Sunday, August 9, 2015
Chapter 39 - Jackson to St. Pauls, Minnesota
The drive from Jackson to our campsite east of St. Paul, Minnesota was relatively easy as it was entirely on interstate highways. That said, after 4-1/2 hours both Kathy and I were still tired of driving. Perhaps our age and 2-1/2 months on the road was starting to show. Part of the problem as we neared the Minneapolis and St Paul area was that the traffic started to increase as did the amount of road construction which in most cases restricted the traffic down to a single lane in each direction. Since I was accustomed to driving no more than 55 mph on the interstates and letting EVERONE pass us, the single lane restriction suddenly forced me to increase our speed to at least 60 mph to prevent a huge buildup of cars behind us. Fortunately when we arrived at the St. Paul East Campground we were pleasantly surprised with the attractiveness of our new home which almost immediately reduced our stress levels caused by the drive. We should be used to driving pulling a 1-3/4 ton trailer behind our car but even after almost 2-1/2 months such is not the case. Our trailer site was shaded and comfortable - the perfect setting.
Our plan today was to again visit the Cathedral of St. Paul then drive down a street named Summit Avenue near the church where there are suppose to be a lot of old and very large and beautiful homes. After that if we still wanted to continue driving, we will go into Minneapolis and visit another old Catholic Church, the Basilica of St Mary. Incidentally, one of the reasons that we favor going to the old Catholic churches is that they are most always open to the public. Our second visit to the Cathedral of St Paul had another purpose besides my taking a better photograph. Yesterday during our visit there was a funeral in progress and as a result their gift store was temporarily closed. Enough said in that regard. However today, Kathy was able to purchase for a donation something very special that was offered to her by a priest who overheard her asking the woman at the gift store if they had anything commemorating this years 100th anniversary of the grand opening of St Paul in 1915.
The Basilica of St Mary like the Cathedral of St Paul was a wonderful place to visit and left us overall with a very positive feeling about the twin cities of St Paul and Minneapolis. We were only here one full day and we know that one day is not even close to enough time to visit any city much less cities of their size and diversity. Had we stayed longer we might have gone to an Irish Festival, a Polish festival, and an Art Show that were all taken place at the same time over the next few days. There were also dozens of museums that we missed, great shopping opportunities, and even a zoo. Unfortunately however, we have planned a whirlwind trip around our country and it is impossible to see everything. Time just does not allow it and already we have traveled over 8,000 miles in our car. It has been amazing but we must continue to move on.
Tomorrow morning we are going to do something different. For one thing we are going to drive only 75 miles to a campground up near Shell Lake, Wisconsin named Red Barn Campground. What makes this campground different is that while it is rated a little lower by supposed experts like Good Sams and AAA Trip-Tik Travel Planner and it is somewhat off our planned path east, this campground is really special for us because it is owned and managed by good friends of ours in Florida, Lee and Dotty Swan. Lee and Dotty operate their campground during the summer months and spend time in Estero, Florida during Wisconsin's cold winter months. We cannot wait to see Lee and Dotty and their campground.