Sunday, September 11, 2022

Hannah Savana Gets Hitched to the C.O.W.

After a Summer of getting the house sided and all new trim and needing to be around the house, as of last week, it is finally 100% done. It looks great and after the amount of storm damage we had from a storm in May, we are hoping that from here out any bad storms and hail and wind will bypass our house. It was a hassle and a half getting the insurance claim figured out, making sure the contractor didn’t forget anything on the list and most of all getting all the nails and screws picked up and scraps out of the yard. It’s been over 3 months since the first day we contacted the contractor to finally being completely done. But finally we are free from having to be home monitoring it all. We are free!

Last January when my Best Half retired we had many plans to travel around this Summer going to lots of State Parks and also out to South Dakota for a bit too. And just take off on a whim if we wanted to. But besides the home repairs lasting forever, there also was the issue of gas prices near $5 a gallon in early Summer. It was also a good deterrent for traveling very far. But lately as gas prices are coming down we have gotten into the planning mode once again. 

We decided to take a 4-6 day jaunt with the dogs and try out Hannah Savana and how able she is to pull the C.O.W. (you know,,,our cabin on wheels). Once we decided we were finally going to do a mini trip the next decision was when to go and where. As Summer is nearing another end, we needed to figure out weather and time and location.

We talked about going to South Dakota and driving around the Badlands and Black Hills and then come home. We talked about taking a few day trips around the state and be home every night. That actually frees up being able to leave Max and Zoe home alone for the day. Doing that we could load up our e bikes and ride some great Minnesota trails, or better yet take the boat and go fishing for a day. It all sounded awesome.

We finally decided we would take our getaway trip leaving on Labor Day and coming home around 3-4 days or sooner depending on the weather. And after some back and forth conversation about where to go, we decided we would go to one of our favorite state parks in Minnesota, Bearhead State Park. It is up north from us between the towns of Tower and Ely Minnesota. As the crow flies it is about 10-15 miles from the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) which borders Quetico Provincial Park in Canada.

For anyone who has never been to that area, it is some pristine bodies of water and shoreline full of tall pines and birch trees underneath deep blue skies. There are 1000’s of lakes to explore and fish. Pretty much my idea of what heaven may be like when I get there. While I like to go pretty much anywhere traveling and seeing the sights, up by the BWCA is one of my very favorites.

Once decided where we would be going it then came down to just packing and hopping in Hannah Savana and heading out right? Not so fast. Packing for a September trip in Northern Minnesota requires packing for at least 2 seasons, hot and freezing cold. So that meant packing not only shorts and t-shirts and flip flops, but also long pants, sweatshirts, red Buffalo plaid flannel shirts, and shoes with wool socks. And also rain gear. It about doubles what a person packs when you head North.

Since we had the dogs, we decided not to take the E-bikes, but I did pack my small kayak to do some hard core fishing. Having Hannah Savana makes it possible to just slide my 9 foot kayak on the bed in the back, still leaving lots of room for 2 100 lb dogs to sleep on the floor. Another advantage to once again having a big van to go with the C.O.W.

Clothes packed, food stowed away in the camper, it came down to loading up the  fishing/kayaking supplies like a life jacket, fishing poles, tackle and most important a paddle to go with the kayak. I woke up the night before we left freaking out that I  wouldn’t remember my paddle and the whole kayaking part was ruined.
The morning to leave finally arrived, our friends and neighbors down the road agreed to watch the chickens…(how could they refuse, their last name is Egger, I kid you not). Our chickens would be in good hands with Mr. and Mrs.Egger!

It was time to hit the road. Only, now that we are both retired, that didn’t happen until 10 am. It felt almost…illegal…leaving that late in the morning for a vacation. In previous times we would have everything packed the night before and be heading out at 4:30-5 AM! It was close to 10:30 in the morning when we hopped on the freeway heading North. It was LaborDay and everyone who had been up North for the holiday weekend was making their trek home to wrap up the Labor Day weekend. We were just a few of the cars headed North. One of the advantages of being retired I guess.

Well we drove and drove a little more and arrived at Bearhead State Park. As we were driving in, we were trying to remember the last time we had been here and all we could think was that it had been a really long time. It had been many years ago we had been here, with some family and friends and then maybe just the two of us once afterward. It had been at least 10 years or more. Unbelievable how time passes so fast.

After we had the campsite all set up, which honestly doesn’t involve much when hauling the C.O.W., we brought my kayak down to the shore. I have a little 9 foot kayak that I finally had the guts to drill some holes in it and put some tracks to mount a fishing rod holder. And I was able to finally put in some pad eyes for an anchor trolley. My Kayak had just gone from “ I like the little kayak” to “Dang this thing is perfect now”. It was evening by the time we got done setting up and dropping off the kayak, so supper was reheated from the night before and we just kicked back a bit and went to bed early…listening to the sounds of the loon calling from the lake. 

It got down into the 40’s the first night and I have to say I woke up early with the intention of going fishing, but the thought of getting my backside wet and cold in the kayak had me rolling over and sleeping a little longer. But then it was time to hit the lake.

I have to say that my Best Half is not the passionate fisherman that his spouse claims to be. He is content to sit in the boat and read or even stay on shore and not even get on the water. I’ll just say it here and now…he’s not originally from Minnesota so never really experienced lakes, fishing and just being out on the water. So I can’t fault him for not wanting to go fishing with me. But that being said, I will say I have the best spouse in the world. Not only does he put up with me and my fleet of boats, kayaks and canoes, he encourages me constantly to go fishing. He will sometimes go and other times stay back. Never once have I come home from fishing to have him upset because I was gone too long. 

Being up North camping has not changed that either. Since we were pulling the C.O.W. we couldn’t pull the boat, but my kayak fit perfectly in the van, which meant only one person at a time on the water. And my Best Half has encouraged me to go out fishing as long as I want…the whole time up camping while he stays back with Max and Zoe. I charged up the 2 way radios so we can be in touch if needed…as he says…”In case you tip and find your way to an island, I can come rescue you”. He really is one thoughtful guy. I am the one who has the best deal in town in this marriage.

I have been thinking about the past few days and all that we have done and seen. I am in the C.O.W.  listening to a content exhausted dog , Zoe, snoring and yelping out in excitement as she did today when she was swimming, She has given the phrase “dog tired” a whole new outlook. And Max, who spent today diving off the dock with Zoe and fetching sticks, let’s just say he is in a deep sleep with his legs moving doing the dog paddle in the air, just like he did in the lake today.

I’ve spent the past few days waking up early to be out on the lake in the kayak, to see the fish jumping out of the water to greet the day and watching a big ball of orange rise up on the horizon and vanish the mist off the lake. For me it is a spiritual moment watching that. I feel like a small spec in the greater scheme of creation. And yet I feel so connected. I feel humbled and awestruck at the same time. 
Minnesota you never cease to amaze me with your beauty..

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