Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Tuesday & Wednesday,July 25-26, 2023 - MN

I picked Camille and Norah up yesterday at 10:00 am and we headed south to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park where we had tickets to tour Mystery Cave.  Even though I allowed an extra hour, we stopped for gas and got in construction traffic for at least 30 minutes and arrived late for our tour.  They were just getting started, so we were able to catch up with the rest of the group and see the entire tour.  It was only about a 1/2 mile of walk into the cave but it was interesting and we learned a lot.  Much of the walls were formed from calcium deposits, it is in its original state (no roofs added) and extends for about 13 miles.  One takeaway was: a cave is just a canyon with a roof - a canyon is a cave without a roof.  Makes sense.  We had a nice picnic on the grounds after our tour.  I had hoped to go to the Forestville living history museum but the bridge is washed out and you can’t access it. 

Silly girls!

Before heading to our B & B, we stopped at the Spring Valley Swimming Pool to burn up some energy.  They are both really good swimmers and spent most of the time in the 11’ deep part of the pool and jumped off the diving board many times.

And then we headed to the small town of Wykoff (population 425) and to the historic jail house where we were spending the night.  The city has turned the 1913 building into a B&B. It is original with thick stone walls, steel doors, has two rooms - one with a 2-bunk jail cell.  They have added on a bathroom and modern conveniences such as lighting, AC, TV, internet, comfy beds, and a nice patio.  

The girls suggested walking tacos for dinner and we realized that I forgot to bring the cheese, so we walked to the little convenience store and they didn’t have any either - cheeseless tacos. We sat out on the patio and had our tacos and walked back to the little store for dessert.  There weren’t a lot of GF options, so they had popsicles while playing in the park behind the jail house.  We watched America’s Got Talent and went to bed.  They were afraid that they would fall out of the bunks, so we all started out in the queen sized bed, but then I ended up sleeping in the bottom bunk of the jail cell. Now I can say that I’ve slept in a jail cell (it was NOT an item on my bucket list).  Wykoff has done an excellent job of restoring this historic building and bringing some extra tourist income to the town.  The area is beautiful - part of the driftless area with lots of hills, valleys, rock formations, and the Root River

Our destination for Tuesday was the Olmsted county fair at Rochester.  It was the first day of the fair, so the rides and games were not opening until 6pm. Dang it! We spent three hours in the animal and 4H displays and eating.  

They had gymnastics that night, so it was another full day for us.  Norah was missing her family, so she had several FaceTime chats with Jill, shed a few tears but I was able to comfort her so she settled in for the night.

We spent the afternoon at the Fireman’s Park pool on Wednesday afternoon and they even talked me into getting in the water with them.  It was refreshing and we had fun playing.  I enjoyed the quiet solitude of my little apartment after taking them back home.  I love being around them, but by the 3rd day, my patience runs thin and I’m getting tired.