Two Rivers, the Mississippi Headwaters and Lake Arbutus

We arrived at Two Rivers Campground Thursday afternoon and waited as Keith and Joanette made their way from Lake Ashtabula, North Dakota.. We will spend 45 nights at various campgrounds in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma with Keith and Joanette.

Our first stop together was Two Rivers Campground and Tubing. Apparently, the tubing part had been shutdown due to low river levels on the Platte River, one of the camp’s two rivers, the other being the Mississippi. After getting settled on Thursday night, we spent a quiet evening with dinner, a campfire and pleasant conversation. On Friday, we spent the day getting to know our campground. We took a nice walk through the park, ending up at the confluence of the Mississippi and Platte Rivers. A word about the Platte River. It is not the same, or related to the Platte Rivers in Nebraska, although their waters do comingle when the Missouri and Misissippi rivers join.

We needed to do some shopping, se we decided to drive up to Little Falls, see the town, including the “falls,” take care of our shopping and hopefully find somewhere for lunch

We stopped at a little park just below the falls and took a couple of pictures.

As you can see, the falls are now just a spillway

Our lunch stop was a local place, Donna’s Big John Drive in, nothing special and a running commentary from an apparent permanent resident of the center table. She ease dropped on our conversation and commented on several of our topics. After lunch, we decided to stop at the Charles A. Lindbergh State Park. We walked on a trail along the River, which took us by Lindbergh’s boyhood summer home, built by his Father in 1906.

The Lindbergh home has been completely restored

Our stop in Minnesota was primarily for us the see Bill’s nephew, Rob, and his wife, Terry, and their children, Tyler and Morgan. So after returning from Little Falls, we drove the other direction, to Sartell and had after dinner cocktails and sat around the campfire chatting, all while social distancing and using masks. Rob is an Orthopedic Surgeon and must exercise extreme care to not expose himself to the virus. It was nice spending some time with them and to see their new house in Sartell. And, it was the first time Keith and Joanette have met any of Bill’s nephews or neice.

Not far from our Campground is the beginning of the Soo Recreational Trail, which connects to the Lake Wobegon Trail. I had planned a loop ride, but altered the plan a little bit to accommodate Keith and Joanette to join us for part of the ride. We took all four bikes to the trail head on US Highway 10, then all 4 of us rode to the little town of Bowlus, where we had coffee and enjoyed the adjacent private gardens. After coffee, Keith, Joanette and Bill headed back to the truck, giving them a nice 12 mile ride, which is Keith and Joanett’s longest ride, to date. Congratulations to them, keep it up. After leaving them, I headed South on the Soo Trail, to the Lake Wobegon Trail and on to St. Joseph, for a total ride of 38 miles. You can check out my Strava post here:

Now, a word about these trail names: The Soo Trail is named after the Soo Railroad. The full name of the railroad is the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie and Soo is the phonetic spelling of Sault. SOO was used as a short name for the railroad and its stock ticker. Lake Wobegon is a fictional place in Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, a Minnesota Public Radio show, which ran from 1974 to 2016.

Here are some photos from that ride.

For our final day in Minnesota, Keith suggested and I agreed, that we drive to the headwaters of the Mississippi River, a 120 mile drive to Lake Itasca. We got up early and drove through Minnesota farm lands and forests, finally to arrive at the lake. There is a visitor center with information on the river, its path, its history and importance. The Mississippi flows north out of the lake before making a big U turn and starting its long journey south to the Gulf of Mexico.

On our way into the park, we drove over the first bridge over the Mississippi.

This bridge is far different than the massive structures farther South

After spending time in the Visitor Center, we walked the short distance to the River. We were able to walk across the Mississippi, take a photo at the famous tree sign and enjoy watching kids (and adults) swimming in the first few yards of the Mississippi.

After an enjoyable stop at the headwaters, we headed back to camp for our last night in Royalton. We would head to Wisconsin the following morning.

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