Terrorized in Minnesota

Bridge at Mill Ruins Park, Minneapolis

Since my plans to go to Voyageur National Park were canceled, I decided to head to the city of Minneapolis, where I boondocked for a day or so. Finding a safe spot was a challenge, though most rigs were parked along the highway and there was a lot of room. The first spot I pulled into was right in front of a Hell’s Angels club house. Not a good choice… I decided to drive around and finally found an industrial park and parked the van on a side street. I think I blocked a driveway and heard someone talking about calling the police, so I moved a couple of blocks down. Everything was fine.
I found a great camera store, National Camera Exchange in Golden Valley and brought my MindShift backpack in to see if they could help me make it fit. The sales person helped me adjust it to where I could actually use it. I bought a filter and chatted with them for a while. Great place! I still don’t like the backpack.
Mill Ruins Park sits on the Mississippi River and was a pretty park to hang out in. There are bridges everywhere, and I learned about the different types of bridges through the signage along the river path. Mill Ruins used to be a flour mill industry location and the bases are still there along with some of the bridges. Now it’s been gentrified (kinda like Chicago) and there were many buildings that were converted to condos. Gotta love real estate development!
It rained hard for 3 days and I got tired of sleeping in the van so I booked a room at a hotel for a night and went shopping at the Mall of America. My favorite store, L.L. Bean had a huge space and I felt like home again. The mall itself is HUGE!! There are two theme parks for kids, a hotel and a bunch of other stuff that would keep a family occupied for days. The LEGO store was awesome!

Tale of Three Terrors
I have to vent about a lot of mishaps, mostly on my part of dumbness. I carry my little Sony point and shoot around when I’m in cities and just generally to take snaps. It turned out that I left the camera and my sunglasses on a park bench at Mills Ruins and didn’t realize that they were missing until I reached my next destination a couple of days later. Frantically, I drove 3 hours all the way back to Minneapolis to see if they were still there. I scoured the park and retraced my steps for an hour with no luck. I even made a little sign and posted it, called the camera store I visited and even dialed 311 (closed on weekends?). I knew that I wouldn’t recover the camera and was devastated!! That camera cost more than my Nikon.

In the meantime, the power in the van wasn’t working except when I was plugged in at a campground. My frustration in trying to figure out the problem mounted, and the weather was in the 90’s in Minnesota. I was miserable without my fan!

Finally, but maybe firstly, my being in wooded campgrounds was probably not a good idea. It was tick country and my aunt warned me about them being really bad in Wisconsin. At one point, I stayed at a Cabela’s parking lot for a couple of days waiting for the next trip. When I got back on the road, I noticed a pain in my leg and when I stopped at a restroom, discovered a large tick having dinner on my inner thigh. I immediately pulled if off, but the pain was pretty bad and I drove to the pharmacy to find out what to do. The pharmacist asked me if there was a ring around the bite and I confirmed that it was a circle and red. He said that I should go to the hospital ER and get checked for Lyme disease. Fortunately, the ER was only a couple of miles away, so I drove over. Yep, I had to be treated for Lyme disease…

This was one of the most miserable weekends I’ve had since I’ve been on the road 😦 .

Good news: I filed a claim with my insurance company for the camera and sunglasses, and was reimbursed for most of it. The battery situation was resolved (the bolt came loose and the wires were disengaged) and didn’t cost me anything, but I tipped the technician at the RV store anyway. Thanks to Cabela’s for the referral! I had to take antibiotics for the tick bite for 21 days. Moving on…

Mill Ruins Park

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