Postcards from the Perimeter
From the highway, Northern Minnesota appears as sparsely populated as North Dakota.
Then again, I couldn’t see very far! Practically at the border between ND and MN, wild terrain and open sky become tamed by trees.
Speaking of wild, Minnesotians go “ricing”. At first I thought it was that famous Minnesooota accent and the person I was talking with was discussing racing. But, apparently “wild ricing” is a thing here. Sounds intriguing! There’s even an allowable harvest period for wild rice, like fishing and hunting. And this year the harvest is supposed to be great.
Since our previous Perimeter Postcard, we (the dogs and I) drove all the way across Northern MN (without eating any wild rice, sadly) to the tip of Lake Superior where lies the city of Duluth. And my sister, Mary.
I stopped in Duluth for 4 days to visit.
Alas, it was not until we left that I realized I only took pictures of their dog, Max! None of my sister, brother-in-law, nephews or friends. Oops, dang!
And no proof of my impressive parking job (I backed into their narrow driveway, surrounded by low roof line and tree limbs, from a busy steep-sloped street with barely a dent in her neighbor’s flower bed.)
Here’s a short video of Max with my dogs in Max’s garden. Zack searches for exits, Zoe attacks Max’s toys, and Max … well, he can’t bare to watch …
Boarding the Dogs
I boarded the dogs for 3 nights in Duluth, for 3 main reasons:
- to make visiting easier … not every house is Zack-proof
- to test my theory that boarding dogs while road tripping can be less stressful than I imagine
- give Zack and Zoe a break from the leash and lead, let them run with other dogs
The boarder came recommended by Mary and by the local vet (Zack and Zoe had to be parasite tested, a pre-requisite which I think is a good sign of a good boarder.)
The facility was neat and trim. Zack and Zoe went out the back door to the grounds with no reluctance. So far so good.
I detailed food and medication instructions like any good neurotic dog mom, asked that no humpers jump on Zoe (bad hips) and handed over dehydrated food and pills.
They were very reassuring and said dogs are separated by temperament and size.
When I eagerly picked them up 3 days later, they seemed eager to see me but not necessarily frantic to leave. Again, very good signs.
All in all, it was fairly low stress.
Zoe didn’t poop for 36 hours afterwards. And Zack’s poop did not represent their dehydrated food. (Sorry to keep talking about poop poop poop, but it’s such a fabulous indicator of health!)
I can’t help but assume they were not fed exclusively our own food. It doesn’t seem to bother Zack, but Zoe’s system is a more sensitive.
Plus they came back to me too energized.
When I asked how they got along with other dogs, the boarder said they were not socialized (“we like to keep the dogs separate to see how they do with other dogs for next time”.)
I was a little disappointed. I was hoping they’d get to play and tumble, not be housed in a kennel with scheduled outdoor kennel time alone.
All In All, a Good Boarding
Nonetheless, they were off-leash for an extended period, and returned to me safe and sound. I’d say that’s a good boarding experience.
I decided to ask more questions prior to boarding:
- Can you reassure me that the dogs will be fed their own food?
- Will they get to play with other dogs? What kind of exercise opportunities will they have?
- How will they spend their days?
From Duluth we drove less than 2 hours into Wisconsin to a campground.
On the way there, I took a back-road and ran into my first too-low overpass! (not literally, I didn’t drive past the warning sign.) We backed up and found an alternative route.
My good friend, Holly, drove 7 hours each way to pitch her tent at our spot and visit for a while. It was quite nice.
And the campground, Pattison State Park, was great. Campsites were spacious and treed. There’s a lake and trails and waterfalls and expanses of lawn for picnicking and events and game playing.
Dogs are welcome in the park, but not allowed in the family-fun area, but there are marked trails where we could walk.
Where to Next?
After almost a week of very little driving, I’m back on the road heading east. Next stop: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (aka: the U.P.) I’m excited to see it!