Saturday, August 1, 2015

Home sweet home. We are home after the most incredible week!

Let's back up and review yesterday. The girls struggled to wake up-total exhaustion from such a fun week. Eventually we were up and out and on our way to the "Heart or Vilas" county bike trail.

We parked at a rest stop and planned our course to go north and then south from our spot. The first half of our ride was perhaps slightly hilly, but gorgeous! The second half was flat but not as well marked.
Regardless, it was a great ride-12.85 miles!
We returned to the condo for lunch of leftovers. And then it was time for one last dip in the pool. We enjoyed the pool-and then got cleaned up for dinner.

The plan was to ride bikes into town for dinner. However, just as we all got on the bikes, we felt a few drops of rain and checked the radar. It appeared that significant rain was headed our way so we put the bikes away and opted to drive.

Although it was disappointing not to ride into dinner, it was the right choice. We had a table on a covered patio near the lake, and toward the end of dinner the thunder and rain began. We were glad to have a car vs wet bike to get home.

Back at "home" we started to pack up and then borrowed the game of LIFE from the front desk. We play often at home, but this was a "vintage" version and we had to make up a few rules. We finished the night down on the dock again, enjoying the waterski show from across the lake, and a few other fishers on the dock. We also spent time gazing at the Blue Moon.

All in all it was a great last day.

I woke this morning to the call of the loon and brisk chilly air. Hard to believe it was time to go home. We got everything packed and out to the car before 9am (check out is 10). Chris joked that it was like a college move in day-as most units are rented Saturday-Saturday, so everyone was leaving at the same time!

We decided we couldn't leave without one more trip on the Bearskin trail. So we took a quick trip into town and back. It was crowded on the trail though-as there was a community fun run using the trail as well. Didn't stop us from enjoying the view of a clear and calm Minocqua lake.

We eventually said goodbye to Minocqua and started our journey south. We stopped for lunch in Oshkosh and thrilled the girls when we agreed to stop at the outlet mall to visit the American Girl store.
I'm afraid that they might be more excited about new doll treats than vacation.

We were home around 3 and worked together to get both cars unpacked, laundry put away, etc. Chris went to the grocery store while the girls played and I watered the plants around the yard.

We made a delicious dinner and ate on the deck, pretending we were still on vacation!

And now 4 people are snug in their own beds and I'm ready to be there too! Vacation was incredible, but I'm glad to be home!

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Friday, July 31, 2015

A "lazy" day was just what we needed. Yesterday we slept in a little later and lingered over breakfast a little longer. (Which allowed us to wash a load of laundry -dirty swim suits!)

We then set off for a round of mini golf. It was a picture perfect day on a beautiful course. Chris and I even scored holes in 1 on the same hole. How romantic!

We had "vacation lunch" after the game-big cones of mint Oreo ice cream!
Then we took off toward Squirrel Lake. Chris's grandparents owned a cottage there and he grew up spending time there. We drove in all the way to the cottage (long winding forested driveway) and found the current owners not home. So we spent some time just wandering the grounds. Went out on the dock, and left a note saying we had been there. For me, it was a gift to see this place I've heard stories about for so long. And I'm really glad the girls got to see it as well. In the car on the drive back we talked about how we are grateful that Grandpa Art and Grandma Edna had that place or we might not know how fun the Minocqua area could be!

We stopped in town to choose souvenirs on our way back to the resort. I have to say, for as touristy as it is here, they are lacking in quality souvenir shops! We spent way too long (and way too much) in a tiny, overcrowded store with loud thumping music,choosing a sweatshirt for each girl. Each got to choose the color sweatshirt and then a screen printed type decal that they applied right there as you watched. The girls were thrilled. We hope they aren't disappointed when the images fall off after a few washings? I found my souvenir in a local craft shop-a coffee mug-my traditional souvenir.

Back to the resort where everyone had a small snack and we got cleaned up and ready for our big exciting dinner!

"Blink Bonnie's" is another favorite Sepersky establishment. Grandma Edna's favorite! But it's a tiny supper club, (12 tables?) with no reservations. We knew we had to be there before they opened at 4 if we wanted a table.

We arrived at 330 and found a line. But it wasn't too long. Until it became clear that people ahead of us were holding places for much larger groups! We were nervous we wouldn't get a first table.
We passed the time in line with Mr Popular-Chris-who found that the group behind us was a family from Church, who happened to also include the School Nurse Chris works with. I do always love hearing people whisper, "he's the organist, you know, from church?" Or the random woman who says, "you played my daughter's wedding 10 years ago!"

Anyway! At about 355 we felt a few drops of drizzle (the first such precipitation we've seen/felt all week) and the skies looked dark. Please let us get in before it rains!

YES! We made it in, got a great table by the window which turned out to be a perfect place to watch a huge storm! Pouring rain and wind, the power even flickered a few times. We haven't seen rain all week!

And, we had an amazing meal. This place is known for Steak. Steak that is served on a sizzling cast iron pan. We'd been prepping the girls for the experience, and Katherine, who can eat more steak than I can, was particularly excited. She and I shared a 14oz Steak, and when it arrived, I let her have the platter, I kept the plain plate (picture) she was in heaven.

Remind me sometime to tell you about the bathrooms at Blink Bonnie's. We won't talk about that here.

Dinner was over about 6, just in time to stop in downtown Minocqua to enjoy the free community band concert. Because, if it's an outdoor concert you know we're going to be there! Lucky enough, the rain we saw in St Germain had completely missed Minocqua! Hooray!

We listened a bit, went down to the playground for a bit, came back to listen a little more. Abby even managed to convince Chris to dance with her! (No pictures) it was lovely!

Back at the resort we had a little reading and down time before going out to see the full moon from the dock. We walked around the grounds of the resort, soaking it all up.

Then, it was bedtime for all!

Today is our last day. Sigh. We are going to take the bikes to St Germain to ride a paved trail. And tonight we might ride bikes into town for dinner. We might even use our new, never used, bike lights on the way home? We shall see. Whatever we do, it will be memorable I'm sure.

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rent a boat for a day-seemed like a perfect plan! Sunshine and 75 degrees-seemed like the perfect day! We packed a cooler, lunch, snacks, decks of cards to play, fishing poles--we were ready!

What we were not prepared for were the winds. Strong winds on the lakes led to choppy waters. We kept going, heading to Lake Tomahwak from Minocqua lake, just cruising around enjoying the scenery, the girls took turns driving with Chris (pictures) I even took a turn as Captain. But, Choppy on Lake Tomahawk soon meant waves that might have been more than 3 feet at times. I'm not exaggerating-the waves literally came over the front of the boat and rolled right back under our feet. It was a long and stressful ride back to Minocqua. Even the channel that connects the 2 lakes was rough-and it's a "slow no wake" zone!
Back on Minocqua lake, it was slightly calmer but still windy and choppy and some of us needed the bathroom. So we docked back at the hotel and took care of business. While we were in calm seas and tied securely to the dock, we enjoyed our lunch. The winds had settled down a bit, so we went out again. This time the other direction toward smaller, Kewaguesaga lake. Even here it was wavy, but we went to the far end and found a calm area where we could drop the anchor and set up for fishing.
We caught 8 fish in about 1-1 1/2 hours. Actually the girls were catching so fast Chris couldn't keep up with getting the fish off the hook, worm back on the hook, as soon as the line went in we'd get a bite!
Then, a gust of wind blew Abby's hat into the water and we couldn't get it. She was distraught. Total exhaustion and frustration and disappointment-she was done. And for whatever reason, the fish stopped biting. And then we realized that our boat was moving-despite the anchor, the winds were pushing us.
We took the boat over to where we had heard people usually park and swim off of boats. And saw another boat doing just that.
Again we dropped anchor and Chris and Abby jumped in (with life jackets). But the water was deep and cold, the boat started floating away, and so that plan was quickly scrapped as well.
We cruised around the lakes a little longer and finally went back to the hotel a bit early (415).

It was fun, but not at all the calm relaxing day on the boat we had planned. Certainly in the years to come this will be one of those stories that lives on and becomes a legend.

Once we were on land, I took the girls to the pool and Chris got showered and cleaned up. He went to get pizza for dinner while we cleaned up. We had delicious pizza dinner and then went down to the dock to watch the Water ski show that happens directly across the lake. We couldn't see a lot, but we enjoyed the Eagles soaring above us, clouds moving in the sunset, and surprisingly CALM waters on the lake. The winds were gone.
They girls decided they wanted to fish again so they each took a turn and caught a fish and then we came back for a few rounds on Uno before bed.

Chris and I had the local news on before bed, and the weather story of the day was: strong gusty winds. 30-45 miles per hour the weatherman said. Yes. We would agree. It was crazy!

We had planned a longer bike ride today, but I think we will save that for tomorrow. Instead I think we will have a "lazier" day today. I think we earned it!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Good morning for beautiful Minocqua-where it is perfectly cool and delightful! Today is our big boat day-renting a pontoon from the hotel and spending the day on the lakes!

Yesterday we started the day with a 10 mile ride along the lower/southern end of the Bearskin Trail. We drove about 20-25 minutes south, wandered through abandoned back roads until we found the trail, and then enjoyed an almost deserted trail! This end had more bridges (former train trestles) to ride over. And one steep hill.
It was a nice ride with less complaining than Sunday's ride. The girls seem to be quite proud of themselves. I'm proud of us too!
(Selfie on the trail)

Scenic scenic?

Wildflowers and Katherine

We liked these trees

Mom and Katherine

We got back just in time to eat a quick lunch before taking a 2 hour tour of the lake with resort staff. It was very relaxing to sit and do nothing but watch for Loons and admire huge lake houses as we slowly drove around the lake. It was so relaxing for Abby that she slept through most of it!
(Lake picture, loons)
Sleepy Abby


At the Dock before we left

Selfie with Maggie

We got back about 4 and had additional quiet time while taking care of household things- a quick load of laundry, exchanging old towels for new, vacuuming crumbs.

Then we went in search of dinner which was more complicated due to one place being closed on Tuesday, one having a 40 minute wait, another with a weird smell. We ended up on the dockside patio at The Boathouse and it was delightful. Burgers, fries, margarita, sunset, boats, ahhhhh!

Back at the hotel we jumped in the pool, followed by baths and showers and a game of SORRY (hotel game closet) before bed.

Now, if you don't mind, I have a cooler to pack for our day on the lake!😃

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Monday, July 27, 2015

This just in! All 3 girls have caught their first fish!

Chris must have put 400 worms on the hook, those darn fish kept stealing them right off the hook! But eventually all 3 caught one. And each time there was celebration loud enough to scare all the other fish away!

Chris is a hero!

However, Chris is not a saint! The first half of our day was spent at a Wildlife Zoo. However, I have never been to a zoo where so many animals were OUT of their cages! I do NOT like to touch/feed/interact with animals like that. He is still laughing at my reaction as I entered the zoo from the entrance gate and saw a herd of hungry goats running at me. (HORROR) And every chance he got he tried to lure animals over to me just to freak me out!
That's a SKUNK!

Feeding a goat who happens to be standing ON a turtle!


 My family went into the bird house. I could not go in, and even just standing OUTSIDE has given me nightmares!

Video of Giraffe feeding

Feeding a pig

The middle of our day was a bike ride into town for shopping and ice cream.
My view of my family on the Bearskin trail

And then a surprise visit from Grandma Rita and Mr Jeff who were driving home from Superior and decided to stop by Minocqua! We had dinner at another "must do" for the Seperskys-Little Bohemia-home of a gangster shoot out with John Dillinger.

All in all, another incredible day in the Northwoods!

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We packed a lot into yesterday. Our hotel is adjacent to the Bearskin State Trail, so we started the day by conquering the trail. I can not imagine a more beautiful place to bike. Surrounded by trees, sometimes water, filtered sunshine, mostly flat,and bugs only if you stopped long enough for them to catch you!
(Pics of bike trail)

We ended up riding 13.18 miles total. (I love my GPS app) I'm not sure we'll hit that distance again this week, as there was some complaining by about 10 miles, but in the end the sense of accomplishment/bragging rights were worth it!

(Family selfie on the trail)
During the ride, the girls had their eyes on the prize-time in the pool when we returned. So after stopping for a snack we headed down to the pool.
(No pictures)
I don't always get all the way in, but yesterday it felt great after biking. I pulled out a few tricks (handstands) from my childhood pool days and wowed my girls. They loved the idea that my sisters and I used to have handstand competitions. We were so cool!

We came back and cycled all 5 people through showers/baths and ate lunch. Also, Chris decided to do a load of laundry. Because it had been 24 hours without laundry! :) Abby asked if she could nap and I certainly didn't say No! She took a book to bed and then slept 2+ hours, only waking because I woke her!

Why would I wake her? Because I knew she wouldn't want to miss the excitement of fishing. Chris and the big girls went out and bought worms and went down to the boat dock to see what they could catch. Unfortunately, Sunday at 4 is a pretty busy time on the lake and the waters were choppy. Nothing was biting. But we can all say we've been fishing-we all took turns holding the poles!

(Fishing pic)
Then it was off to dinner at Mama's Supper Club. This is a must on any trip to Minocqua, as it was a favorite of the Seperskys for many many years! It did not disappoint! The girls were amused by the supper club experience-relish tray! Bread basket! Applesauce? FOOD!
They ate it all (except the applesauce!)we had a great table overlooking the lake, good food, good service, ahhhhhh!
View from our table at Mama's

(Mamas pic)
Our final destination was the Water Ski Show. The Min-Aqua Bats are as close to professional water skiers as I've ever seen. They entertained us for more than an hour-fancy skiers, jumps, turns, pyramids, comedy, all as we sat watching the sunset on a gorgeous evening.
Have you ever heard of Flyboarding? Google it. Crazy!

(Waterski pic/video)

By the time we returned "home" we didn't have much trouble convincing the girls it was bedtime.
Another fabulous day!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

The only time I remember to update the blog-vacation!

We drove 4 hours North and West yesterday and arrived in Minocqua. It is beautiful and perfect and surprisingly familiar after a 10 year absence.

We have a 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath condo in a resort on the lake for the next week! Ahhhhhhhh

Highlights from yesterday:
Caravan style travel-in order to bring our bikes, our kids, and our luggage, we brought both cars.

 Welcome campfire at the resort-Katherine was brave and cooked her hot dog (and mine) over the campfire. Maggie and Abby opted for only marshmallow cooking. S'mores for dinner!

A walk along the water as we explored the resort-A nice man pointed out an Eagle who had just landed in a tree and we enjoyed watching him (the bird not the man) for awhile

Can you find the Eagle?

Indoor pool- refreshing but not cold. We had it to ourselves almost the whole time.

Dinner in our kitchen -I brought supplies to cook one meal-spaghetti. I decided that using an old electric stove, in a kitchen that is not my own, with different utensils, etc? That's camping for me! But it was delicious!

Bed-the girls had "lights out" at 9. Abby was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Even with her sisters still talking and the lights still on.

Day 1 -complete!

(Difficulty posting over hotel wifi some picture may not appear - now updated I hope!

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