Sunday, July 31, 2016

St. James Tiell Park CG, St. James, MN

Date of Stay:  Wednesday July 27 – Sunday July 31, 2016 (4 nights)

Rate: $20/night

Website:  St. James Tiell Park CG
   205 Tiell Drive
   St. James, MN 56081

Description:  Located in a small town in southern Minnesota, this self check-in facility has large sites with paved roads and concrete pads with FHU 50A.  They even have free wifi.  All this right on a small lake with a boat launch and super nice fish cleaning table.  The town’s swimming pool and big water slide is on the other side of the cg.  We stayed on site 6 of this 20 site cg.  The sites are walk-in only (no reservation), but 15 of the sites are seasonal rentals so that doesn’t leave much for us transients.  A local resident said that the town is trying to build another cg on the other side of the lake for transients if the DNR approves.  It would be real close to a railroad track that isn’t all that busy.

Trash and Recycle:  Dumpster near the boat ramp and comingle recycle bins.

Activities:  Not much to do here but I started my morning walking routine again because they have such a nice sidewalk system in St. James.  There is a 4 mile loop of sidewalk/paved path around the lake for a good bike ride although it is in the sun beside the roads more than the lake.  We enjoyed watching the boat launch area and chatting with the locals.  Don’s Tires fixed our truck tire which had a nail in it in just a few minutes. 

On site 6  On site 6
On site 6
On site 6 from the boat launch  Self registration
From the boat launch                                Self check-in facility
Closed railroad museum  Swimming pool has big waterslide
Railroad museum (closed)                       Swimming pool with large water slide
Boat launch  Patio view of boat launch
Boat launch                                    Looking at the launch from our patio

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Turkey River CG-Vernon Springs Park, Cresco, IA

Date of Stay:  Sunday July 24 – Wednesday July 27, 2016 (3 nights)

Rate:  $20/night

Website:  Turkey River CG-Vernon Springs Park
   11562 Valley Avenue (use directions on website to avoid a nice long dirt road)
   Cresco, IA 52136

Description:  Located in north east Iowa near a nice small town having wide gravel road and sites all level with water and 50A electric.  Nice bath house and dump station in back of cg loop.  We stayed on site 2 with woods and the bike trail right behind us.  The Nature Center here was about the nicest one we’ve ever seen with great displays and wonderful wall paintings of nature.  Quiet park during the week and probably not bad on weekends.  Walk-ins only, no reservations.  About 45 sites and only about 10 years old.  Self registration.

Trash and Recycle:  A few dumpsters throughout the cg.  No recycle in cg however, when I asked the nice lady at the Nature Center, she told me about the town’s recycle center at the end of Airport Road that takes most stuff.

Activities:  We arrived on Sunday just as Cresco finished a parade in celebration of the town’s 150 years of existence.  The little town and park is in top notch condition and the folks are polite.  The Prarie’s Edge Nature Center is about the best that we have ever seen.  There is a paved bike trail from the cg into town but it was a bit too hilly for me to pedal.  We celebrated Gin’s birthday here with her choice of activities (video games and bunny watching) and meal (brisket panini, loaded fries and brownie with ice cream for dessert).  No train noise here but the occasional sound of a crop dusting plane wasn’t bad at all.

Countryside in Wisconsin  Rolling hills of Wisconsin
Beautiful countryside in Wisconsin
Driving across Mississippi River at Prarie du Chien, WI    River boat Casino on the Mississippi
Crossing the Mississippi at Prarie du Chien, WI          River boat Casino on the Iowa bank

On site 2 from the bath house  On site 2
On site 2 almost all alone
Vernon Springs Park  From the bridge
Vernon Springs Park across the road from the Nature Center entrance

P1040328 Prarie's Edge Nature Center P1040329
Outside the Prarie’s Edge Nature Center
Aquatic life display  Above the entry door
Aquatic life display                                    Above the entry door
Black bear and red fox have faded  Entering the Nature Center  Bison mount with wall painting
Faded black bear and red fox                   Welcome                     Bison mount with wall paintings
White tail deer display  Pheasant display
White tail deer display                               Pheasant display
Gin on bike path behind Nature Center  Crop duster plane
Gin on bike path behind Nature Center         Low flying crop duster plane

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grant River CG (Mississippi River COE), Potosi, WI

Date of Stay:  Thursday July 21 – Sunday July 24, 2016 (3 nights)

Rate:  $10/night (Access Pass discount)

Website:  Grant River CG
   3990 Park Lane (42*39'34"N, 90*42'35"W)
   Potosi, WI 53820

Description:  Located right on the banks of the Mississippi River in the south west tip of Wisconsin.  There are about 60 camp sites.  We stayed on site 25 only 100 yards or so from the train tracks which were annoying very active day and night.  All sites have 50A with water spigots spread throughout the park.  No water fill at the dump station however.  Most sites, ours included, have a concrete parking pad with a nicely maintained picnic table and gravel patio.  Enough shade trees but our site was satellite friendly.  Playground for the kids and nice boat launch onto the Mississippi which looks to be about a mile wide here.  Several sites were empty all weekend.

Trash and Recycle:  Dumpster near the exit with a recycle bin for drink cans only.

Activities:  Gin had just gotten a new motor for her bike so we rode around in the cg a little bit.  A couple of bad storms came through while we were here so we pulled all our awnings in.  This was our first stop without T&D so it was quiet.  The trains were rather annoying though.  There were probably 8 or 9 per hour much of the day and 2 or 3 per hour all night.  To get away from the trains one day, we rode in to the nearby town of Dickeyville for lunch at Katina’s and to visit the Grotto and Shrines at the Holy Ghost Parish.  It was built in the late 1920’s using stone, mortar, and bright colored objects from all over the world to create a hodgepodge of bricka brack mosaics.  It may be a bit tacky looking, but it was still an interesting bit of roadside America.  We then rode over to the nearby Potosi Point Observation Deck.  This point juts out into the river so far that you feel like you are on the water.  Lots of waterlilies and white pelicans.

Over the Mississippi River from Dubuque IA into Wisconsin  Pretty countryside
Driving over the Mississippi from Dubuque, IA into the pretty countryside of Wisconsin
On site 25  On site 25
On site 25… empty around us!
Another train!  Train!
Train!… and another train!…  only 100 yards away blowing their horn!
Boat ramp  Gin checking out the lilypads
Boat launch in the cg                              Gin checking out the waterlilies
Couple fishing the day away  Sunset begins
A couple fishing the day away

Main Grotto  Grotto and Shrines at Holy Ghost Parish
The Main Grotto at Holy Ghost Parish
Walkway in the Gardens  Christopher Columbus Shrine
Walkway in the Gardens                            Christopher Columbus Shrine
Bless Us Oh Sacred Heart  Cemetery behind church
Bless Us Oh Sacred Heart                           Cemetery behind the church
Tree of Life  Jesus Christ King of Heaven and Earth
Tree of Life                  Jesus Christ King of Heaven and Earth

Mississippi River from Potosi Point  Water lilys everywhere
Mississippi River from Potosi Point                   Waterlilies everywhere
Four pelicans in one shot  White Pelicans
Lots of white pelicans at the Point

One...  Two...  Three!
One…  two…  three…  sunset from the cg boat launch