From the Road

(I began this post yesterday morning on our way to the waterfalls outside Manketo, Minnesota, but due to the PAINfully slow internet at our hotel last night, I'm actually posting this from my desk at home. We arrived in Fayetteville at 11:00-ish this morning and was greeted by an overjoyed black lab who really hasn't let us out of her sight. As much fun as we have on our vacations, it's always nice to have Langley to look forward to when we pull in our driveway.)

A few observations about Yankees:

--- they don't know how to do BBQ, even though they try, bless their little hearts.

--- in all the Quick Trips we've stopped in to get our big Cokes for the road, all the cups have been plastic, which we all know causes the ice in the drinks to melt faster. The styrofoam cups we have in the South don't do that because Southerners know how to keep their beverages icy cold and fizzy.

--- Yankees aren't interested in hearing about your family tree or which county you hale from. They are a very "yup" "nope" people. 

--- again, bless their little hearts. 


Now on to our visit to Minneapolis yesterday.  Needless to say, Joe was less than thrilled about being in a big city and I actually had to agree with him on this one. I think I'm turning into a Surbanite. I mean, big cities are fun in small doses, but the noise and towering skyscrapers get to be a bit much after a while. We did go by the Vikings Football stadium, but after visiting the awesome Lambeau Field, the Vikings stadium was too glitzy and a let down. We were all less than impressed.

After we finished up with the city, we checked into our hotel and then headed back out to some beautiful biking/hiking trails where we stayed till almost 8:00. The boys had a blast, especially Joe. He's been so much fun: the further we get away from cities, the more relaxed he becomes and silly. The kid has a terrific dry sense of humor and loves getting to ride his bike in the afternoons. The trails we found yesterday were beautifully maintained, making me wish I'd brought my running gear. There weren't many people on the hiking trails, but the bike trails were packed. There were hard core bikers mixed in with families with small children and everyone was so nice. Yankees are nice folk, but like I said above, they're not a people to sit around and gab with strangers.

After we finished up with the bike trails, we headed back to the hotel, David grabbed a quick shower before the two of us headed out to the Mall of America to buy me some warm clothes. It's COLD up here in Minnesota! But the mall was truly amazing, everything that a mall should be.  I do miss the malls of Northern Virginia with their big selections of stores and shops that we like to shop in. There was an L.L. Bean store, a gigantic Forever 21 store, a Microsoft store (with an Apple store just across the hallway) but the best store was the Lego store! It was fantastic. 😉

Today we're beginning our journey south and back home, but first we're making a stop at a waterfall that David found that we can hike to and stretch our legs. 

Fast forward a full day of driving across Minnesota and Iowa and into Kansas City, MO., where we are staying the night tonight:

The waterfall was beautiful, located just outside Manketo, Minnesota. There were actually two waterfalls, a small one that fed into a larger one. I just "happened" to have my tripod in the car and Joe shlepped it down to the banks of the waterfall so we could get our annual Austin Family Adventure photo. And yes, I'm wearing a fleece on the first official day of summer. 😉 After that, we had a quick bite to eat in town before turning the Mighty Subaru south and home.

 The first set of pictures are from Minneapolis, the second set is from this morning at the waterfall. And tomorrow . . . .HOME!