Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two brief Vacations: Indiana and Wisconsin

ok, perhaps I should put these in two separate posts instead of one fairly long one, but I am trying to keep the lifeposts to a minimum and maximize my cooking ones, so, here is a rapid fire update of the past life events

I got to go on a camping trip with a very very good friend. Since she lives in Wisconsin still, we decided to meet in the middle at Indiana Dunes State Park. We had a couple scares before we even got to the park, first the weather was predicted to be thunderstorming and in the 90s...then a car broke down and one of us had to take the bus to get there! Agh! but it all ended up being ok, we got there and we are troopers (if I do say so myself) so we thought we could tough out any weather that came our way.

The first day was only about 90, we set up camp and took a short walk down to the beach to just sit and watch the water and talk for ages. Too hot for a campfire we ate our hotdogs panfried style and skipped the s'mores before lying in our tent and watching the heat lightning flash off the lake.

it LOOKS cold...not so

Day two we woke early, as one is wont to do whilst camping since the sun is up and there are no window shades in tents. We took a long walk through some woods (VERY buggy, we had to apply bugspray several times) and then along the beach for at least 2 miles, stopping along the way to have our Rye Crisp and Mustard lunch (campfood we both fell in love with due to a boundary waters trip together). It was not so hot this day and the sun was behind foggy clouds all day so the temperature stayed down at a tolerable 85 or so. We took a lovely nap at the campsite in the later afternoon, and had fun watching other people afterwards while we played Canasta and Speed. One thing I must say is that this campground has NO privacy, the sites are so close together and there are few trees, when we first arrived we were not even sure which site was ours they were so much on top of each other.

games, fruits from Trader Joe's, Clif Bars. What more does one need?

Day three was our final full day at the Dunes. We took the morning to do some real dune hiking and jumping before the sand heated up too much for our feet to stand.

By lunchtime it had reached 99 so we booked it to the air conditioned visitor center and watched a couple videos on how the dunes were special and how they were formed etc. We then drove to Mt. Baldy (the biggest dune around, it is 'alive' moving inland at 15 feet a year!) and ate lunch in the parking lot in the shade of the car. Even though it was now probably 100 and the heat of the day, we decided to hike up the 'mountain' (its only 180 feet high) of a dune, the really nice thing was it was very close to Lake Michigan, so we just ran down it and straight into the VERY pleasant water to swim and cool off for an hour before heading back to camp.

No fire again that night, we instead ate some of the best hummos I have ever had before lying in the tent attempting to fall asleep. This was difficult seeing as there was absolutely no breeze and it was still so hot that you sweated even doing nothing. Oh well, we continually talked about how we were such good campers (despite the fact we took showers every night, drove around in an air conditioned car, had ice water...ya know, real backwoodsy camping). It was a blast of a time, and really nice to spend some time camping! despite the heat it was great and I do love camping, even when there are not showers, but if they are there, capitalize on them right?!

The next weekend, my family and I drove up to WI for my Dad's Tae Kwon Do second dan Black Belt Test. We first visited Sam at Epic Systems in Madison where he works now. Epic is awesome! It is a huge bunch of buildings that are all themed, so there is the 'dragon slayers building' and the 'rainforest building' etc. there is a slide to get from one floor to another, and swings near the huge treehouse where some meetings are held, there is a 'castle' room and a giant rocking horse, and the best part is there are no signs that say not to touch or anything! It is great! If I worked there, I would rarely get any work done I think...

After Epic we went to Sam's apartment, a really nice one I thought, good for one or even three people living together, though not so great if those people are not roommate space, but Sam lives alone at this point so that was ok.

Day two we left Madison and went over the the Cedarburg area to visit some old friends, we didn't get to go around town too much which was sort of dissapointing, but you can't fit everything in right?

Day three we headed up to Sheboygan Falls for the test. It did not take as long as they were expecting which was a pleasant surprise. It was really amazing to see all of these people (alot of whom I know well) testing for their black belts of various levels. I remember when it was amazing to even see a black belt, and now here they all are, no big deal, testing for sixth was fun. I was also extremely proud of my Dad, he has advanced so much since I was last able to really watch him do Tae Kwon Do. Since there is no school here in Ohio, it is also that much more amazing that he has had the drive to continue for the past nine months all on his lonesome at home.

the hosinsool

After the test (which went really well except for the breaking, it was too humid) we all went to a cabin of some friends for a delicious dinner of fresh-from-the-lake, caught-by-Don-this-morning Salmon and some great company. We then spent the night in this wonderful rustic little cabin before heading out early the next morning for Ohio again, but we did not leave without getting loads of corn from Witties Vegetable and Fruits (near Cedarburg they have the best corn in the world. In. The. WORLD!) and the Java House (best coffee in Wisconsin for 6 years running).

What a whilrwind, packed chock full of happenings it was too short a trip, next time I shall have to go up for a bit longer than a weekend, its just not enough time to fit everything in!

This was supposedly the 'door to Hell' in the lower level of one of the Epic buildings. It was closed...perhaps I will tryback some time

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