Thursday, June 30, 2011

Madeline Island, Wisconsin

With the potential for rain in the next couple of days we decided to do a couple of things that we really like to do, in addition to eating that is. Ever since our first ride on a ferry in Washington we have enjoyed them.  Bayfield is near the tip of the Bayfield Peninsula and right next to the Apostle Islands archipelago. We took the ferry from Bayfield to La Pointe on Madeline Island.

Madeline Island has a rich history, and is the largest of the twenty-two islands making up the Apostle Islands, and the only island accessible by ferry. The Island is named after Madeleine Cadotte, daughter of Chief White Crane and wife of fur trader Michael Cadotte. Madeline Island has flown the flags of three nations and has been the site of some civilization for about 400 years. The first European contact.was Etienne Brule, a French explorer, who visited Madeline Island about the same time as the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Ferries have run from Bayfield to La Pointe for nearly a century and a half.Historic marker

After breakfast we boarded the ferry and then took a driving tour of Madeline Island. We could not have asked for a better day, starting out a little cloudy but clearing up and a temperature of 70 degrees, although about half way there and back it got real chilly on the ferry. There are paved roads and dirt road that were in pretty good shape. Driving we were able to walk on the beach at the end of the paved Big Bay Road and visit Big Bay Town Park and Big Bay State Park, but for the most part the drive was a two lane road through a forest with just a glimpse here and there of the water. If you ever wanted a cabin in the woods right on the water of a nice clear lake this is the place. We saw waterfront lots for sale along with spots with cabins.

Big Bay Town Park is about 7 miles from the ferry and features a nice sandy beach and rustic camping.

Big Bay State Park is about 5 miles from the ferry and is a 2,350-acre park that has a 1.5-mile beach and more than seven miles of hiking and nature trails with incredible views of Lake Superior. If you have followed our journey so far this year you may have noticed that we have encountered a lot of rain and this area is no different. We walked along the trails about as far as we could until we reached a spot that was water and mud as far as you could walk either to the left or right so we turned back. We still got some incredible photos of the scenery.

By now it is time for lunch so we drove to La Pointe. We stopped at the Chamber and the gal there recommended The Pub. So we walked down to The Pub and got a table with a nice water view. Jo got the Garden Brie Sandwich which is marinated tomatoes & peppers, garlic aioli, brie cheese and fresh basil. Bob got the fresh Whitefish Sandwich which was lightly breaded & sautéed. For side dishes we both got their version of a pasta salad which added broccoli and bacon and diced tomatoes with a cole slaw like dressing. Everything was wonderful.

We then walked around downtown La Pointe until we took the ferry back to Bayfield. This is such a great place to visit we will probably go again but this time just walk on, visit the Museum which is supposed to be real cool and see more of downtown La Pointe and of course get a good meal. 

Photos have been uploaded to

Till next time,

Bob and Jo


Monday, June 27, 2011

Minnesota Zoo

As promised here is our entry on our visit to the Minnesota Zoo in the Twin Cities in Apple Valley. Founded in 1978 the locals still call the Minnesota Zoo the "new" Zoo. The Como Park Zoo is the "old" Zoo but unlike the Minnesota Zoo which charges for admission the Como Park Zoo is free. Luckily we were able to use our Kansas City Zoo card for a reduced price on the admission since the Minnesota Zoo is reciprocal with the KC Zoo.
The Minnesota Zoo cares for 504 different species of animals on six trails. Most of the animals are in large open spaces with room for them to roam which sometimes makes the viewing difficult but it is better for the animals. Our favorite, besides the big cats which are always our favorites, had to be Wolf Woods on the Minnesota Trail. The Zoo is home to northern gray wolves, viewed in their native woodland setting from a variety of perspectives, including a rustic log cabin set right in the center of the exhibit. The red panda was also neat lounging on a tree branch.

We liked this Zoo and the weather we had was gorgeous, one of the few days that it did not rain or threaten to rain while we were in the Twin Cities. The temperature was in the low 70's and mostly sunny with a nice gentle breeze. The only downside had to be that every child under 5 years old within 100 miles was there. We made a point to avoid the Family Farm and to watch where we were walking and it was alright.

Photos have been uploaded to

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We had our first Pasty today

Although we are not yet in the Upper Peninsula where the Pasty is better known we are on the Bayfield Peninsula in Wisconsin just a stones throw from the UP. We were talking with another couple about food of course and they said be sure to try a Pasty here because they are good here but even better in the UP.

Surprisingly they told us that the best Pasties in the area are in the frozen food section of a grocery store or Wal-Mart. They are made by a gal in Florence WI and since we were at our home away from home today shopping, Wal-Mart that is, we bought a couple to try.

Just what is a pasty you ask? A pasty is a roll of pastry filled with meat and potatoes and then rolled over so it could be carried into the mines and ate for lunch. The one we tried tonight had beef, pork and rutabaga and we have to say it was quite good. The convection oven did a good job and the pastry was really good. If the pasties are better in the UP then we are in for a treat!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville Minnesota

We have stumbled across another great place to eat, Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville Minnesota. We were going to the Minnesota Zoo (which we will blog on shortly) and were looking for a place for breakfast nearby. Bob didn't have any breakfast places close by so we took a chance on Jensen's.

Two items have been added to 'Our Favorite Things (Food)' list, the lemon ricotta pancakes and their pancake syrup. We have had lemon pancakes before but adding the ricotta kicks them up a couple of notches. They are huge, thick and fluffy. The pancake syrup is also unique and wonderful. They start out with their homemade maple syrup and add caramel and brown sugar.

Jensen's Cafe has more than pancakes, Bob had a great spinach and mushroom and goat cheese omelet but they bake them and call them Ome-Alots. Either the breakfast potatoes or the cheesy hashbrowns are also good along with the french toast and swedish pancakes. The breakfast sausage is also very good.

If you are looking for a great breakfast place in the Twin Cities area you cannot go wrong with Jensen's Cafe.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, June 24, 2011

Now in Bayfield Wisconsin

We made it to the Apostle Islands Area Campground in Bayfield Wisconsin today. But it was not easy, there was about a dozen "Road Work Ahead" areas on I-35 that slowed us down, a couple of times to a dead stop.

Then we drove through Duluth to get to I-535 and this was the worst. There was construction everywhere and a couple of places we were just inside Jersey Barriers on both sides. Then we had a nice highway in Wisconsin that ran through some small towns where we reduced to 25 mph a couple of times. So it was a longer day than we are normally used to but we got here safe and sound. Bob just updated the blog gadgets for 'Current Location', 'Current Trip' and 'States Visited'.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Going old school (not by choice) and an old Church

Forgot the gps so we went a little old school using an Atlas that was given to Bob as a gift as we undertook this full-timing adventure. It worked ok from breakfast to JC Penneys, but from Penneys to our intended destination of the James J Hill House, not so good.

Since we knew the general area we headed off to Hill House and soon discovered that Hill House is the only historical place that we know of that does not have some sort of sign. So we drove past it of course and called them on the phone for directions. We would have been late for the 1p tour so we went to the Cathedral of St. Paul which is set dramatically on Summit Hill a short walking distance from the Hill House.

We are so glad that we did. The Cathedral, the fourth largest in the USA and the
fourth Cathedral of Saint Paul in the area was impressive. One of the finest examples of Beaux Arts architecture, the Cathedral was designed by Emmanuel Louis Masqueray. The cornerstone was laid on June 2, 1907 and they made sure the Cathedral was higher than the nearby Capitol Building which was completed in 1905. It was placed on the National Register of Historical Buildings in 1974. The Cathedral is also designated as the National Shrine to St. Paul, the patron Saint of the Diocese.
The tour of the Cathedral was just starting so we joined the group. An energetic tour guide described the history of the Cathedral and the interior with all the statues, stained glass, chapels, etc. We really enjoy touring the old churches and this one now tops our list. The pictures do not do justice, you just have to see it yourself.

Photos of the Cathedral have been added to

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Old Spaghetti Factory and Minnehaha Falls

While waiting for our food we discussed how much we like the Old Spaghetti Factory and kidded that we might have full-timed just so we could drive around the country to all the locations. It certainly is an advantage of full-timing to be able to eat at your favorite places no matter where they are located.

We both like the Mizithra cheese which you can get "ala Homer", simply browned butter and the Mizithra cheese. This is what Jo got this time and Bob got the Manager's Favorite which is 1/2 Mizithra and 1/2 meat sauce. They also have a creamy pesto salad dressing that is really good. The Old Spaghetti Factory is one of our favorite places to eat and if there is one in the area where we are staying you know we will eat there at least once.

After lunch we went to Minnehaha Falls immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Song of Hiawatha" where Hiawatha and Minnehaha, the characters from the poem:
    Over wide and rushing rivers 
    In his arms he bore the maiden.

Minnehaha Falls is in Minnehaha Park which is a city park in Minneapolis Minnesota. There has been a lot of rain recently so the 53-foot waterfall looked really impressive and the creek was roaring. We were talking with some friends who tried to lessen our expectations because during droughts the flow can slow to a trickle to nothing at all. But this was no drought time and to hear the water crashing down and to get hit with the spray on the walkway left both of us glad that we drove to this park.

There are walking trails in this 193 acre park along with the Stevens House, the Minnehaha Depot, and the Longfellow House where you can get a history of the park. A neat city park and a very nice waterfall.

Photos from this visit have been uploaded to

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Slight change of plans

We had planned to leave yesterday for the Duluth area but when we called our first couple of choices for RV Parks we found they were both full. Turns out there is a huge event in Duluth this weekend, the 35th running of Grandma's Marathon. So we decided to stay another week at the Dakotah Meadows RV Park.

This will delay our first exposure "to the big lake they call Gitche Gumee" or better known as Lake Superior a week as our next stop is Bayfield Wisconsin near the Apostle Islands and then in July we will head to Houghton Michigan on the Keweenaw Peninsula. We will work our way across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the remainder of July and most of August.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Catching up

We left the Des Moines area last Friday and now are in the Twin Cities area. While in Des Moines we experienced extremes of weather; for two days we had record heat and you know how we like the heat, and for two days we had record rainfall. The heavy amount of rain turned our site into a muddy mess which made our departure more of an adventure than it should have been. We really like the park, Cutty's Camping Club, but if we stay there again we just have to get a better site.

While in Des Moines we ate at a great place, so great in fact that it added a new item to 'Our Favorite Things (Food)' list and that is the pumpkin pancakes. So we know have two items under best specialty pancakes; the sweet potato pancakes at eggtc in Kansas City and the pumpkin pancakes at the Drake Diner in Des Moines. Everything else we had there was great also so this is a highly recommended place even if you do not like pumpkin pancakes.

As mentioned previously we are in the Twin Cities area and plan to be in the area for a week with our next stop at Duluth. We are at the Dakotah Meadows RV Park near the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake in the SW corner of the metro area. After the less than level gravel site that did not have much gravel we are on a concrete level pad. This is a nice park we would not hesitate to stay at again. We plan to relax, do some sightseeing, see some old friends and of course eat at some of the places that Bob has on his list for the area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bosnian Food

How do you eat where the locals eat? Well you ask the locals. Luckily while in Des Moines an old friend of ours Sam now lives there and he recommended the Saraj Restaurant and Bakery in West Des Moines Iowa. So we went there with Bob's sister and our friend Sam.

When he described Bosnian food it just sounded so good and we were not disappointed. Similar to Greek cuisine but different of course. The meat in the Bosnian gyro is all beef while in the United States it is usually a combination of beef and lamb. Instead of the normal pita bread this gyro is served like a big sandwich with Bosnian bread on the bottom and top. Served along with lettuce, tomatoes and onions and of course tzatziki which is a cucumber based sauce. The Bosnian tzatziki was different than the Greek version we are used to but very good. Bob and Sam both got the Bosnian gyro which was excellent. The gyro meat was superb. The portions are also huge and there is some gyro in our refrigerator right now.

Pita in Bosnian food is also different. It is stuffed filo dough made into a roll. Jo got the Zeljanica Pita which was stuffed with spinach and cheese, a Bosnian spinach pie, which is good but Jo agreed the gyro was better. The Pita comes with a Bosnian mixed salad which is tomatoes, cucumber slices and onions with a sour cream sauce. This salad was also very good. The picture is of a gyro and mixed salad.

Bob's sister got the traditional Greek gyro with chicken which she said was one of the best she has ever had.

We just had to sample a Bosnian dessert so we shared a Sampita, sponge cake with a meringue topping. In this case it was a chocolate sponge cake and a raspberry meringue but it traditionally is a yellow sponge cake with lemon meringue. Saraj offers both types of Sampita. The meringue is also something different, it is more of a marshmallow texture instead of the meringue you may be used to but the dessert was very good.

Sometimes the locals eat at places you may never have tried but give them a chance, like we did at Saraj Restaurant and Bakery. We really liked it and would definitely eat there again.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Full-timing with Cats; Cat Feeder

As promised another edition of full-timing in our Fifth Wheel with three cats. We have an automatic cat feeder that dispenses dry food to two of our three cats, JJ and Sandra. Tiger, the third cat, eats when she wants so she has her own bowl in the bedroom.

Shortly after we got the feeders we noticed that we had a scientist and an engineer. Sandra the scientist figured out how to get the food still in the chute by sticking her paw in palm side down.

 JJ the engineer watched Sandra for awhile and then improved on her method by getting on his side and reaching way up palm side up achieving much greater distance up the chute.

This just proves that scientists are only needed to occasionally point engineers in the right direction in the rare instances that they need it.

If you cannot tell or did not know Bob is an Engineer, Mechanical Engineer!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, June 6, 2011

Visiting family and friends on our way to the Upper Peninsula

We left the Kansas City area last Friday and journeyed to Cutty's Des Moines Camping Club in Grimes Iowa in the Greater Des Moines area. Bob is from Iowa so we will be seeing family and friends which we have not seen since September of last year and some even longer. So far the get togethers have involved food (shocking we know) and a tour of our new home. We have found a great place we plan to hit again and if it is as good as it was the first couple of times we plan to blog on it later.

After our sprint from the Phoenix area to the Kansas City area we are staying at least one week at a time on our way to the Upper Peninsula.  We plan to leave this Friday to our next stop in the Minneapolis area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo