Friday, July 16, 2010

USA - First Stop, Minnesota!

A huge thank you to the 10 readers I have - not just 3!!!! You make me laugh and keep me motivated to Blog On. Just felt a bit out of it after that long break and twice my mom called to say "Is everything going allright? You haven't updated your Blog yet?"

Today, I'll share some of our US of A trip - Minnesota being the first destination. We went to the Zurich Flughafen in - the rain of course! Funny thing was, it was raining when we got back July 6th too. And then quickly warmed up.

United is a code-share with Swiss Airlines which we don't mind at all. Swiss has the better food! No joke. Flight next to us was the new direct! flight to San Francisco. We'd seen the advertisements around town for a long time with the 70's style Peace plane - it wasn't just an Ad, they painted the plane: Starting out in Zurich. It's about 12pm, everyone's fresh and happy. Girls in the spoil seats. Someone's in the back griping that two kids who can't possible appreciate those seats bumped them out of an upgrade. The girls do appreciate them:
Because we know that come 5pm in Chicago, it doesn't matter what seat they're in, it feels like 12am - Midnight. And all they want to do is go to sleep:
Big T-storms were blowing their course through Chicago between our landing and our takeoff into Minneapolis. So once boarded, we had a 2 hour taxi before we could take off due to the lineup of planes that were delayed due to the Storm. No problem for these guys. By then it was about 1/2am and they went promptly to sleep, Again:
I don't think I've shared much about Bart's parents place in NorthWestern Minnesota. I know I've shared pic's from the Mall of America and refer to his folks location as the place where we have no computer. Today you get a few pic's of the area they call home.
We took a slight detour on the way as a town on the direct route, Wadena, was hit quite hard with tornadoes the day before we flew in. But our detour led us past outlying damage. The speed at which the power company was setting up new poles was amazing, metal roofs peeled back from gas stations, barns demolished with houses right next to them perfectly fine, twisted metal in fields, stands of trees partially leveled:

We then reached The Folks place. Looking down the road from their mailbox (note - stay out of the grasses there at the edge of the road, there are tics, ewww! I do not like them) :
Beautiful evening sun through the trees with the garage at right - there are "only" 5 cars in that garage right now. R has a bit of an obsession with the vehicles.
On our way to the 'Pole barn' (why do they call it that? I still don't know. He keeps cars in there too!)
Here is evidence of the "little tree" R was bringing down that went a different direction than he planned:
Resulting in an "Open Air" Pole barn:
For the girls Birthdays, R gave them each a bag of sand from Alaska that is 'seeded' with some gold - never know how much you might get. R is a gold-panning buff as well so brought out his equipment and the girls had fun sifting sand into the centrifuge and watching the little bits of gold separate from the sand.
They each took some small nuggets home with them - Thank you GrandPa!
What would a trip to the Lakes country be without a photo-op with Paul Bunyan? Kendra was OK with the fact that this Paul did not have Babe, the Blue Ox with him (she finds Babe a bit scary).
This was our first 'meal out' while in the US. These were 'small' Root Beers. We were all (well, our family anyway) quite shocked at the size and determined to try and remember to share drinks later. We're so goofy - we also noticed how much ice was in our drinks! Please remember, we live in a land with no A/C, tiny freezers and drinks just don't come with ice unless you ask for it ( or they give it to you because they hear your American accent). And in America, you get free water with your meal! Ah, home of the brave and land of free water!!! Cute little church a couple miles down the road (Lutheran, of course):
The weather was really nice while we were there. Bart and I were attacked by aggressive deer flies a couple of times but overall, it was nice to be outside this summer (no one was captured by mosquitoes although they gave Rachel & Kendra a run on the last night).
The girls and I took a nice walk down the dirt road by the house and found a frog:
a turtle:
picturesque scenery:
mid-twentieth century farms:
and a good run down a dirt road! Love it! Another part of life experience unlike any they could have at 'home.'
I try to take several walks during our stays with The Folks. Because of these - CATS!
The girls love Grandma's cats. All 4 of them! 4 cats! I've been allergic to cats my whole life - not a cat lover. Rachel is also allergic but loves the cats so constantly washes her hands and takes all the med's I throw at her while we're there. I just keep myself highly medicated - 3 nights is about the limit before I get a little, um, strange from the large amounts of antihistimines.....
The girls in front of the '69 Riviera - one of R's four (4!) Riviera's. We went out for a joyride in this one - I got to drive! It's been a long time since I've driven a car like that. The Surburban was big but nothing like a long, wide sedan with a bit of Umph. FUN!!!
The old Chinook. Which survived the whole "little tree falling on the Pole barn" incident.
The girls had it for a playhouse and loved the avocado green shag carpet. They could run in and out, honk the horn - great time for kids.
And the cats again. Hard time finding a seat in the house between kids and cats:
We had a great time in the Big Woods. Thank you B and R - we Love you!

1 comment:

Katherine said...

You do a great job describing your journey, and selecting interesting photos...

About the drinks and ice - my mom and I try to remember to ask for "no ice" over here, since the A/C is usually already too cold, and the ice chills us uncomfortably...being used to no ice in Europe...and we are most surprised by free refills...