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Minnesota for Mothers Day: Part One

Miss me? So much ground to cover since it's been over a week since I've blogged. I originally (before leaving on our trip) had intended to say a little something about the new Ironman Swim Start that ruffled so many feathers at the end of last week. I'm over it. Everybody seems to have had their say for and against. Plus, the two races I would consider doing (Wisconsin/Louisville) haven't had any changes...yet...and I have more immediate matters to handle with a triathlon to tackle next month.

On that note, it was a weird week for training. I went five full days with no workouts. But then I went out with the cycle club again on Tuesday night and managed to keep up with the fast group for 22 miles...I was so proud until I fell over while trying to clip back in at a red light. Humbling. Then yesterday it was gorgeous weather some more and I took the kids out in the bike trailer for a slow, casual "recovery" ride. I'm taking today off entirely. Lots of stress from travel and so much going on, still sore from the hard group ride...I'm fairly confident at this point in my fitness. Well, I'll feel much better after I swim the full distance in training coming up. But really, my focus is turning to race execution. For me, that means preparation, packing, having a plan, getting my nutrition ready/right, being organized. I'll get a swim in still this week and then try my best to get back on my training schedule by next week. Which is exactly one month until race day.

The bike ride with the kids yesterday was just around the neighborhood. And we pulled onto a residential street nearby only to find a firetruck parked going the other direction. (They were flushing the hydrant at the corner.) So I pulled over out of traffic to make sure Cole got a good luck. I was pointing out the ladder on top and hoses when the firefighter who was driving it for the day came down off the curb to have a chat. I told him Cole talks about firetrucks and listens for the sirens all the time. Great guy. He said he went from playing with toy firetrucks to driving one himself and that he may have something on the truck for us. He brought back two red, plastic fire helmets for the kids to take. Cole was speechless. Just big wide eyes then wanted to go. It wasn't even was not really believing what he was seeing. The kids both came home and barely took the hats off the rest of the evening.

We also have a new spinning wheel in our house. Kelly ordered it while at knitting camp and it just arrived while we were out of town. Took some assembling, but last night she tried to show me how to spin on it. Before you get the image in your head of a large "Sleeping Beauty" style wheel, this thing can be picked up by the handle with one hand and is quite compact. But I quickly found out that it is not going to be a skill that comes naturally to me.


On with the report from our trip!

We left in the early morning chill on Friday. Cole was in shorts, but we changed him into jeans at our breakfast stop. We'd told him to be ready to go to Grandma's as soon as he got up...and boy was he ready! Straight into clothes and into the car without any fuss. He was actually great for the ride. As predicted, it was Leda (18 months, don't forget) who wasn't quite up for a long car trip. We expected it...that's how Cole was last year at that age. Not old enough to really understand. Snacks and toys and naps only get you so far and then they just want out.

Didn't really go to Twin Cities at all on this trip...spent most of it in the Wabasha and Lake City area along the Mississippi River which is absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend seeing it. North of La Crosse, the river has a series of locks and dams (one we've visited before) and is full of little wetlands and islands around the main channel. A series of bluffs lines the valley and the highway, railroad tracks, and several small towns get squeezed into the little space between shore and the rock faces. It's hilly and the roads twist and turn. There's wildlife everywhere...including one of the world's best spots to see bald eagles. Long, full barges go up and down the river and between Wabasha and Red Wing, the Mississippi River is actually wide enough that it is a large lake called Lake Pepin. Lots of harbors and docks for sailboats and speedboats...apparently, Lake City is even the birthplace of waterskiing? I've included quite a few photos below from our afternoon of feeding the ducks and playing on the playground by the water. It's a small grocery, hand full of gas stations, a Dairy Queen. But if you want Caribou Coffee or a Target then Red Wing is about 15 miles up the highway.

To Be Continued...Next time, I'll cover our visit across the river to Wisconsin, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, and the Shepherds Harvest Festival.