Thursday, September 23, 2010

Vacation Journal, Part II

This portion of my journal covers the portion of the trip before we actually start our BWCA portion of the trip - but I'll take us right up to the edge of Sawbill Lake!

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!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vacation Journal, Part I

Oh my, two months with no blog.

I think the main issue here is that I feel like I need to have something lengthy or deep to say. But its my blog! If I want to write that I had a bowl of Kashi with skim Promised Land milk for breakfast and enjoyed it very much - I can! Sure, it isn't as exciting as say, the daily life of a talkative toddler, but its my life. Which hopefully someday will include a talkative toddler, but not today.

I just got back from vacation! I haven't gone on a VACATION vacation since, maybe my trip to Washington DC in 2006? I guess that isn't all that long, but still. Tim, who was at the time my wonderful boyfriend but is now my wonderful fiance (more about that later!) encouraged me to keep a journal of the trip. Much more interesting that breakfast, I assure you. And now perhaps I can stay in the habit of journaling. So no more stalling, I share now.

September 7th, 4:06am
We left my apartment! I love getting up so early for something as exciting and fun as a trip like this! We prayed (well, Tim prayed for us) before starting out (with a brief, muffled interjection by Karen - my GPS - from her crypt in the console).

I'm afraid we ALMOST started out on the wrong foot. I had just finished washing my face, and noticed Tim had loaded up the car - but my suitcase wasn't in yet. Worried about the large case going in the trunk last, I said something - not meaning it as a criticism of his lovely packing job, but I'm afraid it might have sounded that way. Hard to tell these things so early in the morning.

Karen says we'll arrive to Chris (Tim's sister) and Kevin's (her husband) at 6:02pm.

Just crossed the Red River into Oklahoma, and the first thing we see if a huge casino.

Karen says 6:51pm (we had to force her to take I-35).

Just got gas at a Love's station in (I think) Tonkawa, OK. We had breakfast at Denny's in Armore with a waitress of was the epitome of the sassy southern diner waitress who calls everyone "honey" or "sweetie." At this gas station (well, across the street) was a truck repair and chrome place with a semi standing on its nose as a sign.

There were some beautiful, rocky, ALMOST mountainous hills in Southern Oklahoma, but now we're in the "where the wind comes sweeping down the plains" (imagine sing-song voice) part.

Karen says 8:16pm now.

We're in Kansas right now, which Tim says is his dad's favorite part of the trip - the Flint Hills. I guess I did see what looked like flint-type rocks, flat and gray, along the roadside. The hills are low, rolling, and grass covered - very beautiful. There are still some blanketing clouds, but they're mostly gone.

We adjusted Karen to avoid Kansas City, now she says 8:57pm.

Just stopped at a "service center" (gas station/food where you don't have to exit Kansas' massive toll road) for lunch and potty. Kansas is very pretty, lots of pasture land. We listened to one of Mars Hill's "Peasant Princess" podcasts. I am feeling so thankful and have so much hope that we both want to seek God, His will, and how to be closer to Him and show His love to one another.

Tim was walking to the car from throwing some trash away, and I just had to hug him before we drove some more! I am so in love with and excited to be with him through, hopefully, God willing, MANY adventures!

We're not in Kansas anymore! We're in Missouri! I think I see aspen trees? There are starting to be more trees, it reminds me of East Texas a little. Some of the trees are starting to look a LITTLE yellowish, maybe we'll see some fall colors!!

I drove for a while, so pardon me for not penning while driving from an odd gas station in Missouri to Austin ... Minnesota! where we stopped to eat at Perkins (no pumpkin muffins yet) and get more gas. We saw LOTS of corn in Iowa, and even a few "hidden" chicken houses. I see all of that in a different light since watching Food Inc. We also saw lots of "wind farms" with the turbines (even two big turbine props in transit along I-35). I think they're graceful. Its dark now though, and they're a little eerie at night with their synchronized blinking red lights.

Tim read to me from our BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) books [Woman of the Boundary Waters: Canoeing, Guiding, Mushing, and Surviving by Justine Kerfoot, and A Wonderful Country: The Quetico-Superior Stories of Bill Magie by Dave Olesen]. I love listening to his voice and being able to reach over and touch him! We didn't stop in Iowa at all, but it was pretty.

*Mental note, there is a free SPAM Museum in Austin, Minnesota - weird!

The temperature is in the 50s now, it feels cold but I love it! The part of Minnesota I've seen so far is very pretty - a lot of evergreens, and a lot of open, rolling land. We were treated to a beautiful sunset while we at dinner at Perkins.

We listened to another Mars Hill podcast and talked about our thankfulness for each other, and how our relationship is so different from others we've been in, including and perhaps especially our previous marriages. With God as our foundation, we can build our dreams together.

Tim said Don had asked him if coming home gave him a since of peace. He said it does, but somehow it feels that way to me too and I've never been here before. I forget what time we crossed into Minnesota, but we kissed RIGHT THEN. There was a nice welcome sign :-)

We just crossed an old steel lift bridge (over the Mississippi) into Wisconsin! Almost to Chris and Kevin's! We're getting sleepy, but we're very happy and excited.

To be continued ...