Greetings, All…or as they say here in the majestic land of Minneapolis…greetings, all!Â The past week has been a mixture of relaxing sunshiny days with friends and family and days of endless driving along monotonous roads.Â However, as we sit on a comfortable couch in our friends Lynn and Zack’s house in Minneapolis, we had to ask what day it was, so the vacation must be on in full force!
Despite some of your concerns, we survived Harrison, Idaho, without any need of our Rabies vaccinations!Â Harrison is actually a lovely little hovel along Lake Couer D’Alene, and the town features way more deer than Aryan nut-jobs.Â More importantly, we were meeting our friends Dusty and Courtney, and of course, their adolescent Golden Retriever, Harlowe!Â We spent our time there enjoying Dusty’s gourmet (read “gore-met”) cooking, good home brews and huckleberry vodka drinks, and relaxing on the shores of the lake.Â Courtney took us for a boat ride, where we got to see some awesome lake houses, complete with built-in trams.Â Courtney’s family was also there, and we had a ton of fun with them–great people!Â I got a sunburn shaped like a lawn chair, and Sarah got an instant tan.Â After many laughs and too much low-brow humor (all from Sarah and Courtney, of course), it was time to say goodbye, but we had a wonderful time in Harrison with our friends!
We celebrated the 4th by seeing the country, and I mean COUNTRY!Â Western Montana was beautiful, varied and interesting.Â We made mental notes (How are they mental if we say them out loud to each other?) to come back and spend time here some day.Â No one was on the road, so the morning went quickly, and we enjoyed a nice lunch in Bozeman, the last of the good stuff along the highway.Â The afternoon was flat, long, and boring, but Sarah and I entertained ourselves as any nerds would do:Â we used the 1985 atlas to rank the 50 states according to land mass and relearning state capitals.Â Also, we kept track of state license plates, and we would end up with around 30 states and 5 provinces by the end of this leg of the trip.Â Our end destination for the day was a pleasant surprise…Glendive, Montana is basically a border town with a lovely state park full of interesting clay mounds.Â The big state was done!
Next was North Dakota, which occupied four to five hours of our lives.Â The first few miles were hilly and interesting, but then it turned into everything I thought it would be (flat, full of corn); I would described it as functional as opposed to decorative, except for the giant animal statues (GIANT COWS!!) along the highway!Â By the end of the day, we had driven more of the same through Minnesota and arrived at the home of Josh and Tracy, Sarah’s brother and sister-in-law.
Josh met us at the door with pint glasses so that we could sample his delicious home-brewed IPA, and they had prepared an awesome meal of Juicy Lucies (a Minnesotan delicacy–cheese-filled hamburgers) and bacon-wrapped sweet potato fries.Â Oh Nelly!Â It was fun to catch up with Josh and Tracy, meet their energetic Bensaji named Monty, and check out the nursery of our future neice or nephew, who is known temporarily as Rubicon!
On Wednesday, we met up with my friend Shane and explored part of Minneapolis.Â We had a great time, visiting Target Field, where the Twins were proceeding to get whupped.Â It was a beautiful facility, with banners of many players who had starred for the Twins over the years.Â We walked down to the Mississippi, and I stuck my toe in because I had never seen the great river; I told Shane and Sarah that I felt like I should say something Twainishly witty, but I just couldn’t really think of anything.Â We also saw some cool sculptures that afternoon, including the famous cherry on a spoon, which I laughed about at first, but it really started to grow (no pun intended) on me.Â Probably the coolest thing that we saw was the St. Mary’s Basilica, which we toured but did not join.Â Lots of stained glass and a beautiful organ.Â Last, Shane introduced us to a couple of local beers, which were really good, and we had a good time catching up and reminiscing about his time in the Pacific Northwest.Â Great to catch up with an old friend.Â That night Josh and Tracy dropped us off to explore Uptown, an area that is a lot like the Pearl at home, while they took a class.Â The highlight was the ice cream, which Josh and Tracy joined in on before we went home; it had been a full day, and Josh would treat Sarah to Crossfit the next morning, so we went to bed early.Â Josh and Tracy are wonderful hosts and interesting people, and we had a great time there.
Thursday, we joined up with Lynn and her husband Zack; Lynn and Sarah are very good friends who sort of tackled Portland together when they moved there around the same time.Â We spent the afternoon visiting with Lynn; it was relaxing and low-key, right up our alley.Â Their dog Penny spent the afternoon making sure we felt loved, and I was afraid that Sarah might try to sneak her out in a bag!Â That evening we enjoyed some delicious deep-dish pizza and came home to share some good wine.Â Sarah and Lynn laughed about a lot of good memories, and the guys enjoyed hearing about our wives glory days!Â Lynn and Zack, showed us a great time, and we will look forward to seeing them again!
We are headed to Sarah’s Grandma’s house in Hancock, Michigan today.Â Sarah has a ton of fond memories here, so I am looking forward to seeing the place in her stories; and Ruth is probably looking forward to kicking our cans at Scrabble!