Friday, July 21, 2017

Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

July 14 - 16, 2017:

I followed routes 5 - 181 - 66 - 11- 17 - 8 - 2 today to arrive at Zippel Bay State Park in Williams, Minnesota.  It was mostly prosperous looking farm country passing through several very Scandinavian towns.  As we get closer to Zippel Bay State Park in Minnesota the country turns more barren with dirt side roads which appear to dead end at lake and marsh country.  We pass many many hunting blinds within sight of the road, seems like everyone has one. 


Love these old North Dakota indian head highway signs


Old hunting and fishing camp on route 11

The Scandinavian presence is strong here

Near the campground is this nice appearing scooter chained
on the back of this junk truck ?

Entrance sign for Zippel Bar campground

You go through the entrance to Zippel Bay State Park and then drive a couple of miles down a narrow dirt road through the forest, squeaking past tree branches,  to get to the campground.  Once there, the campground is nice, with good sized sites for our 30 footer, if larger it would be tight to get into.  It’s very secluded beautiful spot with many paper birch trees, ferns, wild strawberries and Twinkles even found some wild blueberries.  The peeling birch bark is beautiful and I had forgotten how smooth and soft the inner bark feels to the touch.  There are many flies and mosquitos mostly in the evening, but not awfully excessive.


A very green campsite

Love these paper birch trees

Driving through here to the campground loop

Another 2 miles of dirt road takes you to the shores of Zippel Bay on the massive Lake of the Woods.  There is a swimming beach, although calling it a swimming beach might be a stretch, picnic grounds and a hiking trail along the Lake.  The lake is a beautiful sight and enormous at over 70 miles long and wide with 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline making it the 7th largest freshwater lake in the US.



The lake shoreline is eroding into the trees in places


In other places nice sandy beaches


Zippel Bay has some history starting with Wilhelm Zippel who settled here in 1887 and started a Fishery.  The fishing was good, enticing other settlers and a small village was established which flourished until about 1909.  All remains of the village are gone today

There a number of remaining towns along route 11 which is known as the “Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway”.  Route 11 runs next to the old Great Northern Railroad line which is now the Canadian National.  
The closest town is Williams which has seen better days, but it does have the Dickies Head Shop and several old weathered buildings and a grain elevator.


Grain Elevator in Williams

Dickies Head Shop, diner and adult products ?

Traveling to the east on route 11 is Warroad, an indian name for the route they used to war upon each other.  Warroad was a transportation hub being both a port city on the Lake of the Woods and a stop on the Great Northern Railway.  The restored Canadian National Railroad Depot is a beauty and is now used as City Hall.  Across the street is a beautiful modern, senior center, library and cultural center.  The cultural center was closed, but I got a brief look at it as the door was open, so I walked in and a most friendly woman volunteered to turn on the lights and let me look around even though they were closed.  
I’m not a hockey fan, but Warroad is a crazy hockey town known as "Hockeytown USA".  Every US olympic hockey team to win a gold medal has had a player from Warroad on the rooster.  Warhead is also the home and manufacturing center of Marvin Door and Window Company which is a major manufacturer and employer in this area.


Warhead City Hall formerly the Great Northern Railroad Depot

Traveling west on route 11 is the town of Baudette which is known as the “Walleye Capital of the World”  and the home of 40 foot "Willie Walleye" on Main Street.  Baudette is another railroad town and a US port of entry to the Canadian province of Ontario. 


The former Great Northern Railroad Depot in Baudette


Many outfitter shops in the Baudette,  nice Totem Pole


Willie Walleye

Baudette Water Tower

Waiting at a train crossing

On Sunday we went for a walk along the shoreline of the Lake of the Woods.  I love that name, it sounds so romantic and exotic, its wonderful to just say you were at the Lake of the Woods.  On Sunday, everyone left our camp loop and we had the whole place all to ourselves.


Nice day for a walk on the beach


A scenic resting place

I also liked this rocky shore area


It took a while, but I eventually caught this dragonfly in my viewfinder


We leave on Monday morning continuing east on the “Water of the Dancing Sky scenic route”, commonly called route 11 which passes through several scenic small towns.

The next stop is the Woodenfrog Campground near Yoyaguers National Park, Minnesota;

Twinkles and Slick 

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