Monday, July 30, 2007

Temperance State Park, MN (7/26)

The boys found this gorge at Temperance where the river had worn into the ground leaving a cliff on either side. We would climb up the vertical face of the cliff (slight exaggeration) then cast themselves off a 40 foot drop (OK so another slight exaggeration it was more like 15 feet but still...) Levi, the author of this little piece, did a 720 off one of the sides. Elan tried and landed on his rebuttski. It was fun and we went back many times.

Schroeder, MN

7/23 – arrived at the North Shore camp site. As Kim is helping me back into the site, she notices that the bikes are just about to fall off the back of the 5th wheel. I got out to find that the two should-be-horizontal posts that support the bikes are both bent way down allowing the bikes to nearly touch the ground. I called Yakima and learned that it is not recommended to put their racks on the backs of campers / trailers as it has a whip affect. Though this is not under warranty they agreed to FedEx a new bike rack out to the camp site. None of their hitches are designed for these additional stresses but the new one should allow us to get home (at least using it on the back of the truck's receiver hitch – though we will need to have the bikes in the back of the RV when traveling with that... no thanks to Erik the bike man for selling me a rack that will not work for the application) Sigh... well, we are still trying to figure out a bike solution, putting the bikes in the living room is going to get old quick. Suggestions are welcome...

7/25 Water and Boys

Boys are water magnets (and stick magnets, and dangerous area / activity magnets and so on) but especially water magnets. (Kobe especially so as he wants to do what his older brothers are doing but his ground clearance (water clearance) is not up to that of his bros. Kobe was in for his 2nd time today, 2 hikes, 2 for 2). This time in Lake Superior but he wasn't too upset, so I guess the parents can't be.... We've decided to prepare for this by having the boys get swim suits on and shirts off as we approach bodies of water. This now includes “bodies” of water such as puddles and drinking fountains. These pictures show some of our many “learning opportunities”.

Going to the bathroom...

I was wondering if we should keep count how many times the boys go to the bathroom not in a “bathroom”, but it's far too frequent of an occurrence to track. It's amazing how they have to go so badly when we are a few minutes hike from out camp site... yet even then when it's that urgent they have time to find a high rock to go from...

going the distance (or for distance) with my boys... (thankfully, no pictures here)


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Grand Rapids, MN

We made it to Grand Rapids to see our good friends, the Tillman's. They live on a beautiful lake with a lot of company -- Hanna who is ten loves animals of all kinds. Here's the current count: 2 dogs, 3 Cats, 2 Fish, 2 Bearded dragons, 2 geckos, 4 Bunnies (and counting), 1 Hermit Crab, 2 Birds, 1 Frog, 2 Guinie pigs - for a grand total of 21 animals.
There is a bald eagle that nests not far away, and some of the most beautiful iron range - lake country around!
With the truck's fuel filter changed and 2 days of being fed tons of food and treated like royalty, we must be on our way to the North Shore.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lake Bemidji State Park, MN

Our first reminder to initiate the voyage with prayer was the spat that broke out between Shae and Kobe (who put them next to each other in the truck?) less than five minutes after leaving the cabin. Everyone took a turn either expressing gratitude for the many "sending" blessings or asking for grace and help for what's to come.

As I manned the map software I got my first lesson in the "reality check" -- even though the road was marked "Lake Bemidji State Park" I directed Graham past it to the next right turn that the map indicated. The U-turn he pulled off with our 50+ foot caravan was brilliant. His challenge came in backing into the site once we arrived. With the help of some friendly Canadians across the road, we made it.

We put quite a few miles on the bikes in two days, read lots of informational panels (bogs, dragonflies, etc.), and enjoyed Ardy's homemade cinnamon bread on the beach. The boys, especially the younger ones, are working on using voices that respect the nearness of our neighbors and can't be heard all the way to the visitor center. But they are, overall, so flexible and excited -- they were ready to dive into school work our first morning!

Spicer, MN

Our time at the cabin with Kim's family (and the last few days, with Graham's folks too) was a funny transition -- when we were there, it felt like our trip had already started. But saying those last good-byes and pulling away, it's really real. Two and half weeks of precious times and a great spring board to what's next! Mom cleaned out the pantry and frig of the cabin to fill up the RV while Ardy sewed one last specially fitted RV bedsheet in case one of the boys gets a bloody nose some night.

The boys enjoyed countless tube rides with cousins behind grandpa's boat. Shae's skiing was solid with one-hand tricks and going outside the wake. Levi finally got that back foot tucked into the slalom after dropping a ski. Elan recorded the efforts of the kids to capture and research bugs and they all got into some movie making with the video camera.