Sunday, July 21, 2013

Let's go on vacation! And Some!

Oh wait, Weren't we already on vacation? Adam picked up a job in Worthington, Minnesota. We drove there in one evening- just a quick 10 hours. It's a little town closer to Iowa than anything interesting in Minnesota. But, I liked it there. It is a little resort town on Lake Okabena. It's known for the windsurfing Regatta in June. Pretty cool, huh? Pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

From there, we went 40 minutes away to Spirit Lake and Lake Okoboji. We camped here for two glorious nights, and we were right on the lake at Marble Beach State Recreation Area. We set up fort. We cooked and played. We went to town to the park and we went hiking. We hiked at Gull Point State Park on the Interpretive Trail. Ryan loved it. And we passed a small chapel- ideal for a wedding in the woods.

Most people here spent time on the water, but renting a boat for 1 hour didn't seem logical, and 3 hours was over 300 dollars. I couldn't swim- obviously because of my previous post. So, we just played in the sun, and made the most of our time until we knew our next move. On Monday, we got word that we wouldn't be needed in Des Moines, Iowa until the following Monday, July 22. Therefore, we'd go North. There wasn't really any other choice. We could go home, but then, we'd just have to leave again. So, We made Adam, my sweet, hard-working husband, take a real vacation. And, we did!

We grabbed a hotel room on Expedia. And, we had our arrangements for Minneapolis... a metropolis! It was so great- a beautiful, clean, excellent city that is walkable if your right downtown. And, we were. Radisson on 7th Ave. We walked to the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. How Cool is that? Huge sculptures in an urban setting with a garden like feel. I was totally impressed. We saw the Spoonbridge and cherry sculpture- while sitting in white adirondack chair, under a canopy of trees full of hanging chimes. It was a garden of senses...smelling flowers, hearing water fall, listening to the wind move the chimes. We soaked it up. From there, we walked to Rock Bottom Brewery and ate a lovely meal. It was a nice break from camping in Iowa.
And, we had a true minnesotan visit to Hell's Kitchen. They had Walleye Hash. And Mascoutah Porriedge-- with wild rice. I want some right now just talking about it. dried blueberries, butter, heavy cream and wild rice... soo good.  I'm going to order some wild rice when we get home since I missed our real chance to buy some while we were up north.

We made our choice to head to Lake Superior and the North Shore. That part of our country is so different. It's like nothing I've ever seen. So, there's tons of places to camp along the shore, but we got to the parks so late that they were already full. We stocked up on food at Two Harbors, and then tried two parks on Lake Superior. No luck. We got off of the shoreline, and we west a bit to Sullivan Lake. Mosquitos galore, buddy! Holy Cow! It was still cool though. The water is like almost red that it's so brown. We later learned that the color of the water is from bogs. (Bog water, I would assume, is the water that is so nutrient rich that after it makes its way from marshes and watershed areas it remains this color. It was so unique.)We spent one night here, and went to Gooseberry Falls State Park. It was an ideal spot. The location had plenty of entertainment... Gooseberry River that dumps into Lake Superior, Gooseberry Falls- an incredible waterfall accessible to climb around on and swim in and all. And, hiking too. We went to the Lake and the water was so crystal clear aqua. The access to the water was full of rocks down to the water, and the shelf  drops off where someone could jump off the cliff to the water. Well, my husband did-- into 40 degree water. He loved it, but he had about 30 seconds to get in and out. He loved it. We spent a good two days here. But, we decided not to camp there a second night. Instead, we went to Indian Lake in the Pequwyan Lake Area.  And, it only got better. The lake had a sand beach, a lovely campground, and a swim area. We spent the afternoon in the sun swimming. Well, my two favorite people did anyway. I walked up and down the beach-- I ran on the beach too.

In the aforesaid paragraph, I gave the basic narrative-- the good parts. Here's the not so good parts.... We had rain- twice. During one, I even got a bit scared. And, unusally for me, I was uneasy by the thunder.  The other rain was moderate, but we had to go to bed early at 8:30 because we had to stay in the tent.
We made skewers of meat at the camp in Iowa, but I bought the wrong kind of meat. It tasted okay, but it was so chewy. It just wasn't a good mouth feel.
We gotten eaten alive by mosquitos... everywhere except Gooseberry Falls.
Ryan faceplanted on the hike to Gooseberry Falls. Busted Lip and all. It was pretty bloody. And, the really sad thing is that she was waving to another little girl who was hiking as well. Bummer.
Adam didn't catch any fish. Double bummer.

We made it back again to Minneapolis, and we checked in early to the Hilton Hotel. It overlooked the city, and our view was of another building that had dune buggy races on the top of it. Cool, huh? I'd probably be scared to death to do that! Wow.
We walked alot that evening, and we ate at Brit's Pub. I had a fantastic burger with tomato bacon jam. Have you ever heard of that concoction? I love it! We walked around the town and when we got back to the room on the 15th floor, the building diagonally from us had that huge LED top with firework images exploding. Ryan was mesmerized. Being at that height in a big city makes the world seem so different. We enjoyed our stay and we felt celebrity status.

Mall of America. Wow. It's somewhat sickening. Disheartening. And, if there is a stark difference between two places- it's camping at Indian Lake where there's so few people compared to the Mall of America where there's so many people looking for materials that have no real value. Stuffed Animals... toys, Legos, etc. What can I say? I bought a shirt! On sale for 10 bucks. And, it's this season! How hip am I?  I bet you thought I was going to say that I had no part of it, right? Well, I had to. Ryan met Dora the Explorer-- She loved the Lego store, and we ate some pretty amazing lunch. I have to say, it's fun to indulge.

So, we're in Des Moines. There's lots of activites this week, and I'm so thrilled. We're going to go hiking too! Bonus! It's not mountains or anything, but it's somewhere new and exciting. Des Moines has a beautiful skyline, and we luckily found a room for pretty cheap. Uh. Oh. And, It was terrible. I am going to be penning and letter to Motel 6. I won't tell you much about it, but never ever stay at the Motel 6 Airport. It's in shambles.
There! the final bad part of the trip! Oh well... we survived... but, we'd just been in luxury.  It reminded me that there's nothing more important than family, and it was okay because we were together. And, it was. We made the most of it---

I'm so glad we went North. Hopefully I'll have pictures and video tomorrow!

One last thing, thank you for the love and prayers you all sent me after my last post. We're recovering, and I learned so much from others. Women are incredibly strong, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  To the women that shared their stories with me, thank you. I can't tell you how much you helped me, and that's something I hope to do for others-- to help and be helped.

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