Yes this is a day late. No WiFi and a pressing need to do laundry left yesterday a no go for updating the blog.
I left the KOA in Cloquet around 11am. Despite not really liking the site, I will say that the office lady was very nice and talked me through picking up U.S. 2 again without having to backtrack to Duluth. I hadn’t put in pics of the campground in the last post, so here are some:
I got on U.S. 2 and drove about 2.5 hours before pulling into a rest area at Cass Lake. Spent about 40 minutes there. It was definitely getting warmer, but not horrible. I’d say it was a pleasant temp, in the 70s.
As a shout out to Deb B and Mike, I drove through the town of Bagley, Minnesota. Ignore the frightful bug splatters on Rory’s windshield. I got them washed off the next day.
Heading west again, I drove all the way to East Grand Forks, Minnesota. This town of just over 8,000 lies on the East bank of the Red River; Grand Forks, N.D. is to the West. Now, I don’t remember 1997 all that well, as I was in my intern year of Pediatric residency. I vaguely recall news about a massive flood in this area, but I’m sure I paid little attention to it.
Apparently, it was beyond massive. Rain and snowmelt in April and May led to the Red river and rivers around it to really flood. They had the local Air Force Base and citizens building a temporary levee made of sand bags to try and prevent some damage. They built it to 48 feet high. The river crested at 54 feet.
It was so massive, they evacuated the ENTIRE town of East Grand Forks. Of over 5,000 housing units, THREE were undamaged. The floodwaters spread out THREE miles inland. Wow. Grand Forks had similar issues. After the flood, the people there wanted to change entirely how the river was managed. They redid the entire levee system. But, most importantly, on both banks of the river, instead of letting people rebuild their houses, a greenway was established to a certain zone. This was planted with trees and grass, which help absorb water, allows for a flood buffer, and provides the two cities with an incredible park and trail system. On the Minnesota side, the greenway is called the Red River State Recreation Area and where once the Sherlock Park neighborhood stood (and was flooded to past the second stories of houses) they built a campground instead. This is where I stayed.
When I pulled into my spot, it was 93 degrees F out. Hot, dry and windy. Unhitching in that heat wasn’t fun, but I had to do laundry. Off I went to the North Dakota side and an establishment called Bubble Laundry. It was ok as far as laundromats go. I’ve been in way better, but I’ve also been in worse. One somewhat entertaining thing was listening to a mom from Eritrea yell at her 3 kids for the better part of the 1.5 hours I was there.
Here are pics of my campsite.
It stayed hot and windy the entire time, with sustained winds in the high teens to low 20 mph. I had the AC on the whole night. I was not looking forward to towing in these winds, but I didn’t have much of a choice.