wow, we just got back (from the whirlwind trip to Iowa) in the nick of time for sweetie to get to work (4-midnight tonight & tomorrow). i need to catch y'all up on our last couple of days!
friday we got another late start (midnight-8 shift is a killer!) to drive up to Taylor's Falls so that we could get in a canoe and paddle down to Osceola along the St. Croix River. we got there at about 3:00 and had until 6:00 to make it down that 7-mile stretch, where a bus would take us back to the Interstate Park where we left the car.
the weather was sublime, the river was clean and clear, and the wind was right in our faces! it actually felt great to be in a canoe again--for the first time in about 30 years--and i'm happy to say i've still got great style with a canoe paddle even if i do have a pulled right trapezius now. ha. sweetie was smart enough to suggest that i bring my bicyling gloves, and they helped enormously!
we stopped a time or two to dip into the river. we thought we had to hurry to make that bus ride back to Taylor's Falls, but figured out before too long that we had plenty of time and no rushing was necessary. it was really a wonderful afternoon.
it stays light so long here--i thought arizona had a lot of daylight, and we do intensity-wise, but length-wise minnesota has us beat. we took a lesiurely drive back to Saint Paul and stopped at a local pizza bar for a slice and stromboli to go.
next day we slept in again, mostly out of habit, but really tried to get on the road by noon to drive down to Iowa City to see my friend Ava and to meet our blogger friend Cooter
sweetie suggested that we drive south on 61, hugging the river south and east, which was quite beautiful but also quite time-consuming. there are a slew of little river towns along the way (read that: 30 mph) and it seemed as though most of them were having River Days Festivals, so the sidewalks were full of looky-lous and the highway was full of biker fleets and minivans. in between these little towns the roadway was curved and shady, with the wonderful smell of river filling the car. beautiful old houses and homesteads, mixed with newer construction, were fun to look at as we passed by, but it soon became apparent that we wouldn't make IC by 6:30.
turns out we were about an hour late, but thanks to cell phones we all met up at George's Tavern and quickly walked to Devotay's for an excellent meal of vegetarian paella, elk steak, lamb chops, and "house" paella. we left Ms. Cooter with the promise of a morning visit and then followed Ava back to her place for the night. it was wonderful to see her again and catch up on some of our exploits in the past few years, and her 2 granddaughters came over at 10:30 to share the dessert sweetie & i brought from the local bakery here.
we actually got up early so that we could enjoy a full breakfast and lots more talking with Ava, then all of us drove across town to see Cooter's new house which was so special....it's an older home, small and cozy, on a wonderfully hilly street, and just right for her and GUS THE POOG (and the 2 cats). we sat and shared the last of the dessert ("lemon drop cake roll") and some coffee, and at 10:00 we were off.
"oh," says Cooter, "i can make it to saint paul in 4 hours if i go 80 to 35!" all we can say is, Cooter, you must leave tracks! we were on the highway proper by 10:30, stopped once for a pee call and once for gas--and barely got here at 3:30....so, not pointing any fingers here, but we averaged 75-80 mph....
i have pix but am not sure i can download them with sweetie's software, so will err on the side of caution and wait for him to help me. then y'all are in for it!