Buffalo River SP

Very nice site!

And just like that, everything was fine again. But of course, we had to start the day with some Walmart time. We were passing through the big city of Brainerd after leaving Mille Bugs and the air was still heavy with smoke. The AQI was something like 150 and I started wondering how Richard was going to get his required minimum hour of exercise that day. I noticed there was a Planet Fitness in town and made the serious suggestion he go in to find a treadmill or something. He wasn’t immediately keen on that idea, but he was into a safe haven stop at Walmart. This we did, and after getting all the things we could think of, he basically just did laps inside while I blogged to complain about bugs.

Safe harbor/Fitness center

We headed on and noticed that we were crossing the Mississippi. It has been sort of a joke that all the moisture in the world is located east of the Mississippi and that surely the second we crossed back over, it would all become a wonderland of clear skies and dry heat. That didn’t actually turn out to be that far off from how it played out. Slowly, slowly the smoke dissipated until we could see blue skies reappearing. The AQI fell below a hundred, and we arrived at a beautiful sunny prairie land, with our site nicely situated right at the end.

Dory hiding in the grass

It was not horribly hot, but we were still anxious to test the electric hookups. With some trepidation, Richard inserted the testy thingy, noted that it gave all green lights, and also noted that it looked like a normal power pole; ie. not fancy pants GFCI. We held our breath as he plugged in, and lo and behold, everything worked perfectly! This offers further confirmation of the hypothesis that it’s the presence of a neutral to ground bonding somewhere that is only a problem if we are at a GFCI power pole. The important part of this news is that nothing has shifted or broken. It’s also not a particularly worrisome issue. We were good to go on running the AC and things were looking much, much better.

Even when the trails approached a jungly feel, the bugs were not too bad.

We set up and found a little trail loop that took us by the river. Richard asked the ranger at the kiosk about the bugs and was told “they’re not too bad.” He was initially skeptical, but we agreed. They were not too bad at all.

Chillin and grillin

We happily set up for grilling and I made miso-butter steaks with corn on the cob and roasted bell peppers, again with the toasted bread chaser. Super yummy.

So fun to meet up for special deliveries!

As I was cooking, our Altoiste friend, Aud, pulled in with her 1743. This was a planned meet up, not only to get to enjoy each other’s in person company, but also to deliver goods from the Safari Condo store. One of the things you come to expect when you go to a grand gathering in Quebec is that someone along the way is going to appreciate avoiding the impressive cross border shipping charges. We had a lovely time chatting about all kinds of things, including Alto things. We had a peaceful, deep sleep and shared some lattes with Aud in the morning. Note to future route planning self: hit her up for advice when planning the Great Lakes trip.

All sunshine and yellow flowers from here on … right?

So we continue rolling, rolling, rolling, ever westward. We should now be clear of the smoke, unless something is happening in California I don’t know about. We’ve got another one night stand before Badlands, and that gets a three night stay. It’ll be a hot one!

Total miles from Mille Lacs Kathio: 162.0, 16.9 mpg, 7 hours 8 min. Site 16 hookups. Ok dump, but curby. Potable water. Good cell service for both. Nice site on the end of the loop with prairie behind. Plenty of space between neighbors.

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