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STOP #218

Today we left North Dakota behind us and traveled 140 miles east back into Minnesota. If you remember, we've already visited Minnesota for three days back in early June.

When we were just 9 miles from our destination we saw this statue in a park on the side of the road and just had to pull over to see what it was all about.

It's billed as "The World's Largest Crow".

The statue is located in the Belgrade Centenial Memorial Park in Belgrade, MN. The park was dedicated in 1990 for the Minnesota Centenial and is funded and maintainied by private and corporate donations.

The crow is 18 feet high and sits on a 31 foot long branch, making him "The World's Largest Crow". With the pedestal under him he is 43 foot tall and weighs a whopping 3,000 lbs.

Why a crow? It actually has nothing to do with the bird. A Sioux warrior named Chief Little Crow used to inhabit these lands and the Crow River, which feeds into Crow Lake, are named after the indian chief like many other natural landmarks located nearby.

Campsite #43 at Sibley State Park in New London, MN

Just across the campground road and within plain view of our campsite
is the park's Day Use Area and it's Swimming Beach on Lake Andrew.

It wasn't long after we got all set up that Tricia blew the dust off of her bathing suit, grabbed a towel and her phone, then headed for the water. I on the other hand was updating our location on this blog, like I always do upon arrival, and then joined her on the beach.

I tested the water up to my shins and decided it was a little to cool for me, besides I was planning to offer Tricia a nice dinner in town to celebrate her retirement.

The park's swimming beach area.

Lake Andrew as seen from the swimming area.

After getting cleaned up we headed into town to a lakeside restaurant in the next town south of here, O'Neils on nearby Green Lake in Spicer, MN.

For all you foodies out there, here are our dinner selections for tonight.

Tricia came all the way to Minnesota to select a Cuban Sandwich,
but she enjoyed it so that's all that matters.

I tested my luck by ordering the house specialty, a Parmesan Crusted Walleye Dinner.
I wasn't as thrilled with my selection, but I did ask for a double serving of Mashed Potatoes, instead of the veggie offering they had. Mine also came with a cup full of French Onion Soup that was good, sorry no photo for that!

In case you haven't noticed I've already referenced several Lake names in this post. Also in case you are unaware, Minnesota's unofficial nickname, which is on all their automobile tags by the way, is "Land of 10,000 Lakes". We are beginning to understand why!

FYI - They actually have 11,842 to be exact!

FRIDAY - Yesterday, after going unplugged for the last week, I once again plugged in my malfunctioning EMS and once again it was erroring out with a High Voltage Warning code. No worries, today is the day I drive one hour north to St. Cloud to pick up my brand new EMS that's there waiting for me.

After we picked up the EMS at The UPS Store it seemed a shame to travel all that way to accomplish only one thing, so we also went to Walmart where Tricia bought some new PJs and I got a couple of small plastic boxes to better organize a few loose items in the bed of the truck.

Next we did something we've only done once before in the last 3+ years on the road, we paid more than $3.00 a gallon for gasoline, $3.04 to be exact! Not something we look forward to seeing more of in the future.

A quick trip into Target where we purchased a fourth Whisky Ice Cube Tray. It makes six 2-inch square ice cubes that last longer than regular ice cubes in our room temperature water and drinks. We do this because there's not enough room in the fridge for stuff like beverages, other than our usual half gallon of milk.

Finally a trip to the grocery store, Coborn's, an employee owned Midwest chain that reminded us of a Trader Joe's atmosphere with Whole Foods higher prices.

Time to make the hour long drive back to the campground with our cold food purchases crammed into a 16-quart cooler we purchased earlier this year for just this scenario.

We arrived back at the park around 1:00PM and saw several bright yellow signs posted at the entrance and around the campground announcing there would be Live Music between 2-3PM today. There was no mention of where it would be held in this huge park.

When we got back to our campsite it was pretty obvious we would have reserved front row seats for the show.

Waiting for the show to start and for Tricia to join me.

Three friends, playing together in front of an audience for the first time, strummed out eight original melodies (no lyrics) written by the rhythm guitar player who is seated in the middle.

It was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise to listen to them for an hour this afternoon. I was more than happy to throw a twenty dollar bill into their open guitar case, strategically placed out front for everyone to see. I did this after their fifth song, hoping the rest of the small audience would take the hint, only one other guy did.

To be fair, I realized after they finshed playing that most of the rest of the audience who was there to listen were either family or friends, just there to cheer them on in their musical efforts.

MONDAY - As Tricia often does before she starts her early morning walk she gathers up all the trash from the day before and makes a deposit into the dumpster as she leaves the campground.

Today however she got a bit of a surprise when she was about to make her deposit. NOTE: It's better if you rewatch the video a second time at full screen size by clicking the little square icon in the lower right hand corner of the frame.

It appears a mischievous pair of little bandits managed to find their way into the dumpster, but couldn't figure out how they were going to get back out. I guess that's why mama was running across the parking lot to give them a hand.

Tricia did leave the lid to the dumpster propped open just a little to lend a hand in their escape.

Just around the corner from the dumpster she saw these three leisurely going about their day.

TUESDAY - Sibley State Park has four different campgrounds. The one we are in is the Lakeview Campground and as you might expect there is a lake with a swimming beach and cool breezes blowing in from the water.

The campground on the other side of County Road 48 is the Oak Ridge Campground and once again as you might expect it is higher up in a stand of oak trees. There are two loops, the first are all primitive sites (no water or electric) geared towards the tent campers. The second loop has utilites and is suitable for RVs and tents, there are also four cabins for rent.

There is also an equestrian camp with nine sites for the horse riders, one with this great view...

...and three primitive group camps for larger gatherings.

There is no dump station in the Oak Ridge Campground, but I suspect they are permitted to use the one we have here in the Lakeview Campground. That would explain all the extra traffic on the opposite end of our campground loop.

One thing the Oak Ridge Campground has that we don't is an observation tower on the top of Mt. Tom, with a bird's eye view of the surrounding area.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!
We did have someone who made very frequent short visits to our campsite this week.

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