Another June means another visit to Detroit Lakes while I work at nearby New York Mills' Lund Factory. We arrived late, but that didn't stop us from taking a walk down Lake Drive.
Because of the teacher strike back in March, Meadow is actually still in school. We pulled her out for a few days so we could come along too.
I had to wake up early the next morning for my shoot back in New York Mills.
We stayed at the same cute motel we stayed in last year. While Scott worked, the kids and I walked to downtown. Last year Scott took the kids downtown while I worked. I hadn't been there yet.
After going last year, the kids wanted to go back to the Toy Finder store. It's a store full of discontinued toys. I was excited to find an old Battleship game. I hate the new ones that make noise. I had been looking for the same style I had growing up.
I also got a travel Guess Who. Meadow chose a small Brewers hat with baseball cards and Theo picked out an oil truck.
Meadow has been obsessed with the Warriors series books. We found a cute bookstore and got her one.
Downtown was really nice. Lots of cute shops and restaurants.
Next we went to a sporting goods store to get Meadow an eyeglass strap so she doesn't lose her glasses swimming or kayaking.
Love their library.
Walked back, had lunch then went across the street to the beach. I feel like it's always windy when we're here.
We had the beach to ourselves at least.
I finished my shoot early and met the family just as they were going back to the Lakes Inn motel.
Meadow and I played Battleship while Scott uploaded his photos. She loved this game.
We all agreed that we wanted to go to Zorbaz for dinner. For all you haters, this was the OG location.
Meadow says this is her favorite restaurant.
Probably because we get them floats and they get a cool cup.
Pizza, tex-mex and a huge selection of beers. What exactly is there not to like?
Again, you say. Yeah, they like swings more than just about anything in the world.
Someone was chilling with their houseboat on the lake.
We had to pry them away from the lakeside playground.
Only to end up at another playground across the street.
It was an interesting playground.
Back through downtown we went.
This is the one rundown building in town.
We loved the back entrance for the old jewelry store.
We ended up at Brygge Tap and Taste where we got beers and an extreme cast iron skillet cookie sundae. We'll have to try their food next time we're in the area.
When we sat down a little girl at the table next us came over to talk to us. Theo couldn't stop looking at her.
We think he might have had his first crush.
Per Meadow's request, we played Battleship again when we got back to the motel for the night..
The next morning we went to Itasca State Park. I thought we were going to see the Mississippi River Headwaters, but I guess we had to complete the hiking club trail.
After learning from previous mistakes, we ate lunch BEFORE hiking.
We got out to the trail after eating and bugs were eating us alive. I tried getting bug spray back at the gift shops to no avail.
The wind had kept them away until we got on the trail. The towering trees blocked the wind.
After grumbling from Theo and I we decided to split ways.
Theo didn't understand that you had to walk fast so the mosquitos wouldn't get you. We would never make it out alive if we walked at his pace.
Only the first half was buggy, then the wind picked up again and it was fine.
Theo and I explored the visitors center.
Then we killed some more time by checking out Peace Pipe Vista.
We made it all the way down to Lake Itasca.
We finished the trail a lot quicker than expected. When you don't have to go at Theo's pace it goes quickly. While we waited for them to come back we did some post hiking playground.
We met up with Brooke and Meadow followed by a visit to the main attraction: the Headwaters of the Mississippi River.
The last time we were here Meadow was 5 weeks old. Nine years later she was one of the grown up kids in the background.
While we were changing our shoes in the parking lot Meadow had 5 ticks on her. Scott picked off a few himself. Now I remember why we don't go hiking in June.
Brooke really doesn't like ticks.
After all the bugs Meadow said she didn't want to come here again. Until we got here of course. Then she didn't want to leave.
I stayed safely ashore while Brooke and the kids traipsed around the river.
Now we've got to take Theo back to New Orleans.
We would have stayed longer but we had a 6.5 hour drive ahead.
While waiting for dinner Theo and I finished his first crossword puzzle.
Well done diner food. Sometimes it just hits right.
After dinner we got some desserts. I had to try the sour cream and raisin pie. It's kind of hard to explain, but I'd order it again.
After a long drive we arrived at the cottage around 11:30pm.
In the morning Brooke and I stopped by Little Dipper to pick up a vintage bumper sticker we'd lost last year. It would end up falling off too, but it was nice to support this cute little shop.
We also got this Sam Cambell Trail patch. Someday when we get a day pack we'll add it to it.
Father's day weekend also rolls around my dad's birthday. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted this year and he said, "Surprise me!"
Brooke had us bring up the remote control car to the cottage.
This view never gets old.
Meadow loves her little kayak.
We basically spent the whole day playing by the lake.
Well everyone except Brooke and Meadow.
The old fashioneds were on point, though the Trump hats behind the bar annoyed the shit out of me.
The front door also had a Biden Sucks sticker.
If there's a claw machine, that's where you'll find these three.
A cook let me know that the propane tank recently got a new paint job.
That is pretty awesome.
A High Life just seemed right.
The typical fried fish was good, but the panfried fish was even better. Though it was deemed too rich by everyone else at the table. Just imagine butter meets fried fish.
The kids usually opt for hot dogs or chicken tenders.
After dinner was cake time back at the cottage.
Happy Birthday, old man.
His surprise cake was an attempt at checkerboard cake. I used a red velvet mix and homemade chocolate cake. I guess since they didn't rise the same it looked more like blobs.
Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream has become a new cottage breakfast tradition.
After waffles Brooke and I went for a canoe ride.
We decided to check out the man-made channel next to the Thoroughfare.
It was pretty dreamy back here, even with it raining tree pollen.
When we came back, Meadow had created a dragonfly habitat.
Every time I ask Theo if he wants to ride his balance bike he says no. He has no interest in riding a bike. I thought maybe he'd be more interested on a pedal bike. He didn't quite understand pedaling and gave up after a few minutes.
So Brooke and I decided to go for long ride by ourselves.
We came back and I asked Theo if his blankie was a skirt.
Kebabs for dinner.
These were good.
Followed by a boat ride.
Driving in late the other night we noticed the old Marina had been completely rebuilt with a general store and bait shop. We took the boat over to get another look.
I love the cottages that are right on the water.
My little dude.
Pepe joined us on this trip. Cone and all.
While on our boat ride we said we should boat over to Sunset Grill for breakfast. Everyone agreed except for the taking the boat part.
It was a long wait, but once we got our food we weren't disappointed.