As much as I'd like to milk the vacation wrap-up forever, it's time to git 'er movin' along. So today, I present the final installment of What I Did on My Summer Vacation aka The Recap Trifecta, if you will.
Above? Dan at the Mineview in the Sky, just outside of Eveleth. Did you know they mine up on the Iron Range? As in, dig in the earth mining? WHO KNEW?
And when they finish, sometimes the mine will fill in with water and look like this?
(At this point on our road trip, I said to Dan: "You know what makes road trips SO much easier? Living in the age of the iPod." To which he replied: "You know what else makes it easier? The fact that we didn't bring Bushwick Bill along for the ride.") Note: This is an extremely old inside road trip joke between me and Dan. No offense to Bill and the Geto Boys.
In Chisolm, we saw the Iron Man statue:
And then it was onto Grand Rapids, the childhood home of Judy Garland, where we saw the house she lived in until she was three years old.
We visited the Judy Garland Museum right next door and saw bits of memorabilia from her life, like this carriage which was the actual one they used in the Wizard of Oz when they rode into the city:
And Dan couldn't help himself at this stop's "Insert Head Here" opportunity, as he carefully channeled each of the character's key traits:
Then it was onto the Greyhound Bus Museum, in lovely Hibbing. Did you know Greyhound started in Minnesota? Well, now you do.
Aidan fell hard for a boy, but alas, road trip romance never lasts.
Then after a quick lunch at Zimmy's (a restaurant celebrating all things Bob Dylan, who also hails from Hibbing), we hit the road again.
We saw more big things on our way to Bemidji:
Even the biggest of 'em all: Paul and Babe.
Dan and I even had a chance to pose for a prom-like picture right between Paul's knees. Who wouldn't want this shot?
Then it was off to see the headwaters of the Mighty Mississippi River. Did you know it starts in Minnesota and that you can walk across it? Well, now you do.
As we turned our compass Southward, we found more statues:
(Note: her McCain shirt was in the laundry this day. FYI.)
(There's your big bird, babe.)
And I managed to capture some truly magical moments of sibling togetherness.
We worked our way back down to Nisswa, where Dan's grandmother's cabin was waiting to greet some energized and happy travelers. But not without a few more stops.
On our way home, we stopped in Garrison, on Lake Mille Lacs, and while we were about to leave, I saw a cute young couple with a baby, and the Dad was taking a picture of his lovely wife and child in front of another giant fish. I asked if he wanted me to take their picture. As I was framing the shot, I asked him: Do you want the whole fish or just the family? To which he gave me my favorite quote of the entire trip:
The family is more important than the fish.
Amen, brother. Amen.
And here's also to finding a magical vacation in your own backyard.