We set off pretty early, as is our customary fashion. First on the ToDo list: Caribou Coffee for the road. A large chai with soy milk for me and a medium non-fat caramel High-Rise for her. We finished these whilst perusing the Rogers, MN Cabela’s for female athletic apparel and some medium-rise scope rings with which to mount the Aimpoint 3000, that I swiped from my Dads closet before we left Duluth, to my renovated 10/22. Also some batteries and other odds and ends I decided I “needed” upon careful perusal of every aisle…twice.
As far as drives go, this one went relatively painlessly. A bit longer than the drive from Sandstone to Monticello, but about 5 or 6 hours all told. The GPS was a little limited in negotiating the apartment complex it took us too when trying to find Maggie and Spencer’s place (and Ben’s!) but we managed.
They were still out by the time we parked the car, so we walked over to a little coffee shop and hung out (you could find some pictures of this in the sidebar on the right there —>) for a little bit. This was the first time I had ever met Ben and it was quite a treat. He’s quite an agreeable little tyke. It’s nice to see that some parents can actually both work and still be fully into their kids.
My favorite part? No juice. He eats fruit like a champ, and loves it naturally, but all that goes into the sippy cup is water. He’s a future 03 after my own heart, all he needs is some sunflower seeds.
That night we slept quite well on an inflatable queen mattress.
We left Sandstone and the farm nice and early. We accidentally slept so long the morning before that everything was rushed and it felt like it would be like that all day! We packed up and got going to Monticello to hang with the Woytcke side of the family.
The last of our vacation pictures...whoops
We got a great rain storm on the way so plenty of bugs got scrubbed off the car…they had been bugging(!) me. We got in about 11AM, but not after the disappointment of not getting a Sour Dough Monster Burger from Hardee’s…apparently, you can only get breakfast foods (bleh!) before 10:30…it was about 9AM. It was nice to sit at the house and just talk and drink beer. Grandma and Grandpa showed up before too long and my sister Megan showed off her new fiance.
Dad and the boys and I went to see Cowboys and Aliens where Dad and I bonded over a flask of Black Label and then made Alex drive. Oh, the subtle pleasures of having a teenager with the fresh ability to drive around. The movie is worth seeing in the theater. They dropped me off at Buffalo Wild Wings where we met Nate and Megan for a couple more drinks. We chit chatted for a while and then made our way home.
Once home, Dylan and I lit off some fireworks in the street and then Rebbeca and I passed out cold. We’ve been forgetting to take pictures.
Wednesday AM: Obligatory stop to the Sunshine Cafe. We had a great time and as usual the lady remembered us, where we lived and what we wanted to order! After breakfast we headed to the encounter for the annual pool/push ups extravaganza. After hanging out with John, Hank, and Amy for a bit we had a bit of time to kill before having lunch.
Wednesday afternoon we stopped at the Brewhouse for a beer and then went to lunch at Va Bene with Grant and Danielle! Fun! After lunch it was off to a much needed pedicure and eyebrow wax! Finally!
Post waxing we headed to Papa Murphy’s, ordered some pizza’s and headed to the Blake’s to meet little Alden! Yay! After some pizza, root beer, and s’more pizza we said goodbye and headed to Inline Station with Tony for a couple of games of bowling. It was fin, and good to hang out with Tony but I am definitely OUT of bowling shape!
Brewhouse Beers Beget Bosom Buddies
Thursday morning was a nice slow morning. The only plans we had were at 1:30 to have lunch with my dad. So we watched a movie, drank a pot of coffee and had bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast. Tony suggested we go to the new hibachi and sushi restaurant in Duluth for lunch. We did and it was fantastic. The five of us had a great lunch. I’m bummed that all of the good food options didn’t come to town until after I left.
After lunch we headed to Sandstone to visit the campground/farm. We headed to the campground first and went straight to the pool with Sarah, Brian and the kids. We went on a quick tour of the farmhouse and land, enjoyed a beer out on the patio and then headed back to the campground for dinner and a campfire. We had hotdogs, beans chips and roasted GIANT marshmallows to make s’mores. Everyone headed out for the night and we “camped” for the night in the trailer.
Next day we woke up LATE and feeling like we’d slept the day away. We put ourselves together we headed to the farm for the morning. Around lunchtime we brought everyone back to the campground and grilled steaks for lunch! Kids went swimming and then we headed back to the farm for the night. We rode the four wheeler and hung out with the kids until after dinner when it was back to the campground for us for an early night to bed!
The morning started bright and early – 5:45am. A little later than planned but it was great to get some rest. I got right back to my usual routine by listening to the water run while Travis took a shower. I was so pleasantly surprised when I rolled out of bed that Travis had finished unpacking all of my institute stuff, had organized and packed the camping/road trip stuff and had loaded up the car before he came to bed last night. It was a much less stressful evening and morning for me. We got ready, packed the remaining odds and ends, made our usual Starbucks stop and we on our way by 7am.
All packed up with somewhere to go!
First stop-noon. A service center on the side of some New York freeway. We filled up with gas, took a bathroom break and spent the better part of 30minutes figuring out how to boil water for our cup-a-noodles. Back on the road, we enjoyed our breakfast/snack while listening to our recently acquired audiobook Bossypants. As expected, it’s hilarious and prompts frequent bouts of laughing out loud. I took a brief nap and then a 1pm PSI conference call.
By 2:30 we were at our first official stop – Niagara Falls (the Canadian side). The skies looked ominous so we decided to head to Margaritaville for lunch first. A beergarita (yum!), a coke, and one massive plate of volcano nachos did it for us! The food was great, the waitress was nice, and just as we sat down the rains came. After making a small dent in the nachos, we were stuffed and the rain had stopped so we walked down to the falls for some photo ops. The falls were gorgeous and huge and we were getting wet from the mist just standing there looking at them!
The best pic we got of part of the falls.
We decided to drive as far as Sudbury (approximated 4.5 hours past Niagara) so we quickly googled a campsite and by 4:30 we were on our way. The rest of the drive was pretty standard-another hour or some of Bossypants, napping while listening to music, think as the beautiful Canadian scenery filled our view. There was one more stop for gas and a brief bathroom break and by 9:15pm we were at our campsite. Go Carol for staying open a few extra minutes and saving that last available campsite for us!
We’re currently kicked back in our camp chairs, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, enjoying the campfire and a s’more. We’ll head to bed shortly and then it’s off to Duluth in the morning!
If waking up in the field had been this much fun in the Marines, I never would have EASed. I LOVE camping. I love it with Rebbeca so much that I’ll even do it sissy style with a tent and duffle bags in the car. In fact this method even has it’s advantages, such as having coolers full of food to cook on the fire and little girls in golf carts delivering firewood that’s so dry that it starts up just by holding a zippo under a log.
We enjoyed camping until about 9:30 when we got back on the road. While technically we ended up driving much further yesterday, today seemed interminable. I couldn’t help but marvel at the customs process in Sault Ste Marie (that’s “soo saint”). Homeland Security is eating up our government. We wasted an hour sitting on a bridge waiting for a 5 min conversation with customs in a mult-billion dollar drive thru facility erected just so our govt can save political face because they wanted to step up their game on the Mexican border…
Crossing the dotted line!
Aside from that, we finished Bossypants which was quite entertaining. The audio version contains a particularly thorough performance from Tina and I am pleased with the purchase. Thanks you TFA Corps Members for getting the iTunes gift card that made it possible…but I do not thank you for the “The Voice” tracks that also got played as a result. Fortunately, Rebbeca is extremely more tolerable of various musical preferences than I am and I was allowed to enjoy real music most of the non-Bossypants hours.
Best breakfast...in the WORLD!
No surprise to find Duluth roadways still under construction. I like to think that it was finished in the years since we left but has now just so happened to start up again. But we all know better than that. Looking forward to a Sunshine Omelet at the Sunshine Cafe in the morning!
…PS I got a text from someone who knows full well I have left on vacation. He wanted to make plans to work out Thursday morning. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I’d be there…I’ve gone so soft…
As with all things transitory, we had more stuff in mind than we anticipated, but then, that’s why we chose to drive. Fortunately, it all fits in the brand new RAV4. We’ve started the Bossypants iTunes file (funny!), cranked out some laptop work from the road, and discovered the electric kettle won’t be a viable option. Maybe I can barter for Jetboil…?
About to step off from a rest stop on the NY thruway to Niagara Falls eating Cup O Noodles. I used the kettle at an outlet by the bathroom, superiorily scoffing at all the dirty lookers in line for McD’s.