Nice Little Trip With The Guys--Entry At Snowbank
We all met at my house the morning of departure to load Craig's van with our gear, the groceries we had made an event out of buying a day or two before and two canoes--Craig's Old Town and my Alumacraft. We were confident that with the foam pads and rope we had we could figure out a way to secure two canoes onto one vehicle sufficiently for a four-hour road trip. After much discussion and some trial and error, we thought we had it. After a few miles down the road it was obvious that our tie-down plan was not good enough so we turned around and went to Erik's house to see if we'd do any better with his Suburban. Again after a good deal of discussion we thought we had a better plan with Erik's vehicle but, again, after a brief trip down the road we watched the canoes move around enough that we thought it best to return to Erik's house and work on plan "C". We decided that what we'd spend on renting a canoe wouldn't be much more than gas for a second vehicle so we left Craig's canoe at home in favor of carrying just one on a vehicle AND all sharing the ride to enjoy the whole trip together. Finally, we were on the road from St. Cloud about 1-1/2 hours later than planned. The rest of our drive was uneventful and we arrived in Ely in the early evening.
After checking in at Canoe Country Outfitters, we got settled in to our accommodations for the night--the house that they have out their back door that fronts East Camp Street. I highly recommend this option! The rooms are spacious, the beds are comfortable, there's a fridge, air conditioning, microwave, TV, private bath AND a relaxing porch to hang out on for some great pre-trip bonding.
After getting settled, our traditional pre-trip pizza at Sir G's and picking up last minute supplies was next on the agenda. After accomplishing this, we returned to the porch for a couple of beers before turning in for the night and attempting sleep through some big excitement for the next day and some significant thunderstorms.