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Our Maiden Voyage, Lake Itasca State Park (That almost didn’t happen)

Welcome back! Two years have come and gone since the first blog, And it is SO good to be writing again. I still get questions about what is Tommy up to? What’s the latest with T4? A LOT has happened since then. Above you, you will see a Menu button. If your new here, you can see  who we are as a family  and why we are starting a family travel blog! With that being said, come Trekking with T4 through Lake Itasca State Park on our first trip in our new travel trailer!

When Covid happened this spring, Travis and I saw the writing on the wall that traveling would look different from now on and we started looking at RVs.  In early May, we took the plunge after  viewing a Taxa Mantis and ordered one. It was supposed to arrive in late June. We made camping reservations for the 4th of July and planned to take it to a family reunion. Due to Covid and high demand for trailers, our trailer was delayed a month.  Sadly, we had to cancel both trips. 

Finally, we got the call that our trailer had in fact shipped from Houston, TX and was in route to MN! Ekkkk!!! Our third planned trip of the year, to Itasca State Park, was scheduled for the day after it was now supposed to arrive! We could still go! But in true 2020 fashion, the most unexpected thing happened and not in a good way. Our trailer never arrived in MN. And the dealer could not reach the driver of the RV transporter.

Our trailer was legit missing.

Almost 30 hours after it went missing, it was finally located in Kansas City. Bizarre. The transporter that it had been on had been hit by a car in route. I know – you can’t make this stuff up. Luckily our unit was fine, but the poor driver! The owner of the transport company ended up driving it through the night and it arrived in MN a day late. Our trip had to be shortened, but we could still go! So you can imagine our excitement when we finally saw the RV in the flesh when daddy brought it home! Here are the kids waiting for it to arrive and seeing it for the first time.

We were bound and determined to go on our Maiden Voyage trip in our new TAXA Mantis! So we packed ALL night long and were off the next morning! We arrived at Pinewood Campground around late afternoon and were joined by my parents who are also RVers! It was hot, so first up was JUMPING into Lake Itasca at the beach!

If you don’t know Itasca was the first state park in Minnesota! And for good reason – it’s where the Mississippi River begins and you can swim in the headwaters! Which Teagan did – in her clothes.

Then we came home for some good old campfire fun, which included Teagan’s spooky stories and teaching the two year old Tommy how to eat corn on the cob.

We adored having our Mantis and were asked about it quite a bit by curious camp site neighbors. It was so fun to finally set up a campsite with all this gear we have been accumulating. The camping rug even matched the RV – score! Priorities 😉 If you are curious why we chose this trailer please click on the tab “Our Trailer”. We go into why this unit was perfect for our family. Teagan will tell you when she saw the bunk beds – she was sold .

The next day we did the Wilderness Drive Loop in our car. In the park are Minnesota’s “formerly” largest White and Red Pine. The trees still stand but died in recent years. They were giant! Almost as big as the mosquitoes in the old growth forests you had to walk through to see them 😉

Afterwards we took the kids to see Indian Burial Mounds deep in a forest and to see what life had been like on the frontier for settlers.

At night we had family dinners with my parents who were camping at a near by site! Followed by tons of playground time. All and all we had a good Maiden Voyage and learned so much about our trailer and Itasca State Park.

So what did we learn?

At the end of every blog I will add a section called T4 Tips & Tricks (aka where we succeeded at something) and Trials and Tribulations (where we share our mistakes so you don’t have to make them). Learning is the name of the game as newbies to RVing! So with that….

T4 Trials & Tribulations:

  • Its a good idea to check if you have water hook ups – ya know so you can fill your RV with water before you leave 😉
  • Make your electrical cord is long enough to reach your electricity plug in – kinda key haha
  • Book early enough so that you don’t have to move sites in the middle of your trip
  • Pinewood campground was just okay -lack of privacy. We heard the best one to stay in was Bear Paw. If you are in Pinewood Campground though we suggest sites that back up to the woods. We loved site 148. It also had a path to the playground!
  • Cook heavy smoke items outside on a portable gas grill – not in the kitchen. The Mantis has a sensitive fire alarm – opps.

T4 Tips & Tricks:

  • Itasca has amazing bike paths and you can rent bikes right there! You can get to most anywhere via bike. Once our kids are older we will definitely partake in the bike rentals!
  • Wilderness Drive is a must! The park has one main road that has many pull offs and overlooks. Makes things very easy to find with in the park!
  • The park has a swimming beach PLUS playground – HOLY GRAIL!
  • The hiking is beautiful – we loved Pioneers Grove.
  • If your kids are sleeping in bunk beds in a Mantis you can use a bungee cord and grommet curtains to make a privacy curtain (and use a sound machine for good measure ;)) to ensure everyone gets a good night sleep!

In upcoming posts I’ll do a detailed interior trailer tour and camping gear review!

Until next time – thanks for Trekking with T4 through Itasca State Park!


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