Small town, USA

Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
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Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Saturday, August 22, 2009

We moved homesites on Wednesday, arriving in Grand Rapids after a short, uneventful but wet 90 mile drive.  Our home for the next week is Pokegama Dam Recreation Area.   This small, 19 site, campground is run by the Army Corps of Engineers.  As with almost all Corps campgrounds our site only has electric hookups, but we do have a wonderful view of the Mississippi River out our windows. 

Since the Corps is responsible for building & maintaining dams, levees and locks almost all of their parks are located on or near the water. I like it here and am always my happiest in these type of campgrounds.  I will gladly give up fullhookups any day for the opportunity to be 'in nature', so to speak! 

As I mentioned, it has been raining. Quite a bit actually.  We feel like we haven't really experienced a summer yet.  We also seem to have missed Spring.  It has been unusually wet every where we have gone these past few months.  Not typical weather, we have been assured. 

Because of the weather our first days sightseeing involved indoor sights.   First up, the Blandin Paper Mill.  This company has been located in Grand Rapids since the early 1900's.  They produce what is called light weight coated ( LWC ) magazine and catalog paper.  The process is surprisingly simple, fast and fascinating.  I don't think we will ever look at a magazine or catalog the same way again!! 

After our tour we spent some time visiting with our tour guides - both long time employees who retired from the company years ago.  Seems their wifes had signed them up to be tour guides to get them out of the house!!  Nice guys, one of them actually stopped off at the coach later in the day to drop off a couple of trees....

After the Mill we headed over to the Itasca County Historical Museum.  Located in the old Central School it proved an interesting way to kill an hour or two.   Of course, Grand Rapids claim to fame is being the home of Judy Garland so we had to make the trip out to her childhood home for a few photos. 

By Saturday the sun had finally decided to come out.  We didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to do some outdoor sightseeing and headed down the road to Hill Annex Mine State Park.  Located just a short 16 miles from Grand Rapids this was one of the largest and most productive steel mines in the country. 

The mine opened in 1907 and closed in 1978.  The mines most productive years coincided with WWII in which they supplied the ore for armaments from ships to tanks.  There is still iron ore here, they just don't have the ability to mine it in a cost effective way.  Rest, assured someone will figure out a way to do it, probably in the near future.   The park contains a museum as well as a guided 1 1/2 hour bus tour.  Both very interesting and worthwhile if you should ever find yourself in the area. 

One last thing.  Travelpod allows us to attach websites to entries - yet another plus to our new choice of blog.  If you want to learn more about Grand Rapids and the sites we've visited, as well as the ones we haven't you can click on this link:  www.visitgrandrapids.com  It's the one I used to learn about the area. 
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Where I stayed
Pokegama Dam Corp of Engineers Campgound - $24 a nite for 50 amp only

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