October 10

Cynthia and Mike and Kieran .. Home Sweet Home!
From the side yard we can see the splendid front yard tree.
From my favorite seat in the living room, watching the life of the street go by.
October 11

Head 'em up Move 'em out. We're off for a weekend at the North Shore of Lake Superior. Too fun!

We had a lunch stop in Duluth and enjoyed a view of the Duluth North Pier Lighthouse put into service in 1910.
Across the way from the lighthouse is the (Federal Government's) US Army Corp of Engineers Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, the most visited attraction in the twin ports of Duluth and Superior.

But no, not for us. Closed. Along with the rest of the Federal Government.

The bridge you see on the left is on the National Register of Historic Places: "The Aerial Lift Bridge ... The span is a vertical lift bridge, which is rather uncommon, but it began life as an extremely rare transporter bridgeï¿?the first of just two such bridges ever constructed in the United States. Originally built in 1905, the bridge was upgraded in 1929ï¿?30 to the current lifting design and continues to operate today."
From our cabin, the stairs leading down to the shore.
Here we are...

...enjoying the bright and brisk day at...

...a very great lake - Lake Superior (the largest of the Great Lakes of North America "generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, the world's third-largest freshwater lake by volume and the largest by volume in North America"), looking to the right...
...and looking to the left.
The boys, bearers of wood.

We had a downstairs bedroom and a loft bedroom, living/dining room, kitchen, and bathroom, and a deck with a bbq and chairs for lounging here at the Gooseberry Park Motel and Lakeside Cabins. It was perfect!
This cat wants IN!
The view from our deck.

Getting ready for a scrumptious bbq dinner followed by...
...s'mores - de rigueur.
October 12

Our delightful accommodation, the Gooseberry Park Motel and Lakeside Cabins. Our place was down the hill a little, right on the lake.

Kieran made us all breakfast!
We drove the few minutes to the trail head at Split Rock Creek State Park for our 5 1/2 mile trek through FALL.
We were doing a scavenger hunt too, taking photos of our finds such as a spider on a web, a leaf with two colors, a nest, a child on an adults shoulders, etc etc etc.

It was great fun! Team The Boys came out victorious leading Team The Girls by one squirrel sighting.

Wow, it was gorgeous.
The Split Rock of Split Rock State Park fame.

Snake! We didn't have a snake on our scavenger hunt list so of course we saw many snakes. Mike took the inset.
I know...
...here's more.
The last one!
October 13

Another of the state parks along the way, Gooseberry Falls State Park with a long line of very cool falls.
Must Have.
Young love lives on.
I forget the name of this little park where we stopped for a yummy and scenic picnic lunch.
Back home we still had time to buzz down to the Halloween store for Kieran's costume. BOO!

October 14

Dawn from the back sunroom. Good morning!
I went to an optometrist today hoping to get some new magic-bullet advice but in the end this guy recommended the same type of glasses I already have, just new.

B) is where we went for our holiday weekend and

C) is where Mike's mom lives. I'm driving up later in the week with Kieran (who's out of school on Thursday and Friday).
Out the front door of C&M's house. What a nice street.
Before dinner we all hit the yard for some triming and weeding and raking.
October 16

The last two days have just fled by and I haven't done, basically, much of anything - run a load of wash, watch Netflix, meet Cynthia for lunch, do a little exercise finally for the first time in ages due to the abatement of my months long allergy attack, just a little of this and that.

Tonight we had a big adventure: Carving Pumpkins!

I cleaned one out and then I wanted to make toasted pumpkin seeds and then I wanted to go get battery-tea-lights and never quite got around to carving it!
Look what they did! From the left, Cynthia, Kieran, Mike.
What fun!
October 17

Kieran and I drove out to see Mike's mom Phyllis and her boyfriend Ken in Frazee (pronounced Fray-ZEE) Minnesota population 1,367. Ken's niece owns and runs this café in Frazee.
We took a driving tour of the small towns within 20 minutes of Ken's farm - Frazee, Detroit Lakes, Perham.

There are thousands of lakes in the area and turkeys rule as evidenced by the turkey farms and the giant turkey statues. There are other industries and farming operations but no giant statues of corn or cows or tourists.
The main house, originally built in 1880 and bought by Ken's great-grandfather in 1904. They farmed the property at the time but Ken doesn't remember with what.

I hope it is warmer and drier tomorrow and I'll take a few more pictures. There is a huge barn in the back and Ken is cannibalizing the wood from the barn for the new siding on the house.
Sunset from the front porch. Yikes.
October 18

We're out for an early and freezing cold stroll around the back forty here on the outskirts of Frazee. Ken is using the old late 1800s barn boards to make the siding for the house. Cool!
Phyllis and Ken and their respective children and their children's children.

From Phyllis: "I will go from left to right with the picture frames and the pictures. The first picture is Ken's daughter, Molly, and her daughter, Jean. I will skip this one as you will know who they are from the other pictures. Next, my son Scott, Cheri, (not married), and their daughter Ashley.

Second row, Ken's daughter Milissa, her husband Derrick, and their children Caitlynn, and Wesley. Then you know who these two characters are ((Phyllis, Ken)), and you will probably know these three ((Mike, Kieran, Cynthia))!

Last row, Ken's daughter, Amanda, and her husband Jesse, and their children, left to right. Miles, and Waylon. You know the next picture ((Scott, Ashley, Mike, Kieran, Phyllis)), and then there is my son Jason ((who passed away many years ago))."
On the way out, looking back to The Farm.
Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes. This doesn't count as a lake I'm quite sure.
On the way home Kieran and I had our final Big Adventure. Rolling down the road at exactly 70 mph, ka-splat-splat-splat, blown tire, shredded.

But what good luck! If you are going to shred a tire out in the middle of 'nowhere' it might as well be the 'nowhere' that is across the highway from a tire store. Really .. Right across the highway from a tire store, Verndale Tire near Verndale, MN!

A sweet woman in a pick-up truck took us over there, the guys at the store did the whole job - and including a well-used tire all for 50 bucks. We were back on the road in less than an hour.
October 19

A popular Saint Paul public service - the curbside Take One/Leave One lending library. These boxes are in front of houses around town.

You can see if there are any in your town by going to the Little Free Library website and having a look. There are only two in Santa Monica.
Ack, Look, Stop, a Totally White Squirrel! This is the second I've seen, and a few miles from the first.
We decided to go on a self-guided F Scott Fitzgerald walking tour and had a great time seeing some great old houses and...
...his old elementary school but then it started to pour rain. The computer said there was 0 chance of rain at the hour we were out which just goes to show.
Hanging out in the rain.

We made it to the car only a little wet and finished the tour by car. A few minutes after we returned to the car we were pummeled for 5 minutes by some pea-sized hail that gathered in the corners of the car window but didn't last on the ground.
In C&M's front yard tree.
October 20

Oh yes, it's getting cold around here! Check out the 'Real Feel' which takes wind chill into account. C.O.L.D.

I didn't take any pictures today and I'm a little worried I'll punk out on doing any sightseeing tomorrow. I am a punk when it comes to harsh weather.
Our food scene has been a lot of fun. We cook together, we eat out, we enjoy left-overs. Everything I like.

We've ended up at these places for our last three restaurant outings - Khyber Pass (Afghanistan); India House (India); Everest on Grand (Nepal and Tibet). We all agreed that the yak tandoori/stir-fry at Everest on Grand was especially delicious.
So many home improvement projects are going on around here it's quite amazing. Today while Cynthia was creating a frosted glass effect on some built-ins Mike went to the local home improvement emporium to get shelves for the garage, built the shelves and C&M rearranged everything to try to get two cars to fit. Winter is here, snow is a-comin'.

Then we went to see Gravity. The technology it took to make the seamless flow between live action and CGI is all that but the story, and I'd say it's a stretch to call it a story, left me feeling a little ho-hum. If you are going to see it the big screen is a must.
October 22

This wall is on the same block as Cynthia's work so I've passed it half a dozen times and it makes me look every time.
FINALLY I made it to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across the street from, and part of, the Walker Art Museum. You can see a write-up of all the sculptures on their website.

I am such a sucker for sculpture gardens. Big artworks in grand settings - awesome.

From Ellsworth Kelly, most well know for painting shapes of color (you can see plenty of them at MOCA) Double Curve 1988.
Their signature piece, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen Spoonbridge and Cherry 1985-1988.

One view...
...and another view.

I was here in 2008 with Leigh also in October so this season has been my experience. It looks totally different in Spring, and now that Cynthia is here there is a good chance I'll get to have another go.

I should mention about the goose poop. It covers the lawns as do all the scary geese that do Not want you around. The poop is very icky, but the geese are protected and there's nothing to be done.
Mark di Suvero
Gary Hume
Front of Snowwoman

There are about 40 pieces around the garden including a nice Serra, a not-to-miss outing should you ever find yourself in the Twin Cities.
Can you even believe it...I can't...on the flight home I had the whole row to myself. The Whole Row.
HomeUSA the Middle • Minnesota • '13 Oct: Saint Paul, MN, and Lake Superior

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