Wednesday, September 13, 2017

September 11 - 17, 2017, WI

Wednesday, September 13.  I met up with Jonnie at The Coffee Cup for breakfast Monday morning and then we went to see her sister, Fran (my oldest living cousin, age 82) at St. Mary's hospital in Madison.  She has been in there almost a week with pneumonia - today was a good day for her, she is coming around and feeling much better.  Our visit was brief, as she is very tired and needs to rest. 

Yesterday, Pat and I walked in the morning and then in the afternoon, I went to Culver's for the monthly classmate meetup.  About 6 gals showed up and we had a good chat, as usual.  It's always a good time.

This morning, Dawn and I walked almost 3 miles - then had coffee and more talking when we got back to her house.

   This Maple tree is next door to Pat's house - almost fully turned color.

The afternoon was lazy - sitting in the yard with Pat, reading, doing a little bit of plant cleanup, and a nice nap.  It has been a very relaxing trip.

Thursday, September 14.  Kayak day! We had to wait until the fog lifted and the temperature rose this morning, but we did get out on the Yahara River.  Put in and take out was by the mill dam in Stoughton and we paddled upstream to Viking Park, about a 2-hour paddle to get there and back again.  It felt good to be on the water with Pat, here in Stoughton, and seeing familiar sites and bringing back memories along the way - sneaking cigarettes after school as we sat under the Forton Street Bridge, walking home from school and crossing the bridge, getting scared at Dead Man's Path behind the high school football field, and cheering Mike and Jim on as they passed by us in the Syttende Mai canoe race (they weren't the  last to finish, but close to it).

It was a very enjoyable paddle - I can't believe that I've done it twice in the last couple of weeks.

Friday, September 15. I walked the route that takes me past the cemetery this morning and when I got near the dam, Pat was over there fishing.  Just as I approached, he got a bite - a very nice sized Bluegill.  We chatted for a bit and then I headed back to the house. Before he finished, he had caught a good sized Northern, about 2.5 feet long - and he caught it on a small bluegill that he used for bait.  I'm sorry I missed it.

On my way home, I passed this gorgeous Maple tree and when I stopped to check it out  I heard the flitting of birds flying to and from the top branches of the Japanese Elm tree that stood next to it, a feeding frenzy of Cedar Waxwings was going on.  They moved way too fast for me to catch a photo.

Jim and Sue are in town, so they picked me up this afternoon and we headed to Poynette to meet Pat and Roger for fish fry at the Owl's Nest.  The Old Fashioneds were delicious and I had 2 of them - no driving for me, so I could indulge.  Dinner was excellent, as usual, and the service was great at this quant little old timey supper club where the meals are served family style.  You place your order and then they serve on platters that are shared with your table mates.  A nice experience, topped off with a handmade Brandy Alexander that came with 5 spoons.

Back in Stoughton, we stopped at the American Legion where my classmate, Brett, was playing guitar and singing.  We had a drink and I saw 4 of my classmates and Sue saw a couple from her class - always a good, familiar feeling when I come back home.

Saturday, September 16.  I walked with Pat this morning and when I just got home, I got a text from Dawn asking if we were walking together, so I finished my breakfast and walked over to her house.  We walked downtown to the farmer's market and I got another 2 miles in, stopping to take a few pictures of buildings on Main Street on the way back home.

   Demetria's garden

   Dawn's garden.

It was "wrap up" day, so I headed out to stock up on Wisconsin beer and wine, fill up the car with gas, buy a few groceries for dinner, and stop to visit with Fran who has been transferred from the hospital to Skaalen Home in Stoughton for recovery.  She was sound asleep and had asked the staff not to even wake her for lunch, so we didn't get to visit.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 4 - 10. 2017, MN, WI

Tuesday, September 5. Labor Day was yesterday, the end of summer and boy, has it whizzed by.  Another five weeks from now and I will be heading to the southeast again.  That means that during the next few weeks, I have to arrange for storage for my stuff, make a trip to Wisconsin, get my stuff moved to storage, and move in with Ben for a week.

After Tom and I took Frisco for his walk in the morning, we walked to Bruegger's for a bagel for breakfast.  Later on, during naptime for Camille and Norah, we returned the canoe to Ben's house and helped him to find a better spot in his garage to hang it, so it would be a little bit more out of the way and give him more room.

I cooked some chicken breasts and Tom made a salad for our dinner and after an evening walk, we tried to watch a movie but just didn't have strong enough wifi.  A cloudy day and and just plain poor wifi makes it almost impossible to stream a movie here.  I won't miss that at all.

Today was a cool one, I don't think it got to 70 degrees all day.  We ran some errands, picked up some things that Tom needed for his trip, and got some silicone so he could repair my leaky coffee pot.

Friday, September 8.  On Wednesday morning, our alarms were set and after some coffee and packing up Tom's stuff that was in the refrigerator, we headed over to the storage lot so he could hook up and head out for the last few weeks of his summer trip.  We will meet up again in Colorado Springs next month.  It's getting harder to say goodbye.

The last 10 days with Tom have been so enjoyable - it has been so nice to share the simple daily experiences with someone after being solo for so long and it just feels very comfortable to be around him.  

I've been taking care of 'moving' stuff the last 2 days - reserved a storage cube, arranged a truck and movers to get my stuff there - checked that off of the list.  I also did some shopping at Costco to restock vitamins and coffee.

I did a first time ever in my 69 years today - went to the theater to see a movie by myself.  It was not in the plan but when the thought crossed my mind, I just pulled into the parking lot and saw that the movie was starting in 20 minutes - good timing.   I saw "The Glass Castle", a true story about the life of Jeannette Walls, the author of the book that I read years ago.  I thought the movie was very well done - Woody Harrelson acted as the father, Rex, and I thought he did very well, as did all of the other characters.  I pictured the mother, Rosemary, as a bit more crazy and flighty than she was in the movie.  Now, I'm hoping that the 2nd book, "Half Broke Horses", becomes a movie too - the story of Rosemary.

I picked Norah and Camille up after school - they saw me walking toward them, When Miss Natalia gave them the ok to come running to me, Camille tripped and fell as she was running toward me, getting a good scrape on her elbow.  A bandaid was just the fix.  I hung out and had dinner with the family.

Sunday, September 10. I packed up and headed for Stoughton yesterday morning.  What a beautiful day for a drive!  There are signs of fall along the roadsides that provided me with a layered palette of color - at ground level, the browns and yellows with a clump of burgundy red Sumac scattered here and there.  The mid-levels were silvers with some orangey yellows and then tallest backdrops were the bright yellow, orange, and reds of the Maples - it was gorgeous!

It sure was nice to arrive at Pat and Tracey's once again and I'm looking forward to hanging out - no big plans, just spending time together.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September 1 - 3, 2017, MN

Friday, September 1.  Moving day.  Although we did not have to leave our campsites until 3:00 pm, we packed up, had our tanks emptied and rinsed, and were ready to leave by noon.  There was a lot of construction and a lot of holiday weekend traffic as we drove to Inver Grove Heights where I store my camper.  Tom is also storing his trailer there and staying with me for the next few days, as he was unable to find an RV park that had an open site for the Labor Day week.

Sunday, September 3.  Yesterday was Charlotte's birthday, so we were invited to Ben and Jill's for dinner.  We made a fruit salad, Lois made potato salad, and Ben and Jill made steak kebabs for dinner.  It was a wonderful afternoon of hanging out with family, having a couple of beers, and playing with the kids.

We watched "Flags of Our Fathers", the story of the battle at Iwo Jima and the famous photo of the soldiers raising the flag. It was after midnight when it was finally over.

After a good, healthy breakfast, we headed over to see Lock and Dam No. 1, the first of 27+ locks between Minneapolis and New Orleans.  It was very informative and interesting, we probably spent a couple of hours there.  Next stop was Minnehaha Falls, a beautiful and popular tourist attraction in the city.

I had a coupon for $10 off a dinner at Bunny's Pub and Grill, not too far from my house.  We had dinner there before heading to Ben and Jill's to babysit for the girls, so they could go out for an evening by themselves - a rare occasion for them.  They had extra benefits with us here - 2 episodes of a movie and stories.  I read to the twins and Tom read to Charlotte and with all of the shenanigans like potty, drinks of water, tuck me in - they were finally settled in and asleep by 8:30.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 28 - 31, 2017, MN

Tuesday, August 29.  Monday was Norah and Camille's first day at their new school.  They are so excited and happy to be going there.

Yesterday was a rainy day, so we headed off to do some sightseeing.  I had found a couple of things to see on the Atlas Obscura website.  The little town of Dassel had a historic mushroom shaped building that housed a gas station back in the 1950s - a cute little building at an intersection right in the center of town.

There was also a historic building where Ergot was processed - what in the world is Ergot?  Google informed me that the Universal Laboratories building is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the home of the Dassel Area Historical Society. From 1937 to the mid 1970s, Universal Laboratories provided raw ergot from the grain fields of the western US and Canada to pharmaceutical companies. Critical drugs were produced from the ergot, saving countless military and civilian lives. Exhibits present the story of ergot and the local area.  Unfortunately, the history center was closed.

We drove a few more miles to the west to Dawson, to see the World's Largest Ball of Twine - made by only one man.  Again, the museum itself was closed but the ball of twine is housed in a glass building, so we did get to see it.  I can now cross that off of the bucket list.

There was the World's Largest Crow but it was another 70 miles away, so we nixed that idea and headed back toward our campsite, stopping for a yummy burger and beer at Monie's, a local bar with a good selection of craft beers. A nice campfire with plenty of conversation, a cocktail, and a walk with Frisco when we got back to our campsites.

Tom fixed breakfast this morning, omelets loaded with veggies - we wanted a good start because today was 'take the canoe out' day.  We decided to go to Half Moon Lake, a small, quiet lake just to the north of here where motor boats are not allowed.  We had to carry the canoe down a pretty long path to get to the dock, but a friendly gentleman took my end and carried it for me.  The lake was surrounded by cat tails and we did see some wildlife - Great Blue Herons, 2 beautiful Swans just gliding along the smooth water, turtles that sensed us long before we even got close to them, and lots of bubbles and activity in the water.  We had the entire lake to ourselves, just moving along the shoreline and criss crossing here and there to check something out.

I'm not good at selfies but - we did it!

Loading the canoe back up and getting it strapped down was the hard part - mostly because of the mosquitoes.  They have been pesky here, mostly at dusk, but the parking lot by the lake was full of them and they had their share of our blood.

Wednesday, August 30.  There were no plans for today, so we started out with a walk, taking the path through the woods to the lake, along the lake shore beaches, to the boat launch and then back to our campsites, about a 2.3 mile walk.  And then we just hung out, reading or whatever until dinner time.

When we came through Maple Plain on Monday, we had passed O'Massey's Irish Pub, so we decided to go there for dinner.  It's a nice place that served tradition Irish dishes - I chose a Reuben sandwich and Tom had the Shepherd's Pie - both were yummy.  Back st the campsites, we decided to save our remaining firewood for our last night and sat out without a fire.  It got pretty chilly - dipping down in the 50s overnight.

Thursday, August 31.  Today was 'walk around Lake Katrina' day - that is, a 6.2 mile walk around the lake plus getting there from our campsites plus a couple of detours that led to other campsites or views along the way..  It was a beautiful, cool day and we saw only a few other people using the trail, bikers, roller-bladers, roller-skiers, and runners.  I'm sure glad that I decided not to take Frisco - I think he would have petered out.  The last mile was a hard one - hips and ankles were starting to hurt.

Last night's 🔥.

We had spaghetti and meatballs plus Tom's yummy chopped veggie salad for dinner, burned the last of the firewood down to the coals, and had a very interesting conversation of what our futures might look like.  

Friday, August 25, 2017

August 21 - 27, 2017, MN, WI

Thursday, August 24.  This was my week for camping with Charlotte and 10 of my friends at Ft McCoy, the Pine View Campground - a military Campground that is open to the public - a beautiful place with every amenity you could want.  The sites were spacious, open, but yet enough trees and bushes to block the views of your neighbors.  The playgrounds were beautiful, the Trails well groomed and scenic, and the LaCrosse River was clear and fast moving.

Day 1, Monday - we arrived just in time to see the peak of the total Eclipse of the Sun (although we were not in its direct path, we only saw about 85 percent of it) - the last one was in 1918. Charlotte was not interested in it, but she did watch a little of it on TV from Jim and Sue's motorhome.  That's a good thing, because Ben was very concerned about the possibility of damage to her eyes from looking at it.  The eclipse glasses that I bought were just the thing, and everyone was very thankful for them.

Tom helped me get my awning up, just in time for the rain.  Once it let up, the skies cleared, turned a gorgeous shade of pink, and gave us a full, almost double rainbow.  Charlotte got Patty involved and the two of them set up a lemonade stand and she earned $4.36 - quite the entrepreneur!

Tom and I had dinner duty, so he chopped veggies while I heated up meats and beans and we took everything to Jim and Sue's where we gathered for beef and chicken tacos, rice, and black beans for dinner.  After cleanup, the guys hung out there and the gals gathered under my awning before we all headed out on an evening walk.

Day 2, Tuesday. Patty made breakfast this morning, a yummy egg and cheese dish with English Muffins.  We all (except Chris) took a long, 2.2 mile walk along the river, spotted some deer, found the waterfall, played hide and seek with Charlotte, and she and Frisco got their feet wet in the river.

Michael and Donna showed up with their Granddaughter, Lena and she and Charlotte hit it off pretty well, playing house and drawing in my camper.  Tom and I took them to the playground and before we got there, they both got into rolling down the small hill at the beach - both covered in sand but could care less.  

Chris made dinner - crock pot lasagna, salad, and pie - but we also celebrated Jim's birthday with cake and ice cream.  

We gathered around a beautiful campfire, told stories, and laughed a lot. It didn't take long for Charlotte to fall asleep after a long and active day.

Day 3, Wednesday. Charlotte slept in until 9:45 this morning and got up just in time for Jim and Sue's breakfast - an egg and ham dish and fruit.  Then we took our morning walk, this time Charlotte wanted to see the spooky trail that we had discovered yesterday on the bridge by the waterfall.  One path led to some large, pretty life-like creatures - wolves, a bear, and a dinosaur, others to Halloween props.  Some of it was pretty creepy but she had a pretty good defense mechanism in place - and we didn't let her see the real gory stuff.

We found this guy who n the camper this morning.

She and Lena played, either at my camper or their cabin, but I think that all they did at the cabin was watch tv or movies and eat junk.

Checking out the loft of Patty's rental cabin.

Today was Mike's birthday, he would be 70 years old.  Jim and Roger made Old Fashioneds and we toasted to my life partner and a great friend.

Donna made dinner Wednesday nite at their cabin - chili, garlic bread, salad with all the fixins, and watermelon.  On the way back to my camper after dinner, Charlotte started getting cranky and complaining about not having dessert, demanding that she get marshmallows. She and Lena were "she said, but she said" back and forth, so I told her that she had to behave in order to get marshmallows.  She interpreted it that I called her a name and walked away to the edge of our campsite.

As I approached her to resolve the issue, she took off and started to run away from me. For the next 15-20 minutes, she ran - through empty camp sites and open, woodsy areas, along the river, she ran and wouldn't stop when I asked, pleaded or demanded her to - she darted one way, then another, always 20-30 feet ahead me and I couldn't run fast enough to catch her. I couldn't stop because I had to keep her in my sight. I was terrified a couple of times when I couldn't see her (she either tired and sat down or tried to hide from me).

Finally, Tom, who had stayed away because he initially thought that we were playing, realized it wasn't play and came to help me.  He finally was able to catch her and carried her back to the campsite, kicking and screaming the whole way. He just held on to her and she finally settled and I got her in the camper. He was a lifesaver - I was so terrified.  She calmed down, looking at a book, and then we had a long hug and got ready for bed.  We read stories and I talked to her a bit about what happened.  How scared I was that she would get lost, that I loved her and want to keep her safe, that I physically might not have been able to catch her, how scary it would be for her to be lost and that she could never, ever, do that again - with me or anyone else.

Day 4, Thursday.  Everyone packed up, said our goodbyes, and headed back home. Charlotte and I got back just in time to put Jill's enchiladas in the oven so they could get Charlotte fed and to open house at her new school where she got to meet her teachers for kindergarten.  I stayed with Norah and Camille, fed them dinner, and played until Ben and Jill got back home.

Sunday, August 27.  Charlotte birthday party with her friends was held this morning at Rainbow Play Systems, a great place for the 15 kids to run, jump, slide, hide, seek, and eat Ben's Chocolate Cream-filled Cupcakes. A fun morning.

Back at home, I finished loading up the trailer and waited - check-in time was 4:00, I had planned to get there by 3:00.  At 2:00, I called the park and they said I could probably get into my site, as they had many cancellations over the weekend due to heavy rains. So I pulled out, drove to Baker Park Reserve, checked in and headed to my site.  Tom was just ahead of me, waiting to fill his fresh water tank.  We had 2 sites reserved and when I got there, I realized that Tom would never fit into one of the two, so I took that one.  But he wasn't going to fit in the other one either, plus it was on a slope and was a muddy mess.  I called the office and was able to switch sites and he fit in there just fine.

 I made shrimp and Tom made a veggie salad for dinner and we sat under my awning, keeping out of the occasional rain, until it was time to say goodnight.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 14 - 20, 2017, MN

SWednesday, August 16.  I agreed to help with before and after school pickup with the grandkids this week, as the program is a bit different this week.  The other Grandparents are on vacation and Charlotte is going to YMCA camp. It has made for busy days.

I got the trailer licensed in Minnesota on Monday, after only a 1.5 hour wait.  It's done now and I feel good about another transition to being a resident is behind me.  Another accomplishment this week was to get a library card.  I think I am a Minnesotan.

I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it before, but last week while I was walking Frisco, I thought that it might make sense to move my stuff into storage over the winter (about $100 a month) compared to paying rent/storage for this apartment at $900 a month.  Makes sense to me.  Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to tell the landlady yet and I know that she has been counting on me to stay through the spring, although our agreement is a month to month rental.

Friday, August 18. I did finally talk to Elizabeth on Thursday and let her know I would be leaving, either October 1 or 15 (15 would be preferred as it would allow me more time to get my stuff packed and moved to a storage unit) and she said she would try to make that happen.

Tom came up on Wednesday morning and we drove to Lake Calhoun to walk the path around the lake, missing a turnoff on the path on the south side of the lake so rather than go the entire distance around, we turned and walked back e same way - about a 3-mile jaunt.  

I had Camille and Norah pickup duty that day, so Tom stayed at my apartment while I hung out with the girls.  And then we headed to McCoy's for a beer and a burger, as I had a coupon for a free burger. It was a yummy burger and a nice, local joint, not far from my apartment.

I had invited Tom for dinner on Thursday night, so we had ribeye steak, sautéed mushrooms, baked potato and salad and shared a bottle of wine. A walk, Farkel, and an old movie topped off the night.

After school this afternoon, I picked Camille and Norah up and brought them to my apartment or a change of pace and they loved it.  Different snacks, dressing up in some of my clothes, some drawing and coloring, and reading a monster book filled the couple of hours and made for a very pleasant afternoon.  I stayed for dinner at their house and we had a yummy homemade pizza.

Sunday, August 20.  Yesterday was my oldest son, Pat's 48th Birthday - boy, does that make me feel old.  We had a nice phone conversation, but I won't be making it to Stoughton for a few weeks but will be sure to celebrate when I get there.

I was up early and headed to Faribault, as Tom and I had plans to go to the Steele County Fair in Owatonna.  We got there around 11:30, found a place to park and started out with a yummy pulled pork sandwich, the stand just happened to be across from the swine buildings - our next stop. We checked out the chickens, ducks, rabbits, cows, goats, horses and even llamas.

The living history museum that we missed last week was open, so we went through all of those cool, old buildings.  When searching for the beer tent, we got turned around and covered most of the grounds once more. But then, a nice, cold beer was very refreshing while listening to some old rock and roll tunes.

I had to get back to feed and walk Frisco, but we kind of thought it might be fun to go back to see the Enduro race and the highlighter band, but then neither of us really felt like doing the 20 mile trip again.  

Today was prep day for next week's camping trip with Charlotte and some of my best friends at Ft. McCoy, WI.  It didn't help that I slept in until 9:30 (huh? A total surprise) but I managed to get through my to do list and as I write this, I am showered and ready to head out by 7:30 or so in the morning.  

Thursday, August 10, 2017

August 7 - 13, 2017, MN

Monday, August 7.  I dropped Frisco off at Ben's and headed back home to finish packing. Tom picked me up around 10:00 and we hit the road, heading for Duluth, stopping along the way for some sightseeing at historic markers and overlooks.  When we got to Duluth, we were headed toward the harbor when we spotted the Bent Paddle Brewing Company, took a detour but found a locked door - closed on Monday's.  We were both hungry, but we decided to head north along the coast and see what we came across.  The drive along Lake Superior was beautiful.

This is at an overlook on the St Croix River, looking south toward Stillwater.

Duluth from a scenic overlook.

In Two Rivers, we stopped for dinner at the Blackwoods Bar and Grill for something to eat and drink.  I had Walleye and Wild Rice and it was yummy. From there, we headed out to see the Split Rock Lighthouse, a historic tugboat, and the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad.  And then we tried to find a place to spend the night.  I was hoping for a cabin but after many calls, learned that there were no vacancies and we ended up at a very clean and nice Super 8 back in Duluth.

We both agreed that a drink would be nice, so we found a little sports bar just a couple of blocks away. It was loud in there with the music blasting and lively conversations with a bunch of guys at one of the tables, but we settled in at the bar and ordered a drink. It wasn't long and this young guy named Corwin approached us and announced that the Glen Campbell song that was playing was for us, compliments of him. We didn't quite get it - do we look that old? After that, he grabbed his beer and came to sit by us - telling us that he thought we might not like the loud stuff that they had been playing. So he picked another from our era - "What a Day For a Daydream" by the Lovin Spoonful - I could relate to that one, since that was the caption noted for me in the "Candid Comments" page of my senior high school yearbook.  We got some good tips on where to go in Duluth from this young native, talked about winters in Duluth, suggestions for local breweries and eateries, and then he headed back to hang with his friends. Nice guy but kind of a strange experience.  The next morning, we learned that Glen Campbell had passed away - a couple of strange coincidences with someone I've never met before.

Tuesday, August 8.  On Corwin's recommendation, we headed off to Jay Cooke State Park this morning, a beautiful piece of land along the St Louis River with fast moving white water and cliffs that were mostly hidden along the hiking paths. We learned that the park was named for the person who donated the land and that it was built by the CCC back in 1939 and included a swinging bridge over the river and the River Inn.  The view from the bridge was gorgeous, kind of reminding me of Glacier National Park where the color of the rocks and stones were variations of grays. We hiked the river trail, climbed the rocks to get a view of the waterfalls, and then hiked one of the paths through the woods.

After our hike, we stopped at the Streetcar Kitchen and Pub in Carlton for a delicious lunch and a beer and watched the local cop directing traffic to allow these huge, long trucks and trailers to get by.  On our way out of town, we could see that they were loading these huge pipes off of train cars and hauling them away.  There was lots of activity in that little town.   After lunch, it was almost 3:00, so we decided to make another night of it and we headed toward Brainerd.  I got on the phone to see if we might find a cabin for the night, but again, there was no vacancy anywhere - most of the resorts rent only by the week or more.  We passed the Country Meadows Inn in McGregor, did a u-turn and went in and learned that they had a room for the night and the Fireside Restaurant and Pub were right next door. Perfect.  

Wednesday, August 9.  After having a nice breakfast at a little roadside diner in Aitkin, our destination was the Charles Lindbergh State Park, just south of Brainerd.  We were having some rain now and then and after paying the daily fee to get in the park, we kind of regretted that we didn't just drive through.  The few buildings were run down and dilapidated, the mosquitos were prolific, and the rain had picked up so we didn't even see the boyhood home.  We drove down the road a short distance and came upon the Charles Weyerhaeuser Museum in Little Falls and went through that instead.

Heading back home, I t was a nice drive on the Great River Road along the Mississippi and it eventually got us to St. Cloud and then back to Minneapolis.  It was a great road trip and we learned that we really travel well and have a lot of fun together - a very nice time!

Sunday, August 13.  Nothing to write about on Thursday - I never even left the apartment except to get some fresh produce.

My Friday with Charlotte was a good day - we started by playing with her new Barbies, a gift to recognize her last day at Montessori school. Later on, we met her maternal Granny at the Arboretum for a morning of exploring the various gardens, kid stuff, and getting through the maze, followed by some lunch at Potbelly.  I picked Camille and Norah up after school, we rode bikes and played for a while before going to Cafe Luce for pizza and a beer.  I had planned to hang out after the kids went to bed, but that didn't happen - we were all pretty tired and ready for some down time.

I'm taller than you are, Granny!

I packed a bag and headed to Faribault to meet up with Tom on Saturday.  The Blue Collar BBQ and Arts festival was going on downtown and I didn't want to drive back to the city after having some beers.  Also, there were a couple of events going on in Owatonna on Sunday. I didn't realize that the Tilt-a-Whirl was manufactured in Faribault and also had an F-town Nut Brown Ale that was yummy! It seems like a very nice town and the people are proud of it, as seen at this festival.

The first 2 bands that we saw were great, JoyAnn Parker had a very nice voice, the band was talented, and the tunes were lively rock and blues. The next act, Son of a Bueller described their music was 80s music with a twist - and that it was - two of the guitarists played miniature, kid sized instruments and the lead female singer played an accordion.  It was very entertaining!  

We went back to Tom's trailer to walk and feed Frisco, then went back to the festival to hear the last 2 bands.  Well, we were both disappointed with Tim Mahoney, the local Guy who made it to The Voice, but lost out - it was a solo act and the style of music didn't interest either of us - today's country that doesn't sound country, no rocking beat, and was kind of boring.  So...we walked around the downtown area, to a local park and across a walking bridge that stretched over the Straight River where we chatted with some locals for a little while.  It was another hour before the headliner band was to start, so instead of sticking around, we went back to the campground and had a campfire. 

Today, we considered the Pirate Fest in Owatonna that took place at a park along the Straight River.  When we got there, it had started to rain so we just checked it out from the parking lot, we learned that it was mostly for kids and we decided it probably wasn't worth the $10 admission and didn't go in.  We went to the Village of Yesteryear instead and even though it was closed today, it was very entertaining.  A collection of old buildings from this area, they all had a description placard on them describing where they actually came from.  

We noticed a lot of RVs parks at the fairgrounds that is adjacent to the historic village and so we walked over there to check it out and discovered that they were most likely there for the Steele County Fair that begins later next week.  There were RVs everywhere.  The El Patron restaurant was just across the street so we stopped for a bite to eat and a beverage before heading back to his trailer.  Another nice day!