A week at Birch Point Camp
Jul 13, 2015
|Hazel and I spent a week on the Canadian border at Birch Point Camp, located on Rainy Lake, a few miles East of International Falls. We lived in the Falls for 10 years, leaving there nearly 30 years ago, but we still have a number of friends up there, and it was a good opportunity to see them.
Birch Point Camp is a great place to stay, close to the big resorts, and not far from town. Cell phone service was a real problem, not that we didn't have a signal, but that it was coming from a tower located across the lake in Canada. We had the same problem two years ago when we came here, and when I got back home, I had a $270 roaming bill that took two hours on the phone to get unwound. This time, I was alert to the problem and called Verizon. It is strange that local Verizon customers don't have this situation, it only seems to hit the out-of-towners like me, and I wound-up buying 100 minutes of roaming time for $15, hopefully a cure.
While we were setting up camp, the owner came by, I mentioned the cell phone problem, and said that it sure would be nice if I could get internet. "You know", he said, "a camper mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago that he was able to get into my computer WiFi". I immediately fired-up my computer and attached the EnGenius WiFi amplifier, and there it was, a strong signal from "Birch Point Camp" with no password. And, the owner thought that internet connection was only for himself, amazing.
My daughter Annie, her husband Steve, and the four children arrived after midnight, the kids piled into the motorhome and crashed everywhere. Steve and Annie laid-down the seats in the van and spent the rest of the night there. In the morning, they set-up their tent.
The real purpose of the trip was a week-long hockey camp at the arena in International Falls, so my daughter and family were gone much of the time, except for two-year-old Sasha. On the second day, our friends Don and Sandee from St. Paul arrived, parking their 30' Class A motorhome next to ours. About that time, my friend from the Falls called, inviting Don and me out to his cabin the next day.
The next day, Don and I drove to Tilson Bay, a good spot for a boat to land, and Clint was there to pick us up, giving us a nice tour, stopping at Sha-Sha Resort for a beer, then to the Voyageur National Park Visitor Center.
More boating, including a stop at a gold mine, cira 1910, and then on to Clint's cabin, meeting more friends there, Clint's wife, and my friends Dave and Helen, and our old neighbor Jim. Beer, brauts, corn on the cob, and lots of story telling, a good day on the lake.
Sleeping space was a little tight in our motorhome, so Hazel and I slept in the tent one night, and then accepted an invitation from Don and Sandee to use their sofa bed for two nights, a welcome relief after we'd spent the previous night on an air mattress.
The weather couldn't have been better, in the mid-80's all week, no rain, and few mosquitoes. On Saturday, Hazel was off to visit friends, and I went to Island View Lodge, a resort a few miles up the lake, for lunch with Annie, Steve, and family. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, it was getting warm, and we headed out to the deck to eat outside. Twenty tables, but only two had umbrellas, both occupied. The waitress came out and I said "You need more umbrellas!" She replied, "Oh, we really don't need any, but extremely old people ask for them". I replied, "Well, lady, you're talking to one". Annie noticed a table around the corner that was in the shade, and we took that one.
We'd driven up from Princeton in Interstate 35 to Cloquet, then on to International Falls on highway 53. On the way home, Hazel suggested we take a different route, highway 169 through Grand Rapids and it was a good idea, not so much traffic, going through several small towns, with beautiful scenery the entire way.
As we headed down the last road to home, Nuggie interrupted her nap on our dashboard, noting that things were starting to look familiar.