After a productive first day of driving, we decided to spend the night free camping at Cabela's in St. Cloud, MN. My GPS was pronouncing the name of the store CA-be-las so of course, that became a joke of the trip. I stayed at a CA-be-las last night (August 2nd) because it is a really nice place to overnight for free. They welcome RVers and provide dog runs and even corrals for those traveling with horses.
Early on the morning of July 14th, we drove a short distance north to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman, MN. I usually never miss an opportunity to visit a National Wildlife Refuge when traveling if possible as I love to observe and photograph wildlife. This park was primarily about the waterfowl migration (which was not happening at the time we visited) there were not as many birds as one might see during the spring or fall. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and offered some nice scenery and pretty hikes.
We met a really interesting chap while at the refuge - a newly retired gentleman from the area who spends his days now photographing dragonflies. He educated us to the fact that there are over 150 different types of dragonflies... who knew? One thing I do know is how hard it is to photograph one of these beautiful but active insects. I thought of this man every time I saw a dragonfly for the rest of the trip.
We continued through northern Minnesota and then turned north to US Hwy 2. We've driven this highway through Wisconsin and Upper Michigan many times and I have also spent some time on it in Washington State but this stretch was new. We stopped for the night near Arvilla, ND at Turtle River State Park Campground. The drive across MN and ND to that point had been flat farmland and prairie but this state park is a little oasis of green trees and hills. They were full but allowed us to camp in an overflow area which was very nice. Beautiful weather so far - cool at night.