The votes very helpfully fell in the order that I made the list in the first place, so I’m starting with Michelle’s visit. She was here from July 25th-30th, which was coincidentally the coldest July weather I’ve ever endured in my life. Not a great treat for my cold-natured Floridian sister. I had to pull out the down comforter for her as well as a couple of my sweaters, and we ended up at the MOA to get her an extra sweater and pair of jeans. Highs were in the nineties the week before, so naturally I’d told her to bring shorts.
We took her to the Walker on Thursday, as we’d neglected to get her spoon picture last year, endangering her ability to visit again. (It’s a requirement, you know.)
Neither of us understand modern art. I blame Oklahoma.
We went to see Pacific Rim on Friday; ridiculous and highly enjoyable. She purchased a bucket of popcorn that was larger than her ribcage and proceeded to eat almost none of it. Because she is Michelle and that is what she do. Later, we went to the fabulous old Midway Book (where I hope to take Carisa, eventually), and then to Ax Man, a surplus store that must be seen to be believed. (I’ve never been as amused by a collection of shop signs in my life. Check out some images.)
Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday afternoon I took her to knit at various coffee shops with my friends. I’d forgotten how quiet she is with strangers (and she doesn’t knit a lot, either), but I talk about her so much, I was glad to be able to introduce her around.
Of course I entirely failed to take pictures at any of these events, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
On Sunday, the three of us piled in the car and drove to Canada. Everyone assumed we were going to Thunder Bay since there are actually things to do there, but we were just in it for the road trip, so we went to International Falls/Fort Frances instead. (Yes, the border patrol was confused, too.) On the drive up, we saw a moose, and we took a detour to see the Lost Forty. It was quite peaceful for the twenty seconds before we fled, screaming – Minnesota forest mosquitos are NO JOKE, people. When you are reading an informational sign by the side of a gravel road, and you look down to discover upwards of seventy mosquitoes on each one of your tights-clad legs, something in your mind snaps. Being gently devoured was not on our itinerary, so back to the car we sped, and made it to our hotel just before dark.
Michael picked our lodgings at La Place Rendezvous. He done good. This was the view out of the back door of the room:
From our little deck, I literally threw a stone into Rainy Lake.
The hotel itself was seriously ’80’s-tastic, but the location (and reasonable price) more than made up for that. I want to go back for a few days sometime, just to knit, read books, and look at the lake.
Our window faced East, and I was awakened at sunrise when the world turned orange. It was cold outside, so I didn’t watch for long, but it was a beautiful dawn.
We walked along the pier for a bit, and swiped rocks off of the shore.
The wall of stones protecting the bay charmed me. The ducks liked it, too, or at least the calm waters it produced. They didn’t like us so much, but I suspect they got over it.
Despite my general suckiness at souvenir photo-taking, I did manage to get a couple of really cute pictures of Michelle, but iPhoto couldn’t deal with the exposure problems. Michael said he’d fix them in Lightroom at some point.
After we checked out of the hotel, we drove the shore of Rainy Lake for a while. Bought mugs at a souvenir shop, saw a beaver dam, tried to get some poutine for Michelle, but couldn’t find any with the traditional turkey gravy. Found yarn at a weird variety store, bought doughnuts. We also stopped at a few places in order to satisfy our Kinder Egg needs, and I shamed Michelle for getting her coffee at Starbucks instead of Tim Horton’s. I swear, what is the point of traveling if you only do all of the same things you do at home??
(I may not be over this one yet.)
The drive home was uneventful, and the next day was Michelle’s flight home. We had time to goof off in the afternoon, though, so we went to the zoo, and had my favorite tater tots at Grumpy’s.
The bonsai exhibit has moved outside since last time I was at the zoo. I love the ones that look like tiny islands.
Michelle was insistent that she see a giraffe while we were there, and so we did.
We took her to the airport after lunch, and she and I both cried a little at the drop off, like we always do. Practice and time do not make the separation any easier. Someday we won’t have to do this anymore.
To avoid ending this post on a maudlin note, let me just say that Michael and I do up a visit to the cities quite well. If you want sight seeing, we can do that. If you want eating all of the ice cream and cheese within a five mile radius, we can do that, too. If you want to sit on my fancy chairs and knit and watch movies with me; well, that may be my very favorite vacation of all. Come find out with me, won’t you?