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A Weekend with Grandpoppy Tuska and Nanna

Friday
We decided to break up our drive to Milwaukee by camping halfway. Instead of rushing Friday morning we left right after I was done with work on Thursday. Scott texted me as I was leaving work with the idea.

By the time I got home he had everything ready. We had hoped to camp at Devil's Lake, but we were worried we would get there and it would be full. We settled on nearby Rocky Arbor State Park. For being so close to Wisconsin Dells the park was practically empty.

Besides the deafening roar of I-94 it wasn't a bad spot to camp out over night.

Oatmeal, oatmeal everyday. That's would Brooke would say.

Hey Meadow's eating again!

That book's going to be an epic graduation present.

The park had a short loop hiking trail with the famed dells that we decided to tackle before leaving. 

I had texted my mom saying we were camping in the dells. She replied that she was jealous. I'm pretty sure we are the only people I know who do things spur of the moment. Actually the idea of planning trips ahead of time stresses me out. What if the weather is bad? What if one of us is sick or something happens and we can't go?

What if we just want to enjoy life and the surprises that our spur of the moment decisions entail.

This place was beautiful. Not the big famous dells you went to with your parents on the ducks. Still, a great little state park in Wisconsin Dells.


This standing rock was the highlight of the hike.


Meadow wanted to climb on all the rocks.

(Our) little mushroom hunter.








Meadow walked the whole thing until the last leg.

Once we arrived at Scott's parents house Meadow practiced her ballet in the driveway.

We haven't really talked about it, but a few months back my pops came down with a horrible cough. The doctors thought he had pneumonia or a fungal infection. It turns out that my papa has lung cancer. When we arrived he had to go to a doctors appointment. 

To pass the time we went to the famed Seven Bridges in South Milwaukee for a little hike and swim.

I forgot how pretty this park was.

Not as cold as Lake Superior, but still chilly.

Meadow was still brave after getting a lesson in loving the water from Nolan the previous weekend.


I pointed to my sister's house way across Lake Michigan.

Scott braved the chilly water.


When we got back I made some Spaghetti and Meatballs.

We, as in Scott offered to do all the cooking for the weekend.

My parents were so excited to get a home cooked meal. With my dad's health he hasn't been cooking too much. He started chemo after his cough got noticeably worse, which compounded things.

After dinner we took Meadow skating to the park.

Thankfully he is feeling a lot better after a few rounds of chemo. The cancer he has is slow growing (he may have had it for five years without any symptoms) and seems to have receded since the chemotherapy was started. Since he's feeling better we wanted to get him out and about this weekend.

We took a little walk to where I spent many days as a child, Cudahy Park. There Meadow played while my dad and I chatted about the latest Milwaukee and Cudahy politics.

Saturday
In the morning I made us all zucchini, cheese and egg sandwiches. My dad would've preferred a bagel. 

Grandpoppy wanted to get Meadow a present since he had missed Meadow's birthday amidst all the doctors appointments.

She almost picked this before changing her mind last minute.

Instead she got a Melissa and Doug fishing game.

Meadow really wanted a baseball and bat.

Oh, yeah she got those too.


We decided it was too hard.

She'll get there.

We decided to go for a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan starting in Bay View Park.

Then we spotted wild black raspberries. There were tons and we were the only ones eating them!

Everyone was chilling on the beach.


I remember when I was park worker here you would see no one on the beach. So much has changed since they built the bike trail through here.


Then we stumbled upon a beer garden. Good job Milwaukee.

They converted the old outdoor bath house on one side into this beer garden. I guess Miller helped pay for it. The beers were mostly Leine's and Miller. We also got a couple of brats and polish. Meadow got a pretzel. Thanks papa!

Meadow and grandpoppy watched some sports together.

Meanwhile I cooked another Tuska favorite: stuffed cabbage.

We can't go to Milwaukee and not get frozen custard.

My dad suggested we try out the new custard stand in Grant Park, Frech's. Yum

Before going home we went down to Bender Park in Oak Creek. It was beautiful place to watch the sunset and fireflies. And a few Pokemon Go fanatics.

It gets dark too early here. When we got home it was only 9:40. We volunteered Scott's parents to watch Meadow while we hit up a few bars.

Thanks mom and dad!

While driving around the city I kept noticing tons of people on their phones. Then I realized everyone in the whole city was playing Pokemon Go, everywhere we went.

Sunday
Brooke treated my pops to some of her famous, if stolen from a certain Duluth restaurant, red flannel hash. I'm so glad we got to make my pops some great home cooked meals.

Meadow likes to feed me her food.

Grandpoppy said Meadow could take the toy worker helmet that she'd played with all weekend.

Meadow was sad to say goodbye to grandpoppy and nana.

We decided to stop in Wisconsin Dells again on our way home. 

We really wanted to go to Witches Gulch. Scott looked it up on Google Maps and we parked as close as we could.

I read some reviews that said you couldn't drive in any longer, but this wasn't going to discourage us.

We saw that it was next to the  Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Area so figured you might be able to still see it from here. So we went on a hike.

A bunch of branches were coincidentally placed on a path with a sign behind saying no admittance.

We tried to find another way around and thought we would check out this ravine instead.

At least we'd go on a kickass hike even if we didn't see the gulch.

It did bring us to a really pretty beach with views of the boat tours.

I thought I'd dip my feet in the Wisconsin River.

Meadow didn't want to leave.

We decided to head back, it looked like we weren't go to see Witches Gulch after all. Although I was still tempted to see what was at the end of that path.

I decided to ignore the DNR signs (I know, we're bad) and check out where this took us. It wasn't Witches Gulch, but it was an amazing view above the Wisconsin River.

On our way back we found another path which brought us to the Witches Gulch, but on the wrong side of the river...

I guess all we'd get to see this time was some really cool mushrooms, a sweet lookout point and beautiful beach along the Wisconsin River.

As we drove home, just a little disappointed, we stopped at Foster's Cheese Haus to drink away our almost-tears. I even found my favorite new beer, Barley John's Wild Brunette

We had them make us a half margherita and half super cheese pizza that included cheese curds!

So good. 

Yup.

Comments

Unknown said…
Sorry to read about your dad, I hope he gets to feel 100% soon!! You guys are so brave going to all of these parks. I'm always scared someone crazy will murder me while camping.
It seems he's doing much better already. There's been a marked improvement in his cough every time I talk or see him.

We live in "dangerous" neighborhood. I don't think camping is the least of our worries. Not that we're all that scared of the northside.

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