PLAN A VACATION TRIP NOW in The Valley of the Minnesota River

PLAN A VACATION TRIP NOW in The Valley of the Minnesota River

June 10th, 2015

By Jon Wogen, TBC Board member……printed with permission by the Renville County Register


With gasoline prices slowly creeping back up each week, you may be having second thoughts about a summer vacation trip. DON’T.

As we go through more summers, we realize that we may only be allowed to have so many more. That means that we maybe shouldn’t put travel off to another summer if we can do it this year. Also the price of gas may go even higher in the future summers.

Remember the old poem by Robert H. Smith that goes like this: “The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour…”

Yes, higher costs of a future vacation trip, and the fact that we have no idea when our own life clock will stop, means that we must cast aside any excuses for not going to a desired destination this summer.

You may be like many of us who have a “bucket list”. I never knew just why it was called a bucket list, but just a list of things you want to accomplish could be just as good. It may include seeing some places you have never been able to go to before. It may include seeing the Grand Canyon, the National Parks in Utah, Glacier National Park in Montana, the Badlands of North Dakota and the Teddy Roosevelt Ranch, the Colorado Rockies or the South Dakota Badlands and the Black Hills. The list could be endless.

Along with the list above, let me give you a teaser: Wyoming. Wyoming has several mountain ranges and Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Devil’s Tower is there too. You may feel as I do when driving through Wyoming. I feel I am living in a movie with cowboys and Indians, stage coaches, and Cavalry soldiers riding across the plains. The place just gives me “goose bumps” as I see all of that scenery. History, wildlife and geology come alive in Wyoming.

In all of those places listed above, one can see great scenery, rock outcrops, and geological features that leave you in awe. The wildlife you can see in those places is nothing short of miraculous and the wild flowers scream for you to stop and take a photo. These photos you take this summer can be appreciated all of the next winter and will bring all of those memories back to you.

Are these trips just too far and too exotic for you? I understand. We just happen to live in one of the greatest tourist destinations in the country. Sure, it isn’t mountainous, but we do have a bunch of pretty hills. Minnesota is a great and satisfying place to vacation. Many of you take a long weekend vacation to a Minnesota city with special motels or hotels and lots of things to do. Many of us will vacation with the family at a great resort on a great lake. This may or may not involve fishing, but that certainly will be an option.

Just think about all of those great Minnesota State Parks. Many of you love camping and will pull a camper or pack tents for the family. Others will reserve a “camping cabin” at the State Parks for a bit of luxury if not into tent or camper camping. They are very nice and rustic.

Wildlife and lakes will accompany you on a camping vacation in Minnesota. State Parks have lots of native vegetation, wildlife, and scenery. You will find wild flowers blooming at any time during the warm season in those parks.

Just think about all the beauty of the Minnesota North Woods; and how about the North Shore of Lake Superior and the Duluth area? This area is calling out your name. The coniferous forest of the Minnesota Arrowhead Region is fantastic for scenery, true wilderness and good fishing. The Quetico/Superior Region is so fantastic that you need to go there.

Going a bit west and south of the coniferous forest is the Mixed coniferous and hardwood forest area. The towns of Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Bemidji, Nisswa, Pine River, Park Rapids, Detroit Lakes and others beckon to you to come and visit. Go.

Eastern Minnesota from the Twin Cities and south reveals the unglaciated southeast counties of Minnesota. This area includes the Mississippi River and the gorgeous towns and villages on both sides of the Great River. This area is wonderful for a vacation and is certainly close enough to us here. From Redwing to Winona and down the Great River quaint towns and villages scream for your attention and to come and stay with them. Great antiquing, scenery, wineries, shops, fishing, and boat watching are everywhere along the Great River. There are resorts on the Great River that will accommodate your family. They provide boats and guides for fishing if you wish also.

Other towns in this unglaciated area include Northfield, Cannon Falls, Zumbrota, Rochester, Chatfield, Preston, Rushford, and Caledonia. I hate to list any because we have to leave many out that are great tourist destinations. The Preston area has many Amish farms that can be visited on tours arranged in town. The trout fishing in this area of Minnesota is as good as anywhere in the country. The scenery is quite nice to view too. Great Bike/Hike trails are found in this area and many folks go there to do just that. A week isn’t long enough to take in all of the neat little towns in this southeast part of Minnesota.

By now you may think that, “Jon forgot his favorite vacation place—The Valley of the Minnesota River.”

Nope. That comes next week.


I found out that I wasn’t informed when the Olivia Pond was stocked this year and the fisheries folks sneaked in and dropped off about 150 pounds of crappies once again. So, even if a lot of our older fish probably died off during the winter with low water freezing pretty much to the bottom of the pond, we now have a renewed supply of fun fishing for kids and their families. Adults are welcome to come and fish the pond. If possible bring a kid. This is a good place to teach kids about fishing.

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