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MN trip 1: quick summary and the bad stuff - Phil's Rambling Rants
June 24th, 2006
01:33 pm

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MN trip 1: quick summary and the bad stuff
Shopping last night so I'd have milk and bananas for breakfast today, I ran into an old co-worker from the late 1980's I think I've seen once since that job went south.  It was kind of interesting to chat with him but I really was in a hurry.

Gaming was good.  We played Ticket to Ride Marklin, and my instincts for general Ticket to Ride strategy proved sufficient; I was in last place before scoring destination tickets, but I had the most tickets and finished in first place.

The dogs were safely picked up from Jim and Robin last night.  Windy is pretty much the same -- signs of major internal trouble and he's lost a third of his fur, but he's still in good spirits.

The last memory card finished copying into the temporary holding directory last night while I slept.  2698 images from the trip.

Got up and got to the post office to get my mail; turned out they are open half an hour later than I remembered so I could have fiddled around a little longer before going.

Now, as I write this, I'm starting to sort the images.  (There are a bunch of "wait for a bunch of files to copy" steps in my work flow.)

My trip itinerary was:

Thursday, June 15: Drove to Wisconsin.  Stopped at Castle Rock wayside on I-90/94 (exit 55 on I-90, just before Tomah), a quite impressive rock formation, well worth stopping.  Spent the night in Tomah.

Friday, June 16: Spent a few hours at Black River State Forest along I-94.  Drove to Minneapolis, found the motel, found the pre-wedding party, had a good time, found the motel again.

Saturday, June 17: Found Minnehaha Park in the morning. Took a bunch of pictures of the falls area.  Lunch at the park restaurant.  Wandered around, eventually found the wedding site.  Wedding.  Trouble (see below).  Potluck after reception, then found the after-wedding music party, and the motel again.

Sunday, June 18: Drove north.  Visited Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Temperance River on the way to motel in Grand Marais.

Monday, June 19: Drove north again, stopped at Kadunce Creek, visited Grand Portage State Park (Pigeon Falls) and Judge C. R. Magney State Park (Brule River), then back to Grand Marais.

Tuesday, June 20: Briefly north again, explored Kadunce Creek upstream, thoroughly explored Temperance River, stopped at Cross River, found motel in Illgen City, quick look at Palisade Head.

Wednesday, June 21: A couple miles up Highway 1 to the Baptism River crossing at Eckbeck Campground, spent most of the day at Tettegouche State Park (Baptism River), Palisade Head again, dinner at Northern Lights restaurant at Beaver Bay, then a wayside a bit past Split Rock Lighthouse at dusk because the lighthouse was actually lit.  Then on to Duluth for the night.

Thursday, June 22: Visited Banning State Park and Wild River State Park, then headed down along the Great River Road, stopping at Interstate State Park and Afton State Park.  No more significant stops, due to poor time management/planning, but nice views.  All motels full at Winona; finally found a Wendy's in La Crosse and a motel in Sparta.

Friday, June 23: Just drove home.

Saturday when people were gathering for the wedding at Longfellow Garden, I took off my backpack and left it beside the hut by the parking lot.  It was in plain view and it seemed like a reasonable area.  I just left it there when the wedding itself was held on the other side of the garden.  After the wedding was over, my backpack was gone.  I asked people at the wedding if any of them had picked it up.  No joy.  Then at the potluck, publicly asked everyone; no one had it.  I went to the restaurant and they gave me a number to call the park police; I tried several times -- no answer.  Finally asked the restaurant people again; they said call 911.  The group was getting ready to head to the party by then, so I briefly checked the Longfellow Garden area, in the rain -- no backpack.  Went to the music party site and called 911.  On hold for a few minutes before I got a human -- I'd hate to have a genuine emergency.  But I explained my situation, and they sent a park police officer over, who took my report (and told me that the restaurant had given me the wrong phone number).

I decided that it probably wouldn't matter what I did, I wasn't going to get my backpack, with $400 tripod, $1000 500mm lens, and a bunch of minor but wanted things back.  So I decided that rather than ruin the rest of my trip, I would just go on without it and deal with it when I got back.  I did rush home on Friday so I could find the phone number and call the insurance company before 5 on Friday, only to have their voicemail tell me that their office hours are until noon on Friday and their customer service hours only until 4:30, so I'll have to deal with it Monday.

Lacking a tripod for all the waterfalls but Minnehaha, I didn't get any artistic long-exposure waterfall pictures.  Lacking the big lens, I couldn't get the close pictures I'd have liked of some of the interesting wildlife I saw, so although I should have some nice web pictures, I probably won't have any frame-worthy ones.

These problems were compounded by the fact that my workhorse 28-300mm lens started sticking in the stopped-down position instead of springing back open after taking a picture.  This doesn't appear to affect the picture itself (though I have yet to examine the pictures closely), but it puts the camera into an error state and certainly interrupts the flow.  It's annoying when taking pictures of scenery, and especially annoying when there's this awesome bird in the center of the view and the camera is jammed.

In spite of the bad things, I had a wonderful time up there.

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