September 8th, 11:10am
We're headed to Red Wing, Minnesota with Chris & Kevin after spending the morning with the cats (Smoky, Frosty, and Tut - who I think may be my personal favorite, but don't tell the others!). I can actually see the hills Tim was telling me about last night - wow! Things like barns and other buildings seem much older, with more stone than I'm used to seeing (especially on outbuildings). It is very beautiful, the small farms nestled into the forrested hills.
If Tim ever wanted to come back, I don't know that I'd be all that resistant - though I'd miss our families and be terrified of the real winter (since winter in Texas basically amounts to being able to see your breath other than a few days on some years). I actually think in some ways I'd be excited, not that I wouldn't miss Texas though. I still love Texas too.
We just ate at Culver's in Red Wing, after going to see the Red Wing pottery museum. It was really neat, the museum resides in the former factory along with some shops and even apartments! I think I got some pretty good pictures. Now we're going to see about a tour of Red Wing shoe factory, or their museum. Shoes!!
We just saw the world's largest shoe - size 638 1/2. Now we're driving on the other (Wisconsin) side of Lake Pepin, and it is absolutely gorgeous! I love the little towns (Kevin says they're about six miles apart, because when the trains were built they needed more water for steam about every six miles!). The style and age (or at least, the feel of the age) remind me a little of New England, but people are much nicer and things seem a lot cleaner (especially the air!).
We saw a coal power plant earlier. Coal really has a bad reputation, but it seemed extremely clean to me. Even where the coal was piled waiting to become energy, the merely feet away (if that) looked vibrant and healthy.
We're going to stop on the way back to Chris & Kevin's for cheese curds and ice cream - yum! Tim has been delightfully playful, its so nice to be on vacation together! And enjoying it! I know some couples fight a lot on vacation so I'm glad we don't really seem to so far. I'm feeling very blessed and relaxed.
September 9th, 7:18am
We're off to the outfitter's! There is something, maybe even from Tuesday, that I've been trying to remember because I wanted to write it down. Well, I can't. Maybe it'll come to me later.
Last night I got up (I've been sleeping in the basement - a REAL basement!) to use the restroom and heard a strange dripping sound I hadn't heard before. At first, I thought it was just a "basement" sound I hadn't noticed, but decided to use my phone as a flashlight to investigate. I found a small puddle on the pool table, and a BIG one on the floor! I woke Tim up, and with the light on we could see there was water coming between two of the boards above our heads.
Turns out, one of the 20 gallon fish tanks upstairs only had 10 gallons in it! I was happy to see no one was freaking out or angry. There was no cussing and no fussing, just sleepy cleaning and three very excited cats.
We picked up some last minute supplies in St. Paul/Minneapolis and now we are south of Duluth. Tim gave me a driving tour of Hudson, and we went by their (former) farm. He said it was a little hard to see the pastures they worked so hard on back in corn. As we drove through the "Lakes" region, he told me some about the time he spent working there.
We're definitely seeing the start of some brilliant golds, bright oranges, and fiery reds in the trees. I'm so thankful we're getting to see that; I know Tim especially misses the fall colors. I really enjoy the contrast of the white bark of the birch trees - I don't recall seeing anything like that in Texas (sycamores maybe, a little?). The spruce and other "Christmas tree" shaped trees I also really like.
We just stopped to eat our last sit-down, indoor meal in Two Harbors. Before we stopped - OOOOH! We just went through a tunnel! - telling me how he fell in love with the North Shore. They came up for a family reunion the first time when he was 10 or 12, and he loved the natural beauty and the remoteness of the area. He dreams of having a log cabin up here someday, and I agree that would be wonderful! He loves the water, rock, and trees - says they make him feel grounded ("even if that sounds cliche").
Well, we just called our parents from the gas station in Tofte, and will be leaving civilization! It has been a beautiful day and a wonderfu drive. I'm very excited - the further we get from email, TV, phones, power lines, noise, and crowds - the more excited I seem to get! I'm very blessed to be able to get away with God and Tim like this.
The leaves are definitely changing - what a nice bonus! We just left pavement! It really feels like God has sheltered and blessed this trip in so many ways.
Well, our THREE person tent is set up, and we think we have our packs arranged. It's a little disappointing that, because the sleeping bags are compression, we'll probably have three packs plus my Duluth Pack. But that's ok, we were just trying to avoid double-portaging.
It is COLD! It is September 9th, and we can see our breath! I got a little tense while we were setting up, but I asked Tim for direction instead of letting myself get flustered. I think it went well.
I was rearranging the packs some while he was doing something back at the car. He came back with a bunch of papers. They're with the books right now but he hasn't asked for them. Who knows!
I'm very excited! It is so quiet (except for the other people in the park). We've seen many birds, and a super cute little red squirrel at the campsite. I can't wait to get out to more wildlife, and less people! We'll have coffee and get our food pack around 8am and set out, YAY!