We are driving the motor home up the western side of Minnesota with a couple stops in mind. One of the most important was to see friends that live in the pretty city of Alexandria. Tim and Karen live right on Lake Victoria, and we got to live like locals while we visited them.
They took us for a kayak trip across their lake, and we launched right from their back yard. We love it that the lakes are so accessible and seem to be everywhere.
As we returned from our kayak trip, we could see their house and dock, nestled among the trees. They live in the city limits of Alexandria, but it looks like some forest retreat far away from civilization. If one dreams of having a home on the lake, Alexandria is a great place to live. We read that the Alexandria area has more than 350 pristine lakes!
We're thinking that it must be a state law that every Minnesota citizen must own at least one boat. Tim and Karen are good citizens because they own kayaks and a motor boat. Another day we took off in that boat to check out the series of lakes that connect to each other.
We had heard the term "chain of lakes" but really didn't understand what that meant. Today we experienced it first-hand. When we left Lake Victoria, we motored through a little channel that connected it to Lake Geneva. It was interesting that cars were literally driving right over our heads.
The lakes are rising from the increased rains this summer, and it almost felt like we needed to duck to get through the narrow connector.
Speaking of ducks, this family gave us an escort as we entered into yet another lake.
Eleven different bodies of water are connected in this chain of lakes. Our final destination was Le Homme Dieu Lake, where we had a delicious meal at a lake-side restaurant.
We can't say that we've ever had a parking space quite like this for a meal.
It was a great ride through our first chain of lakes. Sometimes we also crossed under bike path bridges. Alexandria is in the middle of a paved 55-mile-long bike trail that winds through many of these lakes. Denisa's bum ankle kept us off this trail, so we'll just have to come back to try it another trip!
Our private boat tour also included a private house tour. Their son and wife are building a house on one of the chain-of-lakes, and we got to see the construction in progress. Did we mention that we also had perfect weather for our boat tour?
It was fun to live like a local, and get to meet our friends' family. They have four children and eight grandchildren that live within a two-hour drive. The grandkids take turns staying with them on the lake during the summer. While there, they can also go to swimming lessons at the indoor pool at a nearby school. We got a look at the local school system. This is the pool at the middle school. To get to the pool, we had to walk down the hall past the orchestra room, the theatre room, and the choir room. It makes us wonder what a high school would look like! It looks like Minnesota's school systems are well-funded and first-rate.
We also made the trip to watch another granddaughter's blast ball game. While some thing are different in other states, some things are the same. We can report that three-year-olds in other states prefer to wear their baseball gloves on their heads instead of their hands. One player preferred to wear her plastic high heel princess shoes to run the bases. Some things are the same wherever we travel.
After the game, we went to their daughter's house--which also includes a hair salon. If you know how much Denisa hates to find a place to get her hair cut, you will know that she loved getting a cut from one of these Minnesota locals! We took a picture on the way home, with both of the women sporting new hair cuts.
We loved our local experience as we made our way through the charming town of Alexandria. In the park downtown, we were greeted by Big Ole, the world's tallest viking. Ole was built in 1965 for the New York World's Fair. But he has lived in Alexandria since the close of the Fair, and the town has come to love him. In fact, two years ago they paid for a make-over of this guy, which explains why he looks so young.
As we're standing in the shadow of Ole's boots, we're so happy to have this opportunity to live like a Minnesota local. Thanks Tim and Karen for making us feel so welcome, and making us a part of your little piece of heaven on the lake!