Exploring Minnesota and Iowa to Find Unique RV Destinations

 Exploring Minnesota and Iowa to Find Unique RV Destinations

Decorah

Have you ever had a hard time getting out of a state? I felt like I was going to be stuck in Minnesota forever. I kept finding interesting things to do and see. I finally made it. I am just across the border in Decorah, Iowa.

Knife River Campground
Knife River Campground

I spent a night at the Knife River Campground just north of Duluth. It is a small unassuming place, yet it did not take me too long to realize there were special things going on there.

What first attracted my attention was the small plane sitting at the entrance to the campground. When I pulled in the owner, Randy was busy in the barn and invited me in. He was working on a ship’s wheel and told me to select whatever site I wanted and I could pay later. After a walk to the beach and marina on Lake Superior and a hike in the woods, I finally paid up.

along the shore of Lake Superior
along the shore of Lake Superior

I had a quiet evening. The next morning I went into the barn to ask Randy directions and ended up meeting other campers. One couple was living in their very little home on wheels, literally. Mark built the home and after Wendy retired they went full time in their very little house. They have been living in it for a year. I think it was about the size of my Roadtrek or maybe even smaller.

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The small house on Wheels
Wendy inside her small house
Wendy inside her small house

Randy made the airplane with spare parts. He had also carved several totem poles and there was a flying saucer made from two satellite dishes. It was a unique place.

Janet & Randy standing next to the Vaffel House Randy built
Janet & Randy standing next to the Vaffel House Randy built

I went to breakfast with Randy and John in Duluth. They told me that I should go to Decorah, Iowa. The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum could not be missed. I packed up my cute little Roadtrek Agile and headed south. Two days later I am here.

Vesterheim
Vesterheim

The museum was very interesting. It’s main theme is the immigration of Norwegians to North America. The building that houses the museum also has a long history in this area. There are several small buildings and houses around the museum. Some were dismantled in Norway, shipped and rebuilt in Decorah.

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Entrance to the Trout Run Bike and Hike Trail

What captured my attention here was the Trout Run Bike Trail. It is a complete loop around the city of Decorah. It goes out into the countryside, past lots of cornfields. There are some challenging hills which create several chances to stop and take in the view. The eleven mile trail was first introduced to me right after I left on this trip. Someone posted a video about this trail and it’s completion on Facebook. I had thought it would be fun to find it, yet as the trip continued, it went into one of the file drawers in my brain and was quickly forgotten. While I was in the museum I found a brochure and had a wow moment when I realized I had come full circle to this trail. How cool is that?

Janet getting ready to bike the trail
Janet getting ready to bike the trail

I biked the full trail this afternoon with stops for photos. The fish hatchery was a great stop along the loop. People I met along the trail all thanked me for coming to visit Iowa. I feel very important. I guess not too many put Iowa on their vacation list.

I am camped at the Pulpit Rock Campground right near the town. it is quiet and pretty along the Upper Iowa River. If I wanted to I could ride or walk right into downtown Decorah. It is a lovely downtown and I am glad that the mysteries of life landed me here.

Here is a cool fact about Decorah. An airborne geophysical survey, mapping mineral resources in the Midwest found a 470-million-year-old impact crater nearly five times the size of Meteor Crater in Arizona which lies buried several hundred meters beneath the town of Decorah, Iowa. You can use this at your next cocktail party.

Tomorrow I believe I will check out one of the coffee houses in town. Then I really, really need to head for home. I have a week.

RT camping at Lake Bilesby, Minnesota
RT camping at Lake Bilesby, Minnesota

I love having adventures in my small house along the byways of this country. With my Roadtrek I can continue to find those out of the way spots. I never know what is around the next corner.

wordkeeper

2 Comments

  • Now that you have had your Roadtrek for awhile and many trips to learn from, is there anything you would choose differently ie larger refrig, ext length, etc?
    Is it easier than you initially thought traveling by this means ie hookup and dumping, filling up fresh water, dealing with the heat inside on hot summer days, etc?
    Your posts are informative and enjoyable as I take my virtual vacation through your eyes.
    Thank you.

  • We were up on the North Shore the week before. Stayed at Lambs Resort, did some tandem bike riding on the Gitchi-Gami bike Trail that goes through the woods on the west side of 61 and takes a short break at Tofte and Blue Fin Bay. From there it goes another 7.3 miles along the highway with views of the lake. The section from Gooseberry Falls up to the lighthouse is probably the best part of the trail but finding a camping spot at Gooseberry is pretty hard as they usually fill up quickly. The North Shore has so many nice places to camp and the scenery is awesome. On the way back, we easily drove up Palisades Head where no large RV’s or trailers are allowed. The RoadTrek made it with ease. Can hardly wait for retirement so we can take a couple months off taking our time visiting all the places there are to see in this country. Thanks for all the updates, keep having fun!

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