Albert Lea

We spent three nights at Myre-Big Island State Park just outside of Austin, MN in the town of Albert Lea. It seems like on these touring trips that we always end up with one State Park annual pass. This year it is Minnesota. The Minnesota State Parks charge for campgrounds but also charge a $5 day fee for the car. (This was the same for Texas and Colorado.) If you are going to stay more than a couple of nights in the State Park, it makes sense to get an annual pass and then you get a cool sticker on your (dirty) windshield. We got ours just under the wire of a $10 price increase on July 1.

Minnesota State Parks get a big thumbs up! The bathrooms at Myer-Big Island were perfect – clean and new and the sites were not too small. We even had some wildlife pass through on a rainy morning:


One of the reason we picked Myre-Big Island was the nice paved trail to town – the Blazing Star Trail. We had a great day walking to lunch. Even though it was a weekday, there were still locals on the trail who were very friendly. We are usually Subway for lunch kind of people where we can get a healthy sandwich exactly the way you want it prepared but we recently tried Jimmy Johns in Dubuque (okay but you don’t get to easily specify the details.) In Albert Lea, we tried another new option and local favorite – Erbert and Gerbert’s. The bread was very good and the sandwich was fine but once again, no way to easily specify.

The real attraction in Austin was the Spam Museum. Yes, there is a whole museum dedicated to SPAM! They don’t charge and it was a nice, new museum very well done that included the history of Hormel and the important role Spam played in the war efforts.  We had some samples and bought a couple of cans of different spam flavors.

For lunch, we decided to try a local favorite – Loose Meat Sandwiches. I thought it was pretty good but Alan was only okay with it.  He apparently is the exception because the very small place with only counter seating was standing room only the whole time we were there. 

We always like to check out any larger-than-life things and we weren’t disappointed at this stop either:

That is it for our time in at Myre-Big Island State Park. Next stop: Minneapolis