Day 3: Beloit, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota
Distance traveled: 315 miles
Time: 5.25 hours
Song of the Day: “Fearless” (Cyndi Lauper)
Thank you, Wisconsin, for providing a lovely drive today. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect – almost 30 degrees cooler than yesterday. I even spotted some trees whose leaves were changing colors – the first sign of fall! It really was a lovely drive. I was curious to see what the Dells were all about. I noticed signs for water parks, adult stores, and magicians, so I decided not to stop. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the Ho-Chunk Casino that I kept seeing signs for. However, when I got off of the exit, it was nowhere to be found. Maybe I didn’t go far enough.
I knew I was getting close to Minnesota when I saw the sign for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway. I recalled that Laura Ingalls Wilder actually lived in South Dakota at some point. I learned that when driving from Seattle to Michigan with my cousin Laura in 2002. The memories of the Little House on the Prairie series came rushing back. I thought about taking a trip to Mankato in the wagon (usually to get lumber, right?). Would I run into Nellie Olsen in Walnut Grove? And what about that dreamy Almonzo? I loved those books. Oh, and the TV show.
It was about 3:00 when I arrived at Beth & Marc Mason’s house in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis. Beth and I met freshman year in college in Dodds Hall. We became fast friends. We lived together in a house called “The Blue Moon” for 2 years, and then we shared an apartment during my last year at Miami. Who am I kidding? Marc basically lived with us, too. I love these two! We have had so much fun together over the years. I have seen all of their homes: from Cincinnati to San Francisco, both Chicago condos, and now Minneapolis. We have an open and honest friendship (what other kind would you want?). I always have fun when I am with Beth and Marc. Like the time we went to a Halloween party as Jack, Chrissy, and Janet from “Three’s Company.” Hahahaha!
I was so excited to see Beth & Marc’s three children. I met their son Max when he was about 3 months old (he is now almost 10!). I met Elle when she was about 6 weeks old (she is now 7!). I have only met their youngest, Reina (3 yrs), one other time. I have seen Max and Elle over the years, but I haven’t seen any of them in almost 3 years. Beth and I had some time to visit before Max and Elle got back from school. We met them at the school bus and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Little Baby Max is a big kid now! What a sweet boy. Max is such a good kid. Elle is a little pixie-like character who, like me, loves to sing. She was quick to play some songs for me. And Reina…what a character! She is such a cutie. Reina has great language skills, and loves to hang with her big brother and sister.
I may be close to another marriage proposal. Elle asked if she could share my bed with me tonight. She told me that she is a really good snuggler – she even demonstrated with one of her “squeezy hugs.” I told her that tonight was a school night, so we should wait until the weekend. Beth warned me that Elle likes to get up early, and that she may end up in bed with me. What a doll!
After a lovely dinner (butternut squash risotto – wow, Beth!), the girls helped me bring my stuff in. I even brought in the home made pickles that are being transported with care from my Aunt Mary in Michigan, to my cousin Leslie in Salt Lake City. Don’t worry, Aunt Mary! There are 2 jars left (2 didn’t make it out of North Carolina), and I am keeping them on ice in the car, and in the fridge at each location. Those damn pickles. They are delicious!
The kids went to bed, and Marc, Beth and I had a great time reminiscing about our favorite 80s TV shows and their theme songs (a game that Ben, Katie and I started in Cincinnati). Test yourself – you will love it. YouTube is a great resource if you forget the theme songs.
Now, off to bed. I am taking my car to get a 40,000 mile service tomorrow morning. Then, I am getting a much needed haircut (what will I do without Dave Sanor?). Tomorrow night, I am getting together with my friend Lori. I can’t wait to see more of Minneapolis. I think the only other time I have been here was when I got bumped off of a flight coming back from Omaha in the summer of 1994 (more on that tomorrow night). Pictures will appear in tomorrow night’s blog.