7.02.2007

A few days in the motherland...

...aka the great state of cheese (WI).

A week ago my son and I drove my mom and nephew back to WI after they spent a week here with us in MI. My sister lives in Green Bay, so we walked to an IHOP for supper, then spent that night with my sister and her boys. The next AM we drove the rest of the way to my folks' place in Door Cty.

The drive from GB to DC was sort of surreal to me as they are building a 4 lane divided hwy. As a child most of the trip was done on 2 lanes with plenty of curves, so the trip could be quite slow if one managed to find themselves behind sluggish "tourons" (my new favorite term...tourist + morons). Some of the highway is built right on top of the pre-existing road, but other parts veer off a bit, so in stretches there are frontage roads. Unfortunately some of the small towns on the route are all but being lost and I imagine the tourism $$ they will now miss out on is going to hurt some businesses. There are definitely negatives for the area.

That first night in GB and the subsequent night in Sister Bay found some pretty uncomfortable temps, but by Weds. a front came through and the weather was gorgeous--though NE WI is as desperate for rain as we are here in West MI.

On Weds. AM Dane and I met my childhood buddy, Liz, for breakfast at the ultimate in cheesy eateries, Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant...home of good, albeit overpriced, food and goats on the grass roof. After leaving the restaurant Dane and I wandered and checked-out some of my favorite childhood places, including the Mill Road Gallery owned by one of my HS Art teachers (I was very impressed that he recognized me immediately). We also went down to Pebble Beach where I spent many a day of sunning and swimming as a child. It was a unique treat for Dane to be able to throw rocks in the water, as all we have in our area is sand, sand, and more sand.

Weds. afternoon Dane and I went over to visit another childhood friend and her 19 month old son. I ran into a few other HS classmates and it's really mind-boggling to meet their offspring. This is the stuff that makes me feel sorta old.

Weds. night I went for a run that started out fairly painfully. My right knee gave me fits most of the time in WI and is just now showing good healing. Apparently my legs don't much care for running a race, then roadtripping while still recovering. I think this was my first bout of "runner's knee."

Thurs. my mom ended up not having to work (she sells tickets for a ferry and due to high winds from the NW they didn't go out, as it's difficult for the capt. to dock), so she accompanied Dane and I on our trekking around. We had lunch at Digger's, then hit Peninsula State Park and climbed up to the first platform of the tall 3 platform observation tower. Dane got cold feet, which is just as well, as I don't do heights well at all--particularly since I started having inner ear and vertigo problems in recent years. We also went to the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse and had frozen custard at Not Licked Yet.

On Thurs. night I met up with Jen and Liz at JJ's/La Puerta and we each had 2 margaritas...that's a wild night out for us 30-somethings! It was so wonderful to have a few hours to gab with the girls. In some ways it really seems like no time has passed. I wish I lived closer and could do drinks with them more often.

Friday my parents both took off from work so we rode the passenger ferry from Gill's Rock to Washington Island and back. Picked-up some cheesy "Danish" souvenirs for Dane, including a sign that says "Parking for Danes Only: All others will be towed" and a funny Dane mug. After that we stopped at my great uncle's (actually my paternal grandpa's cousin) orchard farm market (Seaquist's) to buy fudge and goodies. We then had a lunch/snack at a bakery with some killer chili and bread. Dane wanted to go to Pebble Beach again, so we drove down that way for a bit so that grandpa Bruce could show him how to skip stones.

For supper on our last night in Door County we had to do the original fish boil at the Viking Restaurant. Dane wanted nothing to do with fish or chicken (likely due to his having eaten a PB&J snack not long before at the bakery), but he did enjoy the flames and drama of the fish boil itself. I'll be posting some fantastic photos of this once I get around to pulling them off the memory card and resizing.

After supper we drove out to the scary lookout at the little Porcupine Bay park, then back home to pack and prepare for bed.

On Sat. AM we packed-up the car and left just minutes after my folks left for work. We made slow progress heading home, in large part because I didn't sleep well the entire time we were in WI (thanks to a certain little boy who thrashed and gnashed his teeth in his sleep next to me), so I was depending upon coffee and Diet Coke to keep me awake for the long drive. We also picked up cheese at our favorite WI dairy (Renard's) and stopped for a while down by my brother and his GF in Chicago. I was so happy to meet her--she's a female version of my brother and they seem such a good match (unlike his ex-wife).

We made it home about 12.5 hours after we left WI, exhausted but glad to be able to sleep in our own beds.

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