Okay people…wrap it up and move along

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life90 Comments


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.

6-judy home 

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:

7-from WizardofOz 


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.


Cathy ZielskeOkay people…wrap it up and move along

90 Comments on “Okay people…wrap it up and move along”

  1. #7

    I love your vacation pictures – brought back fond memories of my two year stint in Dubuque, Iowa, home to everything-is-a-religious-icon. Thanks for sharing!

  2. #8

    For the first time ever, I’m a little sad that the vacation slide show has ended. You are a great story teller and photographer. Dude, you should totally give scrapbooking a try!

  3. #10

    Holy moly there are alot of big statues in Minnesota!! WOW! Looks a great vacation. I see Dan had fun on the roller coaster 😉

  4. #11
    Marcie L

    Third day = best recap Very, very funny stuff.
    I wish all my vacation recaps could be this funny!

  5. #12

    Being from Minnesota, I never knew there were so many cool statues! I’ll need to get out and look for myself. Thanks for sharing!

  6. #13

    #1. These photos and this vacation – what a gift for your children once they’re older…
    #2. You have convinced me that I must, no matter what, do the same thing here in NJ – I think this will be next year’s vacation.
    #3. Amen and Hallelujah to the “…family is more important than the fish” sentence!

  7. #14
    Katie Scott

    Love the man’s quote! I went to Orlando last week and while my kids were swimming in the hotel pool, I chatted with a nice man from England whose daughter was swimming with mine. He told me about how they come to Disney every summer – and I asked him why they didn’t just go to the one in France because its closer. And he said that only Americans can get the Happiest Place On Earth thing right, which made me proud and happy to be one. Also – my husband’s got a vacation quote for when anyone’s getting cranky: “Life’s short, but this vacation is even shorter, so just have fun.” 🙂 Loved the photo recap of your trip.

  8. #15
    Joy M.

    Wonderful photos. I used to live in SE South Dakota and some of that giant statue mentality flowed across the border. I’ve missed it. What a hoot. It looks like your family really enjoyed the trip, and as a museum professional, I’m glad you included a few museums (even kitschy ones) in your itinerary. Thanks for sharing with us, Cathy.

    PS. I liked the Obama T! 😉

  9. #18
    Kathy F

    Cathy- I loved your recap! 🙂 I was laughing pretty much the WHOLE time! 🙂 I love how you capture all of the personality in your family! 🙂 Awesome! 🙂

  10. #19

    thanks for the laughs this week. looks like your state-cation was fantastic. i’ve already searched for a weird washington book. i think we’ll have to give it a try some day.

  11. #20
    Kelly in Canada

    I can’t remember whether or not I already posted a comment (on one of your previous wrap-up days) but your photos so totally remind me of vacations my family took 30 or so years ago and being reminded of those times is a very, very good thing.
    Thank you, sister.

  12. #21
    Dixie Lee

    I have loved this walk through your vacay. Thanks for sharing it. All things Big must hail from Minnesota…

  13. #24

    Okay, Cathy, I need to correct you. The Judy Garland museum is in Grand Rapids, not Hibbing. (We Grand Rapidites hate Hibbing – well maybe not hate, but strongly dislike.) Loved your vacation shots. We are coming to your neck of the woods tomorrow for the Great Minnesota Get Together. Got any giant fish for photo ops?

  14. #25
    Melony Wells

    Cathy Z. – you put a smile on my face every time I visit your blog. We are so very lucky you share yourself with all of us 🙂 You ROCK lady 🙂

  15. #26

    Sigh! Feel as if I’ve been on holiday myself! Thank-you! Love the shots of you and Dan – there aren’t enough of those, Aidan and Cole!

  16. #27

    Totally cool. Thanks for the road trip Cathy. Since my hubby and I did not get a chance to head out on vacation this summer (keeping our fingers crossed for a fall trip) it was fun to see Minnesota. My husband’s family is actually from Evelyth, MN so nice to see a bit of it via blogville since I am actually a native of California. The Vikings are my all time favorite football team – since the Fran Tarkenton days…still root for them to this day along with my SF 49ers and Raiders.

  17. #30
    Marian H

    Tell Dan I loved his great Zoolander faces in those Wizard of Oz cutouts. He could have been Ben Stiller’s “Face” double… hee hee.

  18. #32
    Nicky Hurt

    A. I love Dan’s expressions in the Wizard characters.

    B. Are those lime green leg warmers? With flip flops? Are leg warmers back in style again? Dang- my past is coming back to haunt!

    Sounds like you all had a great time! Love the photos!

  19. #33
    Cathy S

    “Well, the Mississippi’s mighty, but it starts in Minnesota at a place that you can walk across with five steps down…” I’ll be singing “Ghost” by the Indigo Girls and reminiscing about old loves the rest of the day. Thanks. But I’ve loved following you on your trip.

  20. #34
    Caroline C.

    I highly recommend you travel to Alexandria, MN to visit the one and only Big Ole! Worth the drive!

  21. #35

    All right, just another correction. They don’t actually fill the mine pits with water. That just happens naturally. 😉 Used to swim in those pits when I was a girl…

  22. #36

    I second what Cathy S. said…everything I needed to know about the Mississippi I learned from the Indigo Girls. 🙂
    Oh, and? Way to go on the Obama shirt. 🙂

  23. #37
    Kim J.

    Loved all of the photos. Next time you need to stop in Fergus Falls and have your picture taken by the big Otter! Also, would love to have my picture taken by your state fair sign when we head down there tomorrow!

  24. #38
    Cindy Phillips

    Oh Cathy! What a wonderful trip. We need the story behind Aidan’s bright green leg warmers and the flip flops? Who took this kid shopping??

  25. #39

    What a bunch of hambones. All of ya. 😉 And what is it about PW’s 70s action that its perfect for, like, every photo?

    Love this series. What an awesome album they’re going to make!

  26. #40
    Kim Strother

    Is there a road map to all the statues?? You know like in Hollywood they have maps to all the star homes! I’ve never seen so many statues in all my life.

  27. #42
    laura kate

    i love midwestern statues and general silly old school roadtrip awesomeness. this is just great.

    and the last shot of the fam is priceless.

    i just have a feeling, now that i’ve moved to england, that i won’t be able to find anything such as a giant muskie statue anywhere. pity…

  28. #49

    I am very homesick for Minnesota, now that I’ve seen the Pelican statue, and you said you stopped by the otter. Did you see the loon statue in Vergas?? I am totally going to look for a guidebook about Arizona; I think we have our own fair share of big, weird statues!

  29. #50

    You can take me on any of your road trips Cathy!

    but dear girl, you were surprised at the mining???? Uh, Iron Range??? Not Pumpkin Range or Snowflake Range…Iron. I’m almost remembering hs chemistry and the periodic table on the wall but I tried to ignore it so…someone else will have look it up!!

  30. #51
    Linda Barber

    OMG, Cathy Zielske, you complete me. Or your family completes my family. Or something like that. AND you’ve got the world’s tallest thirteen year old.

  31. #52

    These have been the most entertaining family vacation photos I’ve ever seen. I’m sad we won’t be seeing any more.

    I never realized there were so many stick you head in the hole photo opportunities, or so many large statues. You certainly made the most of all of them!

    I’m looking forward to seeking them out on our next vacation.

  32. #55

    Love the pictures, although the one of Dan as Dorothy scared me a little…

    I think DH and I need to plan a little tour of Pennsylvania, although I don’t think we have as many big statues here! 🙂

  33. #56

    i still can hardly imagine a state with THAT many big, amusing and frankly tacky things! 🙂 i think it’s really neat to make them into a fam vac. thanks for sharing with us; as always very entertaining!!!

  34. #57
    Jennifer Larson

    This was terrific. Made me smile and look forward to traveling throughout this wonderful state as my boys get older. I’m curious about the museum: did they ever get the ruby slippers back from when they were stolen?

  35. #58
    Kelli P.

    Quick! Somebody pull me back to the 21st century! I’m having an 80’s flashback thanks to Aiden’s leg warmers! Love it! Your pictures and storytelling are impeccable as usual! Glad you had a great time together as a family!

  36. #59

    I have enjoyed your vacay recap! I am a little saddened to see it end. Thanks for sharing so much fun stuff! Love the last photo! Wonderful!

  37. #60
    tami newman

    I see Minnesota in a whole new light, beautiful!!! and did leg warmers ever go out of style??

  38. #61

    Looks like you had the best holiday ever!!! Thanks for sharing and giving me a good few giggles!!
    ps. that photo of Dan is so hot 😉

  39. #63

    what’s with all the giant statues!? just kidding. it looks like you guys had a great time and with posing for all of those pictures, how could you not have?! ha ha giving the kids some good, clean memories…

  40. #64

    Love, love, love this. I have been to all of those spots, on various family trips, but doing it all in one vacation would be such fun! Glad you stopped in my hometown and got a chance to get a prom shot with Paul and Babe (I actually HAVE a prom shot in front of Paul and Babe…)

  41. #65
    Amy S.

    Now you have me wondering if Minnesota has a freakish number of large thing statues or if all states have them and we just never sought them all out in one trip? I am only next door in Wisconsin and I know we have must have some large fish and cows but I don’t know about that many?

  42. #66
    Julie Trout

    Looks like you had a great vacation with your family…..had to laugh because you were ‘up north’ in our neck of the woods being in Grand Rapids and Deer River!

    Hope all is well your way!

  43. #67

    I was super excited just *seeing* the names of these towns in your post. YAY! I’m SO going to link this post for my friend, Jill (from Embarrass). Her dad is an iron miner! He has been for her WHOLE life. Man, does that man look tired, bless his heart. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your vacation notes and photos with us! 😀

  44. #69
    Jenn from MN

    Cathy ~
    Thanks for taking us along on your summer vacation. I am inspired to do more in my own backyard next year… thank you, thank you, thank you!

  45. #71
    Margy Eastman

    I totally enjoyed your vacation photos. I used to spend a lot of my free time in northern Minnesota – what a great place you live in!

    Paul Bunyan’s the boss!

  46. #73
    Wendy A

    What a great vacation – maybe my husband, the kids & I will have to try this for next year – the kids might actually like it! Great documenting the trip too! Thanks for sharing!!

  47. #74
    Stéphanie B.

    Many thanks to you for sharing your road trip (stories & Pictures). I didn’t take any vacation this year so I’m glad you gave us a guided tour of part of Minnesota. You definitely are a great story teller…when should we expect your first novel/book …seriously??

  48. #76
    Angie Lucas

    Thanks for that, Cathy. Now I almost feel like I went on vacation too. My favorite is the Hackenstack wood cutout where the man is cutting his wife’s boob off with an axe.

  49. #78
    Kathy T

    Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I’m sad it’s over, got any more photos and stories??? I’ve got to find a cutout to stick my family behind. Loved it.

  50. #79
    Wendy in ND

    OMG! I could go threw my photos as POST the same ones! Pelican- honeymoon, 1987– headwaters–same honeymoon–did you go up the fire tower….you don’t want to know the view I had! 😉
    Bemidji- lived there with Paul and Babe, except they faced the other direction! Brainard-paul bunyan?? Hmmm, or was that where you turned to go to Bemidji? Can’t remember!! Also, the deer jumping, was that the petting zoo on Hwy 2 someplace?? Fun vacation! Makes me miss MN even more.

  51. #80

    You know, you really need to come to Australia. LOTS of big stuff here. A sheep, a goldpanner, a pineapple. The Big Banana makes the BEST banana splits. Well, not the banana itself, I guess … the people who work in the restaurant. But they are good. There’s a big prawn too – very controversial that one, been all over the news lately. My son currently has a big zit too. Pop down here – I’ll give you the tour.

  52. #83

    thanks for sharing those fun photo’s. Just wondering why minnesota needs so many xl statues ?? Love the quotes, i try to do that too (fun for scrapbook getaways too ;)…)

  53. #84

    wow, I feel like I was on that vacation with you 😉 Today we watched New in Town, and now all I can wonder is, Does the Zielske family talk like the characters in New Ulm? And do you eat tapioca?
    (oh dear, stereotypes……..)

  54. #86

    You know, I think you’re now legally obligated to celebrate St. Urho’s Day.
    It’s what all those rubber grapes from Hobby Lobby are MADE for. 😀

  55. #87

    So fun to see someone elses pictures from the places we visit and drive by each year!

    Looking forward to your class starting this week.

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