Saturday, June 16, 2012

Land rush

We are at the Riverside Park in Saint Peter, Minnesota (map). Saint Peter is a quaint little town right on US-169, and this is a lovely little park. They have pedestals here with 30-amp power for $20 per night, and in yesterday's muggy weather we decided that was a bargain. We have a nice spot right along the Minnesota River.

As I wrote here Wednesday, we spent Thursday driving around the southeastern corner of South Dakota looking at properties. We had a list of six parcels, all under $10,000, but we eliminated one of those because it already had a house on it (yes, incredibly, a house for less than ten grand), and we just did not want the liability of having a structure. Besides, it was the furthest from Sioux Falls, although ironically the closest to Madison.

By the end of the day, we had actually settled on a parcel that already had a street address assigned, in the city limits of Lennox, a small town just 20 minutes outside of Sioux Falls. There were actually two nearly identical parcels next door to each other, by the same seller. Since we had wrapped up our grand tour by early afternoon, we drove back to the Realtor's office to discuss details and make an offer. We offered about 80% of asking price and agreed we also wanted a "staked survey" at our expense, and also found out from our agent that he had a contractor who could handle the required mowing of the property once or twice a season. Yesterday we got an email back saying our offer had been verbally accepted, and the seller would also make us a smoking deal on the property next door if we wanted it (we don't). Now it is just a matter of waiting for the title report and finishing the paperwork.

On our way to the real estate office we made a nice stop at Falls Park to look at the falls and ascend the small observation tower there, passing the enormous John Morrell meat processing plant on our way. The entire area around the plant, including the falls, smells like smoking pork. We also enjoyed driving through the downtown area, something not really possible in Odyssey, and we noted a pleasant restaurant district as we did so.

After we finished at the Realtor's, we drove back to the Empire Mall, where we had left Odyssey in the morning as there was really no room for it in the parking lot of the giant Ford dealer that contained the car rental agency. We moved the bus across the street to the Walmart (map), the same one where we stayed two nights earlier. This time we parked adjacent to the back of the Barnes & Noble store, to try to get further away from the brutal Walmart parking-lot lights, and discovered we got free WiFi there. We drove back downtown for an excellent meal at Bros Brasserie Americano, for which Louise found a coupon on The evening weather was so pleasant that we ate on the patio, which made for great people-watching.

Yesterday we turned the car back in first thing in the morning; our total was $42 for the car and another $20 for gas at Sam's Club adjacent to Walmart -- way more cost-effective than the ~$100 it would have cost us to make the trip in the bus, plus we would not have been able to see the falls or have dinner downtown. It was a short walk from the rental agency back across the street to Walmart to get the bus. I did not blog yesterday because we wanted to get right on the road.

That's because we'd made plans to see our niece this weekend in Minneapolis. She lives in California but is on her way to summer camp in Minnesota, and spending a couple of days in the city first with her grandmother. As of yesterday morning, though, we did not know if we were going to meet today or tomorrow. On the chance we'd need to be in Minneapolis by lunch time today, we wanted to get an early start.

It wasn't long after we'd turned northeast on MN-60 from I-90, though, that Louise got word by text message that tomorrow would work better for them, and so we decided to end the day a bit earlier and not push all the way to the city yesterday. This little park was listed in Don Wright's book, and when we rolled into town we decided it would make a nice stop.

We took the scooters out and rode around town a bit in search of dinner. I had hoped to eat at the Cedars Grille in the historic Konsbruck Hotel, but we discovered that both had closed permanently, probably fairly recently. Instead we rode across the river to the Whisky River restaurant, which was quite popular on a Friday night. We shared the prime rib special, which was more than enough to feed both of us.

In a few minutes we will get rolling to Minneapolis. We were unable to find any inexpensive parking in the city, so we will have to bite the bullet and spring for an RV park while we are there. We'll spend just a night or two before heading east toward Wisconsin, where we plan to look at a boat.


  1. Oh look! It's the Lovely Louise! We don't get to see nearly enough of her.
    That park is pretty awesome too.
    Just thought I'd mention that so you won't think I'm a complete stalker.

  2. Wow... I attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, and ate many meals at the Whisky River. :-)

    1. Lance, we drove right past the college. Small world, huh?


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