MiniMooners

After the absolute excitement and craziness of a wedding, there was only one place we wanted to be…

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Door County, Wisconsin!

We drove up Friday afternoon and after a quick stop at a winery for a tasting, checked into our adorable room complete with a kitchen and fireplace.  We didn’t stay long before heading further up north for Friday night fish fry.  Not surprisingly, there was a wait, so we found a comfortable spot on a bench at the bar across the street, Wisconsin beer in hand.  There is no place more relaxing than DC!

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Even though the weather was raining on and off, we had the most wonderful 4 days.  We caught some gorgeous fall colors and ate ourselves silly with all the delicious food.  We hiked through Peninsula State Park and walked through Cave Point and Newport State Park.

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The waves on the Lake Michigan coast were intense!  And we built our first rock structure along the shore.

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We sampled cheese, bread, wine, and Island Orchard Hard Cider

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We drank coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and ate pie, cookies, donuts, and fudge.  We visited our favorite pizza place (twice)!

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We visited old favorites and discovered some amazing new places (ie farm fresh meats and fresh picked apples).  And when the rain came pouring down, we gathered around the fireplace to play games and drink champagne.

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I shopped the markets and stores and had two peaceful morning runs through the state park.

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It was the perfect long weekend of rest and play…

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For my new husband and I!

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Beginnings…

The Tour de France began today!  If you follow my blog then you know that this brings lots of excitement to our house…and by our house, I mean me! (Insert eye roll from BOY who claims that the tour is boring but seems to know a lot about the peloton).  For the second year in a row, I was up before my alarm on the 4th of July.  I came straight downstairs to turn on the TV and dive into the tour.  I only caught the pre race updates on teams and the ‘Big Four’ while I sipped tea and whipped up eggs.  The BOY and I planned to go to Starved Rock today, but flooding led to parking lot closures and we didn’t want to drive almost 2 hours and not get to hike.

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Instead, we drove 45 minutes to Waterfall Glen.  This area is more of a path than a state park and from where we parked, the waterfall was quite a ‘hike’…especially since we started off in the wrong direction.  The path was well used but not crowded as we passed bikers, dogs, and runners.  There was a good amount of shade as we made our way towards the waterfall.

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We were tired when we arrived and stopped to rest our feet a bit and sip some water.

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I must say that the waterfall was cool, but I was hoping that there was more than one!  The bugs made it tough to stay still, so after a quick break we hiked back to our car.

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By the time we reached our car, which was packed with a picnic lunch, we had walked over 6 miles.  There wasn’t a great place to pop a squat, so we decided to drive back towards home.  There is a great park, where I run in the mornings, a few blocks away from our house.  We pass it almost every day and always talk about picnicing, but never do.  We settled under a shady tree by the lake on this perfect day.

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With a full tummy, I could have fallen asleep on our blanket!

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Instead, we waited until we were back home to cuddle in (with Cooper, of course) for an afternoon nap!  Then, woke back up to watch the beginning of the Tour!

I can’t believe that it’s July and the beginning of the second half of the year (like my glass half full attitude?).  It occurred to me yesterday that meant I needed to check in with my bucket list!  This year has been so busy (work, wedding, life) that I barely remember what’s on my bucket list!

2015 Bucket List

LIFE

Set and follow a budget (for real!)- Oh man!  I swear I am super organized, but have totally struggled with this!  Something to focus the next 6 months on…saving up for a honeymoon!

Pass my test– Woo hoo!  All of that library time paid off.  I am know a Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS), which has me smiling from ear to ear!

Have a fun stress free wedding day– Yea, so some days are easy and some days my heart beats a little faster.  We’ve had more drama with planning than I would have liked (just found out the planner at the hotel we have been working with since October quit)…BUT, above all the marriage is the most important thing and the BOY and I are in this together!

Stay healthy– Other than those two weeks where I was REALLY sick, I have been feeling pretty energetic and healthy this  year. I’m hoping that continues through the end of the year.

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BODY

Do a triathlonThe decision has been made that this won’t be a big racing year…so no triathlon.  And I am A-okay with that!  I am broadening my horizons a bit with exercise and doing tons of yoga!  This decision is helping me feel more balanced and less stressed, and we’ll just have to see what 2016 holds for races and tri’s.

Feel confident in a bikini- Work in progress!

Continue to build muscle strength– I think that my arms are definitely getting stronger and I am able to do 1-2 pull ups!  I’m hoping to continue to build my strength with the goal of adding in a consistent second strength day each week.

Keep my skin healthy– Success!  My focus on eating clean and drinking water, plus regular facials has paid off!

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MIND

Be present– I have been soaking in every moment, big or small!  Case and point, feeling the wind in my hair as I drove the boat along the lake in the picture above.  I know that more excitement awaits around the corner, and I look forward to experiencing it all!

Teach more yoga/take yoga trainings- I think this may end up being more of a 2016 goal. I’d love to do a yoga retreat AND my adult yoga certification.  I was able to talk about kids yoga on a Podcast, which is something I never would have even dreamed of in January.  It’s fun to see where the year takes you…

Read good books– Check!  I started the year as a reading machine.  With work getting busier, I have been staying up later and reading less, but plan to devour a few more books from my ‘to read’ pile before the year is done.

Give back and volunteer- Ugh! Major Fail here!  I have been donating food, money, and clothes, but not as much of my time as I would like.

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I know I say it every year, but this year has FLOWN by!  There have been some unexpected highs and a huge loss to our family as we said goodbye to our patriarch, Grandpa Al.  I know that there are more celebrations to come as we are less than 100 days from starting our life as husband and wife!  There is also a lot of non wedding excitement, vacations, and moments, and I am planning to breathe deep and appreciate all of the joy and gifts in the year ahead.   Stay tuned for June goals (and Tour de France updates) as this post is already way too long!

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2015 First Half Highlights

Lots of Kids Yoga

Bounding with my SIL

Taking engagement photos

Friendsgiving in April

Playing tennis with the BOY and my family

Wisconsin Weekends

Our first wedding shower

 

How’s your 2015 bucket list coming along?

What’s your ‘first half highlight’ of 2015?

Planning and Running

I am not the girl who dreamed of her wedding as a child and has a huge notebook full of ideas from college.  I did, however, create a Pinterest board and I am attacking planning head on in hopes of creating a laid back, casual vibe.  However, for those of you who know me (or have heard about me from my mother), you know that my typical laid back, casual attitude requires LOTS of planning, post its, and lists.

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Ultimately, the most important thing is that the BOY and I are going to get married surrounded by our loved ones and begin our lives as husband and wife.  But man, there are A LOT of details that take figuring out before you get to that point.  Armed with a hidden Pinterest board of romantic ideas and lacy gowns, I decided that I would also need a notebook (I’m old school) to keep track of things and jot down all of the questions and notes that I have.  The first step, finding a venue, will be the most challenging.  Mostly because we don’t know exactly what we want, more of what we don’t want.  This week, I’ve been sending out emails left and right setting up meetings and tours (while secretly hoping that we can find a place as magnificent as the wineries in Napa and Sonoma).

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I’ve also been catching up on sleep and diving back into work after our week away.  What I needed to be doing this week was running.  My half marathon is 4 weeks from today.  Although I rocked my pre vacation long run, I haven’t done much more than 30 minute training runs since then…plus some biking and hiking.

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In order to run a healthy half marathon (even without a time goal), I need to spend more time running over these next few weeks!  I got started this morning with a 10 miler.  It was pretty slow and steady, and I finished the last few miles on tired legs.  But I got through it, sore glutes and all. 

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Despite feeling unprepared right now, for both my wedding and my race, I have a feeling everything will fall into place.  One of the best thing about running is it gives me plenty of time to think about wedding stuff.  Speaking of…my sister in law, fresh off planning her own wedding, came by today to sit on the couch with me after my run, talk wedding, and Pin pretty things.  She also brought me the sweetest basket of goodies, including an official wedding planning notebook.  Woo hoo!  She knows me so well!  Looks like I’m in good hands : )

I Did Not Retire in California…

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Although the thought crossed my mind : )

I didn’t forget about you guys either!  We had the most amazing trip to  Northern California, and it’s taken me a week to adjust to being back in the real world (but we’ll get to that). 

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The BOY and I began our trip in San Francisco…

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Eating Dim Sum in China town…

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Biking across the Golden Gait Bridge…

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Hugging trees in Muir woods…

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And eating and drinking our hearts out! Then, we headed out to visit the BOY’s aunt in the suburbs where we continued to eat, drink, and enjoy the unbelievably perfect California weather.

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Even tacking on a bit of hiking…

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Before driving further north to wine country.  It has been a dream of mine to visit Napa and Sonoma for years.

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Our first stop was Castello Di Amorosa and the trip only got better from there.  Between the wine tastings, picnics, and homemade antipasto plates, Napa did not disappoint.

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We toured fancy wineries, tasting delicious wines, and discovered some hidden gems.

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But, it was the laid back vibe of Sonoma that won our hearts!

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We spent a day in the Alexander Valley, sipping red wine and picnicing next to the vineyards.

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It was everything I imagined and more!  We bought so many bottles of wine, we’ll have enough for a year!  And we are already talking about our next trip back.

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We packed a ton into our 8 day trip, but the highlight…I would have to say…

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We got engaged in Muir Woods!!!

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And we couldn’t be happier!!!

Let the wedding planning begin (oh wait…it already has)…hence my lack of blogging!

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Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

With 5 days in Vegas, it was hard to even know where to begin.  I think I’ll start with the non typical Vegas fun…HIKING!

 

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The four of us (the BOY and I plus two friends from Memphis) spent last Saturday exploring Red Rock Canyon.  I was so jealous as we drove out and saw all of the runners and bikers in the dessert.  It has been a LONG time since I’ve been outside running and or biking!

 

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Red Rock Canyon is a ~12 mile paved road in the middle of the dessert.  All along the road are paths for hiking and beautiful mountains for climbing.  I came to Red Rocks during my first Vegas trip about 8 years ago with my family.

 

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And I was really looking forward to coming back!   

 

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We studied the map and picked a path that was ‘easy to moderate’ with ruins of an old home and possible waterfalls.

 

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The sky started out overcast, but the weather was beautiful and perfect to be out in the mountains.

 

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We walked along the path admiring the gorgeous day and interesting plants.

 

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Then climbed up some large rocks.

 

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We chatted and posed for pictures along the way.

 

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When the path ended (marked by a Wilderness sign, which all thought was rather obvious), we proceeded on climbing over large rocks in a riverbank.

 

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While the BOY was goofing around posing for another picture, we met our first wildlife of the day.

 

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Ok, not really wildlife, but we were shocked as 3 dogs came running down into the river bed.  Our new friends (the dog owners) showed us the way to another ‘path’ past the Wilderness sign.  We climbed along admiring the rock climbers edging their way up the side of the mountain.  We found a few caves to sneak into…

 

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And even higher to climb!

 

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When we finally decided to make our way back, we got a little bit lost pushing through brush and over a few more huge rocks. 

 

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The bright side was that we accidently found a small stream and ‘waterfall’, which was what I was really looking forward to.

 

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We did make our way out of the wilderness and by the time we found the car, the sun was shining!

 

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It was one of my favorite days of the year!  In the middle of this frigid winter, it felt incredible to spend the day exploring the desert in the sunshine with my friends!  With MORE HIKING on my 2014 bucket list, this year looks like it’s off to a great start!

 

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Door County Part 1: How I Cheated on Running

I really wanted to name this post ‘How I Cheated on Running and Sucked as a Marathoner’, but that seemed like a lot to fit into one post.  So I broke it into a two part series.

Let’s rewind to last Friday…

 

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I had big plans to do my 15 mile run accompanied by my Mom on her bike.  However, I awoke to grey skies and rain drops, so instead of running, I went back to bed!  Two hours later, I woke again and the BOY suggested that we pack up quickly and hit the road for Door County Wisconsin.  Full of excitement, we were in the car before noon.

 

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The view from our hotel balcony

 

We arrived at our hotel in Fish Creek where we stayed last year too!

 

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First thing Saturday morning, I was on my bike and heading towards Peninsula State Park.  One of the best things about staying in Fish Creek is easy access to the park.  I biked here a few times last summer, and shared an entire post of pictures.

 

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But I took a few more this year as well!

 

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Including a selfie with the sailboat.

 

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I stopped throughout the 12 miles at a few of my favorite views and tried to catch a picture of a beautiful deer on the edge of the park.  I missed her!

 

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We had a great first day in Door County, and I was excited to be back on my bike for another ride day two.

 

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I rode 13.5 miles back through the park on another gorgeous morning!  Then picked up the BOY and returned to Peninsula State Park for a hike through the woods and along the bay.

 

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I heart hiking!!!

 

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Especially when it ends with some beer and pizza : )

 

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On day three, I finally laced up my shoes for a run!  I jogged 5 miles along the park path at race pace (9 minute miles), where I saw a deer and met a nice man to talk about it with.

 

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This morning, day four, I was back on my bike for another 11 miles!  It was an overcast morning with some stunning skies.  And a great way to end my relaxing, yet active vacation.

 

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I definitely cheated on running this trip, but was happy to be reunited with my bike and hiking boots!  Now that I am home, it is back to marathon training.  I am debating if I will skip the 15 mile run all together and continue with my training plan or sub in the 15 miles for this week’s 11 mile run.  Decisions to be made another day!

 

Up Next…more Door County fun with Part 2: How I Sucked as a Marathoner!

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Powering Down

I didn’t realize that I wasn’t going to have cell phone reception on our camping trip until we got to our site, set up the tent, and I went to call the BOY.  With a huge X where there are usually 4-5 bars dancing across the top of my phone, it was obvious that calls were not going to happen.  I texted him from a friends phone so he knew I was safe and didn’t have reception for the weekend and then pressed the button on my phone while announcing that I was ‘Powering Down’. 

‘Off the grid!” my friends verified.

 

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It’s been a crazy first half of the year, and my two coworkers/camp mates agreed that we needed a trip to get away but also not think or work too hard.  Very different from our backpacking trip in the fall, we had the luxuries of a toilet, running water, and big minivan to store our stuff.  This was the camping weekend that we needed!  On Friday mid morning, we started our drive up to Wisconsin, stopping for lunch and beer in the hip town of Madison.

 

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And then proceeded on up to Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin.  Growing up, I went to overnight camp for 8 summers down the county road from Devil’s Lake and camped here with my family.  We climbed the boulders as adventurous kids and grilled lunch out on the beach.  However, it’s been YEARS since I’ve been back.  Upon entering the park, images and memories came flooding back with a warm sense of family and comfort.  We found our camp site and set up the tent, and then drove back down to the beach to make dinner.

 

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The park was busy with families grilling and kids playing ball.  We found some friendly locals who shared their grill.  We whipped up some sweet potatoes and onions and bought some fried fish to share for dinner.

 

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We poured some beer from the growler that we bought in Madison and enjoyed the beautiful summer evening.  After dinner, we took a stroll along the railroad tracks.

 

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Just as the sun was setting.

 

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Before it got dark, we made our way back to our campsite with one quick stop for graham crackers, chocolate, and mallows : )

 

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We sat around the campfire eating gooey s’mores and reading a hilarious book of short stories before calling it an early night.

 

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I fell asleep easily in the peaceful woods, and slept better than I had all week.  In the morning, it was time for breakfast (eggs and banana bread), coffee, and tea.  We packed up lunches for a day of hiking.

 

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The plan was to hike around the lake.  We started on the west side along the lakefront path paved and lined with boulders.

 

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The sky was overcast, but it was a beautiful day for a walk.  The far side of the lake provided a sensational view of the lake and surrounding bluffs.

 

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We made a quick stop on the far beach, and then continued towards the hills.  There is a steep hike to the top of the east bluffs that leads up to balanced rock.  We were so busy chatting and enjoying our surroundings that we almost missed this famous rock!

 

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This challenging hike is one of my favorites because there are so many large boulders and steep trails to climb.

 

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Shortly before reaching the top, we stopped for a lunch and rest break.  We found the perfect location overlooking the lake to set up a picnic and chill out with another essay from the book.

 

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After our rejuvenating break, it was a short climb to the top and the breathtaking areal views of the lake.

 

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We continued walking down along the trail until we returned to the beach.  After a quick nap, we walked back to our camping site for an afternoon snack of popcorn and red wine.

 

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We made dinner over the fire, which was a beautiful salad with lemon, sea salt, avocado, and chicken followed by a few more s’mores.  Let me tell you…we really do eat well on our camping trips!

 

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Saturday evening’s Devil’s Lake entertainment was live music and a swing dance at the chateau.  We drove down to the beach to check it out.  We met some new friends to share a drink and a laugh with and then returned back to camp.  During our second night under the stars, there was a rain storm, which was soothing in the peaceful night.  We awoke to our third day of sunshine throwing together breakfast with our leftover food.

 

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We combined potatoes, apple, avocado, spinach, and eggs with lime juice.  It was amazing!  We had thoughts about a morning run, but instead made our way back to Madison for a Wisco beer stop and then returned home Sunday afternoon.  The ride home was a mix of weekend stories and future plans.  This weekend away was exactly what I needed.  Although I missed talking to the BOY, it was fantastic to get away, power down, and rest up before the excitement of summer.

I’m already looking forward to my next camping trip.  Anyone want to go with me???