Gull Lake Recreation Area – Brainerd, Minnesota – August 6 – 11, 2023

Sunday morning, August 6, 2023 we were up at 6 am and left Mel Riemann at 8 am for a 200 mile drive to Gull Lake Recreational Area in Brainerd, Minnesota. We arrived there at 12:30 pm and we immediately dumped, flushed and filled our fresh water tank, then proceeded to our site to set up. Afterward we showered and left to meet Cindy’s cousins for dinner at 5 pm at Zorbaz where we enjoyed a great meal and had fun visiting some of Cindy’s cousins for three hours. We were graciously hosted by her cousin Bruce and his wife Kathy, her cousin Robert and his wife Kim, her cousin Audrey, as well as her second cousins Chelsey, Amanda and Ashlee. Cindy hadn’t seen some of them in 30 years, so it was a nice reunion.

Monday we walked Bella around the campground and drove into Brainerd for several errands we needed to run, then spent the day relaxing.

On Tuesday August 8 we hiked two miles on a nearby interpretive trail, saw some deer and wild turkeys (the bird, not the whiskey) then drove up to Crosslake so Cindy could see her grandparents old home on the lake. It was sold long ago but she wanted to step back in time a little bit. The house had been rebuilt from a simple cottage to a two-story home where they even added a tennis court to the property in front of the house. The boat house looked like it had been upgraded as well. Cindy spent several minutes showing me from the truck where she used to play and the woods across from the house where she picked raspberries and was exposed to poison ivy when she was 12, which was the last time she was there until 1991 when she returned for a family reunion.

We also checked out the COE campground in Crosslake in case we wanted to try it next year, but we’re pretty sure we’d end up staying at Gull Lake since we like it.

As we were leaving Crosslake, I saw two deer run across the highway ahead of us and we pulled over into a parking lot so Cindy could take pictures of them, Sadly, as she was taking photos we heard a “bam” sound and I thought someone had rear-ended another vehicle but when I looked in my rear view mirror I could see the body of a small fawn lying in the middle of the road. Some guy in a red truck had pulled over, but all he did was check the front of his truck and drove off. Cindy was beside herself, especially when we saw the fawn’s tail wagging as it lay in the center of the road. I drove off, but Cindy was inconsolable and afraid that another vehicle would hit it while it was lying in the road so I turned around and went back while she called the Crosslake police. They said they would send someone out. I walked out into the road and the fawn was trying to get up, but it looked like its back legs were broken. I wasn’t sure how to grab hold of it to move it out of the road and traffic was still going by but thankfully slowing down to safe speeds. I didn’t want to try and drag it by its back legs and hurt it further, but I thought if I tried to grab its front legs it would bite me out of pain and fear. A truck with a couple of young guys who looked like they might be experienced hunters stopped and said “We need to move it out of the road until the police get here” and they proceeded to grab it by the scruff of its neck like you would a cat, lifted it up and walked over to the side of the road where they laid it down in the grass. I was glad someone knew what to do and how to do it.

I waited on the side of the road and a police officer arrived about 15-20 minutes later. I explained the situation and left it in his capable hands. Cindy was calmed down a bit by then but was still so extremely sad. I said that it was probably a common occurrence due to the proliferation of deer in the area, but that didn’t make her feel much better.

Wednesday, after taking Bella for a walk, we drove down to St. Cloud to meet Cindy’s cousin Wendy and her husband Jeff for lunch. On the way we stopped at the Welcome Center in Baxter and got some photos with Paul Bunyan. No trip to Minnesota is complete without a Paul Bunyan photo! In St. Cloud we enjoyed a couple of hours eating lunch and visiting with Wendy and Jeff. Cindy was so glad to have the chance to catch up in person.

We drove back to Nomad and around 6 pm Chelsey and Nate came over for a visit, so we were happy to get the chance to meet him and spend some time with both of them. We saw Chelsey our first night there, but It was in a group and it has been about 12 years since we last saw her in Orlando, so it was nice to have some extra time to catch up. They also brought us a dozen eggs from their chickens and several cucumbers from their garden. Both added lots of fresh flavor to various meals we’ve had since then. Thanks guys!

Thursday we went into Brainerd and bought groceries for the next stop over in Wisconsin where there aren’t any nearby grocery stores. It was supposed to be raining that night and into the next morning, so we pulled in our larger slide-out so we didn’t have to do a lot in the rain the next morning. Fortunately it didn’t rain.

Cindy had been looking forward to this visit with family she hadn’t seen in person for quite a while and she enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks to each and every one of them for making the time to see us as we passed through Minnesota!

And thanks to you, for following The Wandering Wetheringtons.

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