Kids, dogs, canoe freaks and internet geeks!
by Gunflinter

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 09/07/2010
Entry & Exit Point: Other
Number of Days: 7
Group Size: 50
Trip Introduction:
This is mostly a report on Wing Night 2010, with a Chamber of Commerce type pitch for MN in general. Since I drove 1,500 miles and was gone seven days I thought I'd include my stops before landing at Wing night.
Report
My wife, Evy, and I left Columbia, MO at 9AM on Monday and made short work of the five hour drive to her mom’s place in Cedar Rapids, IA. She hopped out there and I headed to Cedar Falls, IA for a meal with family members, then on to my mom’s place for the night. Up early and off to MN. Made a short stop at Cabela’s in Owatonna and picked up some 4” senkos based on a tip I got from a post here. Arrived in the Twin Cities with time to spare so I hit the Mall of america and was amazed again by how big it is. I’m not a big shopper but if you’ve not been there you ought to stop at least once. Photobucket

Arrived at the ballpark very early and enjoyed seeing the pictures, placques and banners around the park that honored the teams I use to watch in the 70’s and 80’s.What a beautiful place to watch a ballgame. I grew up in NE Iowa and often drove to the Twin Cities to see them play at Metropolitan stadium, the Target Center is quite an improvement in fan comfort. I'm thinking even the Twins haters amongst you could find something of interest at the Twins Brews window. We won the game and Jim Thome hit his 586 homerun, which for baseball fans is a big, big deal. Photobucket

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After the game it was back in the car and a couple of hours up 35 to Jay Cooke state park, which is 20 or so miles south of Duluth. The video shows the St. Louis River running thru the park. They have a classic swinging bridge that I took the video from.

Above and below the park you can get your canoe in water and I had acceptable success catching smallmouth and northern. I spent three nights there. One night I ventured over to the casino and dropped $20 bucks in the slots in about five minutes. Made me feel not quite as bad about loosing a couple of $5 lures in the afternoon.

Back heading south Friday morning and made sure I would have time to stop at the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul. It’s a small zoo and would be great to take youngsters to. I’ve always been a sucker for baby Giraffe’s and what do you know they had one to see.

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Wing Night 2010

I must admit that from the day I decided that I would attend Wing Night I had that “first day of school feeling”. Everyone there would have been on two mile portages and would be showing off pictures of themselves with huge fish that I could only dream of catching. They’d all take one look at me and my crummy tent and Wal-Mart cooking stuff and they’d chew me up and spit me out. As all of you who have been to a Wing Night know, I was way wrong. Gbusk was the first person I met and from Greg on everyone was friendly and helpful. There were stories about long, hard portages and big fish caught and lost but I never felt talked down to. What do you know, I’m not the only one that hates being stuck at a campsite by high wind and debating whether to make a run for it or not.

Both nights we had campfires, this wasn’t the weekends wood pile it was one night’s wood. Photobucket

About 25 folks camped Friday night, which I thought was a great turn out. In the morning it looked a mini Woodstock. Photobucket

Saturday morning SunCatcher (Paul) was cooking up ham and cheese omlettes for all comers and the rest of the day keeping the kids going with M&M’s. Photobucket

Floatstanley, the red macho looking life jacket was in attendance and he got hooked up with my friend “Sweetblue”. It wasn’t clear if they would be “an item” during the weekend but someone pointed out to me that when the wind blew just right it looked like they were slow dancing. However, like many relationships, later in the evening they were back to back and it looks like there will be no little life jackets floating around at next year’s Wing Night.

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Most of Saturday was spent planning, talking and working towards the Grand Buffet. With 30 or so tough guys you’d thing that the ladies wouldn’t have had to cart the picnic tables from one place to another. Keep in mind that these weren’t your average, can’t help myself women, they carry their own canoe’s and packs and catch fish and tell fishing lies like their husbands and male friends.

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Diva helped keep the kiddos busy with bubbles and lots of love. Kendra brought her big wagon and miles of rides were given and taken by all the youngsters.

As you can see this wasn’t your everyday, “bring a covered dish” event. Izzy fried up big bluegill fillets, there were brats and beans, French onion soup, chili, meatballs, hotdogs, salads, desserts and beer and liquor if you wanted it.

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If a regular picture is worth a 1,000 words these smiles are worth 1,000,000. If you can make it to the next Wing Night I hope I’ll be there to welcome you like I was welcomed.

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