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The Annual Bentleyville Pilgrimage

We almost missed going up to Duluth in December this year, but the weekend before Christmas finally worked for us. As soon as I was done with work on Thursday we went straight up north.

Once there we told Blake to read us some bedtime stories.

Blake read a book about Gitchee Gumee (That's Lake Superior for those not in the know.) to Meadow. 

In one of Meadow's books, Ian's Christmas, it has a pattern to make an angel ornament. Blake and Meadow made them while I made breakfast.

Brooke made us some of her famous hash. What else would you expect?

I had one more gift to get for Christmas. My dad has been wanting a new travel pouch and was looking at the Duluth Pack versions the last time we were here with them.

Meadow was being antsy so I put her in a hammock.

Back at home we rocked out to Christmas tunes.

Because we have a bunch of sauerkraut I decided to make veggie reubens.

Instead of corned beef I baked some tofu in liquid smoke. On the side we had some sweet potato fries.

Yum.

Then it was Betleyville time! It was very cold and windy this year.

It was only 8 degrees outside after spending most of the month in the 40s.

Meadow refused to walk so we borrowed one of their complimentary strollers. Meadow did not move even when we put a cookie in her mouth. 

It was hard to eat the marshmallows and popcorn with mittens on.

And the wind kept blowing smoke in our eyes.


Meadow was clearly not happy with the weather.

Since we walked through Bentleyville really quick I suggested we drive around looking at Christmas lights before going back home. Apparently we forgot to document this part.

While at the Duluth Pack store I was looking at the Red Wing pottery display. Scott came over and said, "Are you buying my Christmas gift?" He has been wanting a stein for years and years. Happy early Christmas gift Scott.

"Are you focusing right?"

I guess it was in focus until I checked.

Blake had a Christmas party the previous week that we couldn't make. I saw that he had a slide show and  requested a repeat showing. It turns out the pictures are of his landlord and his family.

Blake made up hilarious stories to go along with each photo.

Meadow requested a puppet show after we finished the slides. 

Blake made us old fashions of course. We needed a chaser for our growlers of Fitger's.

We put Meadow to bed in Blake's bed so we could stay up later. Around midnight a few of Blake's friends stopped by for Pictionary telephone and conversation.

I continued to knit play food for Meadow.
Hello Romenesko chin.

We didn't want to make anything so we forced Blake to make us some pancakes. Nothing says Christmas like a green monster.

After breakfast Blake built a fort for Meadow and it became her new favorite spot.

Back in the fall I saw a photo on Instagram of Hartley Park. I asked Blake if we could go the next time we were visiting. He said it was a popular park, but agreed to take us anyway. Today's weather was much milder than the day before. And sun!

The park had a yurt in the middle of the deer pen.

It was a good place to warm up before we got going.

It looks like they have a lot of summer programs here.

There seemed to be a lot more snow here than over by Blake's house.

Our friends are borrowing our Ergo so Meadow had to walk with us. She was too excited to play in the snow since we don't have any in Minneapolis yet.

"C'mon Meadow let's keep going."

"I making snow balls."

Still waiting for Meadow.

Finally I just had to throw her on my shoulders, only I didn't quite get her over my hood.

Meads liked the higher vantage point.


Suddenly the landscape changed.

Everyone likes a pine forest.

Then we climbed higher and higher.

Sometimes we stopped for Meadow.

"I eating snow."

I kind of thought fat bikes were silly, but now I kind of want one. I think it would get me to bike year round.

For some reason I can't believe Brooke, who doesn't like gears on a bike, would suddenly bike more. 

Anyways, we kept hiking up to Rock Knob.

There was a snowman and great views waiting at the top.

Not quite as cool as Ely's Peak, but a great view nonetheless.

Look Meadow it's Gitchee Gumee.

We wanted to show Meadow the view, but she was busy eating more snow.


Then back down we went. Next time we will climb one of the other hills.

Meadow finally did a little hiking.



It seems that mountain bikes and fat bikes are always taking over all the hiking paths.

Hikers rights, dudes!

Once it was dark we went to the Christmas light house down on Park Point.

We usually go after Bentleyville, but since it was so cold the night before we decided to wait a day. Surprisingly there was only a very light dusting of snow here.

Meadow refused to walk again.

After some hot cider and a scary Santa she was ready to walk around finally.

At home I made some black bean burgers, guacamole and leftover sweet potato fries.

You guessed it, more cocktails by Blake.

Some kind of lemon concoction.

By the time we ate dinner it was time for Meadow to sleep.

Blake's trees are always the best.

None of Blake's friends came over, so Blake and I chit chatted while drinking the second growler. Brooke was being antisocial.

I fell asleep shortly after this.

I think Meadow wants to move to Blake's house.

"Grace!"

Oatmeal and homemade Bloody Mary's.

Don't forget the chaser of oatmeal stout!

Brooke wanted to get back early and I wanted to watch the Packers' game. When I got home I saw that it wasn't being shown in Minneapolis. Damn you NFL.

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