Minnesota is a large state. While sitting in an AmericInn lobby this morning drinking my coffee and eating an English muffin, I found out that while Minnesota is large by area it only ranks 12th out off 50….and the state cannot brag about water area either (see last column in screen shot). so that land of lakes is probably notable for the amount of lakes within its boarders not the actual area or volume for that matter.

The AmericInn runs Fox News on their lobby TV 24/7. While I’m not sure right now if this is staff or Corp policy. It does make a difference to me….and while they have every right to have their TV turned to any channel they support…this has an impact on me and my choices where I spend my money when I require lodging.

Saw this in a bookstore.

Wish I had written it. Would like to spend more time on the North Shore to perhaps collect facts in order to write a book about it….or at least spend a lot of time at the North Shore collecting facts and then make a decision.

Today is our 39th anniversary! In order to stay married this long, you have to embrace the fact that marriage can be damn hard and overcoming the bad times is what makes it work for 39 years! I received a piece of advice early on…most successful marriages work because of the commitment portion..commitment is what makes you work through the tough times because inevitably you don’t like each other 100 percent of the time and the trick is to not dislike each other at the same time. Happy Anniversary to Him!

Until next time….

Sometime between 2000 and 2007

We visited the North Shore…we’ve narrowed it down to those years…because we ate at the current Betty’s Pie Shop which moved to its present location in 2000….and I started blogging in 2007 and I can’t find record of it.

No picture of the Pie because who has time to take pictures of Pie!

We left Grand Marais with a final look around…we may pull the camper and do the campground next time.

After Grand Marais, our first stop was Cascade River State Park. Beautiful…easy trail…a few steps but very doable for this…

Tettegouch State Park is huge with lots of hiking possibilities…we did the Shovel Point hike which is 200 feet above Lake Superior. 300 steps and inclines up but OMG. When we arrived on top there were already rock climbers on top and beginning their descent.

We decided to leave the other hikes to our next visit. We headed back to Two Harbors because we knew Betty’s Pies was waiting…had a nice visit with our friend Sue at her house and got to see more of the north shore off the beaten path.

The north shore is a must visit at least once in your life!

Grand Marais, MN

For the most part this will be a picture blog because pictures tell the story about this beautiful place.

While he did this after breakfast…

I did this

He didn’t fall into the drink and we were reunited

Lots of shops line the streets…not your typical souvenir stores but higher quality merchandise….art stores, jewelers, etc… I fell in love with an amethyst ring which is now mine. Our 39th Anniversary is Saturday so perfect timing!

It was a tough decision…the ring vs jewelry created from this stone

We are going to slowly meander south tomorrow and visit some state parks and waterfalls on the way. Not quite sure how far we will get….perhaps back to Two Harbors. There are not a lot of regular hotels between here and there.

Until next time…..

North Shore Day 1

Cold rain and temps in the 60s but that didn’t slow us down. When traveling the United States, I really enjoy when the landscape and the trees change. Driving along Lake Superior in the North Shore area of Minnesota is beautiful! Its only nature! Miles and miles of water, trees, incredible rock lined roads and tunnels.

Gooseberry Falls were a little disappointing …. the water flow wasn’t as heavy as the first time we were here….although the sight and the sound were still breath taking. I stood for a long time and centered myself taking it all in using all of my senses.

Split Rock Lighthouse tour…$10 per person….the lighthouse is a must see and the views of the shore line are breathtaking even on a cloudy, rainy day.

We made it to Grand Marais by 4:00. Probably the furthest north we will go because we didn’t bring passports. We have a room in a hotel right along the lake although trees mostly hide a great view

The various sea birds are providing a manic chorus. I hope they SHUTUP when the sun goes down.

Until next time……

Not all who Wander…..

I wish I had asked my dad why he moved two hours away from his family in the 40s.  If you knew my dad, you would understand that he was a homebody for the most part…didn’t particularly need or want friends…at least in the years he was my dad.  We took 2 week family vacations from the time I was about 8.  I think he really enjoyed the destination but getting there always exhausted him…driving, driving overnighting in Mom and pop motels…he followed the highway and I don’t think he would have considered seeing a road and saying…hmm I wonder where that road goes.  He didn’t do it so I assume it didn’t cross his mind.  I always felt his mother and I were the most important to him…and our poodle named Edie.  I assume my mother figured in to the equation?  He was married to her for almost 50 years.

I always wonder if those family vacations were the impetus for my love for traveling and taking the road less traveled.

I know when I arrive at that place I was meant to visit, I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of “I could live here”. I’m not sure “what” all comes together to recognize soul comfort but it is something.  I felt it when we found this house in a small town south of Kansas City.  I have never felt more content in my own skin…with that being said….I still find myself traveling to different states and be awashed with the feeling.  At this age and because of my grandchildren, I don’t want to uproot my life and move on but the comfort when I find one of these pillows of comfort for my soul manifests in freedom and peacefulness.

Until next time…..

The Fiat 500

Gena and I  are always surprised how much room there is in the back seat of the him-in-law’s Fiat

 To be totally honest…that is what we said prior to the feast at Bare Bones BBQ tonight.  When entering the back seat of the Fiat, you must pay attention and not just squeeze inside in a hurry…not even if you are in a hurry to save your life because you must be cognizant of the fact that you must exit the vehicle ducked and bent over in exactly the same manner as  you entered the vehicle….and one would never want to be in the back of the Fiat with anyone occupying the front seat that you don’t trust with your life!  It would be virtually impossible to escape without the front seat occupants assistance.  Period.

My loyal partner of 36 years has been a faithful mate!  If a woman on the street catches his eye, I would not know it…he’s just one of those guys.

Until FOR CRYING OUT LOUD tonight.  It was my idea for us to hit the ice cream shop after dinner…he’s driving and we pull up in front of the ice cream shop…two female employees are sitting outside…he gets out of the car, slams the door and makes his way to the door of the shop (I believe I hear giggle giggle but it could have been the heat rushing from my ears) before he realizes that he has locked his wife in the back seat…the him-in-law was just standing outside his car door  waiting to assist his future bride out.  I was pretty sure that him in law was also wondering WTH his brother was doing.  He may or may not have heard my expletive about his brother totally forgetting his wife when he sees a couple of other women.  Needless to say, the embarrassed man who locked his wife in the backseat of the car bought ice cream for four.  And thus begins our week long foursome vacation.

Until next time….

2014 Italy Day 3…Goodbye Venice…Hello Vasto!

I didn’t get all of my pictures downloaded last night…Here’s a couple I thought were worth mentioning. We stopped at a sidewalk pizza restaurant for dinner. These little restaurants along the streets and sidewalks are so quaint and could not be replicated in the US mostly because of the history of the Italian cities and the atmosphere…I’m sure to the Italians…we are all tourists…but to us, the tourists, it is so easy to fall I into the mindset of being Italian…even for the day…it’s in the air….anyway…back to the pizza place…we were in an alcove with a tree growing in the corner…the ceiling was actually the tree branches and leaves and the night sky was visible between the leaves…Gena was fascinated…she is going to love this picture of herself.


He has just not been impressed with the Italian beer he has tried
Too hoppy whatever that means…



I snapped this picture of the boys setting up the water taxi service for this morning before we settled in for the night. Settled In Is not exactly what we did…He and I couldn’t sleep…I think we finally shut off the light around 2 and got our wake up call at 5.

Found out how supplies are delivered to the businesses in this canal city while waiting on a bridge this morning. The long boats pull up to the taxi pick up corners and they unload onto carts and are then pushed around the city for delivery. While I was standing on the bridge taking in the view, one of the long boats slowly meandered down the canal under me and I had a freakish movie scenario go thru my head ….of me….(feel free to fill In The movie characters)…jumped from the bridge onto the boat and ran across all of the boxes and jumped the driver. Shortly our water taxi arrived…couldnt park next to the sidewalk so we had to step down on the delivery boat and walk across it to board the taxi. I had already been wondering how brave I was going to be stepping from the sidewalk down to the taxi. I’m thankful the real scenario had not been entertained in my already fertile imagination.

Still dark, we traveled down the Grand Canal to the train station. It was like a movie!




Boarded the train, rented the car and fell asleep on the beach of the Adriatic Sea in Vasto…I’ll fill in the blanks later.


2014 Italy Day 2 Venice….the good..the bad and …well, the ugly

the bad…started off with a fine mist this morning. Lasted for about an hour but Gena and I got to carry umbrellas with us for quite a few hours. I got a little big bite while eating dinner.

The ugly….In a shop window that flashed Red Cross/green cross sign



I had to look!

The pigeons on San Marco – St Marks square





Expensive tea


The good/awesome
The beautiful Venice






The beautiful Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal





Alarm at 5 am…who can sleep…a water taxi up the Grand Canal to take us to the train,,,destination….Pescara


2014 Italy Day 1 Home to Venice and points in between…

Because I always bitch about the TSA….I must start out saying #TSA Kansas City are awesome….not a hitch… Easy, organized and professional. US AIRWAYS also a great airline even though they are related to American Airlines! Customs in Rome was easier than the drive through at Taco Johns! We switched planes to Alitalia without a hitch….we had to board a bus at the terminal and take a “hold on for your life” bus ride to board the plane in the middle of the Tarmac. Dave mentioned that even when everything goes well, it is exhausting. The bus trip and boarding the city boat for the trip down the Grand Canal in Venice was stressful…but the sights made it worthwhile. You can rent a private boat to take you up the canal but 2 to 3 times the rate so we were willing to put up with a little bit of CROWD torture for the 15 euros…it was worth it.









Venice is in it’s full glory at night. It’s hard to top Venice!





After a great italian dinner, Gena had her first real gelato.



St Marks square had 4 string groups playing at the same time…it is that big.
It is breathtaking.





I can see us returning for a week in Venice…maybe closer to the end of a September some time to avoid the crowd. We will be here another day and night. It’s 1 am..everyone else is asleep. Must be about 6 pm in Missouri and Iowa.