Four and a half hours of driving later and we finally arrived back home to Minneapolis from “Some-city-named-after-a-fish”, Wisconsin. The weekend went amazingly well – I can’t believe all of the things we managed to do in two-and-a-half days!
The Hubby, C. and I caravanned from Minneapolis. The Hubby and I had to leave early on Monday morning, and C. wanted to stay in Wisconsin through Monday afternoon, thus two vehicles. I rode with C. for the trip down and we had a blast. We’re both big musical fans so we spent the entire trip singing selections from Avenue Q, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Wicked, Legally Blonde, Phantom, Rent, The Producers, Repo the Genetic Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spring Awakening, Sweeny Todd and more. I say singing, but by the end of four and a half hours of belting music it was was more like slaughtering, although C is classically trained and can belt like a pro. The Hubby was really happy that he had his own car for this trip.
We stopped in a little podunk town for dinner and made the not entirely wise decision to eat at the KFC. Blech. KFC is awful food, but after I’ve gone without it for several months I forget about how painful and gross the entire experience was and think…mmmm…fried chicken.
Sadly, the KFC once again lived up to past experiences. The chicken was overdone, and it had soaked up enough oil so that it wasn’t dried out, with the end result being that the meat fell off of the bones and the bones crumbled as we tried to eat the meat. Ugh. At least the cole slaw was all lardy goodness.
One of the highlights of the stop was watching the Hubby eat chicken. It’s an old joke in our family: The Hubby didn’t eat fried chicken in front of me until we had been dating for at least six months so he wouldn’t scare me away. When it comes to table manners, the Hubby is usually a neat, tidy, perhaps even fastidious, eater. But give him chicken on the bone and his lower brain kicks into overdrive. This was how dinosaurs ate, I’m sure of it.
Think about how you eat fried chicken: You pick it up and nibble away at it. Easy, right? But how do you hold the chicken? If you’re like C. and me, you hold it like this guy from the twttrstream debate “Should Fried Chicken Be Eaten With A Fork or With Your Fingers?”:
See the technique? You use a couple or three fingers to lightly grip the chicken on each end and you eat the damn thing. Not so with the Hubby. He gets in there with all ten fingers, plus the palms:
Not only that, but he tears the bird into tiny shreds in the search for that last, tiniest morsel of remaining meat, leaving bits and pieces of discarded bone and fat on the plate, tray, or a napkin on the table, until a mound of inedible bird remains are left in a sad, oil-saturated pile off to the side. We tried to show him a less messy alternative, but he just looked so damned uncomfortable that we let him go back into chicken berzerker mode.
After that entertaining stop we continued up to the cabin. The cabin is about 45 minutes off of the main highway, nestled deep in the woods. When we finally arrived at about 9:30-10pm we bustled everything inside, said our hellos and goodnights to C.’s parents and hit the hay.
I’ve been to C.’s cabin on one other occasion, but had forgotten how beautiful the area is. For starters, their home is really more of a high diamond-class resort than a “cabin”:
The upper deck
View of the back of the cabin
The dock and pier from the upper deck of the cabin
Closer to the dock and pier
Gorgeous, right? It’s very quiet in the area, even though C.’s cabin has neighbors close on each side.
So we woke up on Saturday and C.’s mom made this amazing breakfast of egg bake casserole (made gluten free so I could eat it!) and cinnamon rolls (not GF, but apparently de-li-cious as told by the gluten-eaters). Saturday morning started out very, very chilly and looking a bit like rain. We had planned on taking the boat out to do some fishing, tubing and maybe a little bar-hopping around the lake (you dock your boat at these bars, grab a drink and then boat to the next bar – it’s a blast!), but because the weather wasn’t cooperating, C.’s parents surprised us with a trip to a horse ranch/go-kart amusement park that their family used to go to all the time when the kids were younger. I ask ya: Who doesn’t love horseback riding and go-karts?
We had a 45-minute wait between go-karts and horseback riding so we took a short ride to some nearby cabins where C. and her family used to vacation. It was a very pretty camping spot right on a lake with about six cabins situated together in a “village” . I took nerdy nature pictures while we were there:
After wearing ourselves out with go-karts and horseback riding, we headed back to the cabin. We stopped at a couple of very interestingly-named shops (I made sure to Foursquare them!) along the way:
Snack stop! This place had the best fried chicken wings ever. Really.
Two thirds of the places up here – stores and cities – are named after wildlife. We call that “charming”.
C.’s mom made an incredible dinner for us on Saturday night, and C. introduced me to Rose’s Cocktail Infusions. Her mom had the entire set as seen below:
Yum, yum, yum. We ate dinner, sang “Happy Birthday” to C., drank pear, raspberry, mango and pomegranate martinis, and watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the original, of course). We all started to wander off to bed around 11:30-midnight.
I woke up at about 9am on Sunday, which surprised me because I could have sworn that I set my alarm for 7:30, but ah well. C.’s Mom came through with another delicious breakfast of egg casserole leftovers, fruit salad, bacon, and cheesy hash browns.
C. was determined to take the family’s new jet ski out for a ride around the lake, even though the air was only about 60-degrees Fahrenheit when we headed down to the dock. First C. took the jet ski out for a ride with her brother so she could learn how to handle the thing, then she took the Hubby out for a ride.
By this time she returned with the Hubby, C. was getting more comfortable on the jet ski and she was ready to take a more adventurous ride. I hopped on the back and off we went! She drove out to the center of the lake and made tight circles to stir up some waves, and then she would cross the wake, making us lift up into the air! At one point we switched places so I could tool around for a while. It’s harder than it looks, but you learn quickly from trial-and-error how to make the thing go! During one pass I managed to hit the wake with the nose pointing down a little too far, causing a huge wave to come up over the top of the jet ski and soaking both of us like some sort of thrill ride at a water park. Later when C. was driving again she did a few more tight turns, one of which threw both of us off the jet ski into the water! But at 66-degrees Fahrenheit the water was warmer than the air! Brr…we had a chilly ride back home, though.
After that C. went water skiing (and by went, I mean attempted…so close, girl!), and we all tried kneeboarding. After some practice C. succeeded beautifully, the Hubby managed to get upright, but crooked, and I was an excellent bellyboarder.
One more try, C!
C. kneeboards – doin it quite well, akshully.
The Hubby kneeboards. He kneeboards sideways on the board, but definitely not bad for a first couple of tries.
I…bellyboard. But I won the Stubbornly Hanging On award, by gosh! At the end, C. forgets that she’s filming and palms the camera, but you can hear her imploring me to let go of the rope. But I won’t! I was getting up on that damn board if it…ohhh…they cut the engine. *mumbling* I was almost there, too…
After kneeboarding we came in to pick up C.’s Mom, and found that she had prepared a fabulous lunch for us while we were out! We dined on lunchmeats and salads, and then headed back out to the lake to do some tubing. Tubing was great, but we were bounced around pretty well. We all came back that evening grumbling and groaning about newly discovered muscles, and I’m still sore as I write this on Tuesday morning!
That evening we played Apples to Apples (truly an excellent group game) and snacked on hors d’oevres. C.’s brother put on this hilarious and awful History channel show called Swamp People, which is a documentary/sporting show about Louisiana’s thirty-day open hunting season for American alligators. It’s awful because you see alligators being slaughtered and hilarious because the people are very much your stereotypical big, burly, macho manly-men out huntin’ ‘gators. But read carefully – no one is saying these guys are rednecks! In fact, the websites I’ve browsed all use this *same phrase* over and over to describe the hunters as “the proud descendants of French Canadian refugees who settled in the swamp region of Louisiana in the 18th century”. Ah-yup.
After that we pulled out the Rose’s Cocktail Infusions again, and things got really classy as we settled down to play a few old-timey card game favorites such as Bullshit and Circle of Death. I wanted to play Spoons, but concerns were raised about the length of some of the gals’ fingernails so we ended up playing a few dozen rounds of Catchphrase instead.
And so passed another lovely evening!
The Hubby and I decided to get up at the crack of dawn and get our butts back to Minneapolis before Labor Day traffic became unbearable. I was also hoping to spend a few more hours at the MN State Fair as it was ending that day. The crack of dawn ended up being about 8am (that’s early enough on a holiday, thank you very much!), and we rolled into town at 2:15pm without hitting any major traffic. The Hubby ran into work to get a few things done, and I ended up watching an episode of Warehouse 13. It was raining off and on in the cities, so I decided not to go to the State Fair (sad Brianne is sad), so I got some reading done in this calculus book I’m currently tackling. Later that evening we had a delicious dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Dinkytown called Shuang Cheng. I had something with shrimp and scallops in it, and I don’t think I’ve had such fresh, well-prepared scallops since our trip to San Diego last winter. Nom-my! I think school starts at the U of MN tomorrow, and we saw groups of students walking with parents up and down University Avenue and through Dinkytown. It all felt very exciting.
And hey – now it’s a four-day work week!