Vacationing In Minnesota..A Gamble

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 9:45 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m not supposed to be here.

Let me rephrase that. Linda and I were planning to be out of town over the weekend and part of this week on a mini vacation to the North Shore of Lake Superior and Northern Minnesota woodlands. But those plans changed after spending a little travel-planning time on the computer which revealed lousy weather in the forecast and hotel/motel rates in that part of the world are OUT of this world. Even the thrifty folks at the Duluth Super 8 somehow believe one of their rooms is worth 135 dollars for a Friday night in the summertime., it’s not. Not even if the room has a view of the lift bridge and they throw in a few postcards of the Edmund Fitzgerald before and after she sank to the bottom of Lake Superior, I’m not shelling out that kind of money. But somebody IS apparently because most of the places had even higher rates and were full up.

jackpot junction packing 006

So, being really smart people, we decided to go to Jackpot Junction near Redwood Falls instead.  Okay,’s a casino. But room rates are half of you have a shot, albeit a remote one, at WINNING the entire cost of vacation  back. Okay, yeah, that didn’t happen but at least there’s the thrill of the wager. Okay, yeah..I don’t play casino games myself anymore but Linda and our friends, Denny and Joanie, do and were happy with the choice. It also gave Denny and me a chance to tackle Dakotah Ridge golf course again.

jackpot junction dakota ridge golf

Dakotah Ridge, which is affiliated with the casino, is simply the nicest public course I’ve ever been on. Its bent-grass fairways are like putting greens and, on those rare occasions when we actually landed a drive on one, we felt uncomfortable hitting down on the ball for fear we’d tear up the beautifully manicured surface. That must be the reason neither of us played very well. Yeah, that’s it.

We gave “Big Red” (our massive old high miles Lincoln) a break this trip and took Denny’s Nissan. It’s a very comfortable and economical car but at first glance you are convinced there’s no way all of our luggage AND two sets of golf clubs will ever fit into that trunk.

jackpot junction packing 001

Denny ought to charge a fee for letting people watch as he performs his magic show.

As Joanie describes a romantic evening to Linda, Denny struggles to remember how he got it all to fit the last time..the luggage, that is.

As Joanie describes a romantic evening to Linda, Denny struggles to remember how he got it all to fit the last time..the luggage, that is.

And show at 2

And show at 2

It may take a few tries, but he somehow manages to get everything in its proper place so the trunk lid will close…barely.

We may not have gotten up into the Minnesota woods this time but we did travel through a forest of those silly spendy whirligigs spinning away along the breezy Buffalo Ridge.

jackpot junction windmills

No, I’m not going on another rant about how obtrusive and landscape-spoiling I find them to be but I did take particular pleasure in seeing one of the turbines at a standstill with its giant prop hanging limp as if  it had been in a collision.

A confrontation with a Bald Eagle or Whooping Crane, perhaps?


  1. joanie says:

    It really was a great trip–however, next time I want to go to a McDonalds that will give me egg and
    cheese in my sandwich, and not just the meat!! Yes, it truly was another great road trip and to think
    we went back to our original VESTA where it all started!! I’m so proud of Denny for getting everything in
    it’s proper place–even at 70, he knows just where things belong!

  2. grouse says:

    Geez…Once again, I told ya so! Duluth is for people from the upper peninsula of Michigan or half crazed Canadians looking for what they consider warmth and solace. You brought you own clubs??!! For a pittance you could have rented a nice set of Callaway’s….Now, I realize they’ll never beat the Austad’s brand, but waste not want not. Wasn’t this your anniversary? A nice romantic get-a-way for two….basking in the glow of years of happiness together….Sipping some special champagne…perhaps a romantic dip in the hot tub.? Now that’s what I would have done! Me and my little cupcake sipping a nice glass of champagne (from a bottle this time) in a warm, romantic hot tub, eating strawberries and order a nice fillet and some succulent crab legs from room service. But that’s just me.

  3. Steve says:

    It’s a good thing that your trip wasn’t this weekend and you were gambling on staying in a Minnesota State park. That looks to be a real 50 – 50 wager.

  4. Hemmingsen says:

    or a lightning strike?

  5. Eric says:

    I have an electrical engineering friend that has confirmed those to likely be lightning strikes. Up by Hendricks there are actually quite a few of them that also have a burnt, black tint to the otherwise white wings. I found it quite interesting.

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