Today was the best day. We didn’t follow the “plan” at all and ended up having a blast without even trying. It began this morning after leaving the Walmart we camped at last night and headed off in the direction of Duluth, Minnesota. After driving for maybe 30 minutes, at most, we stumbled across a McDonald’s and decided it was time to get us some Internets done. Adela made the mistake of clicking “Update” on her iPhone and the Internet connection was too slow to actually update, so her phone was in a limbo mode for the next few hours until we hit Duluth and were able to find a Starbucks that had significantly faster Internet.
We were trying to decide the best route to take and still be able to see a good fireworks display for the Fouth of July. The original plan was to go to Voyegers National Park in upper Minnesota to do a couple hiking trails and from there head towards Fargo, North Dakota. We decided there was just no way to get up that far North, do the hikes, and then drive somewhere to a town large enough to have a decent fireworks show. Instead, we just headed for Fargo and didn’t have a plan to do anything along the way. Litte did we know it would turn out to be the best day of the trip so far.
From Duluth, we drove Highway 2 until it connected to Highway 200 and then we followed that. Most, if not all, of Highway 200 passes through the Chippewa National Forest. Along the way, we came across a small town called Remer and a really interesting looking building called The Rusty Bucket (205 East Main St, Remer, MN – go there!). The building had a large, metal roof that arced from the ground all the way up and then back down to the ground on the other side, forming a half cylinder laying down. It was, of course, a little rusty. On the outside was a giant fish made of bicycle rims and a toilet seat mouth with spikey teeth, as well as cool signs indicating it was filled with antiques, art, and other fun and interesting things. We drove by and decided we HAD to turn around and check it out. Boy, was that a great choice. It had a lot of cool things inside, one of which was an old door knocker with a rooster on it and I decided I had to have it for the van (which is now named Henrietta, by the way). Adela pointed out a very old, very large birthday card with an old man on the front and it said “They say if you give up smoking, drinking, and sex, you might live to be a hundred… if you can call that living!” Inside were a bunch of funny, one line stories someone had written and signed “Love, Carol”. Being that Adela had decided my “spirit animal” was an old man (because I mentioned how I like stories with grumpy old men), I had to get the card. For $1, it was a pretty cool find. Adela found an awesome little guitar and a “bandana”. As simple as it may sound, this shop had made our day and was extremely delightful to come across; not to mention how the owners seemed to enjoy our commentary as we walked around the store checking things out.
We continued West on Highway 200 until we reached Highway 34. Eventually we passed a sign for Paul Bunyan State Park and I mentioned how the Paul Bunyan folklore is pretty huge in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and that they even have large statues representing him and his ox, Babe. We pulled off to the side of the road just as we started entering a little town called Akeley and were looking up where the nearest Paul Bunyan statue was. While parked on the side of the street, we looked up to notice a building across the road with a “Musical Jamboree”. This building was the Woodtick Musical Theatre. We were immediately interested and went inside to inquire about prices. It was only $17.50 per adult ticket, which we thought was a fair price, and the lady at the counter told us about a Paul Bunyan statue just two blocks down the road! We were stoked. We had an hour before the show started, so we set off to the statue to get a couple pics before hand. On our way to the statue we passed a really cool painting of Babe, the blue ox, on the front of a building and shortly after there was a sign painted on the side of a building that said “No Standing, Dancing Only”. We played Eye of the Tiger as Adela showed off her slick dance moves, which seemed to be overly enjoyed by a group of bikers who were passing at the exact moment and gave some honks of enthusiasm.
Less than a block away was a tree stump with what looked like an elephant trunk of a limb still attached and two blue bowling balls on chains bolted to the top of this “trunk”. Needless to say, some jokes were made. Eventually we reached the statue and took pictures.
Anywho, back to the Woodtick Theatre we went. The show was absolutely amazing. Seriously. If you ever go through Minnesota or even anywhere near it, make a stop in Akeley at the Woodtick Theatre and see their show (44 Broadway St E, Akeley, MN; 1-218-652-4200; woodtick-theater.com). Great music, great stories, lots of laughs, and over two hours of entertainment for less than $20. Adela even got a free button (the kind you pin on). We stayed after and got signatures and told them how much we loved the show. It was just an amazing, unplanned event that wouldn’t have even happened if we didn’t deviate from “the plan”.
We drove another 20 minutes and are camping out in a Walmart parking lot again tonight. Tomorrow we should hit Fargo and will be spending the day there doing who knows what and to watch whatever fireworks show they’re doing that night.