Park Rapids, MN 7/31 - 8/13

We had the blown tire replaced in Fargo before we headed to Park Rapids today (7/31). The total cost to us was $22.99. We were very pleased to say the least. The last time this happened to us on the 5th wheel it cost us over $170 and Goodyear would not reimburse us; and that tire had less than 1500 miles on it.

Anyway, we made it to Al (Allen) and Marti Shallbetter's Whippoorwill Resort on Upper Bottle Lake about 12 miles North East of Park Rapids. Al is my brother George's son. It is a wonderful spot on the North end of the lake with a great sand beach. Al and Marti built their own home (shown on the left) by themselves. Quite an accomplishment by itself. (1 of 8)

On Wednesday night Ann Moroz (my brother Jerry's daughter) came over for dinner. Seated in the front starting on the left are Maggie and her mother Marti Shallbetter, her son Travis, Susan, and Ann. Al (Allen) Shallbetter and Uncle Bill are in the back.

I haven't seen Ann since she was about 15 years old so it was a real pleasure seeing her again. Her and her husband own the Bear Paw resort on a nearby lake.
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When you are in this area you must visit Itasca State Park and the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Susan is standing next to a sign that reads "Here 1475 feet above the ocean the mighty Mississippi begins to flow on it's winding way 2357 miles to the Gulf of Mexico."

The rocks behind her are the crossing the Mississippi.
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On Sunday August 6 we all went to the local event called the "Taste of Dorset". Dorset is a small town, about two blocks long, that has six (I think) restaurants and on this day they all have their food available for tasting. However, one of the main events is the Minnow Race. I thought Al was kidding me when he mentioned it, but yes there was a minnow race as you can see above. The minnows are kept in a separate tank and you choose the one you want. They are then placed in their lane and when ready the gates are opened. The first minnow to cross the finish line is the winner. And on the right is the proud winner, no other then Travis Shallbetter. (4 of 8)

One of the major features of the Whippoorwill Resort is the availability of seaplane rides given by none-other than Al Shallbetter. His seaplane is a Cessna 172 with a 180 hp engine and constant speed propeller. (5 of 8)

There are plenty of fun things to do at the lake. Here Susan is riding one of the resorts water bikes. These really scooted along with very little effort. We were thinking they would be fun on the canals in Florida. And Bill got an opportunity to drive a Bobcat after we had a deluge on Monday that washed much of their beach away. So Al had two loads of sand delivered and rented the Bobcat to distribute the sand on the beach. (6 of 8)

On Monday August 14 we had to leave the Whippoorwill Resort and the hospitality of Al and Marti and Travis and Maggie.

When we arrived on July 31 we thought we'd be staying four or five days. However, the longer we stayed the more difficult it was to leave. Finally after staying for two weeks we had to get on with our Journey. Susan and I both agreed that we had just spent two of the most enjoyable and relaxing weeks since we started on our journey in April of last year. We hope this is just the first of many visits together.
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360 degree view of Upper Bottle Lake and Whippoorwill Resort.
We took this panoramic shot from a pontoon boat just offshore from the resort. The resort is situated on the north shore of the lake so the beach has sun all day long. Al and Marti have plans to reside all the cabins with the half-log siding to match the house. It really is a very pleasant place to stay. (8 of 8)