Sunday, July 11

After the vacation

So I've returned from vacation. It's Sunday afternoon. I'm in the office. I'd unpacked and done some laundry before I left the house. I'll stop at the grocery store on the way home.

I did manage to keep up with some of the email, but there's always so much going on. Documents that need to be reviewed, presentations to be prepared or reviewed, meetings to be scheduled or rescheduled. The demands of my job are no different from those of anyone else in a similar situation or position. And because I'll be out of the office for business stuff much of next week, I feel compelled to be in the office to catch up. Some may call that "work ethic;" I suspect, as I've noted before, there's a little guilt mixed in there as well. On the other hand, it's quiet and I'm uninterrupted, so I've gotten a lot done and so feel less tension about tomorrow morning.

I can head home soon and perhaps do something a bit relaxing because re-entry from vacation can be a little bit disorienting and, in it's own way, exhausting.

I did finally finish The Private Patient. I was pretty sure I knew "whodunit" and I was right. This one didn't tie up quite as I would have liked, but it's a good vacation novel. I'd started The Hunger Games series before I'd left on vacation and started the 2nd in the series a night or two before I came home from vacation. I stayed up way too late last night to finish it. The books remind me of "The Lottery" with elements of The Giver and some other books with a dash of the influence of the Roman Empire tossed in. Like a whole bunch of adolescent readers, I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the 3rd in the series on August 24.

I never did get to that bag of books I'd hauled up with me. Ah well, just so much to read and know and so little time.

Speaking of which, I should say something about the vacation itself. My friend and I went to Tofte, MN which is quite a ways up on Lake Superior. I liked being in Tofte though a bit closer to Grand Marais would have been good.

We arrived on Saturday, July 3. Found a place for a late dinner and managed to get some milk and stuff for breakfast. We had a leisurely Sunday morning and then moseyed up to Grand Marais. It's a nice little touristy town that reminded me a bit of Mackinaw, MI but also Depoe Bay, OR. Maybe it was the fudge shop. ;)

Did some hiking on Monday, about 4.5 miles and had some great views of Lake Superior. I kept expecting to see a fin break the surface, but no such thing happens in the greatest of the Great Lakes. Tuesday was a 20+-mile mountain biking jaunt that included outracing hordes of biting flies which, by the way, are not a bit dissuaded by substantial amounts of Off! DeepWoods. All in all, though, it was a good ride. Wednesday was more hiking, and this time in the Cascade River State Park. We did about 6 miles that day with quite a bit of up and down, but some really nice trails. Thursday was kayaking day. We did about 6 miles mostly open water kayaking in Lake Superior. The folks at Sawtooth Outfitters were absolutely wonderful. Friday was a shorter biking day; we did about 18 miles including a stint on Devil Track Lake Road, which was quite stunning. It was a wonderfully physically exhausting week!

As for food, we found the Cook County Whole Foods Coop and IGA in Grand Marais, so were able to stock up on water as well as just stuff we needed for PB sandwiches and the occasional "at home" meal.

You'll want to avoid Bluefin Bay Grille, at least don't get the fish there. The walleye was undercooked and dreadfully seasoned; the salmon was overcooked. Too late we realized that most others were getting burgers or sandwiches, so that might be safer fare.

You will most definitely want to go to The Angry Trout. Outstanding food. Great service. Delightful ambience. And check out the interior architecture. There are no nails--everything is pegged or fitted with incredible craftsmanship. And the food is really, really good.

The Coho Cafe was nice--good food, reasonable price, good service. But you'll definitely want to go to The Pie Place. The menu looks good, but we went only for pie. Good stuff!

Yep, it was a good trip. A lot we didn't get to see or do, and would definitely be a place to which I'd return.

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