Monday, June 21, 2010

Old Home Minnesota

Snowbank Lake - home to Grandpa Dan's cabin and three weeks of off-the-grid living. We get our drinking water right out of the lake.

Dinner - northwoods style. It's been three days and four fish meals.

This eagle has been heckling the loon family in our bay, we hearing the loon calls every night as we go to sleep.

Our returns to Minnesota always include a visit to Camp Mishawaka - where Tanya and Rick met how many years ago? (24! She first spied him when he was eating chicken at the Co-ed Barbecue.)

Though we left our Minnesota home six years ago, and love our life now in Calgary, old friends are always with us. It's great to catch up.

Lakes and trees
Mosquitoes, ticks, flies and bees.
Friends of gold
Good times not old.
Time to relax, reflect and ask.
To what next do we go?
Our past lives we know.
Yet experience and time
Will bring change we shall find.
We follow our hearts, know how we fit in
It's knowing we'll awake to another stage
Of the life we were in.
Just a little bit richer
More peace felt and serene.
Now capable of more - untold/unforeseen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wisconsin, Land of Cheese, Supper Clubs and Small Towns

Cousin Sali gives Rick a much needed haircut - good times and lots of laughs.

Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, lots of boats. It's been fun to be near big water again. We took a different ship, a ferry, to cross Lake Michigan from Ludington, MI to Wisconsin.

A different type of cart at the grocery cart return.

Loren heard them first, "Ride by on the other side of the road - there's a problem up here." -What he heard was a lot of hissing, by the time we caught up we just saw the sweet faces of two little siblings.

Try some? The Union Star was the first of many cheese factory stops - we even got to tag onto a school field trip at one in Rudolph, WI. Did you know that a dairy cow requires three acres of land a year to produce the food it needs (an acre is about the size of a football field.) That's 90 pounds of feed and 50 gallons of water everyday!

Our travels through Wisconsin were a special treat - our friend Loren Madison, who we met biking on the Natchez Trace in Mississippi, joined us for the ride. Not only was Sampson, Markos and Tarn's experience enriched by the perspective of another adult, but Rick and Tanya got to let someone else answer the twenty-questions-a-minute barrage that occurs periodically throughout each day. Thanks for being such a positive and fun travel companion Loren!

We've reached St. Paul, Minnesota - another guidepost on our route. Sampson, Markos and Tarn were born in Minneapolis and Rick and Tanya lived there for twelve years. Having left six years ago via a moving truck, it felt special to arrive back by bicycle - the two flat tires and continuous rain showers did little to dampen our mood!

The next month will be a break from the bikes and the summer vacation we've envisioned over the last two months - living off the grid, but this time at Tanya's dad's cabin on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Fishing, canoeing and reading books. We'll be back on the bikes mid July for the return cycle to Calgary.

Markos writes:
May 31 Today we had cream of wheat with syrup for breakfast. After breakfast we packed up and we were out at 7:45. We didn't do our math because there were too many mosquitoes. Then we put on our helmets and we rode our bikes away. We said goodbye to the guy that let us camp in his back yard. In his back yard there was lots of goose poos that were very stinky. Today we stayed at a couch surfers. Today we thought it was June 1st but it turned out to be May 31st.
June 2 Today we had egg sandwiches for breakfast. After breakfast we kicked the ball around and it went in the water a few times. The egg sandwiches for breakfast were very good. Today was different because Loren was biking with us. It was fun. We camped in someone's back yard.
Sampson writes:
June 3 Today we camped at a city park that had a tether ball and pole game, and a volley ball net. There is also a big red slide and a metal play structure. Today I sent a letter to Grandma Susan because she sent me a letter. We went to a town called Rudolph. There was a cheese factory and I got Mint Zanzibar ice cream that was green and dark brown. We bought lots of cheese: Swiss cheese and string cheese, cheddar cheese and ricotta cheese. Right now Markos is doing his journal and Tarn is writing and Dad is cooking. This morning we had French Toast and played with Lego and Play Mobile. Then I walked on the tight rope and took a picture with Patrick, Laura and us and Karen. We are going to have homemade Mac and Cheese that Dad made. Today Karen biked (us) to the cheese factory and biked back (to her house) without us. Today we saw two baby raccoons that were really, really cute and we didn't see the mom.

June 4 Today we camped at a county park and there was a playground and a shelter at the park. It was raining on and off all day but at the park it got sunny. Today we saw a Bald Eagle flying above the memorial park after lunch. Tomorrow we are going to see Dad's cousin Sali and her kids Jordan and Kyli. The last time I saw them was when I was three or four and they had a little pink jeep. Right now it is really windy and Tarn is playing at the park and Dad is working on the bikes and Markos and I are doing our journals. We are right by a lake with lots of geese. Today we went through a town named Neilsville and we went to the IGA (grocery). We are in Humberg, Wisconsin and in the park.