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Not Quite Lewis and Clark

Where to Park?

If you’ve ever been to a city, concert, or even an extended family gathering you probably realize the importance of parking. Nothing can ruin a day faster than coming back to your car only to find you were ticketed, booted, or even towed. Now imagine trying to stash your car somewhere for roughly two and a half months! Even the laziest of meter maids are bound to find your car. With a 19’ canoe, and enough gear to rival Lewis and Clark’s original expedition; Trent and I decided our best bet to get out to Lake Itasca, Minnesota is to make the over 1,500-mile drive from New Hampshire. That left us with two options.

First we looked into renting a car. Problem was that’s neither cheap or convenient. To get out to Bemidji, Minnesota (which is still more than 30 miles from the lake) it would run us $629 for a four-day trip, and that’s putting the car on hold months in advance.  Chalk it up to things that don’t make sense, but it’s actually more expensive to only have the car for two or three days. If we wanted to save a few bucks we could drop the vehicle off in the area’s biggest city, Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s only $239 for the same time period, and if you like micro-brews or learning about Gerald Ford Grand Rapids is a fine place.  Problem is it’s also an hour and a half from our destination, and if one person has to hitch hike back we may never see them again.

(The Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan)

Which led us to our second option, driving out our own car and leaving it at the Lake Itasca State Park. Kudos to Trent here for going through the following steps:

  • He emailed the Lake Itasca State Park ( and explained our dilemma.
  • Vicki (I’m picturing Katey Sagal “Peggy Bundy” in Married with Children) promptly responded, and directed him to Park Security Supervisor Greg Lanners (
  • Greg then asked for four things in order to keep our car there for the summer
    • The car’s make, model, color, and license plate number
    • An approximate return date
    • A Minnesota State Park Parking Pass (say that 5x fast) which goes for $25
    • Finally, an official doctor’s note stating he never again had to miss a Minnesota Vikings game in order to do Sunday brunch with his wife.

So that’s how we plan to out to Minnesota. We’ll take our own car, visit family along the way, and then leave it in Minnesota. As for getting back now that could be a bit more difficult, but we’ll tackle that problem another day. 

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