon returning Jeff tried getting out of the boat but slipped, he grabbed onto Zach for support which caused Zach to fall in the lake with his cell phone in his pocket, Jeff to fall backward into the boat and Dean to stand on the dock and laugh at them both!

Thursday-  Zach went over to his friend Eli’s to spend the night and I stayed in town after work to get my haircut.  Jeff and I were going to grab supper out after he got off work but he split the crotch out of his pants so we ended up coming home.

Friday- After work I picked Zach up from Eli’s and went home and made chow mein.  Tyler had today off and after Monica got off work they had an appointment with a realtor to look at two houses. They both look like nice houses but they’re going to do some more looking.  I’m so excited for them!  It would be nice if they could start out their married life in a house of their own instead of waiting thirteen years like we had to.


Rock Lake Weekend 8/12-8/14 August 14, 2011

Filed under: Life's Musings — Angie S. @ 7:24 pm

After a snap decision Thursday night that it was a great weekend for camping Zach & I started packing.  I got off work and when I got home Zach was sitting on the camping equipment he had piled and ready to go in the garage.  We spent a half hour loading the car, headed to town where we stopped for gas & ice and we were on our way to one of our favorite (and close) camping spots.  Once we set up camp Zach started cooking us a wonderful supper of scrambled hamburger and Spaghetti-Os.



After supper Zach did some swimming and some fishing.  It was starting to get overcast and there was a storm coming in but we had time to light a fire and sit by it for a while before it started to rain.  Zach hates setting up the screenhouse, but he was thankful it was done when we were able to enjoy the rest of the evening playing rummy while it poured outside.


Despite the rain, we slept well and awoke about 5am.  Zach made us a genuine camping breakfast of Eggs & Spam.



The chipmunks around the campgound are not afraid of anything and soon they were on our picnic table while we were sitting there, eating from a bag of snack mix.



Much sooner than we wanted, it was time to leave the campsite to head to the Eschenbacher family reunion.  It’s not that we didn’t want to go- we just don’t get camping quite as often as we want to and didn’t want anything getting in the way of it.  We had a good time there and stayed just long enough to eat lunch and say hi to all the relatives.  Tyler, Monica, Zach and I got out and played some volleyball which was hysterical because all of us suck!



We picked my nephew Eric up from the family reunion and brought him back to the campsite for the night.  The boys had a great time swimming…






and fishing…



and eating.



Saturday night I didn’t sleep as well as the night before.  I gave up my sleeping bag for Eric to have a little extra padding from the hard ground, it was cooler and I started to shiver, Eric talked in his sleep most of the night, and when I got up to walk to the bathroom at 2:36am, my lantern went out on the way.  Finally, morning.  We had pancakes and kielbasa for breakfast, the boys went for a long morning swim and when they got back to the campsite around 10am they went back to their fishing poles.  Eric, who was not a successful fisherman the evening before was able to snag a bullhead.



And aside from a lot of little sunnies, what did Zach catch?  A turtle!



Much too soon, it was time to pack up camp.  After a little horsing around we headed for home.




I was a great weekend.  The weather for the most part was sunny and 75 degrees and we all had a great time.  Jeff even joined us after work on Saturday night and stayed with us.  Camping is in my blood!  I can’t get enough of it.  In fact, next weekend my vacation starts and we’ll be heading to the North Shore for five days of camping!  Can’t wait!