Every nook and cranny!
Tom and I left Thursday night, after taking Leah out for her birthday dinner. She’s staying home to dog- and house-sit for us, since she can’t get away from her rehearsals for “Oliver” (put on by South Bend’s Civic Theater next month). Chloe is in the Grand Tetons working for the summer. Seth and Maddie decided last year that they were going to take this year off from going to Cass Lake, since they haven’t had a “couple” vacation on their own since their honeymoon four years ago. And since Jared lives in Austin, it’s quite a long trip to Minnesota for him, so he won’t be with us either. This is the first year we have gone “sans kids.” It will be very strange.
Still, we won’t be alone in our big cabin. My mom and dad are staying both weeks with us this year. They’ve shared accommodations with us for one week in the past, but moving down to their cabin at the next resort was becoming more and more challenging, and we’re the only immediate family they’ll have to help them out that second week, so it makes sense for them to stay with us both weeks.
We headed down to DeMotte to help them finish packing on Thursday night. On Friday morning, we crammed everything in their car, and finally hit the road around 9:30 a.m. The trip up included our usual stop for breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and a late lunch at Culver’s. The trip was uneventful except for the fact that shortly after hitting the highway we realized the air conditioning was barely putting out cool air. It was bearable for most of the ride but we knew we had to get it fixed, so we made an appointment for Saturday at a little repair shop called “Driven Auto,” just a couple of miles from the Mall of America.
We checked into our room at the Springhill Suites at 7:30 p.m. After getting Mom and Dad comfortable, Tom and I made our usual run to the REI store. We brought pizza back to the hotel for a late night supper-snack before hitting the hay.
Today (Saturday) is our traditional shopping day before making the last leg of of our journey to the lake. Since there is no tax on clothing (including shoes) in Minnesota, we always feel like we’re getting a sale on top of the traditional July 4th sales. Over the years, we’ve learned the layout of the huge Mall of America, and know where to find our favorite stores. Tom’s shopping time at the mall was cut a little short as he took the car in for the A/C repair, rode his bike back to the hotel, then later Uber’d back to the shop, and brought the car back to the mall. (We now have a nice cool car again!) I only had about five hours at the mall, but we were still both able to find the shoes we needed as well as some birthday gifts for Leah.
After shopping, we went back to pick up Mom and Dad from the hotel. We filled every nook and cranny of the car (see my last blog post for the full story on that!), had a little Cinnabon snack, and set off for the lake at around 4:00.
We stopped for a quick supper at Subway in Walker, and pulled into Birch Villa Resort on Cass Lake a few minutes after 8:00 p.m. We unpacked the car, said “hello” to the lake (and a few cousins), and then Tom and I headed to Bemidji to get a week’s worth of groceries at Walmart. It was a long day, and a late night, but it’s always so good to be back, at our home away from home.