Not every adventure has to involve tons of planning, ropes, gear, and people.  It's fall here in MN, and while it's definitely been cooling off quick, the weather is still what I'd consider ideal camping weather, especially now that a couple really cold days have killed off most of the mosquitos.  With several weekend in a row coming up where I'd be busy in the cities, I knew I was running out of time to take advantage of the season.
I normally like to get away for a whole weekend, but this time it just didn't work out.  Too many things going on during the week, but all the rushing about meant I was even more in need of an opportunity to unwind than usual, so Saturday afternoon I drove north with Dozer, some camping gear, and my bike.  No plan, no agenda, just a guy, his dog, and the outdoors.
We ended up at Jay Cooke State Park, which I'd stayed at before our bike tour earlier this summer.  I'd never been before then, and was struck by it's beauty in the short time we were there.  I'd been wanting to explore it a little more ever since, and this seemed like the perfect time.  With the fall colors peak well past, and the overnight temps dropping into the low 40s, the campground was next to deserted this time.
Dozer and I spent the rest of the day hiking in the park, seeing some of the flood damage that still has a good portion of the trails and visitors areas closed off.  Well, hiking and napping in my hammock...  I could nap soundly knowing that Dozer was keeping watch for any squirrels or other pests.  Car camping isn't what I'd call adventurous, but it has it's perks, and dinner was a couple italian sausages grilled over the fire, and most of a loaf of garlic bread I heated up in the coals.  No freeze-dried meals for me!  Sadly the small-town grocery store I hit up didn't have Tang, my usual camp drink, so orange Kool-aid had to suffice.  It really isn't the same though!  Hot Tang is even better, especially as I'm not a coffee drinker but sometimes still need a nice warm drink in the morning.
Dozer got half a sausage himself, for good behavior, not barking or trying to steal any of my food.  As the coals burned low, I finished off Sailors to the End, a great book about the catastrophic fire on the USS Forrestal during the Vietnam War.  When it's just me and the pup camping, we usually use an REI Quarter Dome T2 tent.  There's plenty of space for me, him, and some gear, and he sleeps on a Thermarest Z-Lite under an Ollydog dog bed.  If it's chilly I have a blanket for him as well (when we camped up near the ice caves in February it was more like 3 blankets and some serious spooning).  Dozer is an experienced camper and usually goes right to sleep, but this evening was so nice I left the fly off, and I suspect he was up late into the night staring out into the darkness trying to discern the source of every snapped twig or crunched leaf.
Sunday brought the leftover sausages reheated over the last of my firewood, a much needed burst of warmth in the chilly morning.  I tried to introduce Dozer to rock climbing on a large formation near the campground, scrambling up and down the steepish face, chasing the squirrels that had taunted him all weekend.  I accidentally tried bikejoring when I attempted to get Dozer to run alongside my bike.  He preferred to get out in front and pull (even though he wasn't wearing his skijoring harness), and I was quickly reduced to riding the brakes and trying to keep us out of any bushes as he sprinted through the deserted campground (video to come I think).
In one of the huge drainage culverts placed to keep future floods from obliterating the road again
We also explored along the St. Louis River, finding plenty of evidence of the floods that trashed the park the past spring.  Before long though it was time to head home.  Mission accomplished.  Some peace and quiet, and plenty of time spent staring into the flames of a campfire thinking about life.  I also knew that if we hurried we'd get back to my parent's house (had to pick up the non-adventure dog there) in time for dinner, and there's really no better way to end an a trip than my mom's cooking!

Here's a couple more pictures from the trip, short though it was.  Enjoy, and don't be afraid to take a little mini trip like this now and then.  Sometimes it's just what you need.