Alan and I met Mark, his daughter Kara and Storm at the rest area near Ankeny on I-35. Storm is not in our crew but he and Kara are really good friends so they wanted to ride up together. They arrived before 8am and we had good driving weather all the way to Ely, MN. Mark drove until about 2 hours from Ely and I drove the rest of the way.
We arrived at the outfitter around 4pm. Check in seemed to take forever. We all had to watch the "Leave No Trace" camping video, get our gear, plan our routes, pay for outstanding balances, etc. We also did a little crew member swapping. Storm was supposed to be in the fishing group but he's really not into fishing. Bobby was supposed to be in our group but he is really into fishing so they traded. Now Storm is in our group. Our 5th member, Luis, rode up in a different vehicle.
It was almost 8pm when we finished and headed to supper at The Chocolate Moose. Service was a bit slow (that might have had something to do with them being about the only place open that late) but the food was very good. It was a little on the pricey side but then, everything in town is.
For supper, most of us ordered appetizers instead of meals. I had Thai lettuce wraps that were very good. Mark said his walleye cakes were good. Kara's quesadilla was really good.
I did in find 2 embroidered T-shirts for $25. I had to pay cash...for some reason their machine wouldn't take my card. The woman working the register said they'd been having problems with it.
After supper we sorted through all the group gear we'd brought to get rid of duplicates, stuff we didn't need, etc. I packed up my stuff that was weeded out and the clothes I was going to wear home and put it all in a daypack to stay in the car while we were out. (Picture is Mark, Kara and Luis sorting gear outside the bunkhouse where we spent the night)