Monday, July 23, 2018

July 23 - 29, 2018, MN

Friday, July 27.  Another week? How can it be? Before going to pick Camille up on Tuesday, we went to the Elm Creek Preserve and did about a 3-mile out and about hike. Another beautiful hiking spot within just a few miles of 'home'.  Then, in the afternoon after running a few errands, I headed for Ben's house to pick up a very excited Camille for her 2-night stay with us.  The day was warm with an expected cool down coming over the next 2 days, so we headed straight for the pool after dinner. It was already starting to cool down (and I am a true hot-weather pool fan), but we managed to swim and play for about an hour. We checked that activity off the list.

    There's a burglar trying to enter the historic Pierre Bottineau house. Shame on him!

Wednesday's weather was iffy all day long with bits of rain, wind, and clearing. We headed to the Elm Creek Nature Center and Camille enjoyed seeing the amphibians (we had just read a book about them) and was very curious about the taxidermy. She kept asking, "is this real? Is it really real? Is it Dead? Is it a statue?" I gave her as little information as I could to satisfy her curiosity and didn't encourage further explanation and that must have satisfied her.  We tried to walk the nature path but the bugs were awful.

    Camille's photography.

    Camille's photography.

Thursday morning after breakfast, we headed to the town center and saw a kid's music group called Kid Power and it was a fun, lively, interactive group. Camille was a bit shy but she said that she liked it.  Back at the KOA, we played on the playground, had some lunch, and then it was nap time.  When she woke up, we headed back to her home.

And Tom and I went to Old Southern BBQ for food and beer. Kidless again until Sunday!

Saturday, July 28.  The cool morning on Friday helped us decide to go for a hike, this time at Fish Lake. It was a beautiful walk, about 4-miles completely around the lake with nice, cool pathways and decent views. The only drawback was a mile-long stretch that ran parallel to the freeway. Another beautiful hike!

    Oh No! A true sign that fall is not far away when the Sumac starts to turn colors!

This morning, I had to satisfy my itch to go to a few garage sales.  They were pretty slim picking, but I did find a good deal on some dolls for the girls to play with.  

When I got back home, Tom and I headed to Rogers to get some groceries in preparation for Charlotte's upcoming visit - there must be plenty of healthy snacks around to keep her happy and content.


Monday, July 16, 2018

July 16 - 22, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 15.  On Friday evening, we went to dinner at Fiesta Cancun Bar and Grill in downtown Maple Grove. It was a celebration of our 9 months together.  Unfortunately, I can only say that dinner was ok - every entree was flavorless and we kept adding sauces and seasonings to perk it up a bit.  The servings were generous and ingredients were fresh but nothing had any flavor.  I kept thinking that the food was designed for midwesterners brought up on bland food - not me - I wanted some spice! Needless to say, I will never return.  I also wanted to leave comments on their website but there was no option for that. Also, reviews on Yelp were all favorable, so I thought mine would just be overlooked anyway. 

Ben and the family were tent camping at Baker Park this weekend so we drove over

there on Saturday morning and hung out for a while. We walked to the beach but Tom and I didn't bring suits so couldn't venture in the water and we had Frisco with us and he wasn't allowed on the beach, so we had to sit back from the beach with him.  According to Ben, their first attempt improved after the first night and they plan to do it again.

Sunday was wash and wax day for my Toyota, it was badly needed and looks so nice now.

  This guy crawled through our site this afternoon.

Thursday, July 19.  The trouble with a gap in days between writing is having to reconstruct the previous day's events.  This week, my focus has been on medical - my annual Medicare checkup was on Tuesday and I had a good, thorough discussion with my new doctor on my medications, questions, and concerns. All is good and no follow-up is needed except for getting the new 2-part shingles vaccination, Zoster Shingrix that is out on the market. Apparently, it is in high demand and they were out of it. She said it is supposed to be 90+% effective and I will definitely be following up on that - I do not want to get the dreaded shingles.

I spent the afternoon at the dental hygienist yesterday at the Herzing Dental College Clinic - the only reason the appointments take the afternoon is that a student is doing the work under supervision of an instructor.  They are thorough checkups including cancer screening of the neck and jaws, blood pressure and pulse check, reviews of health history and a cleaning/polishing/fluoride treatment - all for $18 and well worth the 3-hour commitment.

After my appointment, I headed to Ben's house to pick up Norah for a 2-night sleepover. She was excited and had all of her stuff ready and packed. It was after 6:00 when we got back home, so we only had a short time to play at the playground after dinner, but it was fun.  Even though her eyes kept closing, she still wanted to return to the playground before bedtime.  After a shower and stories, she drifted off to sleep.

Today, we had planned to go see an interactive musical show for kids at the town center, but the rainy weather changed that plan.  The bandshell is right next to the library, so we picked up a bunch of books and a couple of movies and headed back home.  We did a walkabout (she rode her bike) in between rain showers. Now, it is cold and gloomy outside and she is napping.

Saturday, July 21.  It was another rainy day for Norah's visit so I took her to the $$$$ store and let her choose a couple of toys - her picks were a play cell phone and a mermaid doll. Since she has been asking for a Campfire, we bought a pack of wood on the way home and got one started while the rain took a break. That interest lasted a very short time, so we napped and then got ready to take her back home. 

Ben made pizza for us for dinner and the girls glared at videos (their Friday night routine) while we had dinner. Unfortunately, Ben had to return to work but Jill, Tom, and I sat and talked for a while before we headed back home.

This morning, we mapped out a route for a hike at Fish Lake Regional Park here in Maple Grove.  We had a very nice 3.5 mile hike along a paved trail that wound around the lake, then out toward the Medicine Lake Trail. It was a beautiful 80 degree day with bright blue skies contrasted with small, fluffy, white clouds, a nice canopy of trees, and good breezes.  Best of all - NO bugs!

On the way home, Tom's curiosity got the best of him and we followed the sign that we see most every day that led to the Hindu Temple of Minnesota.  We were surprised to see this beautiful building and manicured lawns tucked back off the road at a dead end.  Several people in bright colored traditional clothing appeared to be attending an event.

Sunday, July 22.  After a slow start to the day and a good breakfast, we decided to go for a drive and do some exploring.  Tom mapped out a route to the north and we headed out for abut a 60 mile drive. We did discover some pretty cool things:  the small town of Rogers, just 5 miles away has great shopping opportunist - a Cub Food, a local liquor store and a Super Target.   If we go there, we can avoid the traffic and congestion around the huge collection of shops on the east side of Maple Grove.

We checked out Diamond Lake and then traveled north along the Mississippi River, pulling in to an overlook at Cloquet Island Park, although the trees and brush were too tall and thick to even see the river.  We walked down a few flights of stairs to get to a path along the river, and followed that as far as we could, then another one that led up a hill and back to the parking lot.

Before heading back home, we stopped at the Nature Center at Elm Creek Park Reserve.  The facilities were very nice and the trails look like a great place to hike. We also got information on their camping options for Ben and the family.

Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9 - 15, 2018, MN

Thursday, July 12.  Most of the week has been very typical for us, except for an early morning visit to the lab for blood work in preparation for my upcoming annual checkup and a little bit of shopping therapy.

Last night, Tom and I went to the Maple Grove Town Green to see a Billy Joel Tribute band.  We were unsure of what to expect so got there a few minutes after the band started and were unable to find a seat on the lawn where we could actually see the band.  There was no problem with hearing them. It was a beautiful night for a concert in the park. We left a few minutes early in order to avoid the traffic rush after the show - good thing, as it started to pour down rain just after we got to the car.

This morning, in spite of the temps being near 90 degrees and high humidity, we headed to the Crow-Hassan Park Reserve, about 11 miles north of here.  The reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park District, an area that covers 27,000 acres of parks and trails with 25 different areas for recreation.  We hiked about 3 miles along unpaved trails and roughly mowed paths through forest and prairie lands.  The flies and mosquitoes were thick when we first started out, so we both doused ourselves and our clothes with 100% DEET - I know, it's nasty stuff but it is effective and allowed us to finish the hike.  Neither of us could wait to get in the shower when we got back home - we were hot, sweaty, and covered with insect repellant.  Frisco was a trooper but I know it tired him out - the humidity must really affect him - I've never seen him pant as much as he did on this hike. Perhaps it was a bit too long for him.

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2 - 8, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 8.  I just realized that I haven't written anything this whole week and there isn't a whole lot to write about.  Then again, there is:

On Friday morning, I headed over to Lois' house, as she had the grandkids overnight and we were taking them to the beach today.  The Lake Ann beach in Chaska is very nice with a long, wide, grassy area that provided plenty of shade and picnic tables and a long, wide beach with clean, soft sand and shallow, clean water.  We had lots of fun building castles and romping around in the water.

When we got back to the house, Norah and Camille took naps and Lois, Charlotte, and I relaxed on the porch. I hung there around until Ben got arrived to pick the girls up.

Back at home, Tom and I went to Luann Chin for dinner and it was ok - pretty typical for an Asian fast food restaurant.

Saturday was another full day when Ben and the girls joined us for the afternoon here at the KOA.  We walked, they rode their bikes, colored, ate snacks, and were fascinated by the trailer. Norah and Camille wanted to take naps but had a hard time going to sleep, they eventually succeeded, and we sat around talking and coloring.  When we asked Tom to join us, he said he was ok with reading but when Charlotte said "Pleeeeese" he joined us - and I think he had fun doing it.

Last night we went to the Hamel Rodeo, a local event just down the road from where we are staying.  We saw several of the usual Rodeo events like steer roping, bareback riding, barrel racing, and bull riding with some clownish entertainment and and some trick riding by The One Armed Bandit in between - an enjoyable evening doing something a bit out  of the ordinary.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1, 2018, MN

Sunday, July 1.  After hooking up between rainfalls yesterday and last minute chores this morning, we pulled out and headed northwest to our campsite at the KOA in Maple Grove, MN where we will be spending the next 2 months.  Half of the drive was through rain and at times, pouring down rain and some high winds too.  Other than that, it was an easy 4-hour drive.  Just before we arrived, they received 3.5 inches of rain, so there are puddles everywhere.  Our site isn't bad, kind of muddy and the electric/water hookups are on the wrong side of the RV.  That is certainly an inconvenience and we will have to buy a 30amp extension.

Just down the road is Mama G's Bar and Grill and we headed there for a bite to eat and a beer.  There was music and volleyball on the patio but we decided to eat indoors where it was a bit more quiet - are we getting older or what?