Camping With Our Nieces & Nephews at Black Lake, A’s B-Day at Schell Brewery

We’ve just spent a busy weekend touring Minnesota – visiting friends in Chanhassan and New Ulm. But our last week in Wisconsin was quite action-packed as well, as we took our “auntly and uncley” duties to a whole new level and went camping with all four of our nieces and nephews. Our destination, well-chosen by Liz, was on Black Lake, a two-hour drive north of Rice Lake. For $12 a day we got a basic campsite, right down by da beach, with convenient bathroom and water access. With four children running around, you really need a handy bathroom! Ashaaylah (4), Malikhi (8, though he’ll tell you he’s 9), Isaiah (11), and Sarah (14), were all excellently behaved as we forced them to do such unbelievable things as: eat vegetarian food, not wake up before 9am, and hike 4 miles in the bug-infested woods. The insects were actually quite outrageous, both mosquitoes and biting flies wreaked havoc upon us the entire time we were there. Fortunately everyone persevered, we had 2 nights of fun by the campfire, swam our little hearts out everyday, and even squeezed in a game of flashlight tag.
We really want all the kids to enjoy camping and the great outdoors, so hearing comments like “I like camping now” (Sarah) and “this was the best camping place ever” (Isaiah) was pretty perfect, though the greatest compliment of all probably came from Ashaaylah, who was able to sleep in the kids’ tent all night long without bothering us. All that having been said, 48 hours with 4 children was enough to guarantee we’re not having any of our own in the near future!

Departing Wisconsin mid-day Friday we drove to the Twin Cities, to visit our friend Jen Hagen. We checked out a massive arboretum (so big two weddings were occurring separately), a farmer’s market, and with a few other former Cameron Comets partied it up Maynard’s style…
Yesterday, the 29th, was Anderson’s 28th birthday, and we celebrated it, appropriately enough, with a little biking and a lot of beer. Our friend Steph, who has just come home from the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, lives near the Schell’s Brewery. We actually stayed at her brother’s house a bit outside of town, which was perfect as we biked about 25 miles, drank plenty of sample brews, before hitting up a local bar to sample a few more. Schell’s actually makes several different labels of beer, including Lakemaid (for Rapala), Grain Belt’s Premium, and Hauenstein, in addition to their own line of tasty products. Recommended by us is the Firebrick, Maifest, and Hefeweizen. Enjoyment is up to you.
Today we cruised down to Iowa, where we need to take care of a bit of business (getting traveler’s checks, shopping for bags – Ortlieb hasn’t shipped the ones we’ve ordered online, so we’ve got to do a little more shopping than planned, etc.), but primarily we’re getting ready to party on Wednesday night when Luke celebrates his 27th birthday. Youngin’!

Still working on improving the blog, and also Anderson will be writing about our travels on a website run by our friend Iain, of Old World Wandering fame, called Holiday Fu – Like Kung Fu For Holidays. This blog will continue to contain all of life’s minutae, as well as all those amazing revelations we drop on you, but the writings for Holiday Fu will be much more focused, hopefully even classifiable as real travel writing!

And now for your moment of zen:

Elephant Head-Bonk:


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