Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Minnesota

We are back, and I miss it already.



It is amazing how you start out thinking, "Oh, no electricity, an

outhouse, how rustric, how roughing it," and it's actually not.



The scenery is not unlike that of Colorado up in the Rockies-- lots of pine trees and aspens everywhere.



I did buy a solar shower at Cabela's, but never used it. We enjoyed

going to the pool. I took a total of two showers the whole time I was

gone. Tee hee! It's amazing how personal hygiene takes a backseat--

hand-washing, teeth-brushing, face washing. I felt it though when I

started to get acne like crazy.



The first night, before we got out the bug spray, we kept making jokes

as we unpacked the car: "You'd think SOMEBODY could have told us

about the fucking mosquitoes!" And we thought that was very funny.



I now not only have hiking boots, but a pair of Teva sandals-- after

wearing Dereck's constantly, I bought a pair for myself today at the

Mall of America.



The Mall of America just kind of overwhelmed me. We went into the

Discovery Channel store for an ant farm for Christian's birthday, and

then Barnes and Noble (for Lake Superior Magazine, and Minnesota

Monthly) and ate lunch, bought my Teva's, and got out of there.



It wasn't quite the reading and writing trip we anticipated. Grand

Marais was just too cool, and there were things we (Dereck) wanted to

do. So, we puttered in Grand Marais, and went swimming, and for a

little hike on Thursday.



We went to a pancake breakfast and library sale Friday and got

directions to a waterfall you can just SIT in, so we found it Friday

afternoon and just sat in it (sans sunscreen...) for hours. We took the dog everywhere, mind you. We tied her around a tree so she could enjoy the falls too. It was an intense

time of doggy bonding.



Then, Friday night, we entered her in the cutest puppy contest (she

lost) and had a really lovely dinner out (and I will tell you about

the food later-- too tired-- but I did NOT eat the wild rice, just a

bite of Dereck's). (The food: for me, grilled shrimp, lemon butter

fettucini, salad with sundried tomato and basil dressing; caviar and

craime freche for appetizer; gooseberry marscapone pie for dessert.

Dereck had the deep-fried halibut and the wildrice with dried

cranberries, salad, and shared the caviar and the dessert. We sat in

a restaurant that had chairs that had fish carved onto their backs,

and a view of the water all around, all powered by windmills. It was

called the Angry Trout, and the waiters all had on the back of their

T-shirts: outside, to the left, with a moon over the door, and that

was where the bathroom was. It has one of the most amazing mozaics of

fish and sun on the walls I've ever seen). We were even in love with

the ceramic mugs the coffee came in, but they had all been sold.



I even snagged a restaurant menu from the Pie Place, with permission,

to share with you. We ordered an entire pie from The Pie Place and it

was great-- cinnamon streusel peach. Mmmm.... We ate there on

Sunday-- we expected rain so we just hung out and enjoyed a leisurely

day, slept in, went swimming for an hour and a half (and hung out in

the sowna with a bunch of really funny teenagers) and the Pie Place

had experienced the biggest crowd they had ever had, so they were out

of nearly everything on the menu, but I had crab cakes, and Dereck had

bbq ribs, and he had s'more pie, and I had apple.



Oh, one day we took a picnic downtown and let the dog run at the water

on the beach, and ate crab salad sandwiches and salt and vinegar chips

and fed the geese (which is actually a misdemeanor, as we saw on the

sign later, whoops!).



Goldie was just the biggest hit in this town. I had no idea people

went so nuts for puppies, but we could barely walk!



Then, Saturday, we got a canoe and went canoeing for three hours. I

had been dreading that, but it wasn't too hard, we didn't see water

snakes, we didn't capsize, so it was fine. It was really really hard

work though, and we had planned to go swimming, but I fell asleep and

woke up at 8:30, so we stayed in.



The mosquitoes weren't terrible until last night-- even with Deet on

our clothes, we couldn't enjoy the fire. But the Off and the Deet

really worked well-- I only got bitten three times.



And every night I read and read and read, and have only two hundred

more pages of The Source left. And I did a little journaling too--

and there was a notebook former inhabitants of our cabin had left, so

we both wrote in that.



Our cabin was the tiniest thing, about the size of my bedroom

(literally). But last night we walked and found all of the other

cabins (empty) and peeked in the windows of the locked ones (and

entered those unlocked) and there was only one other one that was

cuter. I was satisfied.



We never did see a bear or a moose though.



I bought two books of photographs, a book of Lena and Olin? jokes, and

"You Know You're a Minnesotan if...".



I read some of this book called The Singing Wilderness by Sigurd Olson every day, but wanted actually to save it for my return.



You should have seen us with a kayak strapped to the top of the

minivan-- oh, I have pictures, but they are all on my laptop.



It was just perfect. I couldn't understand why Dereck wasn't stopping

at every realty sign and asking their prices. I fully intend to buy

land either in Minnesota or Ontario (more affordable) and become an

actual Minnesotan. They are way into Christmas, but I think I can do

it.



Ask me how much I missed electricity? Not at all. And the computer?

Not at all. It was a little weird to walk into the cabin and not have

an answering machine, but that was it. It was a bummer when I read so

long that the gas light went out (and I was afraid to change the tank)

so I had to go to bed, but even the outhouse wasn't bad (though a

little scary at night).



Also, I love Minnesotans-- there are outhouses everywhere. Could the

people down by Fisherman's Wharf in Seattle get a clue and get some

port-a-potties? Please?



I'm rambling now. Loved it. Can't wait to go back.



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