Minnesota Trip for Our 30th Anniversary

Monday–Thursday, October 15–18, 2012
From our Family Journal, with minimal editing.
Posted here April 15, 2022

Monday, October 15, 2012

We left home at 10:53 am. We decided not to take the Interstate but go a different way, but we made three wrong turns, so the trip took way longer than expected. We ate lunch at an A&W in Boscobel, WI (1:45–2:50).

Third missed turn: after US Hwy 14 joined I-90 for a few miles, it turned off toward Winona. But just before that exit was another exit for Dakota, MN which I accidentally took instead. In a moment we had driven through the tiny town of Dakota and were back on US Hwy 14/61 headed for Winona! All was well; in fact, we had found a bit more nice scenery.

The sun was low in the west, and it lit up the trees and milkweed by the roadside. The hills added to the splendor. ~ We drove past Grandma Diane’s house, then past Living Light Church in Winona, where Tony and Teresa attend church. Then the highway wound through the hills (or small mountains, as they were); it was a bit challenging to drive in the failing light, but the scenery was amazing. We drove through a few more small towns, including St. Charles, where Joe and Elizabeth tried to buy a house recently (the purchase fell through).

Entered Rochester from the east at 6:10 p.m. At 6:23, we arrived at Crossroads College, 7-1/2 hours after leaving home.

Elizabeth met us and helped me unload our stuff and carry it into the guest apartment #103. Joe would be at work until 11:30. Elizabeth hung out with us at the guest apartment. We ate leftover chicken from home along with cheesy puffcorn. ~ Elizabeth took Wendi to get Joe from work, leaving at 10:50 p.m. I napped until they returned at 11:50. ~ We talked, mostly about work; Joe and Elizabeth left at about 1:45 a.m.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 (Our 30th Anniversary)

Up 7 a.m. Joe and Elizabeth came down after 8:00. Had Dunkin Donuts strawberry shortcake coffee (Joe’s) with the Danish. ~ They had class at 8:30, then an SFG (Spiritual Formation Group) meeting until 11:15. ~ I started a run but it poured rain while I was still on campus.

Later, Joe told me that I had run right past the classroom where they were having class. Another student asked Joe, “Who is that weird man running around campus in a tank top and shorts?” “That would be my dad,” Joe replied. “He’s just going out for a jog.” Now the others understood what was up, but they weren’t aware that I had been caught in the rain.

Wendi and I walked to the Administration building and talked to Jenny Karow (the receptionist) and paid the $90 for the three days in the guest apartment. We also ran into Dr. Divino and talked with him for a few minutes.

Wendi had been working on a present for me for our anniversary, for quite some time; she gave it to me this morning. It was a notebook filled with memories and reminiscences from our past, along with notes she had written recently. She had even written “coupons” for various things, like a meal out at the restaurant of my choice, or a time to cuddle. It was a wonderful gift! Right away, I used a coupon for a free hug and a game on the Wii. We played regular and 100 pin bowling, also 18 holes of Frisbee Golf.

Finally the weather cleared up so I could run. I took 14 oz. of sports drink and a Power Bar along. I had never eaten or drunk anything while running before, and I was unsure how it would go. ~ I ran the bike trails out toward Autumn Ridge Church which is four miles out in the country. The trail ended a short distance from the church, and I ran the rest of the way on the road, then ran all the way around the HUGE church lot while slowly eating the Power Bar. Then I ran all the way back to campus, logging 8.65 miles in an hour and 31 minutes (12:36–2:07 p.m.).

When I returned, Joe, Elizabeth and Wendi were playing Monopoly on the Wii. After that, we just hung out watching Food Network; we ate some garlic bagel chips with bacon cheddar spread.

Joe and Elizabeth went home to nap from 4:45 to 7 p.m. ~ I napped from 5:15, and Wendi napped a bit too. ~ Julie Salzman called Wendi at about 6:21, waking me up for a few minutes.

Elizabeth made bacon cheeseburger casserole, using her mom’s recipe. YUM! Also frozen peas. We hung out and watched several episodes of Chopped. Joe and Elizabeth left at about 11:15; Wendi and I got to bed about 12:00. ~ Joe and Elizabeth were up studying past 4 a.m.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Up 8:48 a.m. ~ White chocolate raspberry coffee, bacon, maple Little Sizzlers, egg, toast with jam for breakfast (Elizabeth had a 10:00 class so she didn’t join us). ~ Joe had class at 11:00. ~ Wendi played Wii Sports Resort. ~ Elizabeth came back to our guest apartment after class. I made more coffee. Joe returned, then Elizabeth left again, this time for choir at 12:20, then hermeneutics from 1:20 to 2:20.

I ran 5.09 miles (1:12–2:03). Soon after I returned, Tony and Teresa (Elizabeth’s parents) came. After my shower, we all went to Quarry Hill Nature Center and looked around at the indoor animals and exhibits, then walked around on the trails outdoors. Joe and I spent a few moments alone. We bought small pumpkins for Joe and Elizabeth there. We also put a pin on their visitor map for Janesville; though there were pins all over the country, there was no pin for Janesville until today.

Back at the college, we said our goodbyes to Tony and Teresa; then Wendi and I went with Joe and Elizabeth to Bakers Square for dinner (6:39). Wendi had a turkey dinner; I ordered the chicken foccaccia; we both had caramel pecan silk pie (the pies were free with a meal on Wednesdays; Joe and Elizabeth paid for their own meals). ~ Next we went to Target for a few food items (8:32). ~ Later, at the apartment, we watched The Avengers on DVD (we had already seen it in the theater, but it was worth the repeat).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Up 8:00 a.m. (I rested until 8:45). ~ Chicken Parmesan Italian sausage, cinnamon swirl mini bagels with cream cheese for breakfast. ~ Packed and loaded car for the return trip.

Left for home at 12:45 p.m., taking U.S. Hwy 52 south from Rochester with the intent to follow it straight through to Dubuque, Iowa. ~ Just north of the Iowa line, we saw several Amish horse-and-buggy combos on the highway; there was even a special lane for them in each direction. There were also plenty of horse droppings in those lanes.

Crossed into Iowa at 1:52 p.m. This was Wendi’s first time ever in Iowa; I had not been in Iowa since the fall of 1975, and never in this part of the state.

Stopped for gas at a Kwik Trip in Decorah, IA (2:15–2:22); also bought a bottle of water there. ~ We wanted to eat lunch in town, but Wendi didn’t want to eat fast food, so she inquired about a local restaurant; the store clerk directed us right down the street.

Ate lunch at Family Table in Decorah, IA (2:25–3:24). The food was simple but delicious.

The highway meandered through hilly country and small towns, then came out into the flatlands for which Iowa is famous. U.S. Hwy 52 joined up with U.S. Hwy 18. We don’t know exactly where 52 turned off, but soon we were just on 18 and were back in hilly country again. Moments later, we were crossing the Mississippi River into Wisconsin, at Prairie du Chien! We were further up in Wisconsin then we had planned, but we had missed Dubuque altogether!

I could have followed this to U.S. Hwy 14 in Madison and gone home from there, but I didn’t want to brave the Beltline again, especially in rush hour traffic, so I caught WI Hwy 35 south; I had seen on a map earlier that it meets WI Hwy 11 just east of Dubuque. Hwy 35 took us through some beautiful country; lots of hills and trees. ~ We intersected with WI Hwy 81 which I knew went to Beloit, so I took that until it hit WI Hwy 23, then followed that, finally landing on WI Hwy 11 between Shullsburg and Gratiot. I had planned on taking 11 from just outside of Dubuque, so now we were back on course. The problem was that now it was nearly dark. ~ Between Orfordville and Janesville, another driver followed me closely with his brights on, making it nearly impossible for me to see. I drove slowly (35–40 mph) which probably annoyed the other driver, but at least we were safe. Once we got to Janesville (and I could see okay anyway, due to the city lights), the other driver turned right, off the highway. ~ Arrived home at 7:23 p.m.