Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Ensign to Thomas and back
by Freeleo1

Trip Type: Paddling Canoe
Entry Date: 06/29/2021
Entry & Exit Point: Moose Lake (EP 25)
Number of Days: 9
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
We decided to drive from Texas to Minnesota to be able to take all our gear and not deal with the difficulties of flying. We were hoping Quetico would open before we got there since we were hearing about the crowding in the BWCA, but it didn't open in time. The 1st day is actually the Sunday June 27th, the drive up was over 3 days. We spent 7 nights in BWCA
Day 1 of 9
Sunday to Tuesday, June 27- 29, 2021 Left Houston on Sunday June 27th. 9am. Driving to Ely over 3 days. We decided to go through east Texas and Arkansas 1438 miles, 21 to 22 hours. We stayed in Homewood Suites in Rogers, Arkansas and New Brighton, Mn on the way up. They have full size refrigerator freezer to keep stuff frozen and the separate bedrooms are much quieter than most hotels. The only issue on the way up was north of Henderson, Tx the phone map indicated it was 20 minutes faster to take Hwy 322, bypassing Kilgore and going up through Longview to the Oklahoma border, and it looked straighter. How much worse can the road be? Huh. We took off on 322 and it went to a 2 lane road with a 75mph speed limit. That's a little scary on a winding road through the forest. Then the repaving part started with no lane paint, only small yellow reflectors in the center. Still 75mph. then it started to rain. I did my best to keep up speed to at least 65, but it was nervewracking. After several miles the new pavement ended and we caught up with the cars in front of us because there were 1 to 2 foot water filled potholes all over the road for about a mile we were all winding all over the road to avoid. The speed limit still recommended 75mph through here. Someone has a lot to answer for on this stretch. Back roads are more interesting than the Interstates, but I have a better appreciation for the Interstate system now. There was a fatality accident on the freeway about 10 miles from Rogers that closed the freeway for a while. People on the side of the road crying. Always upsetting to see. We pulled into the hotel about 7:30 after picking up our last Whataburger for a while.

June 28. Left Rogers at 7am. Got donuts at Loves donuts after the 1st 2 we went to were closed. Excellent donuts if you go through here, and a nice couple running it with a cute little boy. Got to New Brighton North of Minneapolis about 5:30 and went to Chili Thai Cuisine for dinner. The 2nd of 5 levels (medium) is HOT.

June 29 The next morning we relaxed a bit and went to the Rusty Cow in Circle Pines, Mn. It used to be Matthews Family restaurant that closed suddenly. The new restaurant has a similar menu and has a really good omelette and hash browns. Drove to Ely, checked into Canadian Border Outfitters and finalized plans and got permit for Moose Lake EP 25. They are having a hard time due to a lack of available workers to hire. It seemed to be the case in many of the places on the way up. Also, many cancellations due to Quetico being closed. We went to SirG's for a pizza and Ace and came back to finish packing.