NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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Latest New Richland, Minnesota, weather

On a very, very foggy Thursday morning Genie and I drove to the 32nd Annual Eelpout Festival in Walker, MN. Vehicles were appearing and disappearing until we got to Highway 2 at Grand Rapids, MN. Because of the fog, it took two hours longer than normal. Fortunately, the temperature was in the mid-40s so the roads weren’t icy.

320 miles and we arrived at The Palace Casino and Hotel just west of Cass Lake where we stayed four nights. Brian gave us a great welcome back upon check in.

Because of the warm weather creating unsafe ice conditions, only ATVs and snowmobiles were allowed to drive onto Leech Lake. The Cass County Sheriff’s vehicles were at each ramp onto the lake enforcing the ban on the vehicles.

With the ban of vehicles on the lake it created a problem of parking space in Walker plus wall-to-wall people on shore. Genie and I didn’t enter the Karaoke contest as there were too many waiting their turn in the Trapper’s Lodge. The Trapper’s Lodge was a huge tent with Karaoke on one end, a meal of eelpout nuggets and fries on the other end, and an ice bar with ice sculptures in the middle. We had our picture taken sitting on an eelpout ice sculpture.

We even saw Grandma Jane and Grandpa Dan with grandchildren Ellie and Aaron from Albert Lea looking at all of the eelpout which had been caught. (The biggest was 13.33 lbs.) For more details talk to Jane at the Albert Lea Medical Center Pharmacy.

We attended Sunday church at Trinity Lutheran on Highway 2 west of Cass Lake. The bulletin stated to let Ardean know if you are not able to attend the Meatball Dinner next Sunday — so we let him know we couldn’t!

To Karin, William, Bill, Eric and son “H.B.,” Betsy, Jennifer, Chris her, Chris him, Lisa (welcome back,) Jason, River, Auntie Kim, Brian, Robert, Maggie, Audrey, Vernae, Bernice, Sheila, Sharyl and the rest of the employees at the Palace, you are all guest treatment specialists.

In talking to Brian at the motel desk, he had noticed the bath towels have gotten smaller, too. We decided it was just like candy bars and cars being made smaller than before.

In driving the highway between Cass Lake and Walker this summer, notice the country store at Wilkenson as Lisa is hoping to re-open it.

The Palace Hotel has a room rate special of $30 Mon-Thur and $45 Fri-Sat. for March and April of 2011. Call (800) 442-3910 for reservations. The facility has a snack bar, a bingo hall, a non-smoking dining room, a smaller casino with an 80-unit motel and indoor pool all under one roof, plus “about you” guest specialists.

Some of the local hustlers, with lots of head hair, were peddling a tiny, raw eelpout, a small red jalapeno, and a glass of home brew for $10. They guaranteed if you ingested all of it, the results would be lots of hair on your head. They told me it was a fundraiser for the local Lie-ons Club. So far, I’m still bald!

The 320 mile drive home on the President’s Holiday was very slow with lots of vehicles in the ditch due to icy conditions. It took two hours longer than normal.

True trivia — 2200 ice anglers went fishing on a beautiful (weatherwise) Saturday in February at Lake Agnes, Alexandria, MN. They were all successful “ice” anglers and nothing else. The organizers decided to double up on the prizes next year!

Many thanks to Ken Bertelson for filling in as greeter at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church during my absence.

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