We spent the weekend camping at Schroeder’s Park by Annandale – an old Henderson favorite. Schroeder’s is a Wright County park located on the north side of Cedar Lake that has 50 campsites, just off of MN-24. The trip is short, about 55 miles from home and what a flood of memories the trip brings.
The first time I was there was thirty years ago with LaVaun and Leo. They had camped there before and invited my family along. Leo would bring his boat along which made for a great time water skiing, fishing, and swimming. I remember us boys sleeping in their tent – Cracker would spin big yarns which were always followed by him telling us how grand he was. He was always my idol. Now that I think about it, he still is.
The trip takes us by Howard Lake and my mind goes back to my very early years when my cousins and my family would rent a couple of cabins at Timber’s Resort during the hot summer. I’ll never forget the first time I caught a fish which was on Howard Lake and the excitement that brings. Timber was the name of the old guy who owned the resort and what a character he was. I suppose with a name like Timber I didn't have to say he was quite the character. I’d give a hundred dollars to have a beer with him today around the fire.
When we get to Schroeder’s, I look through the window and I see Ruth is still there to greet us. I’m guessing Ruth is more than a few years past retirement age and her jet black hair and Italian look are wonderful, almost as impressive as her personality. She is such a magnificent person. Ruth has been working the park for 28 years. I hit the door and tell her happy birthday (July 14th) followed by who I am and the qualifier that I am from Henderson. Her face lights up and she tells me how everyone who comes from Henderson are such wonderful people. She names off Gary and Leo. She then thinks for a bit and says that the mailman is charming. Her mailman comment makes me pause as I never knew Lou camped. I respond with, “Yep, Henderson has a lot of great people in town.”
We spend most of the weekend relaxing on the beach at Schroeder’s. The beach is wonderful. The lake is very clear; when you are waist deep you can still see your feet. I was once told by a real estate person that Clearwater Lake, Sugar Lake, and Cedar Lake, which are all by each other, have fairly expensive property on them due to the clarity of the lakes. I would guess that to be true.
We also got the opportunity to use our obnoxiously large Megastation (picture at the top) that we bought at Sam’s Club. Some might even say the obnoxious piece fits the owner too, but it takes all types to make the world spin. The Megastation (big inflatable raft) comfortably seats four adults and makes for a great conversation piece. This is a good thing because on day two we had some kids come running to our campsite telling us it was floating away. The chain we had it tied coupled with the wind, caused the rope to break. Thankfully the wind was right and we only had to go about a couple hundred yards to get it.
On the way home we stop at Sunni’s in Howard Lake for breakfast. The place has some great old photos of Howard Lake. I open the menu and I am pleasantly surprised that they have biscuits and gravy on the menu. I go to the bathroom to wash my hands and notice a picture of 3 baseball players on the wall in the men’s can. From the looks of it, I would say the photo is from the 40’s. Their gleaming smiles along with those old uniforms with Howard Lake spelled out across their chests really make a great picture. I then notice under each player are their names hand wrote in ink: Jim, Chuck, and Timber. No wonder why they are happy, they are hanging out with Timber.
If you are interested in camping at Schroeder’s, they take reservations in early April. You can check out Wright County’s website for more information. They also keep about 5 sites open for drive-ups so you might be able to sneak in for a weekend if you are lucky.