About twice a year I have the opportunity to visit one of my best friends, Dan the Man. We don’t take these times for granted, and try to make certain they are epic. Recently we rubbed shoulders over a 21 hour period, which will go down in history as one of our best times of catching up ever. Periods of R&R were mingled with intense exercise, culture, good food, visiting with kids, etc. This is the only way to make the most of a short visit in my book, and beats sitting on the couch all day by about a mile (or in our case 54 to be more precise).
1. We took in a fantastic concert at the Minnesota Zoo, after enjoying an excellent burger and beer at a gastro pub. Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal were unbelievable. These are two legends I’ll be thankful to have seen live in an intimate setting for the rest of my life. Between the acts, whilst milling around, a tiger repeatedly roared. AWESOME! Amazingly, this was probably the most tiring activity of the visit.
2. Following 5 hours of sleep, we awoke early and partook in our own self-designed triathlon. This probably was the number one event of the entire summer, and I was amazed at how fantastic the biking is just north of the Twin Cities between Forest Lake and Marine on St. Croix. Normally I’m kind of a snob about all things north and living in Duluth (which was voted #1 Outside City in a national contest run by Outside Magazine), but I have to say that the road biking is primo down there.
Leaving directly from Dan’s house in Forest Lake, MN, our triathlon consisted of 45 miles on bike through fantastic farm country, which is something we definitely lack in the north woods so I appreciated smelling the roses, nearly 9 miles of running a large loop in William O’brien State Park, about 50 feet of a cleansing swim, and the true third leg was the eating portion: the best bavarian creme donut in the history of mankind while sitting on a bench at Marine on St. Croix. This was definitely the most satisfying donut of my young life.
The amount of wildlife we saw was amazing too! I kept stopping us, so I could enjoy the toads, turtles, egret, sandhill cranes, and also domesticated horses, cows, etc. Here’s some pics
Sandhill cranes with youngins:
And a big trapeze getup if you can believe it! Oh the things you see on the road.
This was just about the best visit I’ve ever enjoyed with anyone. We would have done more, but we used every available minute. Perhaps the most impressive thing was observing his fantastic parenting skills. Check out this tremendous fort that’s situated right next to their fancy house!
Recently I became unemployed, and am putting forth extra effort to note things I’m thankful for. My friendship with Dan is right up there on a broad mountain summit with so much else. Thank you Lord!